Where’s the Party At?
Booked Parties Vendor Series: Where’s the Party At?
At Booked Parties, we pride ourselves on delivering the inside scoop on the best of breed party resources in our local communities. We know parents wear many hats beyond the party hat, so we strive to simplify event planning with our highly curated selection of vendors. In this new column, we invite you to get to know some of our partners better. No RSVP necessary!
PizZaZzles, the brainchild of Jessica Carson, has grown a following for its “fun-filled and imaginative art parties.” This was not, however, how Carson originally envisioned her career path. In a twist of fate following a major car accident, Carson’s life changed course when her career path fortuitously shifted from law school student to full time babysitter. In this role she discovered a love of children that she never before realized. Inspired by their inherent innocence and imagination, she began rethinking her own dreams. Born from a love of children and creativity and with the support of the Chappaqua family that employed her, she began hosting art classes in her employer’s basement. Those art classes evolved into organizing one birthday party, which led to a business. Three years later, PizZaZzles has hosted over 300 events. Booked Parties sat down with Carson to learn more about how a grassroots business is transforming the Westchester birthday party scene.
Q: How did you come up with your business’ unique name?
A: I wanted a fun, unique, tongue-twisting kind of name that people would have to read twice. It needed to define the business without being limiting, while being unique! It came to me suddenly while I was in an extraordinarily good mood shopping at Home Goods. Who doesn’t love Home Goods, right? As I was unloading my cart, filled with unwanted clearance section items that I refinish, a woman commented curiously, “You’re in a good mood for all those broken finds.” I responded that I like to add my own pizzazz. My brain clicked and PizZaZzles was born!
Q: What’s a typical PizZaZzles day like?
A: I remain committed to a family that I act as a caretaker for, so I straddle the world of PizZaZzles with that role. I spend Monday through Thursday evenings preparing for the upcoming weekend events. Each and every party we do is custom and I personally prep the materials for every single event. There have been weekends where I have close to 500 individual projects to prep for. The hustle is real! Friday evenings are typically reserved for any last minute details. Saturdays and Sundays are when the organized chaos ensues! Since we are a traveling party experience, we could be in New Rochelle in the morning, Somers in the afternoon and Chappaqua in the evening. We have to account for travel, weather, setup time and potential delays. My husband, Brian, has been known to step in and makes an amazing co-pilot. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, my husband and I enjoy decompressing with takeout, while watching our favorite TV shows and cleaning, inspecting and organizing equipment and supplies.
Q: What have been some of your favorite parties to plan?
A. My favorite parties have high energy and are filled with fun, music, art, zero down time and lots of moving parts! One that stands out is a “Shimmer and Shine” party that we PizZaZzle-d (yes, it’s a verb!) for a whopping 50 kids! The mom gave me total creative license to execute a memorable event. We coordinated a grand entrance for the birthday girl with confetti and bubbles as the DJ rocked the “Shimmer and Shine” theme song. The kids did karaoke as my team organized games, personalized art projects and gem-ming (another one of my favorite terms) Shimmer and Shine cuffs.
Some of our most memorable parties have taken place at the New Castle Community Center, the Millwood Fire House and Wood & Fire, but many of my favorites take place at our clients’ homes. We pizZaZzle-d one party in a private basement that we transformed into a dance club with lights, bubbles, and a DJ. While we sent the kids upstairs to eat pizza, we switched the setup from disco to art studio, providing a totally different experience.
I also love getting the opportunity to partner with other creative minds to pull off the most elaborate parties! Easter at Solaris Gym in Yorktown, for example, was absolutely epic! We provided mini art sessions for 150 kids, face paint, sparkle tattoos and more, all accompanied by a DJ. There was also a 6,000 piece Easter egg hunt, Easter bunny photo opps, free Easter baskets, stuffed animals, balloon twisting, etc. I’m looking forward to a HUGE Halloween event we are planning there on October 21stfeaturing a PizZaZzles pumpkin patch with “pumpkin picking” and decorating.
Q: How can parents infuse some of PizZaZzles’ philosophy of creativity into their daily lives?
A. I can’t emphasize enough the value of shutting off the screens and breaking out the paint! I am an avid believer in old school fun and that creativity promotes leaning, motor skills and bonding time. Next time you reach for the iPad, stop, grab some art supplies and engage your child’s imagination by asking them to draw what they envision clouds, a dragon or a smiley face to look like. Make art supplies beyond simply crayons readily available. Try creating weekly art box challenges. Kids always love these! Fill a shoe box with random supplies, embellishments and objects. Give them 15-30 minutes based on your child’s attention span to make the most awesome thing possible. Once completed, have them explain what it is and why they made it. Then, display it in a space you can designate as their own art gallery. This practice creates a huge sense of confidence and accomplishment. I actually use the art box challenge when interviewing new creative team members!
By Shauna Levy