I wanted to add interviews for a while now. I am thrilled to start this interview column.
Besides learning a little bit about amazing bloggers, I am curious to discover their favorite places. After all, I decided to interview them because I value their insights.
The interview will be split in two parts. Part two is their city guide.
The first interviewee is Lisa Kothari. If you are a parent, chances are that who know Lisa Kothari from her book Dear Peppers and Pollywogs or that you may have hired her for a kid party or watched her on the several interviews she gave on national television.
At Home with Kim Vallee (AHWKV): Tell us about yourself? What is your day job?
Lisa: I am the founder and CEO of Peppers and Pollywogs, a web-based company All About Kids’ Parties. It’s my day job, my night job, and my weekend job.as an entrepreneur Peppers and Pollywogs is my baby and she will be 3 years old on February 17, 2009.
I live in Seattle, WA, although the business began over 10 years ago as an event planning service in the greater Washington, DC area.
I love to adventure travel and actually met my husband while spending a few days in Sydney, Australia. Together we lived in Canada and Australia before moving to Seattle in 2005. I also traveled in India extensively for 9 months on my own.
AHWKV: When and how did you get into blogging?
Lisa: When I launched Peppers and Pollywogs as a web-based business back in 2005, an essential piece of the website was a content library around all things related to kids’ parties. Whatever topic relates to kids’ parties, I wanted to cover. Blogging seemed to be an easy tool to utilize to both write and deliver this content to my website visitors. I have been blogging for almost three years now.
AHWKV: What is the idea behind your blog?
Lisa: I write a Party Ideas Blog around kids’ parties and all things related, e.g. holidays, recipes, etiquette, news, decorating ideas, etc. It is a place for people to find up-to-date, creative ideas for planning these parties and is meant to empower parents and others to throw great parties no matter how much money or time a person has.
AHWKV: How would you describe your blog? What people can expect when they read your blog?
Lisa: People can expect to find timely articles related to kids’ parties that covers a diverse range of topics, but is focused exclusively on kids’ parties.
I particularly like my Web Ask-Me feature, where visitors ask their own particular party-related questions directly to me. I answer the person individually and then utilize this to build out content on my blog. I feel that the blog’s content is driven by what website visitors want to know about their kids’ parties first and foremost.
AHWKV: What common mistakes parents should try to avoid when organizing a kid party?
Lisa: Expecting people to RSVP. Most people simply won’t because they forget. So make sure to back up your RSVP date to 10 days and have a list of guests and their phone numbers so you can call to get your RSVPs.
Expecting parents who stay at your party to help. Unless parents have been specifically asked to help at the party, most won’t. So, line up party help in advance of the party. If you think that a parent who will be attending is particularly rude, giving her a job to do may solve this problem.
On another note regarding parents staying at your party, when children are 6 years old and younger, expect the parents of the guests to stay. When kids are seven and older, the kids can attend on their own. A way to make this clear is to write a drop off and pick up time on the invitation.
AHWKV: To make it easy for parents of the SEATTLE area, I would like to share some of best suppliers. What are the best stores for party supplies?
Lisa: Party Partners: whimsical, vintage party products that are really fun. The Surprise Balls are special! .
Michaels: Of course, this craft store makes my list! Everything for holiday decorating to birthday party activities, a walk through this store is full of inspiration to keep kids happy during party activity time! .
Fred & Friends: From animal nose cups to cool ice cubes, this is a trendy, hip store for cool party supplies.
AHWKV: Which vendors do you use when you organize a party?
Lisa: I go to all of the usual suspects, including Party City, Michaels’, JoAnn Fabrics, and the Dollar Store, but I like a few smaller vendors for particular items. As an example, I absolutely love Mango Ink for party invitations. Very well designed and picture perfect cards! Also, if I know that children with allergies will be attending a party, I highly recommend goodies from Divvies, a peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, and dairy free source of sweet treats and they are yummy!
Part 2 of this interview, the city guide, is next.