Now Open: Garwood's Parti-licious Throws Over-the-Top Birthdays for Girls
This new shop offers elaborate themed parties for little girls – and big girls, too.
From crafts to cake, Garwood's new Parti-licious does it all so parents don't have to. (They'll even help bring the gifts out to your car.)
"Why make a mess of your house when you can come make a mess here?" asks Parti-licious owner Claudia Avans, a Westfield resident and former public relations professional behind the business.
The shop throws elaborate theme parties, specializing in girls' birthdays but also catering to bridal and baby showers, milestone celebrations, networking events and more.
"I used to do marketing and PR for luxury brands and I threw launch parties throughout the US and Latin America," says Avans. "When I had my daughters and started to go to parties my kids were invited to, I was disappointed to see the customer service wasn’t there. These parents were spending so much money and not getting much in return. I knew I could do better."
And so Avans decided to go over-the-top glam. When she says "theme," she means a "Paparazzi Parti" with hair, makeup, red carpet entrance, limo ride, karaoke and photo shoot. Or an "Enchanted Fairy Parti" with a fancy tablescape, fairy princess dress-up, fairy games, butterfly cupcakes and more. Or a "Pajama Parti" – pillow fight included. (All parties include cupcakes.)
"Working in luxury, you realize it's all about selling 'The Experience,'" says Avans.
Avans is also developing theme parties for boys, including a Mad Scientist party and a Create-Your-Own Lego Car party. Parties are held onsite at her North Avenue shop and she offers add-on options like pizza, photography, videography and more.
Party prices range from $349 to $399 and include 10 children (you can pay per child for more than 10).
And the themes are customizable, adds Avans. "I like to know everything about the child – what is their favorite hobby, favorite color cake, do they like pizza," she says. "The idea is to create an experience that is catered and customized to them."
In addition to parties, Parti-licious will also host Mommy and Me Zumba classes during the week, seasonal events (like the upcoming "Doughnuts With Dad" for Father's Day), and Glam Camp, where girls can take week-long summer camp courses like "Modern Day Diva," "Simply Etiquette" and "Model Boot Camp."
Avans has been open since mid-April and says the Garwood community has been very welcoming. She has thrown about 20 parties since opening.
As to how the parties go over? Avans has all the proof in the world: With the parties she offers photo packages (courtesy of Photos by Lillie), and the ear-to-ear smiles and all-dolled-up faces of the party guests speak for themselves. (See some in our gallery, above right.)
"The little girls say things like 'This is the best party ever!'" says Avans, "and their parents have told me they are very happy about the service and the whole business model."
When she decided to leave a more tried-and-true career path behind and launch her own business, friends and family were skeptical, says Avans. "They were kind of like, 'Let's see,'" she says. "Now they get it. My feeling was life’s too short. You’ve got to go for your dream. I don’t want to be saying 'I should have' or 'What if.'"
Avans's own daughters, ages 10 and 5, think what Mom is doing is pretty cool, too. "They say, 'Oh what Mom does now is throw parties for everyone.' My one daughter yesterday said 'I breathe parties!" she laughs.
On Facebook, Avans is offering a free party to her 500th "like." Find Parti-licious at facebook.com/partiliciousnj
Parti-licious is located at 340 North Avenue, Garwood. Phone: 908-228-5291. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: parti-licious.com.