Balloons, birthday banners and party hats splash rainbow colors from wall to wall in the boutique. An inspirational party palace, Jollity & Co. brings you the decor and space to celebrate life’s special moments with loved ones.
Owner, Kristin Lindsey, opened the shop to help the Norfolk community bring fun, creativity and style to their parties. Beneath a garland of balloons, Kristin shared her entrepreneurial story and how their brand has grown online, in-store and with a full wholesale line.
Ready to party?
How It All Began
As a creative outlet, Kristin found herself throwing over-the-top parties for her two children. “I struggled to find good party supplies, especially when it came to tableware,” she shares. With this in mind, Kristin realized the local community was in need of a trend-forward party supply store.
With a degree in merchandising and a background in event planning and management, she had a vision for creating her own brand and product line. “I dreamed of creating my own line. I knew there could be something there,” Kristin says. So she explored this idea further — analyzing what products resonate with people and what party essentials they are looking for. This journey led her to launch Jollity & Co. in the fall of 2015, done so gracefully by starting online and then expanding to a brick and mortar.
The story behind the name? Jollity is a British word meaning a festive celebration or gathering. “It was a literal interpretation of the word, but it was a word people had not really heard before. I never imagined it would be so difficult for people to pronounce,” Kristin shares with a laugh.
Jollity & Co. Experience
Welcome to paradise, party planners! The boutique and online store curate festive and playful decorations and gifts for your special day or special someone. From napkins and cards to plates and balloons, Kristin’s hope is for everyone to find a happy escape when visiting Jollity: “I want to bring joy and excitement to your shopping experience.” Online and in-store, you begin to envision the perfect first birthday party or bachelorette weekend as you browse the different product offerings.
Jollity assembles a variety of products at every price point for all styles — a model emphasizing customers’ interests and needs. “Some people care about the cake and others care more about the plates. We have expanded our offerings to help people prioritize what is most important to them,” Kristin says.
Pop into the store and you will be greeted by the kindest Jollity squad. Experts in events, make-up, art and beyond, the gals are passionate about style, color and creativity. They are most interested in learning about your upcoming festivity and exploring how they can help. Kristin explains, “I have the best team with the warmest personalities. We meet customers who have a wonderful imagination but do not know exactly what they want. Our team helps bring their visions to life.”
Jollity’s party line has over 200 tabletop products and is sold in over 120 independent stores across the country including Paper Source. The team designs each piece as inspired by emerging trends, cultural conversations and real-life events. When discussing how they land on an idea Kristin shares, “It can be a combination of inspirational things we see in art or in fashion week but we are able to draw so much from our personal life experiences.” From product ideation to execution, the production process is a whirlwind. “There isn’t an emotion you do not feel during that process. Seeing your products come to life and used at parties is a pinch-me kind of moment,” she says. The top two selling cocktail napkins? “Low Key Bougie” and “Let’s Drink Wine and Talk Shit About People.” These cheeky favorites will spice up any happy hour.
The wholesale model is evolving with a lot of fun materials on the way. “We are moving to a platform where we roll out [products] continuously as a monthly collection release. It has been a lot of fun and we look forward to growing the line into other tabletop and party products.”
Party Box Co.
Party Box Co. focuses on smaller, everyday moments we often take for granted. This subscription sends customers a themed party in a box for 4-8 people, such as movie night or back-to-school breakfast. “We want to take the same joy you get at a major life moment and bring that to the little moments in between,” Kristin explains. Find yourself a party box here!
Attached to the storefront is a 1,000-square-foot event rental space, including tables and chairs, a full commercial kitchen and two glass garage doors. The room is all white serving as your blank canvas with natural light spilling inside from the walls of windows. “It was about creating a space to host events that are too big for your home yet you have the same luxuries available,” Kristin shares. You are more than welcome to handle food prep yourself or hire a caterer.
Set to reopen on July 17 (currently taking bookings!), the room will host a reduced capacity of 30 people in the interest of keeping everyone safe during the COVID-19 virus. Disinfectant foggers are included in all rental packages as event safety is a top priority.
The Boutique Difference
Jollity is devoted to bringing festive frills and color to life and no one is doing so locally to the breadth of what this team offers. “We care about creating experiences and helping our customers build memories.” This is a major force behind the type of products they create for their wholesale line and showcase on the shelves.
Kristin continues with a nod to her team, “It is the emotion [the team] has behind it that makes us different from Etsy.” The experiences she speaks to are really seen through her team — as a customer, they want to hear about your vision, brainstorm with you and help any way they can.
The response to COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult on Jollity and the team, as for many local businesses throughout our community. “It has been hard. You know, owning a party business when no one could host a party. We have had to pivot, be nimble and adapt, but we would not be where we are now if it wasn’t for the support of the community,” Kristin shares. Jollity’s repositioning focused on bringing the party home. For example, the team has assisted customers with front porch balloon installations.
Party Box Co. played a big role here as well, providing customers with an easy at-home experience catered to the ‘in-between moments.’ Kristin has learned a lot in response to the crisis explaining, “we have to be more flexible and become less attached to a concept. We should find more ways to be engaged with meeting a customer’s needs on a short-term basis then building towards the bigger moments.”
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
One of Kristin’s proudest moments was when Jollity started selling their wholesale line. “It was a year of prep before we launched and years and years of dreaming before that,” she says with a smile. Kristin explains how important it is to talk about the “long game,” emphasizing the importance of the work and drive it takes to achieve your goals. “I cannot describe how proud you feel once your dream comes together.”
Obstacles come in many shapes and forms. Kristin explains, “I have made mistakes with product launches, budgets and everything in between. I am proud of those mistakes though as we would not be here without them.”
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
As for entrepreneurial advice? She kicks it to us straight. “It is not going to be easy all the time. You can be passionate about your business and have days you do not like it. Sometimes it is really about the struggle, but you will get through it and you will be so grateful on the other side,” Kristin shares.
How to Experience All That Jollity & Co. Has to Offer
Now it is time to start party planning! Shop Jollity’s online store or drop into the boutique, located at 2111 Granby Street, to browse the products and meet the team. Follow along on social for fun seasonal party ideas and product updates on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Receive inspiration directly to your inbox by signing up for their newsletter.
Need an event space to host your next celebration? Check out their convertible party room and start dreaming of how you can make it uniquely yours!