From boutique owner to party planner
Michigan native Shaneia Caldwell is the epitome of an entrepreneur. As the founder of My Party Queen, an event and wedding planning studio, Shaneia once owned an online lingerie boutique. As a boutique owner, she recognized an opportunity to showcase her products, along with other local designers, in a fashion cooperative she launched called Ultimate Fashion Expo. The event was a success, but what captivated Shaneia most, was the aspect of organizing and planning the stylish event. It would serve as inspiration for My Party Queen.
With an MFA in Fashion and a background in personal styling, Shaneia pays close attention to the details and has cultivated a distinctive look to her party designs, featuring festive carnival, 90s and mediterranean themes, which have made her party planning business popular.
Shaneia’s philosophy of listening intently to the customer, has been instrumental in gaining notoriety for her brand. She has upgraded her once home-based business to an office studio, where full time creative and office assistants help manage day-to-day operations. She’s also currently booked solid every weekend through October of this year, with some events planned as far out as 2021.
I caught up with Shaneia to talk about her business and the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
“I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur but just didn’t know the right type of business to start.”
What motivated you to launch a party planning business?
I’ve always had a passion for planning which came through in other work that I’ve done in the past. Planning events was the aspect of the work that I enjoyed the most. I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur but just didn’t know the right type of business to start. While living in LA, I interviewed for a couple of event planning jobs but didn’t get them. When I moved back to Michigan and my lingerie business didn’t work out, I decided to start an event planning business. So far, it’s been working out for me.
Who has inspired you as a party decorator?
I gain inspiration from different planners and designers whose work I love, such as Preston Bailey, Mindy Weiss, Akeshi Akinseye and Elliana B.
What has been the most challenging part of starting and running your own business?
The most challenging part of starting and running the business is finding good help. It’s hard to get a team of people that is reliable and committed. Once you find the right team, the challenge is finding balance of a busy schedule and being able to implement initiatives to keep those people.
“My advice would be to go for it. Even if you have a failed business don’t be afraid to start over. Eventually it will work out.”
What’s next for you and your business?
I plan to venture off into corporate and special events. Right now we average about four smaller events on the weekend–sometimes more. I would love to get to a point where we could do only two large events on the weekend.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to go for it. Even if you have a failed business don’t be afraid to start over. Eventually it will work out. I believe what separates my business from other companies is innovation. I am always thinking of a new way to market my business or bring a new service to my clients. It’s usually something that other planners or decorators in my area haven’t done yet. Also, have patience. Use the resources you have to create better opportunities for yourself. Be willing to sacrifice and it will pay off.
For more information on Shaneia and her party decor, visit mypartyqueen.com.