It’s like walking into Pinterest. That’s the only way I can describe it. When I stumbled on the Acme Party Box Company store the other day, I thought I’d died and gone to handmade heaven. Seriously, it’s that good.
I was out shopping for items for Nic’s second birthday party, so it was extremely fortuitous that I noticed the word “party” in their small sign out front. I hadn’t heard of the store, so when I walked inside to find handmade buntings, party linens and unique favors, I was floored. They even had a birthday party going right in the store, during which a focused group of nine-year-old girls was happily felting their own stuffed animals! I’m secretly hoping my #2 is a girl, just so we can have crafty birthday parties (or maybe I can just have a crafty boy?)!
I purchased a roll of gingham cloth napkins, some giant red (biodegradable) balloons, and a wooden bear with some tiny mushrooms to use as a cake topper. I also left with a desire to know more about this store and the obviously crafty women behind it. So, I emailed Cathy Keyani, one of the store’s founders, with some questions.
Where'd you get the idea to start the store?
My business partner, Lisa Fulker, and I both love to entertain and are environmentally conscious. We found from years of trying to source eco-friendly party supplies for our own celebrations that the types of products we were looking for just didn't exist, so we usually ended up making our own. When we were both ready to venture out from our previous careers we thought the time was right for to fill the void in the party sector between good design and environmentally responsibility.
Who makes all the wonderful items?
The products we design are made by a combination of really great people! Some things we make ourselves, our very generous friend-ployees help with most everything, and a lovely group of seamstresses in San Francisco has been sewing our linens.
Where do you get the ideas?
We are inspired by so many things! Sometimes it's by a need we have ourselves in our own lives, sometimes by something unique that we see and can translate into something right for our customers. Most inspiration stems from seeing a challenge that needs a solution; for example our craft kits came from the activities we conduct at our in-store parties.
What are your top sellers?
Among party supplies, our glass drinking jars and stripey straws are our best sellers. They're fun for grown up and kids and have so many uses after the party that we can hardly keep them in stock. Our flag bunting and fun cake toppers are always popular, too.
We have some wonderful gifts that have done really well this past holiday season: our Laguiole Multi Function Tool (a beautiful Swiss Army-style knife), and several mango wood products (salt cellars, platters).
I notice that you have several party themes on your site. Do you rotate themes?
We always have seasonal collections and tend to change up our fabric selections during the year. Right now we are looking at some really wonderful cottons from India. Because we are so focused on reusability we love that someone can select one of our fabric collections because they are attracted to it, and we can them help them accessorize it to suit any theme. Although we don't have any character driven themes, a parent came in recently who was able to pick a selection of fabrics that she loved and wants to use in her kitchen after the party, but that also would satisfy her young son's superhero theme.
What is your favorite kid's party theme?
What are your top tips for an eco-friendly party?
We are huge proponents of reusable tableware and linens. It doesn't take much more effort to throw linens in the wash than it does to throw them in the garbage, and some of the most fun that happens is after the party when hosts and friends share a few minutes around the kitchen sink. Times like this are really relationship building, and isn't that the real reason we have parties anyway?
Acme Party Box Co is located in the Town and Country Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. But there's good news for those of you who aren’t Bay Area residents--most of their goodies are available online.