MARKETPLACE: WISH boutique turns Park City into party central
Emily White never pictured herself going into the party-planning business. She has a master’s degree in education and thought she would spend her career as a teacher.
But when she began throwing parties for things such as school fundraisers and her children’s birthdays, people began taking notice of her talent.
"People would say, ‘You should do this for real,’ and I would say, ‘Oh, in another life,’" she said. "I kind of didn’t believe it to be true that I could make a career path and business out of it."
Six years later, after taking the leap into professional party planning, she has proven herself wrong. Her party-planning business, Haute Hostess, took off, using strong word-of-mouth to develop a loyal customer base. And now White is branching out. She recently opened WISH, a party décor boutique, specializing in all things celebratory to help Parkites throw the perfect wedding, graduation or birthday bash.
The idea came from answering the same question over and over when she’d put on parties for customers: "Where can I find this stuff?" Eventually, she decided there was enough demand to open a store.
"I would say, ‘Well, you really can’t because I’m outsourcing to all of these different wholesalers and vendors,’" she said. "Over the years, I came to find all of these things that weren’t available. Park City has a lot of fabulous stores, but I thought, ‘There’s nothing like this. There’s always a celebration — there’s a birthday, a wedding, a graduation. There’s always a holiday or a season to celebrate."
WISH offers a wide-ranging variety of party products, but one of the highlights of the store is its custom balloon bar. Customers can choose from several options of balloons, including ones filled with confetti, to create lavish bunches.
"It’s kind of like the new flower bouquet," White said.
Another unique offering is the party-in-a-box, which can be customized for each patron.
"You can say, ‘My theme is this,’ or, ‘I want this color and am going to have this many people,’" she said. "We’ll put it together for you."
White has worked hard to stock her shelves with products people can’t get at any other party supply store in the area. She purchases from vendors all around the world and even carries lines of products from London, Paris and Sydney.
"I wanted to find small artisans that you couldn’t maybe find on Amazon," she said. "I wanted small vendors. I wanted to support people who were just getting started."
She added that WISH fills a niche in Park City. No longer will people have to drive to Salt Lake City to hunt for party supplies.
"Time after time, I hear, ‘Ah, I have to go to Salt Lake for this, and even when I’m in Salt Lake I’m still driving around and I can’t find it,’" White said.
Those who walk into the store but need a bit of guidance to throw the perfect party are also covered. Though White’s party planning company, Haute Hostess, is separate from WISH, customers at the store can enlist the help of both businesses.
"People can come in and do it themselves, or we can assist them along the way," she said. "It’s kind of like á la carte. And once they come in and see what they have to offer, it gives them more ideas and inspiration.
"The décor is one part," she added. "But you put the theme into the food and the beverages and your music and your lighting and your atmosphere. You’re creating this entire environment."
For White, the passion for parties comes in taking an empty space and turning it into a lively, intimate atmosphere where people gather and share an experience they’ll remember for a long time. She loves to step back at the parties and watch how people react.
"Sometimes those are the best photographs — not of the part itself, but of people’s expressions," she said. "You don’t look back on an event and remember a tangible thing. It’s a memory. I want to create that."
1635 W. Redstone Center Drive
The Christian Center of Park City had a makeover last year, and its boutique felt it was time for one, too.