Hello and Happy December! Our client spotlight this week features John Kuelbs. He works alongside his wife, Rachel, and their daughter to run Let’s Pretend Parties and Mila and Rose. Keep reading to learn about how his family and business have grown stronger together. Check out Let’s Pretend Parties to learn how to celebrate the Holidays or to make any day a special memory. Shop around on Mila and Rose to make sure your little girl has the perfect family photo outfit, the cutest accessories to unwrap Christmas morning, and most importantly a comfortable wardrobe!
Why did you decide to start your business? I know you welcomed your daughter early on, how did that change your plans?
We started the business because we wanted to be free; free for time, free to have the opportunity to utilize our resources to accumulate additional resources. So we saw an opportunity in the market. Basically, if you find something you really like or love, there are opportunities everywhere. And we actually saw an opportunity in the baby space when our daughter was just a baby. We held our corporate jobs and did the side hustle. The side hustle means you’ve got to be dedicated, and disciplined and you got to love to work. But if you want to be financially free, and really time free, you’ve got to put in the hours. We work all the time, which we love to do. And I’d rather do that than work at a job where I was told what to do, when I could use the bathroom, when I could eat lunch, and where I just felt like a robot. So that’s why we started our business.
What is the most rewarding part of owning a business, especially one that involves the whole family?
Let’s say our daughter has something in the middle of the day like a Daddy Brunch, that’s something that I can stop in the middle of the day to go have brunch with her. That’s super important. I think working with your family is really important too– if you can get along with them! But really if you can find someone where its yin-and-yang in a way and you can work off of each other’s strengths and set your ego aside. But you have to be able to turn it on and off. One of the hardest things is managing the separation of family from business. So when you’re working, you’re at work and you shouldn’t be thinking about what you’re going to be doing that night, who’s going to win American idol, you know, whatever it is…. And then when you’re off you should be off and be present, with your kids, with your wife, not be thinking about getting an email sent. You should try to limit that time, which is all a little bit harder when you work with your family. But that is an important part with a job or with a business, and if you love your business it’s also fun and can be family time too! For example, our daughter is five now and we like to teach her how to have our own business. Last Saturday, our community had a community sale- like a small business sale. So as a five-year-old she was in charge of picking out what products we were going to sell, how much we were going to sell them for, how it was going to look, the setup, all that. She ran the register, she greeted customers, and she had some very successful sales. They don’t teach that in school. She still had to pay wholesale costs, of course! But then half of it was her profit that she got to keep. Half of that went into savings to teach the value of saving and reinvesting if she wants to have another sale… the rest of it went to Legos and LOL dolls!
What advice would you have given yourself when starting out given what you know now?
I have a lot of good mentors and people that have given me good advice since I was 5-years-old as well. So really its hard work, dedication… and make it fun! Whether it’s something you like or even if it’s something you don’t necessarily think of. We do children’s clothes and fashion and accessories and I’m a thirty-eight-year-old-man. I don’t use any of it, but I see it on my daughter and I see how happy she is when she wears it. So its about finding something. People say “follow your passion” and maybe you like organizing things, or there are other things you like to do. My advice to be to look at things you’re already doing and look at ways that maybe you can improve them, even if it’s a little niche. In today’s world you can get started for free, for $100 or less, its just effort time and putting in the hard work.
How did you get connected with Christi, and what’s your favorite thing about working with our firm?
It’s amazing how many connections come through children! WE were looking for a pediatrician when we were pregnant and we found Dr. Ghaffar which is Christi’s neighbor! So we saw this nice new building that the doctor was moving into, and then I saw this accounting office next door and I thought I would go in and meet her. We were growing fast and we had worked with some big accounting places, but since we were small, we wanted to work with another boutique shop that was small as well and grow from there. So, I was a walk in!
I love that you can email Christi (and she probably doesn’t want to many people to know this), but you could email her in the middle of the night and she just might answer in the middle of the night! So its accessibility, I think that’s a big key. And she knows about our business: its not some junior accounting person just getting the file.
What’s your favorite part of the holidays? Do any of your business do anything special for them?
We’re from Minnesota, so we love to go up to Minnesota for a White Christmas. With some of the restrictions this year, we’re not going to do that. But our tradition we always have on Christmas is that we want our daughter to wake up in her own bed. Because that’s a special night, that’s when Santa comes, so just being in that setting is our tradition. We do gingerbread house competitions and some of those different fun things. At our shops, we had Thanksgiving tea parties and Halloween parties, and we’re going to do a special Christmas party where we have hot chocolate and mints and little Christmas goodie bags. You might even be crowned the Frozen princess… or I should say the Ice Princess for the day! They can dance, play, and thehttps://bit.ly/2KSakeu tea-parties”> tea party is very memorable any time of the year. We have lots of camps and that sort of stuff.
Where can our other clients go to check out your business?
Let’s Pretend Parties has 2 locations. You can visit their location in Downtown Grapevine or in Grapevine Mills Mall. To make sure you mark your calendars for upcoming events and tea parties, follow Let’s Pretend on Instagram or Facebook. You can find all of the products from Mila and Rose in their online shop here, and stay up-to-date on new products by following their Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!