WE FEATURED IN SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
We are so proud to be featured in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper under the Good Weekend section, check it out:
A very honest and well-written article. Have a read to see shared views of this expanding industry!
We had so much fun inviting the very talented journalist Jacquie to observe for herself one of our parties from set up to entertaining to pack up.
Feeling very proud and humbled to be chosen to feature.
Pedicures have replaced pass-the-parcel, high teas trump hide-and-seek, mini-circuses eclipse musical chairs: these days, children’s birthday parties pump to a very different beat.
There are few more purely joyful events than the birthday party of an eight-year-old girl, and the planners of Jarrah O’Connor’s have left nothing to chance. The celebration, held on an autumn afternoon at the O’Connor family home in Maianbar in Sydney’s south, is a pamper party.
This year, pamper parties are the thing. In previous years, Jarrah, who is snub-nosed and sporting braids, has marked her advancing years with fairy and superhero-themed parties. But today, twelve girls descend on the expansive O’Connor home, each in a state of high excitement, to be wrapped in mini-sized terry towelling robes just like grown-up ladies, and arranged in neat rows to have their tiny toenails and tiny fingernails painted in whichever colour they choose. (Spoiler alert: they mostly choose pink.)
Pamela Sakr, the co-founder and CEO of We Came Here to Party, is the woman behind Jarrah’s pamper party. She oversees the event with a mixture of corporate exactitude and fairy-godmotherly solicitude, putting touches on the glitter-strewn table, chatting pleasantly with Jarrah’s mother, Jodee, a stay at home mum, and ensuring a smooth segue between the spa section of the party and the high tea, for which the table is laden with china that looks elegant enough for Claridges.
“We do a fairy-pamper-high tea, we do disco ladybug, and if they want to do mermaid, we can do that for them,” Sakr says. “We also style many custom parties”.
What, I ask, is princess frosty winter high tea?
“Oh!” She smiles apologetically. “It’s like a high tea with a Frozen theme.”
Of course it is. Frozen, the enormously popular Disney movie about ice princesses, has spawned a cargo cult in the children’s party sector. The signature Frozen colours – silver and blue – represent one of the few opportunities for girls’ parties to deviate from pink.
“But pamper,” Sakr continues, “Pamper blew up from the very start, it was just crazy popular.” The pamper trend started up about five years ago, she said, and now high tea is becoming fashionable.
Sakr, 30, and her 26-year old sister Amanda started their business six years ago. The sisters, who come from a big family, used to help their female relatives as they struggled to organise good parties while juggling their jobs. The sisters saw a business opportunity among working mothers who wanted to shower their children with attention, but lacked the time to ice cakes and sew sequins themselves.
“Mums are really busy, they are working hard,” Sakr says. “They are making that additional income, and they want to share it with their daughter. It’s hard to say whether it’s to compensate for lack of time.”
If the flowering of the kids’ party industry is a result of more mothers entering and succeeding in the workplace, it would be one of the stranger consequences of women’s liberation. The girls’ party experience, as it’s packaged by the hundreds of party planners in the industry, is invariably soaked in a very conventional femininity: all the glitter and pink, the preponderance of princesses, from the Frozen sisters to old reliables like Cinderella and Snow White, and, of course, the imitation of womanly rituals like tea-taking and spa-pampering.
Jarrah and her friends sit in two rows, facing each other. One line of girls has their feet immersed in foot spas, and the other cohort has their hands resting in small hand basins. The family dog looks on balefully from behind the pool fence. Ambarose and Samantha move along the rows painting nails as the girls giggle and chat among themselves.
“This is my fourth pamper party,” says Holly, seven-turning-eight-in-July.
Amelia, also seven-turning-eight-in-July, says it is her third.
“I quite like the foot spa. They massage your feet. Not normally would children get foot spas,” she says.
Friends celebrate Jarrah O’Connor’s eighth birthday party: the “crazy-popular” trend for pampering at girls’ parties “blew up” about five years ago, says one professional party planner. Photo: Jennifer Soo