December 21, 2022 •
Two women-owned businesses are dedicated to creating culturally relevant party products.
As seen in Celebrations & Occasions 2022.
A few years ago, Andrea Harris was planning her daughter’s first birthday party and noticed a lack of party decorations that were culturally relevant. That lack of stylish, quality items inspired her to launch her own company, Anna+Pookie, with a mission “to allow people of all ages to express and celebrate themselves in a way that is representative of their own interests, cultures and personal styles.”
The new Superhero Collection by Anna+Pookie is especially important to Harris.
“I wanted it to convey so much more than just party supplies,” she said. “Presenting positive imagery that Black and Brown children can relate to while allowing them not only to dream but to dream BIG! Like with all our products, I hope this collection empowers and inspires them to be whomever they choose,” Harris emphasized.
When developing new designs, Harris draws inspiration from her customers. “I usually develop a list of ideas of themes I want to explore, and then I take those ideas straight to my customers to help make the final decisions on what themes we should carry. I also consult with a few of my wholesale partners because they have a pulse on what customers are searching for when they start planning their children’s celebrations,” she added.
Anna+Pookie works with two talented illustrators, and they collaborate with Harris on all designs to ensure they embody the brand’s mission. “It’s great because both are moms of small children and can completely identify with what moms and children are looking for in their party supply needs,” Harris said.
Recently, Amazon approached Harris about joining the Amazon Black Business Accelerator. The Accelerator program is dedicated to helping build sustainable diversity and provide growth opportunities for Black-owned businesses. Harris says she is very excited to launch on the Amazon platform and introduce a broader audience to the Anna+Pookie line of plates, cups and napkins.
There are also talks with a national retailer to bring Anna+Pookie party supplies to even more customers. Harris said she will launch with them online with two new exclusive themes in addition to the full line of products. “The idea that parents no longer have to search for diverse products for their children and can now use all of our party supplies every day over and over again is extremely exciting,” she said.
For Jasmine Williams, the holidays have always been a big deal. Her favorite holiday tradition is decorating the Christmas tree as a family. In 2019, Williams noticed a lack of diversity in holiday home goods and décor, so she decided to create and manufacture a line of products featuring Christmas characters in shades of brown. In 2020, she officially launched her company, SUNNY&TED, with her first product, the Cocoa Santa Mug.
“SUNNY&TED’s mission is to create holiday home goods that Black and Brown people can see themselves in,” Williams said. “With SUNNY&TED’s holiday home goods and décor, you will be sure to see yourself or your loved ones represented during the holiday season.”
“The most important part for me was perfecting the shades of brown that you’ll find throughout our product suite,” she added. “I really want people of color to see themselves and their loved ones represented in SUNNY&TED products.”
The holiday partyware collection at SUNNY&TED is meant to be a part of memory-making moments. “I decided to make The Nutcracker Collection in melamine so the whole family, young and old, can enjoy their Christmas goodies with plates and cups that can withstand a few fumbles,” Williams explained. “Our paper partyware collection is also perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Break out the gold foiled napkins and cheery red Santa paper cups for holiday charcuterie or even a Christmas cookie exchange,” she recommended.
When asked how she would like to see the brand grow, Williams said she would love to see the memory-making sentiment traverse past the Christmas season in the future. “Whimsical characters can be found in almost every season, and we would love the opportunity to represent Black and Brown communities year-round,” Williams said.
Williams would love to add more stockists to her list of retailers. “The more shops carrying our products, the more families can share in the SUNNY&TED holiday magic,” she said.
The company’s wholesale application form can be found on their website, or inquiries can be directly sent to [email protected].