By Kristina Quinn and Monti Martin
With our Par-T-Perfect Party Planners franchise in Victoria, we generalize our work as kids’ entertainment. We’re passionate about the business and always happy to do it. The franchise has fulfilled our vision!
I was born in Vancouver and I’m totally a west-coast girl. When my mom was raising me, my stepfather wasn’t around much, so it was almost like having a single mom. I got a strong work ethic from her.
By 13, I was already working as a babysitter. I also had summer jobs during high school, including one at a day-care centre for three summers in a row.
I won some scholarships to go to Simon Fraser University (SFU), where I started taking the ‘passport to education’ program. I wanted to become a high school English teacher. Partway through, however, due to a lack of funds, I stopped pursuing my university education. I didn’t want to go into debt with student loans. I never got further than my second year.
After that, I went back and forth a bit with teachers’ college before going to work full-time in a Sutton Group Realty Services office. I started as a receptionist and learned a lot as I became involved in office administration.
Working in the real estate office also taught me about running a business, particularly in terms of being good to the staff. Our bosses would thank us for doing our jobs. I knew if I ever ran an office, held that kind of position or owned a company, I would do the same.
I worked in that office for nine years and then a second Sutton office for another year. It’s a franchised system, so the experience gave me an idea of how a franchise business model works.
Vancouver real estate took a downturn and I was laid off. I moved on to Croden Personnel Consulting Services, a job placement agency. Working with temporary personnel and helping them get jobs gave me a sense of how to gauge and read people. Administratively, it was similar to my real estate office experience. I stayed at Croden for a year.
Life soon became difficult. First, there was the death of a good friend, whom I’d been the last to see alive. Then I went through a divorce, having gotten married in 1997. And as a result, I had to declare bankruptcy at 30 years old.
I had always maintained an A1 credit rating before and was highly conscious of it. It was very difficult to lose everything I’d worked for—my home, my car, my Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)—because of a bad marriage. It was also embarrassing. There’s a stigma attached to going bankrupt.
After going through all of that, I had to regroup and put everything in my life back in order. At this point, in 2000, I was living next door to Carolyn Gibson, the sister of Michelle Gibson, who had founded Par-T-Perfect Party Planners in 1988. Carolyn explained Michelle needed help with the business.
So, that led to my first job after my divorce began, assisting Par-T-Perfect for $10 an hour. I stuck with it over the Christmas season, from 2000 into 2001, taking odd shifts and weekend work with Michelle.
Read the full article: A Passion for Party Planning