Party store owner Julie Gallagher, the heart of the party, shares her passion for entertaining – In Good Company.
As soon as you meet Julie Gallagher, wife, mother and owner of In Good Company, which sells gorgeous local and imported party goods, you can see where the inspiration and playfulness of her store comes from. “I started entertaining and setting tables for my friends. After working as an accountant in Switzerland for two years, I decided to make my passion a business,” Julie says. “I love parties and always have, largely because it gives me the opportunity to be creative – a real holiday from accounting and the day-to-day business of life,” says Julie. “My friends are right when they say it is the planning and sourcing aspect that I enjoy more than the actual party.”
Julie explains that the idea for her business started from the parties she hosted, which revolved around a theme. Swopping themed items with a group of friends, almost like a party club, allowed them to have a different theme every time they entertained without buying new items. “If someone had a Mexican-themed table setting, they would swop with someone who had another themed table setting.”
This allowed for great creativity and also meant a host was never stuck with items they couldn’t use again. Julie accumulated a storeroom of items she used for her table settings and she would even buy items from overseas. Friends would ask her where she had bought her range of linen, tableware and decorations, and so Julie started buying and importing things for her friends.
She loves shopping online and in 2009, the In Good Company online shop was started. “Once a month I would hold an open day where people could come and purchase items I had sourced, and this eventually became a weekly event.”
The increasing popularity of the exclusive products meant it was necessary to rent space at a townhouse in order to host the open days. This led to a need for even bigger premises and in August 2010, In Good Company officially opened in Parkhurst. The store sells party items and accessories that are special and different, adding a touch that lifts a table to perfection. Julie spends time overseas hand-picking goods and she makes use of local suppliers who make quirky products.
The tables set for F&HE are centred on the theme “Eat cake for breakfast”, focused on family and the outdoors. On one small table is an assortment of cakes, pastries, cupcakes, muffins and a “Make your own pancake bar”. Jugs of juices, fresh berries and strawberries add a touch of natural colour while the retro striped straws hint at playfulness. The main table features delightful tangerine and mint green bunnies, and charming enamel mugs with miniature aloes in them.
Ceramic egg holders with white eggs celebrate Easter and a time when many families come together for a feast. Set in a quaint garden at Julie’s parents’ house, a fabric bunting is strung up over the table like confetti that has been thrown up and remained in midair. The attention to detail is striking, from the floral cushions on the chairs, to the bottles and vases filled with roses. This is indeed a celebration to enjoy in good company.
Julie’s tips for entertaining:
- Don’t take entertaining too seriously. Relax, otherwise you won’t enjoy it.
- Use items from your home on your table to add a personal touch.
- You don’t need a professional to set your table for you. Use a guide like ‘The Good Plan’ on In Good Company’s website.
- Put your effort into making a course you are good at and buy the rest of the food for the party.
- Create a bar for your guests to mix and pour their own drinks.
In Good Company visit www.ingoodcompany.co.za.
By Zaza Motha