We are so excited to bring you this interview with Gemma Touchstone from Party Style Magazine! The sheer amount of amazingness in this one individual is truly inspiring, don’t miss it!
GemmStone LLC. Party Style Magazine
Child Style Magazine www.ChildStyle.com
Party Crafting, Party University, National Association of Party Stylists
What do you do? Tell us about your business!
I have done a lot of things it seems over the years. I love to jump at any opportunity that comes my way, and I have been extremely blessed with the amazingly fun and creative opportunities I have received by working with amazingly talented people.
I am the Editor In Chief at Party Style Magazine since May 2013, and Child Style Magazine Since 2010 . We launched our online party inspiration sharing portal www.ilovepartystyle.comin September of 2013 and it has been so much fun sharing not only professional styled parties, but everyday parties from online community members. I can only hope that portion of our business will continue to grow!
Our website includes a top notch vendor directory, representing the boutique party industry of professionals. Specialty items are what we love to feature and share with our community members.
I am excited to launch our online school “Party University”, local party sorority houses across the nation in 2015, and the National Association of Party Stylists.
It is our goal with this branch of Party Style, we hope to establish industry standards, pay structures, and an association that trained and credible professionals can join and participate in. They would participate in industry events, blogger programs, content sharing, sponsor support and more.
How long have you been in business? How did you get started?
I can not remember ever not being in business. In 1998, after going to floral school , I started my first wedding & events company. It was a tonne of fun, and a crazy amount of work. Stripping roses until 6 am the night before the wedding, and delivering flowers for a brides big day is truly amazing & rewarding. When I became pregnant with my first child, I was suddenly not enjoying “wedding” as much as “baby”. A year later in 1999, we opened a children’s store. With the store came some amazing opportunities! We made sales to some great celebrities like Diane Keaton, Courtney Cox, & Kate Hudson. This lead to some amazing celebrity home interior design opportunities, and I was even able to work exclusively developing a product line for a couple celebrities. By 2005, I was designing exclusively for individuals and large corporations. I started my marketing and PR firm in 2006, Style Maven Media. In 2010 I began Child Style Magazine.
I still continue to take branding clients and PR clients, but only a couple at a time rather than a large roster of corporate clients. I enjoy working with new brands, and helping them avoid major start up pitfalls. I am able to save them literally thousands in start up costs, while providing opportunities that it usually takes most new companies years to work towards.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I would have to say my kids – My main goal has been to create a job that I can be there for them when they need me. Since my husband and their father passed away in 2009, it has been my priority to be home for after school hours and available to provide support in their lives. Nothing is ever perfect, but I try to participate in all the activities of a two parent household. While maintaining my work schedule, the balance is hard, but it is the kids and my husbands memory that push me everyday. Everything I do I dedicate to them, and create a stable future and great opportunities in their lives.
Have you had the opportunity to work with any celebrities?
I have worked with many celebrities over the years Living in Orange County, CA has provided lots of opportunities, but the most fun I had was with Ali Landry.The room I decorated for her daughter Estella at the time, was featured in People Magazine. That was a truly incredible experience for me. She was also featured on the launch issue cover of Child Style Magazine. I included some photos of her in the room, and on the cover of the magazine.
What is one thing you learned the hard way, & a bit of advice you would give someone just starting out in your industry?
I have been in business for myself since 1998, and was only 22 years old when I opened my store. I have learned enough to fit into a book! Some things I have done right, and others you can lose literally 100’s of thousands of dollars by making bad partnerships or investments. My biggest piece of advice is to hire the best, and pay them accordingly. You usually get what you pay for. In a day of modern technology, online messaging e-mail, and texting…if you have a customer or client issue…PICK UP THE PHONE. There is nothing worse than a client or customer who will post something publicly before actually calling you. I think this needs to work both ways, and honestly with over 1,000 clients and companies, I have seen it all. Things ship late, samples are misplaced, printing comes out with wrong colors, etc. For every issue of a magazine, we are coordinating about 100 contributors, vendors, promotions, photographers, in house shoot samples, & suppliers. Everything has a deadline, along with marketing opportunities for the magazine segments, and our vendors from our online directory such as Golden Globe gifting or Emmy gifting suites, swag bag participation, media coverage etc.
After each issue, we receive hundreds of e-mails from our registered subscribers who also receive the online magazine. “How do I create this?”, “Where do I get that?”,”How do you do this?”, “What’s in the next issue?”, “Can I submit a party?”, etc. The one major thing I have learned is you need a team, a dedicated team that sees the end result, what you are trying to achieve, is passionate about getting there with you, to make the over all vision happen, all while juggling balls, spinning plates, and trying not to drop anything.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting people from all types of backgrounds from all over the world, and making pretty pictures. People use my pictures all over the internet. It used to drive me crazy, but in a way it’s so cool to have a piece of work you created, shared and traded and pinned over and over…I love it! It’s like, I did that, and you like it!
What is your best party tip?
Never forget why you are throwing the party. It’s easy to stress out or become overwhelmed when throwing a gathering, but I love that you can let loose and have fun. Decorate a dessert table and go crazy on presentation, be crafty, let your imagination go. Remember, it is truly about the people and putting something together that your loved ones will remember forever. So my #1 tip is Keep calm and party on. Yes, I said it even though I never want to hear a keep calm and ? ever again, just cant help it.
What is your favorite party theme right now?
I don’t really have a favorite theme ever – personally I don’t like characters or too much theme. I know that it is completely necessary, but for me personally I love Icons, Color, Pattern combining artistic ornate patterns with stripe, chevron, dot, or glitter really do it for me.
What is your favorite party theme of all time?
This has got to be the most difficult question. I couldn’t possibly ever have a favorite party theme, but Halloween and Valentines are my 2 favorite holidays.
I’m inspired by everything around me all the time, and picture making a party presentation out of it. I can say that anything involving live floral and plants gets me every time. Having fresh florals makes all the difference in the world. While presenting, it is that live element that most tables lack. I feel that the same element can be achieved with fruit or vegetables, succulents or anything living. I think a well styled theme will always include a living element.
Tell us a little about YOU!
Hummm….Okay so this is me in a nutshell.
I’m German, Dutch, Irish, Spanish, and British by marriage,
girl living in Orange County, California.
I am a proud mom of Hannah and Noah, my two amazing kids.
I am currently getting certified to be a foster mom.
I’m a big dreamer and sometimes bite off more than I can chew.
I am lucky to have amazing friends, because most of my family has gone to heaven too soon.
I LOVE making pretty things and sharing other peoples.
I adore handmade and antique items.
I love EDM and Country music.
I love long walks, fresh air, rain, cuddling, clean sheets, cold water on hot pavement, English tea with a cloud of milk, baking yummy things for little tummy’s, taking time, poetry, conversations with innovators, doers, dreamers, art, travel, giving, smiles, laughing till it hurts, living with love, being able to see the lesson in EVERYTHING, waking up to the first hour of a Saturday, inspiring others, helping to make a difference in the lives of others and my own, I believe the more you give the more you receive as a universal law.
Things that make me absolutely nutty….
Traffic, negativity, saying I can’t, saying it’s impossible, stinkin’ thinking‘, close minded thinking, judgmental people, insecurity, and fibbers.
Everyone is in a station in life, and if there is one thing that is for sure that is everything is going to change. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in timing preparation, sacrifice, opportunity and hard work if you stop and the first hurdle you will never finish the race. Life is full of starters, but very few finishers. Be a finisher – keep going – never give up and dreams will come true. This is how I choose to live my life.
What is one of your favorite recent projects? Why?
My favorite recent project is totally TOP SECRET, and man it is a HUGE project! I am hoping I can start sharing sneak peeks from it in May. It is my favorite project, because it is something that will make Party Crafting more accessible to the masses, and I will be able to share opportunities with my contributors and fellow bloggers.