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How this company aims to disrupt the party-supply industry

Linden Ellis and Sara Raffa are dismissing conventional wisdom and mixing business with pleasure. Or at least making beautiful parties a business. The duo launched online party-supply company Coterie, with the aim of transforming the hosting experience.

Coterie offers one-stop-shopping for parties by providing paper plates, cups, napkins, utensils and more, in a kit that’s delivered to your door. Their goal is to make planning less stressful

“If you’re throwing a baby shower or a bridal shower it’s literally two clicks and you get a box sent to your door,” Ellis explained on Yahoo Finance On the Move.

Ellis and Raffa worked with designers to create original motifs for their products in an effort to provide a personal experience that they felt competitors weren’t offering.

“What all the people in the space are currently lacking is this curated experience. So kind of in the way that Away has done for luggage, and Casper has done for mattresses, we're able to provide this really curated experience that shoppers are now looking more and more for,“ Ellis said.

Coterie focuses its attention on tableware, which is a bestseller in the party supply space, said Raffa. The company launched with nine curated sets themed by occasion and included tips and recipes for guests.

According to Ellis, “the party supplies industry alone is a $10 billion industry and Party City owns 20% of that. They’re doing $2.4 billion in sales every year, which is insane.“

That may be the case, but Party City (PRTYannounced Thursday that it will close 45 stores this year, which amounts to 5% of their locations. The company blamed a global helium shortage for the closures.

Coterie tableware

Ellis and Raffa are not new to the startup scene and were founding members of Daily Harvest, a smoothie delivery company that attracted over 100,000 customers in under two years. Both are no longer involved in Daily Harvest.

As they enter the world of party supplies, they are applying the lessons learned from their earlier experience at a direct to consumer brand. They say the Midwest and the South are areas of growth for their business, “because they’re a little more into the art of entertaining” and joked, “they have bigger places, we in New York have closets.”

Though the colorful party supplies are Pinterest and Instagram worthy, basically eye-candy for the digitally minded, Raffa said they hope Coterie has the opposite affect and encourages people to have more parties, put down their phones and connect in-person.

Yvette Killian is a producer for Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.

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