Party People: Lorise Baratta
Party Favor Website Stationery and Gifts
Designs by Lorise
Summit, New York
Lorise Baratta is co-founder and creative director of Party Favor Website Stationery and Gifts, as well as Designs by Lorise. She originally started out creating art and giftware for both wholesale and retail markets while operating a couture line of party items. After working for a number of years providing designing experience to a private, corporate and governmental base, Baratta combines her love of art and life, with luxury paper and party accessories for celebratory events.
1. What’s the best advice or would ever give about how to succeed as a retailer?
Stay true to your passion, but do not let your business entirely consume you. You can quickly burn out, before even realizing it. I used to believe that we needed to work around the clock and never turn down any orders, but I’ve since learned that does not help anyone — the customers or ourselves — if we are exhausted. Everyone needs to recharge. Many people think that having your own business means being able to work half days. The joke is that we would be lucky to only work a half (12-hour) day.
2. What are your goals for the rest of the year?
We’re presently in the process of expanding our product lines to include more companion, cohesive pieces for all types of celebratory events. We’re also committed to promoting our own brand, Designs by Lorise, which is a luxury line of glamorous personalized stationery from custom favors to invitations.
3. What are your biggest frustrations and how do you handle them?
Customers who shop last minute and do not understand that personalized items can take a little time to set up, proof, pack, ship, etc. We have also had a few customers who want to know why some competitors can offer “similar” items at a lower price. Many are hobbyists who do not have overhead, or keep inventory on hand, etc., who are happy earning pennies on the dollar. In my opinion, price wars are never a good idea as the quality and value can then ultimately suffer. We try to offer the absolute best products and customer service, and we are always happy to answer any questions that potential clients may have so that they fully understand that we truly care about the value of our items and are there to help them every step of the way.
4. How do you stay passionate about what you do?
I’m inspired by so many things that it’s always easy to be motivated to do the designing. Art is my passion and my life, so this particular aspect of the business comes naturally. I also love to celebrate and decorate for all types of events, both milestone affairs and holidays, so that part is also very easy. We’re located in a beautiful area, which helps too. The business side of it is another story. I try to leave that mostly to my husband (laughing).
5. If you had $10,000 to do whatever you wanted to your store, what renovations would you make?
We like to keep our operations in-house as much as possible. So, an investment into better machinery, software upgrades for our inventory and also to invest into both print and online marketing would be most helpful and beneficial.