Rachel Huntington’s French-Inspired Party Boutique Says Bonjour to Los Angeles
by Rachel Warrick
After working in the entertainment business for 10 years in
Los Angeles, Rachel Huntington, mother of two, packed up her things to move
with her family to Montreal. It was this French-speaking Canadian town that
gave her the inspiration to create her own party boutique, Bonjour Fête.
“I created Bonjour Fête to alleviate the challenges of
everyday entertaining by delivering well-edited and stylish party supplies
directly to you,” says Huntington. “I believe that entertaining is an extension
of personal style.”
Bonjour Fête officially launched in 2014 and, after six years
of living up north, Huntington has brought her French-inspired boutique back to
Los Angeles, maintaining a strong online presence as well as opening a brick
and mortar shop in Studio City, Calif. Huntington offers premium party goods, party
favors, sweet treats, on-site balloon installations and themed party kits, as well
as catering and custom party planning services.
Huntington sits down with Mom.me to discuss how she balanced
transitioning her business and family from Montreal to Los Angeles.
Describe the moment
when you were inspired to create Bonjour Fête.
When my son was 1, we moved from Los Angeles to Montreal for
my husband’s work. I loved entertaining and throwing birthday parties for the
kids and I was constantly disappointed in the selection of party supplies
available. I found myself ordering from a million different Etsy shops and
stores to come up with one look I was happy with. When my daughter Audrey was
born, I decided to make it a business and researched all the best suppliers and
artisans, so that there would be a one-stop shop for busy party enthusiasts like
As a mother as well as
the owner of Bonjour Fête, how do you make it all work?
Every day is a challenge in time management. Next year, my
youngest starts kindergarten (sob) and I will have a bit more time between 9 and 3
every day. Honestly, it takes a village and a very supportive partner to get it
all done—and I’m lucky to have both of those things.
When did you first feel
Being featured in the Wall Street Journal was a huge
highlight. It is such a thrill to see work you have done acknowledged and
praised in print—plus, that one made my parents so proud.
As a successful female
entrepreneur, what are some ways that you want to teach your kids about “girl
I love when my daughter sees me busy at work and enjoy having
her in the store with me. I think that girls who grow up feeling secure in
themselves turn into powerful women. Teaching both of my kids to make positive
choices in their lives and to help others is also key. I believe in encouraging
them to solve problems on their own rather than just fixing things for them.
Has there been anything
about creating Bonjour Fête that surprised you or inspired you in a way you
My favorite part of each day is chatting with my customers. I
guess I didn’t expect to make so many new friends – but it was a very pleasant
surprise! I love hearing my customers’ ideas and plans about their events.
Usually people come in because they are celebrating something, which means they
are usually in great moods! It’s been such a great and healthy environment to
What’s your advice for
moms who are looking to start their own business?
Making sure that your business is based on a passion that truly
cannot escape you is key. I dream about decorations and installations and party
ware. It absolutely consumes my thoughts. I often hear from people after they
throw a party that they want to get into the event-planning business—but making
sure that is what you still want to do six months after that party is the true
What sacrifices have
you made as a mom and a business owner to keep everything in balance?
That is a no-brainer: sleep! My most productive hours are
when the kids are sleeping, so I sacrifice some of those hours so I can keep my
business running and be able to spend time with my family during the day.
What are some of your
favorite parties you have styled?
It would definitely be my own kids’ parties because I have
full creative control! My daughter’s second birthday celebration was a tea
party and was an absolute favorite of mine. There were loads of florals and
shiny, pretty paper things—and, of course, candy! There’s always candy.
What is the
party-styling process like? Do you have any favorite parts of this process or
any elements that you find particularly challenging?
By far, the most important thing to remember when working with
a client is to listen. Each client has a unique vision for their event and sometimes
they have a single image that they have pinned or have taken a screenshot of
that they want to see come to life. Making that vision come to life for them is
key. The most challenging aspect is actually nature. Sometimes people see
professional shoots and the reality is that a lot of times these parties were
photographed in a studio. They might look like they would work outside, but
there are many more elements that come into play outdoors. Wind is often a
battle with balloons and bright sun can melt sweets. It’s these kinds of things
that can make some parties a bit tricky, but we always seem to figure it out.
If you could have lunch
with any business person/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder living or dead, who
would it be and why?
As cliché as it sounds, it would definitely be Martha Stewart
in her garden at Turkey Hill. She is the queen and I have been inspired by her
work since I was a little girl. She brought crafting and organic farming to the
forefront long before it was on trend. Her comeback story and the way she has
learned from her mistakes is epic.
Are there any new
initiatives or products on the horizon for Bonjour Fête?
We currently make our own hand-dipped beeswax birthday
candles and some napkins but a full tableware line is in the works and we could
not be more excited!