Meet the founder of Girl Meets Party, Jen Naye Herrmann. She’s a dynamic woman of many passions, interests and roles plus the vision behind our team.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an only child originally from the Chicago suburbs. Indiana University [Go Hoosiers!] is my alma mater, and I landed in Chicago after school. I absolutely love creating things myself and am always dreaming up a million business ideas. There’s magic in creating something yourself that fuels my passion, which is why I created Girl Meets Party.
When I’m not working [aka barely never since I juggle two jobs], I love exploring new restaurants with my husband, Matt [who I affectionately call Mateo], going to the farmer’s market or spending time at local Chicago boutiques and coffee shops. I also adore designing events, homes and decor [another reason I wanted to create Girl Meets Party]!
Where did the idea of Girl Meets Party come from?
First, I think it’s important to know that I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My great-grandfather owned one of the first grocery stores in Little Italy in the 1920s. My grandfather was also an entrepreneur as is my mom, so it’s really in my blood. I knew I wanted to create something, but I wasn’t sure what.
After our own wedding, I was super inspired by the planning process and wanted to help others. I designed what I like to call v1.0 of Girl Meets Party. My goal was to match-make brides and wedding vendors, and while I still love the idea, it was insanely time intensive. After a year, I downshifted out of it. Missing that creative outlet, I quickly decided to create a blog. My sole goal was to spark a business idea. For the first year, I called the blog, The Millennial Martha, and ended up falling in love with blogging. I have since re-branded [back] to Girl Meets Party as indeed the business ideas started flowing in and it became bigger than Martha.
While we’re still developing the business, I can share that the objective of Girl Meets Party is to share inspiration in home decor, entertaining and wedding. Our mission is to fuel planning ideas in an attainable way for others to re-create. I have a vision to design a destination that unifies positive, creative people who are looking to be their best selves. This comes to life in a few ways, but I’ll keep that to myself for now…
Tell us about your favorite hobby and why it inspires you.
I don’t get to do it often, but I actually love sewing. Home design and entertaining are my favorite pastimes, and the fact that I have the ability to select any pattern and make accessories that bring the event to life thrills me. I’m essentially good at making anything that’s in the shape of a square – pillows, drapes, place mats and napkins are all fair game.
Favorite meal or restaurant?
I’m 50% Sicilian, so the way to my heart is certainly through Italian. My favorite restaurant in Chicago is Coda di Volpe. It also happens to be located literally right across the street from where I live now [talk about a coincidental convenience].
Donuts or cupcakes?
Cupcakes! All the cupcakes, please! Sweet Mandy B’s are my favorite cupcakes in the city, and I love everything from funfetti to red velvet to their vegan cupcake!
What’s your word of the year?
It’s more of a phrase for me, but it’s “Anything could happen.” [Insert Ellie Goulding song here]. After two years of dabbling in entrepreneurship, I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. I feel super comfortable and excited with where we are today, and I also see the vast possibility of what lies ahead. Most importantly, I know that all of my plans will be wrong. This is why anything could happen.
Coming from a business background of long-term planning for brands and launching new products, I’m classically trained to create really detailed strategies. While that’s excellent for a developed business, it’s not realistic when you’re just starting out. Thanks to my career coach and some lessons along the way, I’ve learned to let go.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I like to think of it as New Year’s intentions vs. resolutions. I’m happy with who I am already, although I think all of us can always improve. One of my big intentions has been to take better care of myself. I tend to put others needs before my own and I’ve learned that it’s OK to be selfless, but YOU come first. With that said, meditation is at the top of my list. Quiet time for my ‘always spinning brain’ is glorious.
What are you most excited for in the new year personally? And how about for Girl Meets Party?
Personally, I’m so pumped for Mateo & I. We’ve got this marriage thing down – having so much fun supporting one another and exploring new things together. While our first two years were great, it was a lot of navigating ‘firsts’ with family and career, and I feel like we couldn’t be more on the same page now. For Girl Meets Party, I honestly don’t even know. 2017 already surpassed my expectations, and I never would have guessed that we’d have grown to a team of 8 so quickly.
My ultimate goal is to have our own space. It feels like we’re on that path and that makes me giddy. More importantly, it feels right, which, to me, is the best feeling I think you can encounter. Every day is more exciting than the last. While we have the typical entrepreneurial roller coaster of feeling so put together and such a hot mess all at the same time, the good so far outweighs the bad. And we know we’re all just trying to figure this thing out, right?
My goal is that we can inspire 3x as many people as we’ve touched in the last two years. Between our team and you all, I know we can make that happen.