It was media visionary Marshall McLuhan who said the medium was the message. At Oh Happy Day, the medium is the color. Check the company’s website and the drab eCommerce world of blues, grays and thumbnails explodes into bright greens, reds and orange as the company itself moves toward a sophisticated supplier of party goods and content. Oh Happy Day says it puts the “art” in party.
“Yes, we value good design in all aspects of our business and life,” says CEO Natalie Bowman. “Conversion is important but we also want people to explore and be inspired by our content.”
Launched in 2015, Oh Happy Day is one of the web’s most popular party planning destinations. Stemming from a popular blog and a popular Pinterest account, Oh Happy Day was started by design visionary Jordan Ferney, who sold the company to Natalie and Jake Bowman of Equals Awesome, LLC of Tacoma, Washington. Bowman comes to Oh Happy Day (inspired by the Edwin Hawkins gospel hit) from Neiman Marcus, where she was VP media. She is currently managing director of media and advertising for Alaska Airlines. On her LinkedIn page, Oh Happy Day is listed as a “side hustle.”
Bowman earned her retailing chops at Neiman Marcus. “They were a leader in eCommerce for luxury retail and I was able to hone my digital retailing and marketing skills there,” she says. “Neiman Marcus helped me appreciate the value of curation while still offering a breadth of product. It’s the same logic with Oh Happy Day Party Shop — every accessory for the perfect party in one place. The Oh Happy Day brand started as a blog and grew into a party movement. When you hear about a “Pinterest party,” many of those ideas and inspirations started with Jordan Ferney and Oh Happy Day.”
With Neiman’s prowess as a fashion retailer, Bowman also learned the power of style and color. Many of the 2,000 products on the Oh Happy Day site are taken from seasonal fashions and fashion show runways. With color as the hallmark of the 2020 season, current collections feature Neons in Chartreuse, Happy (Oh Happy Day’s perfect shade of Yellow) and Neon Rose. Shades of green show up in Mint, Kelly and Forest.
“We offer design-forward partyware that allows hosts to express their personal style while doing something incredibly nice for someone else. There is no reason to settle for poor design in your partyware, at the Oh Happy Day Party Shop we give you the best design in the season’s hottest shades,” Bowman says. “For the fashion-conscious person, partyware becomes another creative outlet to experiment with seasonal trends and inject a sense of personal style. Our shop is a colorful, creative playground for colorful on-trend parties and events.”
Bowman sees Oh Happy Day as a site where people can go to make their Pinterest boards a reality. Taking her vision and ideas into the party goods space was a natural evolution. The party business has one primary player (Party City) who offers a big-box retail experience with mass-market design. She sees a clear opening in the marketplace for a one-stop shop for partyware that is on-trend and design-forward while still offering all the party accessories that a host requires.
“Our customers are primarily high-income, college-educated females under 45,” Bowman says. “They are generous hosts and are often planning multiple events from showers to birthday parties, dinner parties and more. They host an average of four parties per year. We stay in front of them primarily through Instagram and Pinterest.”
And if you’re wondering how they will fare in this time of contagion — yes, people are still having parties.
“Right now, we are a small family-run business and everyone’s safety is top of mind for us. We are taking all and any recommended guidelines by the CDC seriously and implementing them where applicable in our business operations and home life,” Bowman says. “With that, we have plans in place for any disruptions to our supply chain and distribution. Life events from birthdays to other gatherings are still going to happen. What we are seeing is the move from venues to homes, and as such have experienced a spike in orders.”