WEST HARTFORD — Ashley Sodipo has always loved parties.
Sodipo strongly remembers the Christmas Eve bashes her grandmother would throw each year.
“My love for parties started when I was pretty young,” said Sodipo, 28, a West Hartford native and current Glastonbury resident. “My grandmother would throw these big Christmas Eve parties. Everyone would look forward to it. Her house would be packed. I vividly remember the shrimp platter. We’d get so excited. There were decorations to the nine.”
In 2018, Sodipo channeled her grandmother’s passion for partying by starting the Pink Flamingo Party Co. online store out of her New York apartment.
“I have always been super creative. I love planning events,” Sodipo said. “My mom is also very creative. I started this business as a side hustle. I wanted to curate party supplies for people to enjoy, whether it was for a bachelorette party or a birthday.”
Now, with experience under her belt, Sodipo is planning to open a brick-and-mortar location for her business this October in West Hartford, at 1001 Farmington Ave.
One of the reasons for that decision came from the way her business had to pivot during the pandemic.
With parties put on hold everywhere, Sodipo had to think of another way to generate business. That came in the way of balloon installations when people started hosting outdoor parties last year.
“Prior to COVID, we mainly did bachelorette party supplies,” Sodipo said. “When COVID hit, everyone was canceling. We had to pivot our business. What can we do to help people celebrate during a time that was pretty dark for most? We’re all about bringing people joy. You’d pick the colors and the theme and we’d go to your house and install it on the outside of your home. You were still able to celebrate. So many people missed out on birthdays. We wanted to bring people joy.”
Sodipo and her sister, Olawunmi Sodipo, were doing all of those balloon installations themselves. Between that and shipping online orders, Sodipo felt it was time to expand and bring on more employees.
“It’s just the two of us, we take as many orders as we can,” Sodipo said. “We’re seeing people want to order balloons last minute. My whole family is involved. It’s gotten to the point where we can’t do all the deliveries for the inquiries we get.”
The other reason she wants to open a store is to be able to give customers a more detailed and hands-on approach to curating their party supplies. Sodipo said she takes pride in what she offers to customers, and that a lot of it is made in the United States by women.
“We wanted to have this in-store experience where we can hire more people and take on more clients,” Sodipo said. “People will be able to see everything we have available. We wanted to give people a physical experience now that people are getting back to parties. Sometimes party design can be overwhelming, but we definitely make it fun. We want to give our clients ideas and inspire them creatively.”
Sodipo is hoping to open the store by the end of October, just in time for the upcoming holiday season. Until then, customers can still shop online at pinkflamingoparty.co.