Crafts, DIY skills become TC Decorating Co. | Business


TRAVERSE CITY — As the weather warms and the snow begins to melt, northern Michigan marches into the unofficial start of another season.

It’s a time of glitz and glitter, sashes and surprises, balloons and banners. And of course personalized goodie bags.

It could be called Vino Before Vows, The Last Disco or another theme. When the clocks advance and the vernal equinox arrives, it’s often time to plan a weekend getaway to Traverse City with friends and family.

Welcome to Bachelorette season.

As Traverse City has grown into a destination for bachelorette parties over the past decade, the need for help planning those graduation nights has also increased. It’s a job that entrepreneur Jenna Pizarek and the newly formed TC Decorating Co. love to do.

“I started this business on the side because I love doing these things,” said Pizarek, who works remotely as a portfolio manager at an outsourced medtech company. “I wanted something I could do nights and weekends. It’s really kind of taken off.”

TC Decorating Co. has already planned two parties this year and has eleven more planned, including five in May and four in June.

“I’m just getting word that the Bachelorette season really starts in May,” said Pizarek, who launched the business in late summer.

Decoration packs start at $275. There are several custom add-ons such as drinkware and party favors. It’s not limited to bachelor parties either, although it makes up the bulk of the business.

Pizarek said she threw a 65th birthday golf party in Williamsburg where the disco ball was replaced with a dimpled white one. The birthday party included a do-it-yourself box for the rare occasion that Pizarek is geographically prevented from fulfilling her decorating duties.

The concept behind TC Decorating Co. is simple.

“The idea is that you come from outside, they don’t want to be there at 8 a.m. and then decorate,” says Pizarek, 27, who moved to Petoskey 18 months ago and will join TC later this spring. “It’s already done for you. It should be a nice surprise when they walk through the door.”

This also applies to Gretchen Klein’s bachelor party from March 3rd to 5th. Taylor Rick, who will share maid of honor duties at the June 10 wedding, traveled to Traverse City from Buffalo, New York, while others, including the bride-to-be, came from upstate.

“Jenna, the owner, is great,” Rick said. “She was very responsive and very excited to decorate for us. I got up a little early and met her and her boyfriend as they finished decorating.

“It looked fantastic. Gretchen, the bride, was very, very happy. She was impressed because she thought I could do it.”

Pizarek said she’s always been interested in crafts and do-it-yourself projects. Add in an entrepreneurial spirit and it’s no surprise to see that she ended up running her own side job.

“I’ve always wanted to start a business, but I didn’t know what a good idea would be,” said Pizarek. “I kind of discovered that. I was able to live out my hobby with projects and earn money with it.”

A friend’s bachelorette party in Frankfurt gave Pizarek the final push. Pizarek said she helped choose the Airbnb for the event and plan activities, then got there early to help with decorations.

“I had a great weekend,” Pizarek recalled. “When I got home on Sunday, I was sitting at the kitchen table and I was like, ‘That was fun, but it was also a lot of work.’ I feel like a lot of people don’t want to do that and would rather have someone else do it for them.”

After “just jumping into the business,” Pizarek said she’s spent a lot of time working on her website and search engine optimization over the last year. Pizarek said that is now the top site that comes up in a Google search.

This is how Rick was able to find Pizarek’s business.

“I was looking for a company to decorate our Airbnb before we got there,” Rick said. “I googled a decorating company near Traverse City, found their website and emailed them.”

The first request form on the site includes information about the party such as location, theme, budget per person, color palette, and add-ons. Pizarek then develops a decoration proposal.

“Then we work closely together to determine what they want,” said Pizarek, who said half of the agreed cost is due upfront and the other half just before the party.

“I take your idea and bring it to life. I really enjoy it because everyone is different and I can get creative with that.”

That’s especially true when most of the party-goers are coming to Traverse City for the first time. That’s how it was with the Klein party.

“It was kind of a goal,” said Rick, who admitted the New Yorker was in TC for the first time on March 3. “Her family has an apartment up north in Harbor Springs. We chose Traverse City for the wineries and it still felt like a destination because some of us had never been there.”

Rick said the trip, which included Saturday visits to a handful of wineries, was a success.

In addition to decoration services, Pizarek offers blog posts on suggestions for activities such as beaches, paid excursions, free activities, drinks, shopping and nightlife.

Pizarek said their “territory” extends north to Elk Rapids and Leelanau County, south to Kingsley, and west to Frankfurt. Pizarek said most of the parties are in Traverse City and there may be an additional mileage charge for remote areas.

Wherever it is in the region, Pizarek said she’s excited to take the lead, especially for those who are making Traverse City a burgeoning hen party destination.

“Most people have never had to plan one and don’t know what they’re doing,” she said.

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