Cecilia CeCe Smith is the proud owner of Ideas by CeCe, a business she opened in July of 2016. She creates fun and unique party ideas and gifts, even for those on a budget. This business has very much improved from before when she primarily hosted children’s birthday parties. Before she only had around 10-12 items to offer her clients. Now she has roughly 126 available products that she offers to anyone with party planning needs.
CeCe didn’t always know that she wanted to run her own business. Before this, CeCe had just been laid off from her previous job. Fortunately the job gave her severance, allowing her to settle down instead of rushing into a different career. She used this severance and free time to her advantage and discovered her newfound career interest. CeCe realized that rather than joining another business, she would actually be much happier working for herself. And that’s exactly what she did.
Her aunt, Barbara Johnson, was the person who inspired her to start this business adventure. When CeCe was growing up, her aunt had always made sure that CeCe would sign up for crafting related classes. She and her aunt are very creative and talented people who always seem to have the urge to craft. Her aunt showed CeCe how to make items like bows and wreaths around the holidays. These were all skills that CeCe learned at the age of twelve. Thanks to her aunt, CeCe had the skill sets she needed to open her own business.
Gift ideas by CeCe
CeCe has come to learn that people really enjoy receiving customized party favors at events they are participating in. Some of the popular items CeCe offers customers are customized chip or candy bags, and trinkets for party favors. Over the course of COVID-19, CeCe branched out her business to offer customers personalized gift items. These include altering a product to have a persons name or face added. All of these gift and trinket ideas work great as holiday gifts.
This year during Business Impact NW’s Small Business Saturday event, Ideas by CeCe is offering the following holiday deals: Holiday shirts for buy one get one 50% off, customers can pick any of the following food items listed on her ad., customers will have the chance to buy one custom digital wrapper and get another one for 50%, and customers can order one of CeCe’s customized digital wrapper and cover their candy themselves at home. CeCe can also do customized skittles, snickers, M&M, and sour patches for three for $12- one name only per set.
A young entrepreneur in the works
Currently working with CeCe is her 13 year old daughter who is her intern. Her daughter works the Instagram reels for the business and is learning how to create t-shirts.
During COVID-19, CeCe faced a situation where she was unsure if her business was going to survive. “It could have been very bad if I wasn’t a resourceful person,” she said.
As everyone grew displeased of the mandatory lockdown and itching to leave their homes, CeCe’s daughter was turning eleven. CeCe was able to create a memorable party for her daughter that was 7-11 themed. Weird idea right? Well, this unique party theme was a success! It was a drive thru party that CeCe created that was hosted at an actual 7-11. Around 70 people came through and had a great time at this social event.
Business Impact NW was able to offer CeCe courses to help expand her knowledge on being an entrepreneur. The first class she took was called Launch and Grow. Recently she participated in our Digital Accelerator Program. When the pandemic hit, CeCe said Business Impact NW was able to create a wide range of virtual opportunities that she found herself navigating through with ease.
“[It was a] very helpful opportunity because you can really fill out your business canvas and follow it,” CeCe said. “I try to watch the calendar and see what opportunities are available.”
Sharing her ideas
Now that CeCe’s business had stabilized, she wanted to be able to share her gift of crafting with others. She transitioned from children parties to offering one-on-one crafting courses to those interested in learning or refining their crafting skills.
“I’m working right now to create an online crafting community where I can support other crafters with learning some of the skills that I’ve learned over the last six or seven years of crafting, and helping to build other entrepreneurs,” CeCe said. “And, by offering courses that would generate income for me, other crafters can have the opportunity to work with me one-on-one a skillset maybe they are unsure of.”
CeCe is a natural role model for entrepreneurs looking for a way to keep their business going strong. CeCe offers helpful advice for those looking into one day starting their own business.
“I would just say, don’t give up. Find the one thing that is going to be profitable and stick with that because you can get lost having too many things going on.”
About the author
Crystal Barnes is a senior at Western Washington University, majoring in Public Relations Journalism. She enjoys dogs, sketching, and being outdoors. Crystal is devoted to writing about people's passions and interest and hopes that her writing inspires others along the way as it does for her.