When Kristie Fatscher had her first child, she left her marketing job to be a fulltime mom. At about the same time, her sister, Valerie Monroy, retired from her work as a hairdresser to be with her kids. It wasn't long before the sisters knew they wanted to do something together. "We were spending way too much time at the pool and the mall," says Kristie with a laugh.
So they pooled their talents - Valerie's flair for hair and glam and Kristie's business experience - and opened Just Fabulous & Outrageous Events. Two years later, they've already expanded to a bigger space in Northport, offering party packages and catered affairs for all ages.
Kristie Fatscher: Married to Edward. Kids are Emily, 9; and Eddie, 7. They live in East Northport.
Valerie Monroy: Married to William. Kids are Willie, 13; Matthew, 11; and Julia, 7. They live in Commack.
How was it starting a business together?
KF: My sister and I are best friends. We knew we wanted to work together, and we knew we wanted to do something over the top. From the day we decided to start Just Fabulous, we just knew we could do it.
It's a true family business, isn't it?
KF: Yes. Valerie and I work around each other's schedules. Our dad, Vincent Romano, is our business manager, and our mom, Pat Romano, is also a manager. That in itself makes it fun. Our mom comes in when our kids get out of school so we can be with them, and then later, one of us comes back to do the parties and our husbands take over at home.
How did your husbands feel about your decision?
KF: My sister and I always had dinner on the table when our husbands came home from work. The dads had a nice thing going, and they were being forced out of their comfort zones. At first, my husband was hesitant, but it didn't take him long to step up. It's great - if I'm working and I can't be somewhere with my kids, I know my husband is there so I don't feel as bad.
What ingredients led to your success?
KF: My sister and I really love people. We love their stories and we love their kids. Also, our place is so inviting and intimate that parents want to stay there. The kids put on a show, and the parents get to see their kids shine, even if it's not their party. We aren't doing this just for the money. We get a real kick out of it, and parents get that vibe.
What would you tell other moms who want to start their own business?
KF: You have to know what you are capable of and what will work within your life. We knew we couldn't open a business 40 minutes away from home, so we stuck to our guns and found a location nearby so we could work and also be at home with our families.
What are some of the pitfalls you've run into?
KF: There haven't been many. Sometimes we've had to give up a weekend to accommodate someone else's child, or one of us will have to miss a family event if we're working.
What is the best part of your work?
KF: Being with the kids and making the moment for them. They hug us and kiss us! From soup to nuts, I enjoy it all!
For all the details about Just Fabulous & Outrageous Events, visit www.jfabparties.com.