Rise of the partypreneur: Middletons spark huge boost to event businesses

With Carole and Michael Middleton’s Party Pieces reportedly earning them a handsome sum, thousands of Brits have been striving to emulate their success.
Findings show that the month after their daughter married Prince William, requests for new event businesses rose by 55 per cent.
Prior to the royal wedding there had been a lull in the industry and interest had dipped by 20 per cent during 2010.
But when Kate Middleton’s engagement was announced in November that year, interest started to blossom with thousands flocking to the Middleton’s website and the number of browsers quadrupled to nearly 300,000.
Today, following in the footsteps of 56-year-old Carol Middleton, 81 per cent of party planning businesses are founded by women and it is now the 16th most popular female start-up business, up 19 places since 2009.  
Jude Freeman from Cheltenham, who has been running Let’s Party since September 2011 admits it was the Middleton family that prompted her to start her home based business.
‘I was definitely inspired by Carol Middleton and her website, ‘Party Pieces’, in fact it is a resource that I still use. 
‘The Middletons have certainly raised the profile of the industry as a whole.’ 
But it is not for the fainthearted and Mrs Middleton warns it can take years of dedication and people must be prepared to work round the clock, as Carole Middleton sates: ‘Mmm… it’s great fun, but not for the faint-hearted. I still work through to the early hours to hit a deadline and never take our success for granted.’
Carole Middleton says she came up with the idea for Party Pieces when she was looking for party paraphernalia for her own children’s parties.
Despite this Jude Freeman says that she hasn’t looked back since starting her own events company and enjoys being able to plan hours that fit around family life.
She added: ‘Starting a business during these economic times is no mean feat but I’ve never been happier.
‘I can now fit my work in around my family rather than the other way around, and it enables me to be independent, yet enjoy the family time I have.’
Carole first set up her business in 1981 when she was expecting daughter Kate, as she was unable to continue working as a British Airways air hostess.
Explaining her business idea Carole Middleton said: ‘I came up with the idea for Party Pieces when I was looking for party paraphernalia for my own children’s parties. 
‘It was impossible to find anything easily in the shops and trying to find value for money party bag presents was a complete nightmare!’
Today, thanks largely to an astonishing bounce brought about by the royal wedding, business seems to be booming and Party Pieces employs 30 staff working out of two large converted farmhouses near the family’s home in rural Berkshire.
Jason Stockwood, CEO, of insurance broker Simply Business which commissioned the latest piece of research said the findings were surprising, especially as the industry witnessed such a decline.
She said: ‘Entrepreneurs are often quick to embrace emerging trends but, even so, we were surprised to see the effect the royal wedding had on the party planning industry, which only a year ago was declining in popularity. 
‘It’s great to see how the fame and success of one family can inspire so many aspiring entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start up their own businesses.’