When Carolyn Rehm and her daughter Emily moved to Chatham from Long Island in 2011, they had one goal in mind.
"I knew this was where I wanted to start my business," Emily said. "We moved here to settle down."
Their business, The Whimsical Way, opens at 14A Roosevelt Ave. in Chatham Borough on Saturday, Oct. 13. To mark the occasion, Emily and Carolyn will throw a Grand Opening party at the business, with a second party, this time for $20 per child, to follow two weeks later for Halloween.
"We'll have a craft for the kids, characters walking around, goodie bags, food and drinks," Emily said. "It's a way for people to see how we throw a party."
It's important for the Rehms to show how they throw a party since their business is, well, throwing parties. The Whimsical Way offers 13 possible party themes for boys and girls ages 3 to 12, ranging from princesses to pirates, from tea parties to superheroes, from pajama dance parties to sports heroes.
Party packages range from $549 to $649, plus additional fees for add-ons. The packages include food and drinks, creative projects, dress-up costumes for the kids and characters to match the party themes, and the ability to rent the business premises exclusively for the event.
"We're trying to keep it as flexible as possible. People can have a simple party, or go crazy and have an extra big party," Emily said.
The business also features a boutique which will be open daily. The boutique offers casual and fine dolls, jewelry, artwork and other gifts.
The Most Important Thing
The Whimsical Way is, from many aspects, a family affair. Carolyn and Emily are using an inheritance from Carolyn's father, Donald Schanck, to fund the start-up. Before his death, Schanck lived with the Rehms in Long Island. "We were extremely close," Emily, 24, said.
There's even an homage to him in one room on the business premises—the bathroom. "He started a collection of owls," Emily said, and she and Carolyn decorated the bathroom with an owl theme.
The two also use Emily's niece Molly, 3, as a consultant and. "She's a good gauge of getting ideas," Emily said. "She and her friends would definitely have a party at a place like this." Molly also modeled for The Whimsical Way's website.
Molly's mother Catherine, drew on her experience as a certified school teacher to help her mother and sister pick which items they should sell at the bouique. She also designed the business's cards and promotional flyers.
Emily's cousin Jessica Hatfield, 16, did all the artwork of characters and themed locations for the business. "We put the sketches on transparencies and projected them onto the walls," Carolyn said.
Jessica's sister Nicole, 9, makes friendship bracelets that Emily and Carolyn will sell in the boutique.
Additionally, the artwork featured in the boutique are digitally enhanced copies put onto canvas of paintings by Agnes Schanck, Carolyn's mother, who died a few years before her husband Donald.
Agnes also illustrated a series of three childrens' books Carolyn wrote six years ago about a nest of rabbits who made a home in the family's flower pot. The books, called "The Flower Pot Bunnies" series, will be sold in the boutique.
Writing was a part-time occupation for Carolyn. In 2011 she retired from her job as a pediatrician after 35 years. Likewise Emily, who said she always wanted to work with children, gave up running a babysitting program in Long Island for the chance to open The Whimsical Way.
"This is a longtime dream come true for my daughter," Carolyn said.
The two moved to Chatham because, in Emily's words, "everyone was very positive about this being the perfect town for a business like this."