jordan jones: the ultimate party girl


I had an amazing opportunity to speak with founder of Packed Party, Jordan Jones (@jordanplusjones), last month. For those of you who aren't familiar with Packed Party, it's an online gift shop featuring fabulous themed party packages, perfect for a party of one. They are great to send to a long distance friend when there's something to celebrate or she's having a bad day! For example, you can send a Pity Party, Birthday Beb, Yay You!, or Miss Ya party among many more. There are tons of different "parties" you can send, and each party contains a variety of products related to the specific theme of the giftbox. They are absolutely adorable!

Photo by Packed Party

Jordan was gracious enough to do an interview for The Urbanite Insight. I've recently been involved with a couple of women's leadership initiatives arond the city in my professional life, and it's something that I am very passionate about. Speaking with women like Jordan is something that is extremely inspirational to me. It's great to see such amazing, young women in the Bay Area following their dreams... and killing it! Read more below about Jordan and Packed Party, the company she has built from the ground up over the past two years.

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: PACKED PARTY IS SUCH A CREATIVE, CLEVER, AND THOUGHTFUL IDEA. WHAT INITIALLY SPARKED THE BUSINESS IDEA BEHIND YOUR COMPANY?

Jordan: Thank you, that’s so kind of you to say! I came up with the concept for Packed Party after I had moved to San Francisco not knowing anyone and was throwing a bit of a Pity Party for myself. That same night I had a dream about sending myself a physical Pity Party package and woke up to search the internet and find there was no such thing. I stayed up all night writing a business plan, knew I wanted to call the company Packed Party and I sort of ran with the idea from there. It all came together pretty quickly idea wise! Organizing my ideas though proved to be a bit of a longer task :)

MEGAN: FROM LIVING IN TEXAS, ILLINOIS, AND OKLAHOMA PRIOR TO MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO, I'D IMAGINE EXPORING THE WEST COAST WAS SOMETHING COMPLETELY NEW TO YOU. WHAT MAKES SAN FRANCISCO UNIQUE AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE COMPANY CULTURE AT PACKED PARTY?

Jordan: Exploring the west coast has definitely been an adventure! I really really love San Francisco and am so inspired by the colors and architecture here - even before I started Packed Party. I think we’re really spoiled to have Packed Party in San Francisco because there are so many colorful doorsteps at our fingertips. I don’t think it really affects Packed Party’s culture honestly. We have done things so differently than a lot of startups here in the city, I really think Packed Party would run the same from wherever we were geographically... our pictures might be a little different if we were somewhere else, but it doesn’t influence who we are. As kind and confident Party Girls my hope is you could drop us anywhere and we’d be just fine.

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAILY ROUTINE LOOK LIKE DURING THE WORKWEEK?

Jordan: The word typical is hard to use with me during the week because I feel like every day is a little bit different. I try to get to our office every day by 7/7:30 and from there my inbox sort of determines my first couple hours. After I answer emails I could be doing anything from brainstorming new product ideas to shooting images for our social accounts - we all do everything here at Packed Party. When you’re a small business starting out (we’re still just two years old) there’s no one that’s able to say, “oh that’s not my job” because everything is everyone’s job. I can honestly say I am inspired every day coming to work. I look forward to it and love it even on my darkest days when everything seems to be going wrong.

MEGAN: IN THE MIDST OF RUNNING AND SCALING A FAST GROWING BUSINESS, HOW DO YOU CREATE TIME FOR YOUR PERSONAL LIFE? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO TO RELAX OR UNWIND AFTER A CRAZY DAY OR WEEK?

Jordan: I’m still learning how to create time for myself and my personal life I think. I’m constantly thinking about Packed Party, but I’ve gotten a bit better since I got my puppy, Truman, who you’ll see making guest appearances on our Instagram account from time to time, ha! He keeps me really busy! If I’m not walking him around the city I love trying new restaurants with friends or riding my bike and exploring around. Being outside is a must for me because I feel like I’m cooped up working a lot of days.

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE CITY? YOUR FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP TO SNEAK AWAY AND GET SOME WORK DONE?

Jordan: I used to say Fog City, but I think it’s changed to LoLo! I’m constantly there with girlfriends or picking up food. Being that I love mexican food it has two thumbs up from me and it’s really cute inside! As far as coffee shops go, I definitely go to Wrecking Ball Coffee a lot. It is near our office here in Cow Hollow and makes the best almond milk latte in the city in my opinion. They also carry our brand new All The Feels coffee sleeves so you can sip in style!

MEGAN: I KNOW EVERYONE IN SAN FRANCISCO RELIES ON APPS TO MAKE THEIR LIVES EASIER. WHAT APPS CAN YOU SIMPLY NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

Jordan: Definitely DoorDash for lunch around our office (their drivers are always so nice and professional) and we’re always so slammed it’s hard to step out for lunch, Uber, and Instagram of course!

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: STARTING YOUR OWN COMPANY IN YOUR EARLY 20'S IS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO GET IT UP AND RUNNING FROM LEARNING ABOUT HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS TO UNDERSTANDING PRODUCT RESEARCH, PACKAGING, MARKETING, OPERATIONS, HIRING, MANAGING, ETC.?

Jordan: When I started Packed Party I really didn’t have any distractions. I moved here not knowing a soul and really just hunkered down and worked on it for the first 6 months I lived here. I’d go to work during the day and race home at night to catch daylight, shoot a few photos for the next day, and then stay up all night calling vendors and convincing them Packed Party was the next big thing so they’d let me put their product inside my package. I didn’t major in business or ever take a business course in college, I was a strategic media major. I honestly think it’s my drive that propelled Packed Party from the start. I’m very type-a and when I say I’m going to do something it’s full-force ahead. As for the branding it all came really naturally to me. Packed Party isn’t forced as a brand, it wasn’t incubated on for hours and hours to make it work, it just happened organically from the start. Encouraging people to celebrate life and the small things with something like a Packed Party is something I genuinely believe in. This same thing came with hiring, good people found us. It won’t always be this easy, but truthfully it has been in regards to finding amazing people that believe in Packed Party and marketing this product - people just resonate with it and for that I’m truly fortunate. You can’t buy a brand you have to build one, and you can’t buy good people, the ones that are there to the end believe in it.

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: WHAT IS THE SELECTION PROCESS FOR CHOOSING ITEMS TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR PACKAGES? WHERE DO YOU FIND THE ITEMS AND WHAT RESEARCH GOES INTO THEM?

Jordan: Every package is a little different. We go to gift shows, we research based on referrals, and now we’re fortunate enough that a lot of great brands find us and ask to be featured inside packages. We look at a lot of things when deciding what’s going to go inside from the color scheme to the quality of the product. Is it hard to find? Is it something this person would use every day? We always want to be a solution-provider and give people gifts they wouldn’t necessarily be able to find if they were building a gift package on their own or wouldn’t want to pay a retail price for. We want to do all the heavy lifting so we make sure it feels like we did when someone sees the inside of a Packed Party.

MEGAN: WHAT WERE YOUR STRATEGIES TO INITIALLY BUILD THE BRAND AND GAIN INTERESTED CUSTOMERS IN THE EARLY DAYS? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO ACQUIRE A STEADY FLOW OF REVENUE?

Jordan: I was relentless in getting the word out about my brand any way I could. I’d ride buses around the city and leave flyers around the empty seats, I’d write in the community section of large blogs about my brand, I’d make random calls to hotels asking if they carried Packed Party...you name it I probably did it to get the word out. It all seems a little crazy looking back, but I knew what I was doing building this brand. I believe in it with everything I have so I never feel silly advocating for it. I still had a job when I first started Packed Party so it took a bit of time. We had a steady revenue stream within the first 6 months of being in business. This wasn’t because I was killing it necessarily from the start, I was just extremely smart about how we spent our money.

Photo by Packed Party

MEGAN: PACKED PARTY HAS PACKAGES THAT ARE PERFECT FOR CELEBRATIONS, HOLIDAY GIFTS, PITY PARTIES, BRIDESMAID GIFTS, THANK YOU NOTES, AND MUCH MORE. ON THE SINGLE PRODUCT SIDE, YOU'VE CREATED THE DOORSTEP NECKLACE AND DISCO DRINK AS WELL. HOW DO YOU SEE THE PRODUCT OFFERING CHANGING OVER THE NEXT 3 YEARS FROM THE INITIAL FOCUS ON THE PACKAGES TO A VARIETY OF GIFT (OR PARTY!) OPTIONS?

Jordan: I love this question. We’re looking to expand quite a bit in the next 3 years with our product offerings. We really want to be viewed as a lifestyle gifting company that sells anything that celebrates life and encourages you to make any ordinary day a party. Think bright, bold, anything that screams PARTY we’ll be making. We’ll be building out our jewelry offerings and drinkware this next year some as well as a few other fun travel oriented items coming out this spring. I’m really excited about the future of Packed Party beyond just packages!

MEGAN: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER 20-SOMETHING ENTREPRENEURIAL WOMEN IN THE BAY AREA WHO ARE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN COMPANY?

Jordan: Keep your head down and focus on your vision. Don’t get caught up in the mess of fundraising or running your idea by a million people over countless coffees. Just go for it. Pursue what you love fiercely and it will come to fruition. If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. I also think doing whatever it takes to make it work is important. I learned really quickly just how much I believed in Packed Party when I was let go of from my job. I applied what felt like everywhere at the time in the city for marketing type positions and no one would hire me because they’d say, “Um..you’re going to leave in 6 months when this takes off” or they’d ask if they could come work with me, ha! I resorted to applying for walking dogs to pay my rent while I put everything I was making back into the business. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with walking dogs at all - I love dogs! The situation was really really bad one for me though, it was an incredibly low moment in my career standing there having someone tell me I didn’t know how to walk a dog after growing up with one for 23 years. I was like, okay, this Packed Party thing is ruining my life I can’t get a job anywhere. It would have been easy to walk away from Packed Party then and just go get a normal job, take it off my resume and put it behind me, but I didn’t and the company took a serious turn growth wise. I put all my energy into finding a job into the company, finding creative ways to market it, and boom, we got an office, hired my first employee and we were off to the races.

Next, check out The Bay's Best Brunch Spots!

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