Kate, who married Prince William in 2011, is known for being a loving mother to three children while managing a busy work calendar as a senior member of Britain’s Royal Family. But back in the day, the royal had normal 9 to 5 jobs.
After working for her parents’ hugely successful party supply company, Kate became an accessories buyer with the British clothing chain Jigsaw. However, the public attention that came with being the girlfriend of Britain’s future King became too great for Kate and in 2006 she quit her job.
Party Pieces and company success
Carole Middleton was a stay-at-home-mom when she launched Party Pieces in 1987 when Kate was just 5. She started it out of frustration by the gap in the market for birthday parties, especially for parents who wanted to mark the special occasion with imaginative and creative parties for their children.
Her company focuses on curating fun, simple products and reflecting creativity; this may include colorful balloon arches, innovative decor using eco-friendly and recyclable products, and a wide range of party themes. The company’s name acts as a bridge to complete the gap between people and party entertainment.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s mother rarely gives interviews. Still, it is well known that she is proud of the business that she built from nothing, long before the family came into the spotlight and entered the steps of the Royal family. Before turning a small party bag business into a multi-million-pound venture, Carole worked as a flight attendant for the British airways until her marriage with Micheal Middleton.
Thanks to their entrepreneurial spirit, over the last decades, the company has gone from a little start-up to a family firm that today claims to be “the UK’s leading online and catalog party company.”
The business grew to the point where Michael quit his job as a flight dispatcher to help run it, and it evolved from a mom-and-pop outfit run out of a shed in the family’s back garden into a venture operated out of three converted farm buildings in Berkshire, about an hour’s drive from London.
The success of Party Pieces has afforded the Middletons a home in the affluent village of Bucklebury, where the average residence is valued at $1 million, according to property site Zoopla, as well as providing the means for them to send Kate to some of the priciest private schools in England.
A family affair
Carole Middleton recently spoke about Party Pieces, the company she started as a young mum, and how her three children; Kate, Pippa, and James, all had their roles within it and the roles complimented them perfectly.
Pippa was in charge of writing their “Party Times” blogs which lead her to write for Waitrose Kitchen and other high-end publications, while James took responsibility for cakes and soon started his custom marshmallow company in 2013 and pet food company in 2020.
Catherine developed their first birthday and baby category. In 2008 she spearheaded the launch of First Birthdays, a division that focuses on babies’ parties, and according to Joseph, she was also responsible for getting Party Pieces to support the charity Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Kate’s role in developing the party supplies can be linked to the work she’s carried out in the Royal Family, where she launched the Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood which focuses on how the first five years in a child’s life impact their futures.