Claudia Halpern
Claudia Halpern. (Marlee Jade Photography)

One of the main inspirations for Party Sistas, Claudia Halpern says, is the Jewish community that helped bring the idea to fruition.

When her younger sister, Amanda, was gearing up for her 21st birthday in November 2020, Claudia Halpern knew she had to do something special to help Amanda have a memorable celebration despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We couldn’t go to bars,” Halpern, 27, of Farmington Hills, recalls. Instead, she brainstormed with Amanda’s boyfriend on how to throw a party for her sister, despite the restrictions that prevented them from celebrating in traditional 21st birthday fashion.

They decided to throw a small house party for Amanda’s birthday, but Claudia knew proper decorations were in order. “I started thinking about things that we can do,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to make a balloon arch.’ How cool would that be?’”

With a history of working for event planners, planning her sister’s birthday party came naturally to Halpern. Seeing the custom balloon arch turning into a success and the process of bringing it to life gave her an idea to start making party decorations on the side.

It was the beginning of Party Sistas, a business in which Halpern could specialize in party design, college bed parties, bar cart styling, balloon arches and balloon backdrop kits. She worked with her sister in launching the idea, but when Amanda moved to Florida, Claudia Halpern was in charge of the business on her own and had to pivot.

Candy

Creating Joy with Candy

“In February 2021, I was browsing online, and I saw someone made a box for someone with candy in it,” she remembers. Deciding to make a similar box for kids that she babysat, Halpern posted her colorful creation on Facebook and received numerous requests to make more.

Could she make candy boxes for birthdays and bat mitzvahs, people asked? From there, Halpern realized candy boxes could be the focal point of her business.

“It happened by accident in a way,” she says. Her style — which Halpern explains is positive and happy, something that puts  smiles on people’s faces — became more and more in-demand, transforming Party Sistas from a hobby to a full-blown business.

For Halpern, however, starting a business was a no-brainer. Hailing from generations of entrepreneurs — a trait she says is in her blood — she manages Party Sistas alongside working at her day job at OneTable, a national nonprofit that helps make Shabbat dinners accessible to the younger Jewish community.

It’s not Halpern’s first foray into Jewish outreach. Since childhood, she’s been involved in Metro Detroit’s Jewish community, from attending Tamarack Camps as a teenager to events through BBYO. Later, as an adult, she worked at BBYO and Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor and completed various internships at Jewish organizations.

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Finding Inspiration in Community

Being so connected to the Jewish community, Halpern says, helped her bring Party Sistas to life and build clientele. “I don’t think I would have been as successful so quickly if it wasn’t for my connections and my past relationships in the community.”

One of the main inspirations for Party Sistas, she says, is the Jewish community that helped bring the idea to fruition. “I love the Jewish community and everything it does for people,” explains Halpern, who is able to bridge her day job in Jewish outreach with her creative endeavors. “It gives you lifelong friends and a place that you can call home.”

Now, a year-and-a-half after her sister’s birthday, Halpern is creating everything from gummy candy arrangements to candy snack boxes, and the possibilities are wide open when it comes to different arrangements that can be made from candy and balloons.

In addition to arrangements, Party Sistas also offers a candy sushi making party that Halpern says is equally fun for kids and adults. Through her business, she gets an opportunity to work on everything from traditional gifts to wedding showers to bachelorette parties and, most recently, Bloomfield Hills High School’s prom.

“I just like to make people happy,” she says of her colorful creations.

Eventually, Halpern wants to pursue big goals for Party Sistas. Her dream, she says, is to make a candy or snack table at the Grammys, but in the meantime, she simply wants to continue working with candy.

“I want to keep getting creative and finding different ways to do candy and bring candy to people’s lives,” Halpern says, “and to make people happy.” 

Candy

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