Laura English is a part-time resource teacher, part-time business owner, and full-time mother. She owns Make it a Blast, a growing event planning business in San Diego. Inspired by her oldest daughter’s first birthday, the business was created to organize festive birthday parties for kids but has recently expanded to organize large scale events as well as supply rental equipment for events across the city. Thanks to a partnership between Accion and The Hartford through its Communities with HART program, Laura qualified for a business loan that helped her buy new party rental equipment and a van to easily transport her supplies from event to event. In addition to new tables, chairs, and tents, Laura now has a popcorn machine, an upgraded photo booth, and a cotton candy machine to rent to clients. “Because I had such a small business, it was hard to get a loan from a bank,” Laura says.
With her new wheels, Laura is able to go beyond planning her own events. Now, she rents and donates her popular photo-booth and other equipment to events that range from corporate celebrations to local schools’ Fall Festivals. All of her equipment comes from local stores in area, as she prefers to see her merchandise in person rather than rely on online transactions. To pull off the increasing numbers of events she manages without a hitch, Laura employs college students from the local community. All of her students work part-time to make extra money as they study, and many stay with the business until they graduate, having been with Laura since their freshmen year of college.
While much of her work is connected to helping support children’s school events, Laura also works alongside large businesses, helping them plan and facilitate events in the local community. Every May, she works with Chick-fil-A for their Military Appreciation event. In June, she works with the San Diego Children’s Hospital to help entertain children and their families. “With the clients I have, I do what I can,” Laura said. By connecting local shops, college students, individual families, and organizations, all stages of the Make it a Blast business plan work to create events that serve, connect, and entertain the San Diego community.