A founder in the Master of Business Creation program this year at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Joel Zae is using the program to help turn his balloon artistry from a side-hustle that helped pay rent to a full-time party planning business. His idea, Party Pipeline, serves as an online marketplace where party planners can find and book local, trendy entertainment vendors.
“A lot of my current clients use my business as a service,” Zae said. “We do balloon art, face painting, caricatures, photo booths, magic, and henna tattoos. One problem that I saw is that a lot of these party planners didn’t know who the local vendors were. I saw that they needed a marketplace where they could search all the local vendors, check their availability, and then book them all through one site. It saves them a ton of hassle in planning their party.”
Party Pipeline services a wide range of parties from corporate events to kids’ parties and will even expand into bachelor, bachelorette parties, and more. Zae said, “Long term, I would definitely like to be to the go-to party planning website so that any time anyone thinks about planning a party or an event, the first thing they think to go to is the Party Pipeline marketplace.”
Zae grew up in Denver. His family struggled financially and Zae learned to make balloon animals for tips. Those tips bridged the gap between him, his family, and the streets. He continued balloon artistry through college by doing restaurants and corporate events before graduating with an undergraduate degree in accounting from Brigham Young University. “Because I started at a young age doing balloon animals, balloon animals is now second nature,” Zae said.
Since joining the 9-month intensive Master of Business Creation program, which is offered with support from the Lassonde Entrepreneurship Institute, Joel Zae says he’s made tremendous strides with his business.
“When you’re running your own business, it’s very difficult to have structure and the MBC offers me a lot of structure,” he said. “It tells me exactly what my marketing plan needs to look like and what my sales process needs to look like. It tells you what strategies and financials you need to have in place so you can focus on things now and in the future.”
His current goals include moving his current clients to the new website to streamline the process for party planners and vendors. Vendors with different services like photo booths, DJs, musicians, and bounce houses will list their services and availability on the website, party planners will purchase and reserve which services they want and the website takes a percentage on all the bookings.
“What I think is unique about the program is getting to learn from actual experienced entrepreneurs that have done it before so they understand and relate to you a little bit more than an ordinary professor, and they’re extremely successful, and they’ve created multiple businesses, so they’ve seen a lot of the problems that you’re facing right now and they know a good way to guide you through those,” Zae said.
Learn more about Party Pipeline here: partypipeline.com.