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Holiday planning with Shindigz

ARE YOU A PARTY BLOOPER? Rescue the Holidays at Shindigz
Connie Koenenn

Los Angeles Times
Home Edition
Copyright 1999 / The Times Mirror Company Wendy Moyle gets about 1,000 e-mail queries a day on her Shindigz Web site (, mostly about home decorating and entertaining. Right now, people are thinking about Thanksgiving.

"The question we're asked the most is how to decorate the Thanksgiving table without falling back on the same old gold and rust chrysanthemums from the supermarket," Moyle said. "We have lots of options."

Her 10-month-old Web site, which gets 8,000 to 10,000 hits a day, offers ideas, party planning advice and products for home entertaining. The ShindigZ catalog offers 5,000 products (she's the Internet distributor for a number of manufacturers) and her print shop can personalize items such as napkins or glasses.

"And our staff can design customized party items such as giant castles, or Cinderella's carriage or an 8-foot clapboard, which is very popular for Hollywood-theme parties," she said.

ShindigZ is designed for working mothers. Moyle, who has three children 7 and younger, hatched the idea last year when she was planning her son's third birthday party. "It was 9 at night and I went onto the Internet for ideas and had an 'aha' moment," she said. "I was working in a mail-order party and decorating business at the time, and I thought it was the perfect blend of convenience and creativity."

"Most e-mails are from people at home, planning a milestone event, such as a graduation or reunion, who don't have the resources to make it special," she said. "Some people do their own shopping online, and some ask for help."

The party planning, which is free, might sound trivial unless you're the person doing the planning, Moyle noted. "Over the course of a year an average household celebrates 23 events. Usually it's the mother who's in charge and she wants to do it well."

It's Moyle's feeling that these occasions should not be dreaded ordeals. "Life should be more fun," proclaims her Web site tagline.

The ShindigZ operation takes place in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse near Fort Wayne, Ind., Moyle's home. The Web site has received orders from 42 countries this year, including those from people stationed at Army bases around the world.

"We send out thousands of packages a day and get very few returns," she said. "We will take back anything but the wearables."

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