Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{Q&A} Getting to Know Banana Lala

We recently had the privilege of being featured in the Vendor Spotlight on a local photographer's blog. It's a great feeling when people want to know more about you. But us?!? It's still hard to believe!

I'm reposting our Q&A here, but you can also check it out here on Ashley W Photography's blog. She is in the Evansville, Ind., area, and she does some amazing work! Thanks for featuring us, Ashley!

Q.    What does your company do? What is your company name? Who are you?

A.     Banana Lala Party Designs & More. We are two sisters, Anna Prather and Mikaelah Becher, who run this small business based in Evansville, Ind. Anna also is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer for the Evansville Courier & Press, Evansville Business Journal and Ewoman Magazine. Mikaelah is a full-time hairdresser with 14 years of experience. She works at a style salon on Evansville’s West Side.

We are called Banana Lala because of our longtime nicknames. Anna is “Banana,” and Mikaelah is “Lala.”

Banana Lala creates custom, handmade party decorations. We specialize in handmade banners for birthdays, weddings and celebrations of all kinds. We also create handmade ribbon topiary centerpieces, wreaths and more.

Q.    How long have you been in business?

A.    We started our Banana Lala blog in April of 2011 as a way to showcase party decorations we were making for friends and family. People started to really take notice of what we were creating, which was wonderful and very exciting! The orders kept rolling in, and that’s when we started thinking about the possibility of opening a shop on Etsy. It was weird thinking of how people OUTSIDE of our friends and family actually would want to buy things we were creating! After a lot of thought, we finally opened our shop in late August of 2011. Since then, it has been such as blessing as we have already had more than 110 sales on the Etsy site alone!

Q.    What products or services do you offer?

A.     We specialize in handmade banners, ribbon topiaries, party door signs and wreaths. The things we sell most often are wedding banners, including “Thank You” and “Just Married” banners for a bride and groom to pose with for wedding day photography. They can then use those photos to create and send out as or with their thank you cards.We also sell a lot of “Happy Birthday” banners. We can typically match or coordinate with any party theme or wedding colors!

Q.    Do you do any custom orders?

A.    We absolutely love working on custom orders! That’s actually a very large portion of our business. We have ready-to-ship banners and standard birthday banners on our Etsy shop, but a lot of what we sell is based on a bride or a couple’s request for a banner to coordinate with their wedding colors. Or a mother working on putting together a party theme for her child’s birthday party. That’s the kind of thing we love doing, is working with someone to create exactly what they are looking for regarding colors, theme and style.

Q.    Do you have a website?

A.     Yes, we have a blog and an Etsy shop.http://www.BananaLalas.blogspot.com and http://www.etsy.com/shop/BananaLala 

Q.    Do you have a facebook page?

A.     Of course! We update often with various designs we have created such as custom orders. And our Facebook page is also where we update our fans on our listings on the Etsy shop.  We also host seasonal giveaways for those who “Like” our page.http://www.facebook.com/BananaLalaPartyDesigns

Q.    How else can I get a hold of you?

A.     There are several ways! You can email us at BananaLalas@yahoo.com or send us a message through our Facebook page or our Etsy shop.

Q.    Where do you get your inspiration?

A.     Inspiration from our creations really comes from within, mostly. For as long as we both can remember, Mikaelah and I have been doing all things creative. We love doing anything that really allows us to “make” something. We used to both be heavily into scrapbooking and creative things like that. Anna enjoys photography, and Mikaelah is very creative by nature with her profession as a hairstylist.

As far as outside inspiration, a lot of that comes with each order we receive. We love hearing about party themes and colors from a customer and then be able to brainstorm and come up with a really great styles for a custom banner, or a really great combination of ribbons for a topiary centerpiece.

Q.    What got you started in this business?

A.     It all kind of goes back to our love of parties! Mikaelah is very talented at party styling, the first of which she ever styled was her niece Avery’s first birthday party in March of 2010. (Avery is Anna’s daughter). For that birthday party, Mikaelah created her very first birthday banner. She remembers someone at the party telling her, “You should really do this as a business.” After that, she styled her niece Brylee’s first birthday as well. Over the years, she has also styled Anna and husband Josh’s wedding in 2007, and her brother Jonah and wife Chaddie’s wedding in 2008.

Q.    What is your favorite item ever made?

A.     I’m not sure if either of us really has a favorite item, but we each have items that we specialize in. For example, Mikaelah is the one who usually handles creation of ribbon topiaries and wreaths, whereas Anna creates the banners. But it’s really a neat thing to be able to see one of our creations come together from start to finish. Each item we make is so different from everything else, so each custom item is special to us.

** We love giving back and doing what we can to help out charitable organizations. One of our biggest passions is the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Mikaelah has been active with the American Cancer Society for many years and is very passionate about the cause. Everybody is affected by cancer, and we love being able to take part in fundraising activities and events. We’re actually participating in the Ultimate Cake Challenge cake contest tomorrow! (Friday) We’ll have two cake entries for judging at Old National Bank Downtown. We participated last year as well, and it’s just something fun to do and also for a great cause as well.

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