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“One of my favorite things is to be the hostess at my own parties. I love to work the room and talk to each guest; hopping from conversation to conversation. As a hostess I always try to think of all the possible things the guests will need, ahead of time and have it set out so they can help themselves. I don't want to be a waitress during the party so pre-planning is essential.” Chris—as she’s known to her friends—graduated school with a degree in fashion merchandising. After years and retail management, she became an assistant buyer for Belk Stores in Richmond, Virginia. She enjoyed the creative display aspect of fashion and retail, laying floor plans out and styling the visual merchandising. “I think the visual and creative aspect of any industry can create cross-over opportunities whether it's fashion, home decor, entertaining, graphic design, etc. It always comes back to a basic understanding of color, pattern, composition, balance, and something unique or unexpected to add interest.” A blessing in disguise came when the Belk buying office closed, and Nease and her husband, Chuck, could focus on starting their family. Nease stayed home and gave birth to daughter Jordan and son Tyler. When her youngest went off to kindergarten, eight years had gone by and she knew she wanted to get back to work. A true entrepreneur, the thought of working for someone else made her cringe, so she decided to do what she loved and what she was good at: celebrating at home. In the beginning she worked smaller jobs for her friends and put together her party portfolio. Her business was the culmination of years of experience brainstorming, researching, crafting, and creating total party experiences for friends. “I feel like I was starting a business that I wasn't 123

Baby Lifestyles October/November 2011 Magazine Issue

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