HAMBURG — Raising seven children is challenging and keeping them entertained even more daunting. Crafty sisters Michele Shraga and Jennifer Rizzo put their heads together and started a business. Their new craft boutique, Max and Lilly's in Hamburg — which offers a trendy atmosphere for artistic, hands-on parties — will host a grand opening celebration this Saturday, March 1.
From the ground upThe sisters had the idea for quite some time after encountering a few different situations.
"We had a couple different reasons for opening the boutique," Shraga said. "I have three kids and my sister has four. We love to do crafts with them so that was part of it but also there are not a lot of choices for holding birthday parties in the area. I lived in Sparta for eight years and my sister still lives there. It just got to a point where we couldn't handle going to a loud, neon, inflatable birthday party. We wanted to offer an alternative, a different option and so that's what this is."
Starting a business can be intimidating even to the most experienced entrepreneurs, so having a partner especially one as familiar as a sibling, has its advantages.
"It's been great because we are close," Shraga said. "Our kids are all around the same age... My kids are 12, 9 and 6 and she has kids that are 11, 10, 8 and 6."
Once the idea was confirmed a location was decided.
"We wanted to find a central location for the Sparta area," Shraga said. "There is not much to offer in the Vernon, Crystal Springs area either and we have ties to Sparta."
The sisters haven't owned any other businesses but that isn't discouraging them.
"This is our first go-around opening our own business," Shraga said. "My sister has been a stay-at-home mom and I have a masters in psychology so I've always been interested in child psychology. We've always just liked to do crafts with all the kids and there really is a need."
Getting craftyMax and Lilly's will offer a variety of opportunities to express creative sides.
"We are going to hold birthday parties, mostly on weekends. We will have open studio hours over the week, probably two or three days a week," Shraga said. "Our motto has been 'Calm, cool and creative,' so that's what we will offer. There will be crafts and cupcakes."
While crafts may be a stereotypical girl activity, Shraga tried to make sure there was something for everyone.
"There is a whole list of crafts to pick from," she said. "Things for boys and for girls based on what the child likes and is interested in. You will be able to paint and decorate your own things, paint and decorate a tambourine or a picture frame. There will be make your own lip gloss and each party will let the kids decorate their own cupcakes as well."
Each party will offer two crafts.
"We tried to select a variety of crafts for kids from preschool all the way up to 12 years old," said Shraga. "We will be adding crafts as we go on. We wanted to have something for littler kids as well as older kids."
Grand openingThe grand opening will be held Saturday, March 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. and will offer crafts, cupcakes and food.
Max and Lilly's is located at 3331 Route 94 South, Hamburg. For more information visit maxandlillys.com.