Remember that scene in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” when Willow uses her witch capabilities to instantly transform the house into an Instagram-worthy party setup? Most of us, Buffy lovers or not, wish we had that kind of capability, since planning a party is usually stressful, time consuming, and full of stupid mistakes that cost us money.
Coterie, while it doesn’t use magic, will make a party appear in a box on your doorstep at the click of a button. The nine-month-old startup launched last week after raising $2.75 million in funding, including a pre-seed round from Canaan with participation from Global Founders Capital and Female Founders Fund.
Coterie doesn’t deliver any actual food or booze. Rather, the company’s “sets” are all about providing the rest of the party materials you need to eat, decorate, and take ridiculous photos. “The people are what make the party. We’re just here to help you feed them and fete them until the bottles run dry,” the company claims on its website.
With that in mind, the company offers multiple different party sets you can order and have delivered directly to your doorstep. Tell the site how many guests you’re anticipating (you can choose from between 10 and 50 people) and designate whether you want the essentials or a “luxe” package, which adds a few more decorative items, depending on the kit.
According to the Coterie site, the cost of a kit ranges from $86 to about $320, depending on which kit you choose and how many people are attending your soiree.
Kits cover all the main party occasions — baby shower, engagement, birthday — and there are a few multi-purpose ones as well. You can also just purchase items, from candles and balloons to plates photo booth props, a la carte. As a TechCrunch article recently noted, a create-your-own-set feature will be available “in the near future.”
The TechCrunch article also pointed out that, though these kits look like they were tailor-made for Instagram photo ops, VC Laura Chau, who invested in Coterie via her firm, Canaan Partners, says the kits actually make fun of social media. The goal is not to feed on the fake perfection of Instagram but to blow up the idea that such perfection is real.” Chau noted that right now, the online party kit business only has one major legacy player: Party City.
There are actually a number of efforts being made around direct-to-consumer party kits, from Oriental Trading Company to Martha Stewart to this entire page on Etsy dedicated to that category.
Coterie may not want to be the next backdrop for your Instagram feed, but with meticulously curated products that are slightly higher-end than many options, that might actually be in the company’s favor. As anyone who’s thrown a party before knows, you have to have quite a bit of patience and time to get a photo-worthy shindig up and running. Coterie has done a huge part of the work for customers by ensuring everything they need for party supplies is available at a clear cost with the click of a button. Next to having a resident witch at home, that sounds like the best option available when it comes to the daunting task of party planning.