Sherri Fishman, our NJ Mompreneur of the week, has always had a creative streak, making and selling hair accessories and orchestrating amazing, fun birthday parties for her kids. Yet as her kids grew, Sherri found herself looking for more creative things to do. The parties had been such a hit that when Sherri floated the idea of turning her party know-how into a bonafide business, family and friends encouraged her to go for it. At Social Code for Kids, parents choose the destination and the theme (Unicorn Sparkle and Zombie Me! are just some of the imaginative choices), and Sherri brings the party to make birthday celebrations unique and memorable. And it’s not only parties—Sherri added enrichment classes that focus on manners and healthy eating and has found clubs, scout troops, schools, and parents clamoring to have their kids learn table manners, common courtesy, and healthy snacks to make at home. We chatted with this Springfield mom of two to find out how she got her creative fix before launching her own business, the passion project Facebook page she started with her husband, and the teeny-tiny, off-the-beaten path shore town her family loves.
Tell us a bit about your family and background. My husband, Scott Fishman, and I have been married for 22 years. Our daughter, Alexa, is a senior in college, and our son, Corey, is a senior in high school. We also have the best English Sheepdog—everyone in town knows Jaxson. Though I’m originally from Long Island, I lived in New York City, and a few years after getting married, Scott and I decided to move to Springfield because it connected with us. We looked in New Jersey and settled on Springfield specifically because we liked that it’s close to the city, has a small-town feel, and has a great school system.
What “aha” moment made you decide to start your business? I went to FIT and worked in the garment industry for more than twenty years, but when we moved to New Jersey, I joined my husband’s business, selling packing and accessories for dresses. But I’ve always been creative and entrepreneurial, putting together gift baskets to sell. After my daughter was born, I made hair clips for her—eventually selling them at vendor sales and high-end boutiques. As my kids got older, I missed having a creative outlet and knew I needed more. I had always loved planning and hosting creative birthday parties for my kids, and with my family and friends’ encouragement, I decided to do it as a business. I started by doing it for free for some of my friends’ children, then added manners and healthy eating classes and created my website. The rest is history.
What would have been helpful to know before starting your business? I wish I had a better understanding of how to do website design. I researched it while doing it, so I learned on the go. Being tech-savvy and creative online would have made that part of the business run smoother from the get-go and would have been that much easier on me.
Does your family ever get involved in your business? My son is an actor in high school and is great with kids. He helps me host some of the parties and has even dressed up as a superhero from time to time. Also, my husband is my sounding board and always encourages me to grow and expand my business.
What do you hope your children learn from seeing you run your business? I hope they know to take risks in life and go after what makes them happy, and I want them to feel satisfied and fulfilled in their careers, whatever they may be.
What is something that most people would be surprised to know about you? My husband and I have a Facebook page called Food and Booze. It allows people to show off their home-cooked meals, share recipes, and show food they’ve eaten at restaurants.
Please share some places in NJ that you and your family enjoy. We love beach towns, specifically Wildwood, LBI, Spring Lake, and Loch Arbour, a very small, quiet village near Allenhurst surrounded by water on three sides—between Deal Lake and the Atlantic Ocean. We try to stay overnight at a nearby hotel or condo to roll out of bed and be at the beach without traveling. My family always likes to walk around all the small towns, go to festivals, and take an evening beach stroll. Closer to home, we love to reconnect with nature as often as possible and appreciate the benefits of separating from technology and getting lost. Watchung Reservation, South Mountain Fairy Trail, and the Nomahegan Park Trails are some of our favorites.
What’s your best piece of advice for an NJ Mompreneur just starting? First, you should always try to make your customers happy—I look at everyone’s faces to ensure they’re satisfied. Also, believe in everything your company represents. And finally, embrace moments of failure—learn from it and grow from it.