Getting the Party Started

Bonjour Fête Founder Rachel Huntington Shares the Story Behind the Palisades Village Party Shop

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Strolling through Palisades Village, the bright pink door that leads to Bonjour Fête catches the eye. Inside is a treasure trove of everything Palisadians need to get a party started—and it is all curated by Rachel Huntington and her team.

Huntington, a Texas native, moved to Los Angeles after studying at the University of Texas in Austin. She spent 10 years working in the entertainment industry, including in the feature film development wing at Warner Bros.

In 2010, she moved with her family to Montreal—where she fell in love with the city. It was there she founded Bonjour Fête four years later.

“I had been living in Montreal at the time—hence the French-inspired theme—and I consistently had trouble finding fashionable and fun party products without sourcing them online,” Huntington explained. “I was planning my daughter’s second birthday and realized that there was a big gap in the market for other moms like me looking to host parties for their kids and not being able to go to one place to find tableware, decor, party favors, etc.”

She then began collecting products from the U.S., Australia and Europe and bringing them into her home.

“My friends started getting excited about seeing all the different products in one place, and so, in the basement of our Montreal home, Bonjour Fête was born,” she said.

In 2016, the Huntington family moved back to LA, and the doors of the first Bonjour Fête brick-and-mortar shop opened in Studio City within three months.

“Seeing people get really excited when they walk into the store for the first time will never get old,” Huntington shared of her favorite aspect of running the shop. “I can’t help but smile every time.”

She added that a “huge source of joy” is discovering what her clients are celebrating and getting to play a small part of whatever that milestone or event may be.

“I really do love when people are shopping for a baby’s first birthday because it’s such a special celebration and everything is usually so adorable and curated, “ Huntington said. “You only get a couple of years to decide the theme for your child, so take advantage of it while you can!”

Huntington, a mother of two, described her children as “lovable muses,” but shared that balancing running two stores with being a mom is “extremely challenging.”

“From ordering and finances, to photoshoots and event installations, while at the same time managing my staff, my days are filled with all the aspects that make the business function,” she shared. “Fortunately, I have two children who love and appreciate what I do and are always super involved in what is going on at the store.”

In fact, her daughter, who is 7 years old, has a “keen eye for fun products” and sometimes helps Huntington pick new items for her age group.

“Inevitably those items sell well,” she said.

For those who haven’t had the chance to stop by the Palisades Village store, the walls of Bonjour Fête are lined with color-coordinated party items—from plates to napkins to seasonal items, including gifts.

In addition to selling party-throwing goods, Bonjour Fête also offers Event Installations, with everything from balloons to fringe to decor. Huntington also offers help for those who need to pick out goodies throughout the year, from Easter baskets to gift boxes and stocking stuffers.

“December is my favorite month because I just love the magic that is in the air,” she shared. “I search all year long for the best ornaments and they are truly my favorite thing to sell, as I like to imagine them becoming a part of a holiday tradition for the person or families that purchase them.”

She shared that her favorite thing about the Palisades iteration of Bonjour Fête is the community love that she receives and sees.

“We have been welcomed with open arms and it’s really profound how connected the Palisadians are with their community,” Huntington said. “We have had the most amazing conversations with our neighbors, and it just gives us more reason to want to help them celebrate the many special moments of their lives.”

The team has done balloon and decor installations in the Palisades, and Huntington shared that she has been blown away by the gorgeous homes.

“The Palisades is a classy place, and the homes are just fantastic. People truly care, and it shows,” she said. “I feel like we are tucked away in this magical part of Los Angeles that we don’t often get to enjoy and I just love the vibe.”

This year, Huntington and her team will bring their holiday decorating services to the area.

And, when asked if there are plans for additional Bonjour Fête stores in the future, she replied “absolutely.”

“We get customers asking this all the time, and we are always looking for opportunities to share Bonjour Fête with other parts of California and the rest of the United States,” she shared. “We’ve always wanted Bonjour Fête to be accessible to the modern day host, so we think this business model has far reaching potential beyond the borders of Los Angeles.

“I think it’s safe to say that you will see some new Bonjour Fête locations in the near future.”