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Smart Ideas 10/05 Healthy treats for your pet, smoke detectors that talk and more

By Entrepreneur Staff

What: Made-to-order office parties
Who: Leanne Mumm Pardo and Christopher Hughes of Day Perks
Where: Seattle
When: Started in 2001

When Christopher Hughes heard his clients singing "LaBamba" in anticipation of their Cinco de Mayo party, he knewhe was onto something. Hughes, 34, had recently co-founded DayPerks with business partner and friend Leanne Mumm Pardo, 40.

As co-workers at a branding and design firm, Hughes and MummPardo saw a need for a service to take care of office events andparties. Armed with just $500 and plenty of corporate contacts frompast jobs, the two left the firm, incorporated the company and setabout creating a pilot program to test the party-planning waters.They lined up five clients, including Alaska Airlines, CoinStar andWashington Mutual, and for about six months worked with clientfeedback, incorporating reviews and suggestions into their businessplan. "We kept hearing, 'We want it to be quick, we wantit to be really creative, and we want it to beaffordable,'" says Hughes.

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