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“I feel like I am doing something that makes a big difference in children’s lives.”

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The love of performing began for Dylan Glanzer at a very young age. She always wanted to be an actress or a big Broadway star. This provided her with a great hobby all through her school years. She got more serious about the idea when she decided to choose theatre as her major in college. The idea to form a party company happened while Dylan was teaching in New Jersey. At this point, inspired by how much she loved entertaining and teaching young children, Dylan had enrolled in Montclair to get her teaching certification and Masters in Early Childhood Education.

A parent approached her about the possibility of doing a birthday party for their child. Not knowing what she would do for a party, Dylan at first said no. However, after four similar requests, it dawned on her that this was a great opportunity. She was learning so much at school, giving her tons of ideas about what she could do to create a wonderful musical party. It all seemed so exciting! Fast forward about 17 years.

Parties by Dylan & Company has been providing fun, creative and dynamic musical party entertainment for children’s birthday parties and special events in Monmouth County and all over New Jersey since 1992!

Dylan Glanzer, Parties by Dylan & Company - Owner

MO: When you were a little girl you wanted to be an actress or star on Broadway. Is it just as fulfilling to be the entertainment hero to a bunch of children? Do you feel that perhaps mainstream success was elusive because this is what you were actually supposed to be doing?

Dylan: I honestly feel that what I am doing now is much more fulfilling than getting that big “break” might have been. I feel like I am doing something that makes a big difference in children’s lives. Children are so thrilled when an adult really pays attention. Children are little people but they feel “small” because we adults are often just too busy to play. That is why this job is such a big deal to me! As an actress, I could have only entertained. Seems like a much smaller contribution. This is absolutely what I was meant to do with my talents.

MO: Where did the idea for Parties by Dylan & Company come from?

Dylan: While I was teaching at the play program, parents would ask me if I “did parties.” I didn’t even know anyone was looking for entertainment like this! One day I realized that if I just took the skills I learned in school and from how a play program generally works, I could get enough things together to have some fun activities for children to do at a party. The format definitely changed over time as I figured out what worked, but that was the beauty of it. I learned on the job!

MO: What were the main challenges you faced when first starting the company?

Dylan: The main challenges in the beginning were having enough creative things to do to keep children in a mixed age group all interested for the whole hour. Once I figured that out, the problem was that I couldn’t handle all the parties by myself anymore! I turned away business when I was booked or had a vacation or family function. It hurt every time I had to say no. So when I worked with an amazing business coach, Melody Stevens (The Time Millionaire), she showed me how to interview, hire, and train other talented individuals. It was a matter of duplicating my party props and putting them work. It was hard to get insurance for this type of work, but I managed to create a company!

MO: How has Parties by Dylan & Company evolved since 1992?

Dylan: My parties today look completely different than they did back then. I didn’t even play guitar! I taught myself to play about 7 years ago to add something special to the parties, which turned out to be a very good idea. Over time, I learned from the children which activities were most successful with multi-age groups. I have also added high tech equipment like a Fender Passport Amplifier and a head-set microphone. I recorded my first CD in 2007 and I am now recording my second. Year ago, I did all the work myself – I was working in this business. Now I work ON my business and I have a team. I am looking for more talent to add to the team and I plan to keep on growing!

MO: Can you tell us about the training manual you created to provide others with a framework for giving children’s parties? It sounds like a franchise could possibly be in your future?

Dylan: You read my mind!! I would love to franchise this company one day. The plan is to keep hiring and building so that my bottom line in enviable. Then, I will go out and market this as a business opportunity. My training manual was drafted to help someone who has experience working with young children learn exactly what to do for the party hour. They need to play guitar and sing well. I will teach them all the “little tricks” I have learned to get children’s attention in a positive manner, to keep a group completely engaged and how to use the different props effectively. I have a song book and the format for the party is timed out to the minute. They are trained with me at parties and at my home by themselves until they feel ready to do it. People on my team are going to put their own special “spin” on the show too, otherwise I wouldn’t hire them. I think it turned out rather well since the people I have hired so far have been excellent!

MO: You’re currently working on your second CD. How is this one different than the first one you created and has the creative process been similar the second time around?

Dylan: I love these questions! And yes, this one is going to be different. I did the first one because I just wanted to see if I could! Being a recording artist fit with my first dream of being a professional singer and this was going to be in my “genre!” So I had a small budget, wrote a few songs, and recorded other songs that were public domain (I wouldn’t need to purchase the rights.). This next one I am going to record songs I LOVE to sing and I am buying the rights to about 11 of them! I always put my own spin on familiar songs, so that won’t change. I just want to have an album with a little more substance. I am paying musicians this time too, to have more of a band sound. The first album was mainly just me and guitar. I am also collaborating with one of my employees, Jon Martinez. He and I are co-writing 4 – 5 original songs and they are going to be awesome!! It is a lot of fun working with him. He is a very talented musician. I am confident I can write lyrics, but I need his help with music, since I really only taught myself guitar. I am also trying to raise the money to produce the album on IndieGoGo, a wonderful web site for any project people need support on. I want at least $6000, so I am enlisting the help of my friends, family and fans. When people contribute, they are actually purchasing their CD’s in advance or getting something special, like the chance for their child to actually sing back-up on the album! And if I make my goal, I am promising to give back by singing for 5 area children’s hospitals for free. I hope I get to do that. This whole thing is an excellent adventure! Thank you for this interview!

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