- Kelly Fitzsimmons is the owner of Light Up Your Holidays, a Chicago holiday decoration service.
- Fitzsimmons started in 2001 in the trunk of a car. Now she has her six-figure clientele.
- She does decorations for holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, and said she tailors designs to the client’s budget and mood.
This so-called essay is based on a conversation with Kelly Fitzsimmons, owner of Light Up Your Holidays, a holiday decoration service in Chicago. Edited for length and clarity.
I have run Light Up Your Holidays in the Chicago area for over 22 years. We decorate the exterior of our homes for holidays such as Christmas and Halloween, which is becoming more and more popular in our business.
I have a handyman friend who used to hang lights. He told me how he gets very busy in September and October because of the holiday decorations. The idea came to me again and again. I thought, “Oh my god, I think I should do this.” I didn’t know what it was or how to do it, but I felt like I should. It was like divine intervention.
In 2001, I started my business in the trunk of a two-seater car.
It was a silly attempt. I got together with some friends, handed out flyers, and in the first year he got 35 clients.
Back then, people didn’t know that they could hire someone to decorate their homes for the holidays. took pride in his work, but it was very hard. There are a lot of logistics and moving parts that need to be figured out in a very short period of time.
I was crying every day and thought I was going to quit when the season was over. I was like, ‘I’ll never do that again.
Then, the following year, a client asked me to decorate it.
It was kind of inertia at that point. I have a background in design, a background in photography, and a background in marketing, so I decided to put it all together to create this beautiful service.
A contractor will come out and decorate your home, or it’s a step above hiring a landscaper who just decorates it on the side. is. Along the streets and streets of homes, you’ll see which homes are decorated with Light Up Your Holidays.
In order to run the company well, I had to run the business all year round.
Once I got enough clients, I graduated to that level. Being a seasonal business, the hardest part was creating an infrastructure that could be launched quickly on a highly professional level. Remove decorations at the beginning of the year, organize your business in the spring, plan with clients in the summer, and prepare for installation in the fall.
From extension cords and timers to garlands and lights, it takes a ton of logistics, from getting products to clients’ homes and making sure the crew knows exactly what to do. Ensure that the light’s power is accurately distributed to all client outlets. I also learned that this kind of business is not usually run by women. I work with contractors, 40 foot ladders, 6 foot wreaths, and large warehouses.
business was a true labor of love
In a way it was a love-hate relationship until I got the help I needed. I have her five full-time staff I trust and a large seasonal team of about 30 people to support the process.
From my own experience running a business and being a parent, I’ve realized that my audience is busy parents and professionals. The most effective way. I want the right people to find me so I can take care of them and be a part of their holiday traditions.
I’m a geek when it comes to Halloween and Christmas
I always see fun new products.I love it when my clients tell me they want to take their Halloween decor to the next level.In the last few years I have hired someone to decorate the exterior of my house for Halloween About 20% of my clients are now decorating for Halloween.
I’m also looking at manufacturers making more cool products that I want to install, such as glowing sugar skulls and eerie green glowing eyes. I work with many trusted vendors who have contacted me for decorating ideas and work after my time in the industry.
Holiday lighting is a very small world and I initially met my contacts through an electrician who mentored me. I also met I always ask my contacts to push the boundaries in terms of design and create something cool.
I have noticed that many of the decorations that people can buy online and in stores are so delicate and cheap that they can only be purchased for one season. I use items intended for commercial installations, so I know my products are reliable and that my clients will have a successful season, rain or snow.
Halloween can be bloody or fun and spooky
The themes depend on whether there are children in the family and the ages of the children. It’s crazy how our culture can be disrespectful in so many ways, but when it comes to Halloween, people don’t care about blood, chopped off heads, knives, and all the extremes.
I prefer not to touch it. If a client already has that decoration and wants to hire me to install it, of course they do, but it’s not something I curate and design. I want something spooky and creative that works.
We would like to have all of our Halloween decorations installed in the last week of September so that our customers can hang them all month long. However, we are seeing many clients attending during his first two weeks in October.
When we meet with clients, we create designs to fit their budgets
I have done very large commercial projects that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have also been with me for 20 years and still decorate for clients on very tight budgets. I try to have open and honest conversations with my clients.
My job is to make my clients feel proud and excited about their vacation homes as they drive down the street and into the driveway. They can be truly celebrated by family, guests, and the entire neighborhood.
I urge people to abandon their competitive spirit when it comes to holiday decorations. It is important.