Carole Middleton asks Duchess Catherine for advice on party business

Carole Middleton asks Duchess Catherine for advice on party business

Carole Middleton still asks her daughter Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for "advice" when it comes to her Party Pieces business.
The 63-year-old entrepreneur set up her business – which sells supplies for a range of different themed bashes – in 1987 and says her three children Catherine, 36, Pippa, 35, and James, 31, have all had input into the company.
And Carole says she still calls upon her brood for advice on the business every now and again, including her eldest daughter Catherine, who has since become a member of the royal family after marrying Prince William – with whom she has Prince George, five, Princess Charlotte, three, and Prince Louis, seven months – back in 2011.
She said: "My children have all worked for the business. Catherine started the First Birthday brand – she chose the products and looked after all the imagery and the catalogue production. Pippa set up the blog, as we didn’t have one. James came up with the idea of personalised cakes and got them off the ground for us. Because they all grew up with me working, Party Pieces has been very much part of our lives and what we talked about. I still ask their advice and say ‘What do you think of this?’"
Carole set up the party supplies business after falling pregnant with James, because she didn’t want to head off into full time work and "miss out" on seeing her brood grow up.
She added: "In 1987, I had two young children and was pregnant with my son, James. We had come back to the UK from living abroad and I was a full-time mum. I didn’t want to miss out on my children growing up, so I considered starting my own business.
"Party Pieces was as a result of my personal need for my own children’s parties. You had to hunt high and low to find suitable party supplies. I found suppliers and put up notices in my daughters’ playgroup that said ‘Planning a Party?’ and started getting orders. My memories of those early days are very vivid."
But Carole didn’t always dream of being a businesswoman, as when she left school she had her heart set on becoming a teacher.
Speaking to Good Housekeeping magazine, she said: "When I left school, I wanted to be a teacher, but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to teacher training college, so instead I decided to get a job with the idea of raising money by myself. I got married quite young and had children, so when the time came to work again, it seemed a better idea to set up Party Pieces."
The full interview with Carole appears in the January issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from December 3.