Nancy Gibbs is a delightful wonder. This former actress/singer and single mom of two found herself out of work (thank the economy) and needing to provide for herself and her kids. It was years in the making, but the outcome is a brand new website called www.mitzvahpartycentral.com.
The site is meant to be a “one-stop” shop for the Jewish community to find all the vendors needed to plan for any life-cycle event. These include Bat/Bar Mitzvah celebrations, brisses, weddings, anniversaries and much more.
February 15 was the launch date for the site. It has 27 party necessity areas to check out. Vendors will have a place to advertise their services and products; everything from balloons and invitations to photographers and caterers.
The site is incredibly easy to navigate, written with impeccable taste and lots of humor! Gibbs has a section dedicated to finding out answers to any and all event/party questions and a section with many of the most used Yiddish words and their definitions for anyone who might need some assistance in that area.
After being a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, Gibbs found herself both single and in need of a job. “I had been home raising my daughter, Rachel (now 22 and in graduate school to become a family therapist) and Matthew, 17. Doing this was definitely my life’s proudest moment,” she said. “But once I realized I had to provide for all three of us, I was scared! I worked in the field of the performing arts and in sales, but not in a lot of years.”
Feeling very fortunate, Gibbs found employment at Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo as its events co-coordinator and as an events director at an Aliso Viejo Country Club. She loved doing both positions. She also has a certificate in Life Coaching, which she feels is very fulfilling to help someone grow and change.
“Unfortunately, when the economy tanked, both places couldn’t afford to keep my position,” Gibbs said. “There I was back at the beginning. This time though-I had made a lot of contacts and thought, I’ll bet if I made a website that would help everyone find a good photographer, a venue to hold an event, a great bakery to make a cake or pastries and all the other things that we need, it would be a mitzvah. I’d be taking the stress out of what should be a joyous occasion to make.”
She added, “I began doing fairs to bring the vendors together in one place, and they were successful. If I could do that by myself, why not put together a site with all the needed information?”
All of the vendors have to pass a pre-qualifying test and have two letters of recommendation. Gibbs said that if, even with these measures, she gets three complaints, the vendor will be removed.
Using her performing and selling techniques to cold call vendors, Gibbs is finding that they are very receptive to the idea. The site has a tab just for vendors to peruse.
“It’s a very affordable way for them to advertise their services and products,” Gibbs said. “I have packages that range from $100 a year for just a line to $1,500 packages that will include participating in one of my Ultimate Mitzvah Faires. The average is in the $450-$650 range. Most of the advertisers will be able to make up their cost with one sale.”
The Ultimate Mitzvah Faires are where Gibbs will bring the local vendors together to meet and greet “punim to punim” (face to face) with all who are planning parties.
The first one is on April 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Irvine. This is where everyone can schmooze and, of course, eat! What would a Jewish celebration be without food?
“Shopping on www.mitzvahpartycentral.com will erase the need to Google and then click onto every site that pops up for each service needed,” Gibbs said. “The meaning of mitzvah is basically a good deed. By having reliable and qualified people for every need in one area, it cuts back on the hours of searching. Cutting the stress is a good deed. Who needs that kind of tzoris (grief) in their lives?”
Right now, this vibrant woman is wearing all the various hats-CEO, CFO, sales/advertising manager, site producer, vendor qualifier, cheerleader, newsletter writer and putting together her “Ultimate Mitzvah Faires”, but she knows the site will grow and when it does her plans are to hire women who are in the same position she found herself in.
“Many women are finding themselves needing a helping hand, which is part of my mission-to carry on the vision of doing mitzvahs, by being that helping hand. Some women have been out of the work force for many years, but have the talent and need to provide for their families-whether they are newly single or their mate has been laid off.
“The use of the word mitzvah was chosen for a reason. I want everyone to know that I’m also donating 5% of my profits from the site and the faires to Women Forward. They are connected with the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County.
“This tzedakah was created to empower women to gain independence after a setback. To aid women who are in transition to become financially self-sufficient and provide a safe and secure living environment for themselves and their children.
“It’s almost like giving birth. I love coming in on the ground floor of an exciting venture. I’ve been working hard on launching this site for so many reasons-it’s also one of those life lessons for my kids-to find an opportunity in any problem and turn the situation around. I really do feel that it is in the giving that I receive.”
For the moment, Gibbs is concentrating on providing information for Orange County and California. But she hopes are that the site will “go viral”-when it does, her list of vendors will grow all over the United States!
“I want it to become the “Facebook” of party planning, for both hosts/hostesses and vendors for all life-cycle events!”
For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 789-4191.
Mitzvahpartycentral.com connects pre- qualified vendors with families planning Jewish life cycle events while providing support to women and children in transition. This is a shidach (a match) where everybody wins!!