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Flint, MI— In about three seconds, Krystal Watson has blown up two pink balloons, tied them together, and passed them along to her daughter Kayla.
Kayla, 10, is in charge of tying those balloons to a growing balloon bundle that would soon form a festive arch, transforming their living room into a party fit for a princess.
Watson’s party decorating business, Krystal Kreations, is six years in the making. She’s decorated all kinds of events from weddings and birthdays to proms and parties for big names like Claressa Shields. Recently, her daughter started getting in on the action.
On this day, the decorations are just for the two of them.
The mother-daughter duo created a slumber party set up complete with a pink curtain backdrop, two handmade tents, mattresses, pillows, and of course, many, many balloons.
There’s the “adult” tent, with pillows and balloons in sophisticated shades of pink, a bottle of moscato on a tray by the cozy mini mattress, and a silk white eye mask. The “kid” tent is home to a rainbow lamp, a unicorn stuffed animal, and a sequined pillow that says “girl power.”
It’s hard to say how long it took the two of them to put all of this together. According to Krystal, it took around two and a half hours. Kayla said it took six thousand.
However long it took (and it’s just impossible to know) they’re both grateful to have gotten to spend that time together.
‘Scared and all’
Watson, 34, has been working for General Motors for 15 years. With a daughter to raise and good money coming in at work, she stopped going to school and decided to just stay with GM.
But that was never the plan.
She and her best friend had dreams of finishing school and opening up their own businesses one day.
While Watson stayed working at GM, her friend went on to get her degree and start a T-shirt business. She asked Watson if she was ever going to try to do anything else. That question sparked something inside of her.
Watson had been decorating events for her friend’s business, and decided to try becoming a party decorator part-time. She began posting pictures of some of the events she decorated on Facebook, and it took off from there.
Still working at GM, she began building her business and doing events whenever she had free time.
At the beginning, she had to spend more money than what she was making to put the events together. Buying decorations, spending time planning, putting it all together, taking party-decorating classes– it was a lot of work for one person.
She wondered if she was in over her head.
“I remember looking at my one shelf of decorations, thinking how am I going to start a business?” she said.
But over the years, she built her brand, found clients, and found help, hiring a few employees and occasionally enlisting her family. The one shelf of decorations turned into several, until she had more party decorating supplies than she had room for in her two bedroom apartment.
She made videos of her working on her decorations for Facebook, and recalled telling viewers that her apartment would be temporary.
“One day I’ll have my house that I dream of,” she told them.
Within two years, Watson paid off $45,000 in debt with the money she made from her business, and from working overtime at GM, and was finally able to buy a house for her and her daughter… and all of her party decorations.
“It’s amazing to actually accomplish those things in two years,” Watson said. “I worked hard, and I got me and my baby out of that two bedroom apartment…scared and all.”
Watson does events every couple weeks now, and said she only takes on events that will pay her what she’s worth. She said she’s done spending time on things that don’t pay, when she could be spending that time with her family instead.
She’s busiest in the summer months, and tries not to work much in September, which is Kayla’s birth month. That month is all about Kayla.
For her 10th birthday, Watson went all out for her daughter. She put together six tents for six girls to have a big slumber party. After that party, Kayla said she wanted to get in on the business doing sleepovers for kids.
When Watson started her party decorating business, Kayla was just four years old.
It didn’t take long for Kayla to pick up on all the work her mom was doing. Watson remembers Kayla talking to imaginary clients on an imaginary phone.
“Hi, this is Krystal. How many people? What colors are you thinking?” Kayla would ask them, imitating what she heard her mom say on the phone with clients all the time.
Now, at 10, Kayla’s picked up more than just phrases from her mom. She’s got an eye for colors that go together, and what “works” and what doesn’t.
“She’s naturally creative like me,” Watson said. “I don’t have to really tell her everything to do, she just goes with the flow. We work really good together.”
One time, Kayla wore a tail and pretended to be a mermaid at a themed slumber party for some younger girls.
All Watson told her to do was pack her bag and grab the tail, but Kayla showed up in full mermaid makeup and really played the part at the event, doing a photoshoot with the girls and making the day magical.
At a spa-themed party for young girls, Kayla was given the option to go play with her cousin, or stay and help her mom at the party. She chose to stay and help pamper the girls with face masks and fuschia spa robes. She even did a TikTok dance with them all, and the girls were overjoyed.
After leaving the event, Watson had a “big girl” conversation with her daughter in the car.
“Hey, are you glad that you made the decision to stay?,” Watson asked.
“Yes, because I wouldn’t have been able to dance with them, and they had a really good time,” Kayla said.
Since then, Kayla has helped out on other kid parties with themes like TikTok and Barbie.
She said her favorite part is making the little kids happy.
“I love how the kids are so happy…like when I first walk through the door, they’re screaming loud, and they have so much fun because they get everything they could ever have,” Kayla said.
Watson said she is so proud of her daughter, and loves that they get to spend time together this way.
“I’m working so much, sometimes it bothers me that I don’t have the time, you know, because I’m pushing this so much,” Watson said. “So now that I’ve made her see the fun part of it, of collaborating with the kids and having fun, it’s making it fun for her, and then we get to have a little bond.”
You can check out Krystal and Kayla’s Kreations here.