Carole Middleston wants to expand ‘Party Pieces’ to America: shady?

Well, this is an interesting development. Believe it or not, I’m not anti-Middleton in total. While I think Duchess Kate’s family members are aggressive social climbers and their financial situation is shady as hell, I think that Carole and Michael Middleton sometimes get a bum rap. They’ve worked hard to build to a successful business, they sent their children to the best schools and they enjoy the spoils of their labor. Some of what’s thrown at the Middletons is just old-fashioned class warfare (Carole’s background is very working class) and snobby elitism. I think they have every right to be a part of Kate’s ascent up the social ladder. But I also think that they should be careful not to look like they’re clinging to their daughter’s duchess-y coattails. And there’s definitely a Kris Jenner-vibe happening with Carole in particular.

Anyway, in a move that I’m sure will anger the press and the British upper classes, the Middletons are considering an expansion of their Party Pieces business. They want to bring Party Pieces to America! And from the sound of it, I think they’re planning the expansion to go along with the expansion of the royal family with Kate’s delivery of the new royal heir to the throne. Yeah. People are going to have problems with this:

Kate Middleton’s parents are plotting to expand their family business in America — and they have their sights set on the Big Apple. Confidenti@l can exclusively reveal Michael and Carole Middleton want to cross the pond with their party-planning business and the move could result in daughter Pippa spending more time in New York.

While The Duchess of Cambridge has become the darling of America since her wedding to Prince William, her family’s business has boomed. Party Pieces, their online party-planning site, wants to make a bigger mark in the States — and sees setting up a Manhattan office as key.

“Party Pieces’ overseas business has been extraordinary with America dominating much of the interest. It has prompted the Middletons to look at establishing an office in the U.S. so that they can bolster their brand and even tie into other companies and ventures. They feel New York offers them a good starting point,” a source revealed.

Kate’s sister Pippa made inquiries about properties during her recent trips to New York. Some thought that the pretty brunette — who edits the company’s online newsletter Party Times — was hunting for an apartment, but that was a red herring.

“Office spaces are being looked at and Pippa has been asked by her parents about her thoughts on a good location as she has scouted the city before,” the source said.

For the Middletons, a move to New York could open up new opportunities.

“The plan is for the business to partner with other U.S. brands, like they did with their One Direction-themed products for parties. Many U.S. marketing groups see getting in bed with the Middletons as a great opportunity. And they feel that these (opportunities) are too good to miss.”

The Middletons are trying to keep their quest for a U.S. base under wraps until a location is confirmed, and close friends say they are caught in a dilemma over whether to publicly even acknowledge their plans.

“The Middletons have been extremely careful not to upset Buckingham Palace by seemingly trading off Kate’s link to royalty,” the source added. “I am not sure if they will even announce the move or just let it happen and move on from there. They are adamant they will never trade off Kate’s royal links to get ahead in business.”

A rep for Party Pieces could not be reached.

[From The NYDN]

From a business standpoint, I think an American expansion makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of American companies doing what Party Pieces has done, which shows that there’s already a market for it, but I’m sure if the Middletons collaborated with an American company or shop to bring Party Pieces to America, it would work out well. I still have significant questions about just how “booming” business really is and has been all these years, just because Uncle Gary (Carole’s brother) is super-shady and Gary was the one to give Carole and Michael the “seed” money for the company, and I often get the feeling that the Middletons live mainly on Gary’s largesse (as opposed to Party Pieces being this amazingly successful and profitable company).

Here are some recent photos of Pippa with Nico Jackson, her boyfriend of some-odd months. This is the first time I’ve had a good look at him – he’s attractive in a pretty-ish sort of way. He looks like he loves the tanning beds. He also looks like a con artist from an artsy British movie. He looks sort of like a young Jack Wagner, right?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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75 Responses to “Carole Middleston wants to expand ‘Party Pieces’ to America: shady?”

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  1. Emily says:

    She needs to stop the tanning – she already looks 10 years older than her OLDER sister

  2. TheEntrepreneursWife says:

    He looks like he loves the cameras.

  3. Elly says:

    all the tiny Middleton eyes… creepy

  4. The Original Mia says:

    What would Americans need with a British party planning company, when we already have Party City? Seriously…there are not that many Americans who know or care about Duchess Waity nor want to be connected to her through her parents’ party planning company. Ask Pippa how well her book did over here.

    • TG says:

      I am obsessed with the Duchess and any royal in general but I wouldn’t be rushing to their business at least not because of who they are. Party City is just fine for me. I do wonder why Pippa has a leathery face or is it tight plastic I can’t tell but the Duchess definitely used up the beauty gene.

      • FLORC says:

        Kate has had a lot of plastic surgery. Many physical tweaks and photoshop tweaks make her look the way she does. Her portrait that everyone complained was deliberately painted to make her ugly was a very real assessment of how she looks. Yes there is heavy makeup in that original picture, but she approved it to show her natural beauty.

      • Ayre says:

        I had no idea that she has had plastic surgery! (I know you know a lot about the royals.) That’s a great story — can you elaborate? Whatever she had done wasn’t terribly successful, though. I would never call her a world class beauty, though I do think she generally looks very pretty in a girl-next-door way.
        But your point about the portrait confuses me. Wasn’t it painted very recently using a recent photograph of her as reference? So wouldn’t it reflect all the work she’s had done?

      • FLORC says:

        I’m just a novice. The monarchy is very interesting to me and there might be a change coming so i’m paying attention.
        Kate was a cute girl next door. A little chub and a very happy smile. She’s had a nose job, work on her vanity/cosmetic work on her teeth (not to be confused with corrective work), check work and for a while some botox. She had some under eye bag reduction surgery maybe a year before the wedding, but the bags are coming back.

        The portrait was painted from a high detailed photograph close up taken for the artist to use since Kate was too busy to sit for the portrait. The photo was taken awhile ago since the prtrait also too some time to make. It did reflect her enhanced look sort of. New Kate compared to Kate from 4 years ago are totally different. Kate is wearing foundation in the photograph so you don’t see her damaged skin.

        A few months ago on a Kate thread there were a bunch of actual, untouched, spectator pics posted of Kate. Without the press touching up her photographs her hair was fried, skin very damaged, teeth less white and more crooked and in her early 2nd trimester she was much thinner than the press photos I don’t get why she must be touched up so much. Too narcissistic maybe?

      • Ayre says:

        Thanks for your reply, FLORC. Very interesting.

    • FLORC says:

      Party City and Wal*Mart and various dollar stores and just about everywhere else a person can show has the same quality items that they sell at party pieces.

    • karen says:

      The “Middleing Middletons”.

    • dena7 says:

      You pretty much hit the trio FLORC. Between Party City, the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart, I think our low-budget party needs are pretty much taken care of.

      Flash: I just saw pictures of the royal wee one plastered all over plates, cups, and napkins much like Elvis.

  5. Cherry says:

    Nico and Pippa make a pretty, albeit rather orange, couple.

  6. Shelley says:

    Pippas face gives me the creeps. I feel sorry for her and her lack of talent. At least most of the Kardashians are beautiful.

  7. marie says:

    don’t we already have that here, isn’t that what Party City is?

    I don’t understand why folks would strive for an orange skin color, it must be hell finding clothes to match.

  8. GoodCapon says:

    I think a lot of people will buy from PP just to brag that they bought something from Kate Middleton’s parents’ company– the ‘OMG I feel so close to the future Queen already!!!’ types– but it’s hardly a testament to the company’s product quality. Also remember nobody have heard of them until William put them on the map, I still don’t believe they are that popular to warrant expanding to US. It seems a bit premature.

    And Niko seems to love the paparazzi too, even posing enough for them. Pippa’s found her match!

    • FLORC says:

      Party Pieces seems like a shady business. The product quality is so terrible and the must be made so cheap so the profit margins are high enough to bring in more than a few pennies. I’d bet my bottom dollar it’s produced in a sweat shop.
      With that said the our media in the States Loooves Kate and wants us to love her too, but the true journalist here will pick PP apart until the truth comes out.

      And i’d be suspicious of Nico if I were Pippa. He seems sketchy.

    • Thinker says:

      Nico is handsomer than Pippa is pretty. Hes even prettier than she is pretty. So from an outsiders view his great looks, tall, athletic physique next to the dumpy poorly dressed younger sister of the duchess makes him seem a bit more “famewhoreish” than her past boyfriends who were more inbred and aristo looking but seemed absolutely horrified by Pippa’s press.

  9. Audrey says:

    I love pippas orangey flower dress.

  10. Jess says:

    I just took a look at Party Pieces for the first time in ages. I’d forgotten just how crappy everything they sell is. Given their profiles I don’t know why they don’t get more heat for buying products that are clearly churned out by sweatshop workers.

    I can’t believe they even turn a profit in the UK, all they sell is really cheap, tacky rubbish you can get from 100 other places (and about a million other places in the US, this isn’t unique stuff, 99% of it comes from the same suppliers that sell to every dollar/pound store, every low-rent department store, every online party goods store and so on and so on). Their site isn’t even done well, they just shove random crap together and label it Hollywood themed, Mexican themed etc.

  11. pretty says:

    that goddamn eyeliner.. what is the deal with that?? Did all three of those middleston women went to get matching eyeliner tattoes?

  12. HH says:

    Something about the Middletons rubs me the wrong way. I think it’s the fact that they (at least James and Pippa) are hellbent on being socialites and public figures. They want to be seen at the hottest places in town and the most important events on the London social calendar. It’s like they are still working on social climbing when they’ve already landed the “top prize,” if you will. I don’t get why they still seem to be trying to prove something. That’s what makes them nouveau riche. Money only plays a technical role. It’s really attitude and behaviors that define “new money.”

    • dena7 says:

      I don’t necessarily think “social climbing” is the problem here. I think if they were more discreet and covert, then people wouldn’t comment so much on it. But they reek of desperation . . . and that’s the problem.

      I have asked this question before (and perhaps it’s a bit sexist or I may even be reaching): I can see someone marrying Pippa for an alliance to the royal family and the upper reaches of British society, if you will. But what does some woman get in marrying James? The Party Pieces empire? Someone, help me out here.

      HH- I also happen to agree with you that they have landed the big one. But what I think is that they didn’t have a Plan B. As in, “okay, what happens next after we bag him?”

    • dena7 says:

      Here the the piece they plan to party with: The plan is to dispatch the Pipster to NY in order to find herself a hedge-fund husband or wall street boyfriend. With this, they will have straddled the pond. The Pipster is the business connect.

  13. Barrett says:

    Omg he’s handsome and ruined his face. Young Donald trump color? Do they have mirrors in London?

  14. Jackson says:

    IDK. If they want to expand they shouldn’t feel any shame in doing so. It’s their business, so I don’t see a problem with it. I have no clue about the shadiness of the uncle – I must have missed that when I ignored all that royal wedding coverage.

    And Pippa’s boyfriend is giving me the Elizabeth Hurley boyfriend vibe….whatever that dude’s name is.

  15. Yelly says:

    No, not shady, seems like the next best business move, why not?

  16. Dinah says:

    I am sorry, but DARK HOSE AND BEIGE POINTY TOE PUMPS??????

    (see the nylon reflection down shins in walking pic where hand approaching mouth- esp noticeable on back leg. I don’t think she is relying solely on a nuclear orange spray tan glow here. Disclosure: I still like pointy toe pumps, but this is awful).

  17. m says:

    A jump across the pond is not that easy for businesses. Look at Tesco’s for example, after a miserable fail, they are getting out of the US market. Tastes are different in every country and it can be hard for foreign companies to get right. While being associated with Royalty may get website hits, it is hardly a recipe for long term business success.

    • Liberty says:

      No kidding. Much of my work involves helping EU and UK businesses transition over (and helping US businesses trot the pond). That often means repairing damage done by the companies’ early advance team reports. Favorite stinkers: “Americans don’t know the term SALE.” And, “change the merch totally for America” (this = kiss of death). Rigid or naive viewpoints can be deadly in new markets. That said, PP may thrive for a bit on novelty by spanking the tabs with “Pippa in NYC” and/or by being shameless about “royal” product.

  18. Angelic 20 says:

    I wish then best of luck, I don’t think they will make it though. New York is one of the toughest markets in the world to survive in and I don’t think being parents of a possible future Queen will give them much competitive edge especially since most of their stuff is common and way more expensive then their competitors.

    Also they don’t want to upset BP or seen as taking advantage of their daughter’s status, isn’t this too late for that considering all the book deals, magazine columns, cars discount, cakes companies they have launched and acquired. This is what irks me about all of them, William, Kate and Middleton family, their dishonesty, double standards and holier then Jesus attitude while being money grabbing, tacky, extravagant, attention selling, Gabe hungry social climbers.

  19. HappyMom says:

    I wonder if Carole’s shady brother launders money through their company? 3 tuitions at some of the most expensive private schools in the country? And the big house? The London flat? And the horses? And all of those super ritzy vacations? I truly don’t see how it’s possible for them to have so much money.

    • MavenTheFirst says:

      Agreed. I wonder how “hard’ they’ve really worked given their fancy vacations with no one home minding the store, and the massive influx of monies for a tacky party resource.

    • FLORC says:

      I believe Kate’s father’s relative paid for that. He passed and left a trust for the kids to have top educations. The midds didn’t pay out of pocket for the private schools. The vacations are often linked directly to Gary though. When William came into the picture it’s thought 50/50 between the 2 men.

      The midds sold an IT company and sold client emails (now illegal business practice there) or money, but it’s a real stretch of the imagination to think PP paid for what they have. There seems to be more going out than coming in.

      • HappyMom says:

        I’m pretty sure the IT company was Gary’s though-not Carole and Michael’s. I just don’t see how they could possibly finance their lifestyle just from a fairly small company. They’re not hedge fund people-and yet that’s what their expenditures look like. I think it’s shady.

      • FLORC says:

        You may be right. I tried to confirm, but there’s a big thunderstorm and the web is acting extra slow right now. I was able to load an interesting article on how the midds always back winning businesses. That back in the day they took risky chances as if they had money to burn and didn’t care. Smells like Gary. Several reports estimates the midds are worth between 10 to 35million today. That’s too drastic a difference considering they just bought a new home and are constantly vacationing. And now a possible business expansion? Too shady.

  20. Flan says:

    “a con artist from an artsy British movie”

    Haha, he does.

  21. Esti says:

    I don’t see how this is trading on Kate. They have a business, they’re looking to expand — that’s what companies do. Everything the Middletons do is going to inevitably be linked to or discussed in relation to their daughter, but I think that’s just an association the press and the public (quite naturally) make and not one that they try to force down people’s throats. Whether or not they’ll be successful in the U.S. is an open question, but it’s not like they’re announcing a NY store opening on Kate’s expected due date with baby dolls in crowns as the party favor.

  22. Adrien says:

    Nico Jackosn looks more Perry King than Jack Wagner. Perry King in “A Different Story”.

  23. Emily says:

    I’m so confused about how they actually make their money. If I wanted to buy party supplies online (rather than through a store), I’d buy them on eBay or Amazon or something. I’m surprised that there’s that much of a market for that sort of thing.

    Also: if it’s an online company, why would they open their office in a super-expensive city like New York? Actually, why would they need an American office at all?

    I don’t know all that much about business, so maybe I’m missing something here. (If so, please explain like I’m five lol. :P ) But it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Munch says:

      I don’t believe for a moment that they made a fortune from selling sweat-shop paper hats. I’m British, I’ve NEVER known anyone to buy anything from them – the same, or better, stuff can be bought much more cheaply on any high street.

      Not so sure about this part though: “open their office in a super-expensive city like New York” – New York isn’t nearly as expensive as London. Even online businesses sometimes need a physical presence in another country, and if so why not New York? It would actually be cheaper than having offices in London which is much more expensive for property.

  24. TG says:

    I will admit as soon as I saw this headline I thought. Great they will be whoring Pippa out now and the article confirmed it. Expect to see her with an American soon. I am thinking a celeb because that will get more exposure. I know she likes the rich banker types but no one outside of Wall Street will have heard of him so he won’t be helpful in this case.

  25. India says:

    She is one mean nasty looking old lizard. Whew! I would have to have that conniving, striving woman as my mother. Poor Kate, I feel rather sorry for her.

    • FLORC says:

      Me too India. I was hoping the work surge would stick too:( A wasted platform to help so many. I get the feeling she might grow a backbone once she has the baby and still sees William out with friends and other girls. I hope she throws herself into work and betters herself.

  26. Queen Maxima says:

    I doubt Kate’s marriage to Willy Boy will even last long enough for her to become Queen, so her parents might as well trade off on her Duchess title while they can. Lol. I kid…sort of. :/

  27. mashleyll says:

    I just don’t get what “Party Pieces” offers that you can’t find at Party City or Party Supermarket (or even the party section in Target or the toy store) that they would want to compete in that market. Do they offer something different? (I don’t know as I have only been on their website.)

  28. Kelly says:

    Kate Middleton the darling of America? Ummm NO.

  29. kristiner says:

    I’m confused on their business. It’s like Target to Party City’s Walmart.

    But it’s still something you can get anywhere. Especially here. I mean it’s regular party supplies. It’s not that high quality.

  30. xxx says:

    I don’t like it when people make assumptions like this about their business. Sorry, but how the hell would you know? Sometimes people make surprisingly large amounts of money of weird businesses. I know an extremely wealthy family that makes cardboard boxes. They own a friggin’ Greek Island amongst their giant property portfolio. WHilst many of the people here might not be able to fathom buying something because of the “Middleton effect” there are HUGE numbers of people out there who love that crap. I don’t see why a savvy business decision to expand their business to the States is anything to sneer at or even raise an eyebrow at.

    • GoodCapon says:

      Is this ‘extremely wealthy family’ wealthy enough to begin with before diving into the cardboard boxes business? And you said it yourself: they have a ‘giant property portfolio’ ergo they have other sources of income. The Middletons’ ONLY known source of income is their Party Pieces which could hardly justify their middle-class-trying to be upper-class lifestyle. Either they are stockmarket gurus or they have other shady sources of cashflow. You might not like our assumptions but it’s not like we are making things out of thin air. They have a not-so-clear financial history no matter how you spin it.

  31. Renee says:

    Just because their daughter married royalty doesn’t mean they still don’t have to earn a living. Seems like they’re condemned either way. Same with Pippa. If she works, she’s sponging off the royal connection. If she doesn’t work, she’s a deadbeat. They can’t win either way and that seems unfair.

  32. Noodles says:

    I own a party supply company here in the States.

    Oh, please no, for so many reasons.