| Sarah Heinonen
ENFIELD, CT – Enfield native Rachel Wright has always had an interest in organizing parties and get-togethers, but it wasn’t until relocating to Germany that her passion became her profession.
Wright moved to Germany in 2008 as an exchange student during college and decided to make her home there. After finishing her undergraduate degree and obtaining a master’s, Wright began working in public relations.
In 2019, while working to design human resources (HR) products for employees at Zalando, a German fashion business, Wright decided to quit and throw herself into a cake business she had begun on the side.
“The day after I left my job, I got a large order from my former employer that made me wonder if I really wanted to spend all my time in the kitchen,” Wright told Reminder Publishing. Instead, she used her experience in the public relations field to learn from the public how she could create a business around celebrations.
“I bought a dictaphone and hit the streets of my neighborhood, interviewing strangers about the last celebration they’d organized. I spoke to students, to moms, to professional women. I realized that the problems they all had in common centered around not having a lot of time to realize the kinds of celebrations they wanted to throw for their families and friends,” Wright explained.
After hiring a couple of employees for her celebrations-focused company, Celbretti, Wright began ironing out her business plan through trial and error. She tried delivering baked goods via bike courier and creating a “celebration in a box.” While neither was quite successful, Wright learned that people liked the boxed celebration idea but wanted more customizable options. From there, Celbretti began to take form.
Now, customers can visit https://celbretti.com, a one-stop celebration resource that walks people through choosing decorations, food and cakes. For a child’s birthday, families can choose decoration kits in the themes of the circus, Greek gods, astronauts, pirates, dinosaurs, mermaids, unicorns or knights and dragons. There are also Christmas kits available in “Classic Christmas” or “Pink Christmas,” and a New Year’s Eve decorations and games kit.
Celbretti provides food for parties with a “Mediterranean spread” for six to eight or eight to 10 people. There is also the option of chocolate and vanilla cake kits to bake at home and cake-top decorations to coordinate with several of the decoration themes.
Celbretti partnered with Hey Vero Events to provide the decorations, which are shipped via DHL, while the food is delivered via Rewe, a German grocery delivery service.
Due to the timing of Wright’s business launch, it wasn’t long before COVID-19 swept through Germany. She said the constantly changing regulations are the most difficult part of operating during the pandemic.
“Since December when we launched, the restrictions in Berlin have gotten more strict: households are only able to meet with one other person in a closed space,” Wright said, making the kind of parties her business specializes in difficult.
To adapt to this, Celbretti has pivoted to a business-to-business model, to “help companies celebrate special occasions – work anniversaries, promotions – with their employees remotely,” Wright said. “In a way, this solution also matched up really well with my HR experience which I’d gathered at Zalando before. I’m optimistic and think this will make us more robust long term.”
Despite the ability to shift the company’s focus, Wright said she is eager to return to private celebrations once restrictions loosen. She also plans to expand.
“Step by step, the idea is to have everything you need for a party – decoration, food, entertainment, support with set up, location rentals – on the platform. This way customers can create parties without having to spend a lot of time on different websites [and] locations,” Wright said of her vision. Eventually, she would like her business to expand and said she could see offering her services overseas to residents in Enfield.
“I would love to be able to have a positive impact on the town where I grew up,” Wright said. “The wish to be able to have a positive impact on the lives of others is something that motivated me to start this journey in the first place and something that keeps me going, even when things get hard.”