Madison mom starts business hosting virtual celebrations during the pandemic
“I really love bringing people together and sharing the joy of these special events,” said Kellie O’Brien.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - When Kellie O’Brien couldn’t attend the baby showers of her out-of-state family last year, she did what many people did in 2020, and turned to an online option.
While navigating the online world of video conferencing and virtual meetings can be challenging or uncomfortable for some, O’Brien saw an opportunity. She decided to host the virtual showers for her family, and discovered she has a knack for it.
“Last year two of my sisters-in-law were expecting, and we were able to put on virtual showers for them,” she said. “Afterwards I just received an overwhelming response from attendees that they would love if I could do this for them as a service because they wanted to put on exceptional showers for their daughter or daughters-in-law, but didn’t feel they had the technical expertise to do it on Zoom. So I was happy to open it up to others and I received great response since then.”
With that positive feedback, O’Brien created her business, Virtual Showers by Kellie, hoping to help others celebrate their special days, like baby and wedding showers, the way she did for her sisters-in-law.
“I really loved this being an opportunity to connect with them, to do something really special,” she said. “I know being pregnant with your first during COVID is really challenging, there’s a lot of disappointments and a lot of changes to expectations. So I just worked with them to make it really really special, to meet all their dreams, to exceed their expectations, and they loved it.”
O’Brien said she works with the guest of honor to plan games and activities for the shower, and acts as host the day of the event. She also coordinates things like invitations, and curates and sends care packages to guests ahead of the shower.
For Meg Brennan, a first time mom, the thought of coordinating a virtual event was too complicated.
“I definitely did not expect to have a shower at all,” she said. “The very beginning of the pregnancy was pretty aligned with when everything kind of started shutting down. I was like no – I’ll make a registry and a really nice email that my mom can send out to family because I know people want to participate.”
Brennan said knowing that family would want to participate and celebrate with them was the challenge, because she did not anticipate being able to have a shower. When Brennan learned about O’Brien’s business and decided to work with her, that changed.
“It really did allow me to have an experience that I enjoyed, and that was invaluable to me, I was really appreciative that the opportunity did come around and that we were able to do something,” said Brennan.
O’Brien said she hopes these virtual gatherings can continue connecting people even after the pandemic is over.
“I really love bringing people together and sharing the joy of these special events,” she said. “This never could have happened without COVID because COVID pushed people of all generations to become comfortable with video conferencing and video meetings and joining things virtually, such that now we can invite extended family members who otherwise would have been like, ‘oh I don’t know if I can join a video thing, that’s kind of weird.’ It’s kind of normalized now. For the first time, my aunts and great aunts can come to these kind of things that they couldn’t have before.”
For more information on O’Brien’s business, click here.
Copyright 2021 WMTV. All rights reserved.