color table setting available through Social Studies party kits

The colorful Art Deco–inspired Doppio collection captures la dolce vita and even comes with fresh lemons and flowers.

Almost all hosts have felt it—that adrenaline-fueled panic that spikes when you realize you’ve forgotten something vital for your party, the guests arrive in 15 minutes, and you still haven’t gotten dressed. Jessica Latham and Amy Griffin understand this. As childhood friends from Texas turned New Yorkers with serious party-planning chops (Latham was head of events at Vanity Fair; Griffin worked in marketing and events for Sports Illustrated), they realize how overwhelming entertaining can be.

“For years I wondered why there wasn’t a party kit out there that had everything I needed, from beautiful plates and decorations to menus and place cards,” says Latham.

The pair founded Social Studies to meet this need. The concept is simple. On the website, you can choose from various tablescape looks, from clean and sophisticated to bold and playful. Enter the party date and the head count, and a few clicks later, your rental is complete. A sleek navy duffel bag arrives at your door with plates, napkins, flatware, décor, and extras like seating diagrams, conversation starters, and an alcohol calculator. When the party is over, rinse the dishes, pack the duffel, and set it out for pickup.

founders of Social Studies

Jessica Latham (left) and Amy Griffin

Social Studies party kit, styled with vases of yellow ranunculus and white coral

For their Prep Rally look, Social Studies teamed up with Tory Burch, mixing her classic lettuce plates with rattan place mats for a garden party vibe.

Launching the business in the midst of a pandemic wasn’t exactly the debut Latham imagined, but she says they’ve been surprised and gratified by the demand from consumers eager for ways to elevate the everyday or celebrate a birthday or graduation at home. “People ask us what the key to throwing a good party is,” she says. “It’s really about taking the extra effort to make people feel taken care of.” That’s true of a big birthday blowout for 50 or a date night dinner for two.” (social-studies.com)


By Kirk Reed Forrester

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