Meet Chaka Howard, the mama behind Little Folks Party Bus
If we could describe today’s mama feature in just one word, that word would be FUN! She lights up a room with her smile and kind heart and she sure knows how to throw a party. She’s a wife, mom, and a marketing and event guru we truly admire. Her name is Chaka Howard.
Not only is Chaka the founder and owner of Little Folks Party Bus, she’s also a Field Marketing Manager for some of the top brands in the nation, helping them grow their presence in Houston specifically.
She’s Houston born and raised and is one of the most connected women we know. We got to see her in action at the anniversary party for Little Folks Party Bus earlier this month at Hotel Zaza in Memorial City. It was a Halloween themed bash that was such a treat for us and especially our kiddos. We admire people who are so good at the personal touches and keep people engaged throughout a 2+ hour event. We never want the party to end when Chaka’s around! She’s such a joy.
Her business is one that’s so unique and special- they truly bring the party to your door, mamas. Little Folks Party Bus is a kid-centric event planning company that offers a full-service mobile party venue. Their bus converts into a self-contained space created for children between 4-16 years old. The best part is, parents don’t have to host, plan, or set up anything for their kid’s party, because the venue will drive up right outside of their home.
They even have a live stream so parents can watch kids from their cell phone or computer. They aim to build a trusting relationship with parents to ensure that their child has the best party ever — leaving children and their families with wonderful, magical memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Our kids are already requesting Chaka at their next birthday and she assured us the bus can even be transformed for the boys! And moms…it’s not just for birth day parties! They’ve transformed this bus for graduations, school events, family reunions, block parties, and workshops.
So today we’re sharing a bit about this phenomenal mama and her business. We think you’ll love her as much as we do!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Houston area?
I’m born and raised here in Houston, TX!
How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two “kids” Joy 22 and Jason 21, but I have Major and Ari my little niece and nephew I’m in love with. They are both two and I try to get them at least once a month.
Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
So of I no longer do most of these things, but I seriously packed my kids lunch till they were in high school. Believe it or not, I was the mom that loved when school was out. I enjoyed every aspect of being a mom. I was a young mom, but I was wise. I knew that they would grow fast so I knew I needed to embrace every moment. To answer the question, changing diapers.
Best mom hack that makes life easier?
Say what you mean and mean it! Seriously, if you make a threat you must stand by that treat. Just like in life, your word is all you have. Stand by it!
What are your favorite local things to do? (with kiddos or just for mom!)
When my kids were smaller we would to go to a local toy store and a movie every month. Their dad and I took the kids to every movie and toy store when they were small. I guess their smiles were priceless. I now take Ari and Major.
We’re big on self-care for moms, as hard as it is to find the time, what’s something you do just or yourself?
I remember when my kids were younger their grandmother came to me and said, “you’re a great mom and do everything for your kids, but Chaka you need to take better care of yourself”. That’s still hard to this day, but I do shut if off here and there. I now try to get pedicures, manicures and now massages once a month. I also now travel with my husband once a quarter. We will do a staycation, vacation and go to one place we’ve never been. That’s all I can do haha!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
How much I do or what I’ve done in my career. I’m a marketing guru. I’m not real big on social media, but of course that’s the way to go so you’ll start seeing me about me on my person and business page.
Tell us about your business, Little Folks Party Bus! When did you start?
Little Folks Party Bus is a mobile party bus. Our bus will be converted into a self-contained mobile party venue created for children between 4-14 years. Our mission is to offer a service where we put our “little folks” first. Provide quality entertainment to children and their families in an enthusiastic, compassionate, and positive way; Treat them all as individuals and tailor each party to their wishes. We aim to build a trusting relationship with parents to ensure that their child has the best party ever; leaving children and their families with wonderful, magical memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
I started Little Folks Party Bus in October 2018. It was supposed to launch in 2017, but due to Harvey, our home flooded so we used the trailer for storage. Our home is all done now so we were able to build our party bus! During Hurricane Harvey, since we did have a huge trailer, we did take the trailer out to donate items to people affected by Harvey in Beaumont and we were able to stop by an apartment complex and show kids a fun time. We gave them tattoos, pizza, polished nails, danced and much more.
What was the inspiration behind starting Little Folks Party Bus?
As a child, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but when it came to our birthdays, my mother made us feel so special. That was our day! As a child, I was also drawn to kids. I attracted them and they always loved being around me. I remember when my mom worked at a daycare center, I was about 8 years old and all the toddlers would surround themselves around me. I’ll never forget when one of the workers whispered to me, “you’re too big to be playing with those kids! you should play with the kids your own age” That hurt my feelings until the next day, one of the parents came in asking, “Who is Chaka?” her daughter was three and would never speak or showed many emotions. Her mother approached me and thanked me for spending time with Laura Lee. She explained the change in her personality because of me. From that day, even as I kid, I realized how simple things and being nice can change lives. Kids were always so special to me, so of course growing up I had to have a career dealing with them.
I started Little Folks Dance & Fitness about 12 years ago. We would travel to preschools, elementary schools, and recreation centers teaching kids ages 3 & up the joys of dance. Parents would always ask if I could do their kids party, but with my busy schedule, I didn’t have time to set up, come up with a curriculum, and host parties. That’s where I came up with Little Folks Party Bus.
What different services do you offer? And what areas of Houston do you travel to?
With our company, parents don’t have to host, plan, or set up anything for their kid’s party, because our venue will drive up right outside of their home. We immediately become the life of every party and we plan to blow our guests away! Our venue is currently the only venue that has a live stream so parents can watch their kids during the entire celebration.
Kids will enter a state-of-the-art bus that has been converted into a mobile party venue! The kids come aboard and enjoy their custom party service choice such as manicures and pedicures, face decorating, and dress up. We will also have glow parties, Lego, and karaoke parties. We have stations for glitter, hair, nails, makeup, as well as a dress up area, crafts area, karaoke & dance games, photo booth, and much more! We entertain and supervise the little ones so parents can relax and socialize with the parents. Our goal is to provide quality entertainment leaving children and their families with wonderful, magical memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime! We will provide an entertaining environment that is unique and non-replicable. We offer an unparalleled experience, so our clients don’t have to compromise for their next party or event! Our Mobile Party Venue on Wheels is the ultimate birthday party for kids ages 4-14! We know how precious your time is, so let us come to you. No transportation involved, your location is our location!
Besides Little Folks Party Bus, you also do Field Marketing for a lot of great brands! Tell us a little about this!
Yes, I’ve been doing marketing for the last 18 years. I’ve worked for brands such as, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, 104 KRBE, Brownie Brittle, and more! I even helped launched sites such Nextdoor, DogVacay (Rover.com), here in Houston. I recently worked with Travis Scott’s Astroworld and was able to get local Houston businesses swag bag items in the celebrity’s trailers.
What does a Field Marketing Manager do? And what do you love about it?
I build brands. Marketing managers control all of the communication between a company and its customers. Even though we are living in the Internet age where people may shop at the click of a button. but, no matter how much we integrate technology in our lives, we still will spend part of our days—and part of our shopping and business experiences—interacting with people in the physical world. As long as the personal dimension remains in our shopping and our work, there will also be an opportunity for marketers to step outside their buildings to interact with their customers in person. Field marketing is a branch of marketing in which brands get their products in front of consumers “out in the field” at retail locations, events, college campuses, or in public locations. Field marketing initiatives include promotions, demos, and direct sales. of field marketing vary by company and campaign, but some common goals include brand awareness, increased sales at targeted locations, and increased engagement with local buying communities.
So basically just like creating memorable experiences with kids, I have that same concept with consumers. Myself and my staff are the face of the brand. They meet us before they touch, try, or experience our product. My goal is to first, train, hire, and educate a team to make sure they’re educated on the brand, loyal, and have a stellar personality.
How do you “balance” being a mama, wife, business owner, and employee?
It’s hard, but I love what I do so it’s not bad. I married a guy who supports me 100%. I’m not sure it would work with out that support. Fun fact, my husband is a welder and build everything! My daughter is also so very supportive. She’s a dancer for a company called SoReal so she teaches our hip-hop classes and she host all of our parties as well as my niece. The is truly a family owned and operated business. I couldn’t do it without their love and support. Same with building brands. I’m nothing without my team!
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable and dreaded MOM GUILT?
Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. I was a young mom and I wish I could have traveled more with the kids and even done more financially. I was talking with my kids telling them that and they said, “Mom, I don’t feel like we missed out on anything. You were a great mom and we did/had everything”. I’ll never forget that. So since we have such busy lifestyles, when you’re with them, put the phone away for a while. Take their tablet away and just enjoy time with them. Nothing is better than time. The little things matter. Hug and kiss them daily, but you’re working so hard to crate a future for them. So please don’t feel too bad.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
My mom. Since I was a child she always told me I could do anything. We grew up very poor so that’s something I didn’t want my children to experience. However, my mom threw the best parties for us. She made every single birthday and holiday all about us. I think that’s why our parties are so successful. I know how important those days are and I will always work hard to create those experiences for others.
What are your future plans for Little Folks Party Bus?
I plan to expand (second bus), offer coaching, host more events and do two big charity events per year.
For more information on Little Folks Party Bus, be sure to follow along with them on social media and visit their website!
**We’ll have Austin Eastciders, a brand Chaka introduced is to, at the event this Thursday. If you haven’t tried it, you’re in for a treat!**