Fashion / Style

Holiday Shops

Houston’s Sophisticated Party Store Stands Out from the Crowd With Funky Fun

BY // 12.13.15
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

For many, the holiday gifting process is a frenzied affair. What will satisfy the girl who has everything, the guy who wants nothing, and the children who want it all? And more importantly, where are those amazing, perfect gifts hiding? PaperCity has selected a range of Houston shops brimming with Yuletide treasures, and we’re letting you in on the bounty. It’s our way of making your shopping experience a little easier and a lot more fun.

We’ll tell you about some of our favorite merchants, and share gift recommendations from the people who make the stores special. Today, we take you to Emerson Sloan.

In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Never miss a party … [they’re] good for the nerves, like celery.” Fitzgerald, the writer behind fiction’s ultimate party host — Jay Gatsby — understood the importance of a slamming soirée. His novels are filled with glorious fêtes that could inspire even a recluse to break out the dancing shoes.

But where does one turn when they want to channel said spirit of the great F. Scott? One great place is Rice Village party boutique Emerson Sloan.

Kim Etheridge opened Emerson Sloan in April of 2014 — it’s named after daughters Emerson, 8 and Sloan, 3 — after realizing Houston lacked an establishment that dealt in rare and unique party supplies.

“It was important for me to enjoy the type of store I opened, but it also had to be in an industry where I felt there was a true void in the market,” she explains. “I love entertaining, so it just made sense. I felt people were begging for a store like Emerson Sloan, based on the rise in popularity of sites like Pinterest and Etsy. I knew they wanted another option besides Party City-type stores.”


  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North

A quick walk around the store, and you’re left feeling the urge to find an immediate cause for celebration. What the store lacks in Gatsby-esque opulence, it makes up for in an abundance of cheeky, one-of-a-kind finds sourced from destinations like Australia, London, and Sweden. There are also, of course, handmade products from the United States. A multitude of white-lacquered shelves and brass carts are packed with everything from personalized styrofoam cups (perfect for kid’s parties or even tailgating) to gold-striped papier-mâché wishbones.

“I am not a traditionalist, and I think my products reflect that. I like funky, fun and creative,” says Etheridge.

Emerson Sloan’s colorful plates make the perfect addition to a standout holiday table.

But this fun-loving proprietor didn’t just stock her shop with party enhancements; she also filled it with equally tempting gifts, which makes Emerson Sloan one of our must-stop shops for the Christmas season. We asked Etheridge to share some of her top gift picks and tips for holiday fêtes, and the perks of shopping local.

Tell us something you’re gifting this Christmas, and something you’re hoping to receive?
One thing I’m gifting this year to several family members are personalized styrofoam cups from Emerson Sloan.  I’m not putting names or initials on them, but rather quotes from their favorite movies or funny things they’ve said over the years. Also, I’m hoping to get an electric hedger – not kidding. I’m really looking forward to trimming my boxwoods in that perfect line like the professionals!

Top 10 gift picks from Emerson Sloan.
For Kids
: Maps bookInitial microbead pillows and donut pillows • Living Royal ankle socksRainbow unicorn tape dispenser • Inflatable remote control in the shape of R2D2 or Minion

For AdultsDrinking Buddies drink markers; these guys are hysterical, and we can’t keep them in stock! • August Morgan linen cocktail napkins • Rosy Rings candles • Corkcicle air wine chiller • Govino shatterproof wine glasses; we personalize them in-house.

Favorite items in the store this season?
The handmade glass glitter star crown, Drinking Buddies drink markers and the huge handmade papier-mâché Santa Claus in our window. The crown, because it looks amazing on everyone, and you literally want to have a reason to wear it all day long; the Drinking Buddies because they make you laugh; and the huge Santa because it makes such a statement in the room.

What would you say is the key to planning a great holiday soirée, and what items in the store do you recommend for those trying to make their party unique and special?
I think the key to throwing a great party is to actually throw it! I feel people hold back from doing this because they feel they have to have a reason to have a party, or they are worried it won’t look perfect. Being alive is reason enough in my opinion.

I consider myself creative, but the last thing I want to do is craft some party together. That’s why Emerson Sloan is here. We have all the cool party goods to make it stylish and effortless. Some great, unique items to make your party stand out are the huge 36″ balloons, the wish papers from Tops Malibu, and big golden sparklers in your initials or numbers. You don’t have to go crazy, and it doesn’t have to be a Pinterest page.  Our motto, which we have sequined on our shop wall, is Create Memories, Create Traditions, Create Laughter … Throw a Party!  

What do you think is the importance of shopping local?
Shopping local preserves the integrity of the community. It brings us together and makes you feel special. I admit that I never really knew how important it was until I had my own shop. Walking into stores that focus more on your senses is like therapy. It’s inspiring. I hope Emerson Sloan is that therapy and inspiration for our customers.

Want more holiday shops? Take a look at our gift guide from Sid and Ann Mashburn

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