We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
We are constantly bombarded with memes and Insta captions telling us to “just do what makes you happy”. That easy. That simple. Just do what makes you happy. But what makes us happy? A question that has fascinated me for almost my entire life, so much so, that since I can remember, I have only ever wished a single wish. Every shooting star, every set of birthday candles, every perfectly cracked wishbone; I have only ever wished to be happy. I deliberately made a point to never wish for anything specific, like a bike or a boy to like me, I only ever wished that I would find and follow happiness wherever it took me. When I go after something, I go after it passionately. I wanted to learn what it was that made me happy, even if it meant discovering what didn’t make me happy along the way, because would you really know if you didn’t try? From changing my major 4 times in college and ultimately leaving my status sitting at a junior level, to working multiple jobs and partying instead of sleeping my whole first year of college, I was trying everything. I experimented with things. I traveled. Your typical twenties montage. During this montage, at 19, I started my first bartending job. I instantly fell in love with the industry and the bar scene. I loved being there for whatever people were celebrating, or escaping from, that day. Over the years, I had been there for people’s worst days, biggest celebrations, first dates, breakups, birthdays, first shots, and everything in between. And I genuinely wanted to be there for all of those moments. I wanted to be the one that handed you a beer on a hard day. I wanted to hand you that first shot as a married couple. I wanted to celebrate that new job you got with around for the bar on you (something you’ve always wanted to do). I found something that I loved. I found something that I was passionate about. Bartending. I was part of a team and a pretty badass team at that. We killed it. We had fun. We made money. We made friends. We all worked our asses off and we all worked together. We communicated; we had each other’s backs. We flawlessly took over the area, resulting in some of the highest liquor sales, and even landing our own MTV special. We had something special. We were a team, and I loved it. That lasted for about 6 years before it ultimately ended. By then, I had moved on to a construction company, fully managing the office and ultimately building an entirely different kind of team there. At a startup, I was able to mold processes and create long term policies. I was once again in my happy place. I loved creating and building, watching the company grow from the ground up. Starting out, I was the first office employee under the owner, working out of a small 500 square foot office. Within a few years, and a couple of moves later, I was picking out floor samples and paint colors for our new office and warehouse, hand-selecting and training each new team member myself. I was getting to build and create something, and I felt inspired. But something was missing. I was missing the service industry and the way I could make someone’s day better with a beer and a smile. I missed celebrating everyone’s small everyday victories with a “Cheers”. I missed the people. So, after 5 years of building someone else’s dreams, I decided to start building some of my own, exactly the way I wanted to. In 2018, after somehow pulling off my first (hopefully annual) degenerate golf tournament, I had the confidence to finally file for my tax ID and to start my own company. And what better team to build than a team of bartenders?! Since starting and growing the team over the years, I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a lot. Aspiring to create something that people could get behind and something that made a difference in people’s lives, I wanted to build something that everyone genuinely enjoyed. From offering a quality service to our local community, connecting personally with each of our clients to bring them the best party experience, to providing our team with all the tools to be successful, grow, and enjoy their role in our team; my focus has always been about the people and how I can be a positive impact on our experience together. I want to make people happy, and ultimately, I want to build a team that wants to make people happy, too. So, on a search for the right people, I’ve put all of my efforts into building the perfect team. Even though this party is just barely getting started, I look around, two years later, at the team we are building, the connections we are making, the people in my life, and I understand what makes us happy, what makes me happy. I understand that it is, and always was, about the people we surround ourselves with. It’s how you make people feel. The memories we share. The things we create and build together. It’s all about your tribe. And I’m finding mine.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
This adventure unknowingly started ten years ago, when someone thought it’d be a great idea to throw this wide-eyed, small town girl behind a bar. Knowing NOTHING about being a bartender, I went all-in and focused on learning how to be the BEST bartender I could be. I wanted to give the best service, make the best drinks, and just overall provide the best experience for everyone I came into contact with. I shook hands, told jokes, asked how everyone’s day was, the true art behind being a bartender, an entertainer. Realizing that people were ultimately looking for the experience you get when visiting your favorite local bar and being waited on by your favorite bartender, I strived to bring that experience out of the bar and into private events. I wanted to create a brand with personality that matched our clients’. I wanted to bring a qulality service (with a little flair) to the DFW and North Texas area. And from that concept, Professional Partiers was born.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Living so close to DFW, there’s literally a million things to do. Almost anything you can imagine, you could probably find somewhere to do it. But personally, I’m a huge #supportlocal type of person, and don’t often venture out of a 10 mile radius from our house, unless we’re talking road trips and pass ports, which in that case, my bags are already packed! 😉 So, every friend or family member that comes to visit will proably be dragged out to all my favorite local bars, with all my trouble making friends, to see all my favorite bartenders. My perfect weekend tour? (The Colony area) Thursday. Early happy hour at Del Frisco’s Grille. Egg rolls and cocktails – the perfect snack. If you see a little blonde behind the bar, named Kalei, she’ll make you a stiff cocktail that will quench your thirst! Then, have a chill night at our newest local spot, Ace’s Sports Hangar. Sit and talk shit at the bar for a few hours before going home. Friday. Sneak out early and hit some balls at Top Golf. Happy hour easily at 7 Doors. Grab a couple apps and cocktails. Walk through Grandscape to Parry’s Pizza, grabbing a beer to-go (their lunch specials are awesome, too, if you’re around during the week!). Then, we’d have to check out Bullzerk and what new fun stuff they’ve came out with, ultimately ending up strolling through Scheels, beer in hand. For dinner, we almost always end up at Rix to see Jonathan, one of our favorite bartenders. Long time in the industry, you’re sure to feel welcome and have a good time while sitting at his bar. And the BLT should probably receive awards. 😀 Saturday. Brunch at Lakeview by Peppersmash. Fun cocktails and mimosa towers, no better way to start the day! After a few rounds and all the brunch you can eat, we’d definitely hit up Brass Tap in Prosper to see some of the most entertaining bartenders, Kacey + Pat. Hungry for some good cajun? No worries! We’d highly suggest grabbing some grub at Mud Bugs. A fun party atmosphere, you’ll feel like you’re down in Louisianna. After filling up on the Sample Platter, we’d end the night at a local cigar shop, Up in Smoke, for drinks and stogies. Sunday. Sunday funday is easily my favorite day. To start the day off, we’d go to one of my favorite local bars, Chill in Lewisville. Whether we’re watching football or hanging out with all of our new friends at the bar – it’s always a good time. Some of the best staff around, too! After some drinks and laughs, we usually end up at Knock Outs, where the vibe is all sports and mischief. Monday. Okay, you can’t leave yet. Not until you go check out Truck Yard. Basically an adult playground, the perfect way to spend an extra day. 😀
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
With the people in our lives playing such a huge role in our happiness and success, I am truly thankful for my biggest supporter, encourager, and partner, my husband Matthew. Always pushing me to embrace all that life has to offer and reminding me to love people without restraints, he has truly become my biggest inspiration in all aspects of my life.
Clark Cabus Photography Uniquely You Photography Chelsea Stratso Photography