Kassie Taylor (Kassandra Bazinet) has not only created her own dream job, this young entrepreneur has turned her career into a unique business that brings joy to the hearts of young and old alike.
Twenty-four-year-old Taylor grew up in Minnow Lake, one of three children in a close-knit family that takes part in many activities together. She and her father particularly enjoy performing music together at local events and festivals.
“Our parents,” explained Taylor, “raised us in an environment that emphasizes the importance of caring and giving back to community.”
Her father, Rodney Bazinet, is a local clinician and social worker with Compass Child & Youth Mental Health Services, and her mother, Nicole Bazinet, is employed at a local Tim Hortons. A middle child, Taylor’s older brother Ryan, 28, works for Milman Industries. Her younger brother, Avery, is seven.
“Our parents nurtured in us a strong sense of compassion for others,” she said. “Giving back to community means the world to our family.”
Taylor is very much a people person.
She believes community involvement means not only helping others, but taking the time to get to know them and having a genuine interest in their lives. “I’ve met some wonderful people,” she said. “I feel that, if ever I needed support, the community would be there for me, too. Volunteering is a reciprocal relationship.
“My dad is a long-time community volunteer who loves to take on new projects every couple of years, whether it’s as president of Theatre Cambrian or fundraising for festivals and environmental initiatives.”
During her father’s time with Clean Up East Ramsey Park, Taylor herself became the youngest volunteer to join him on the board. “We’ve been committed to cleaning up areas around the park, which is across from Moonlight Beach,” she said.
Taylor’s self-confidence and commitment to community are inspired by being involved alongside her father as a volunteer in many different events.
“My mother has a very strong work ethic as well, both in her career and as a dedicated mom,” she said. “She has always been there to support us in any decisions we make and endeavours we take on.”
Music and the arts are also very important to the Bazinet family.
Since she was a youngster, Taylor and her dad have performed publicly as a duo. They often entertain audiences at community events. “I started playing the guitar and piano around age seven,” she said. “I also learned the fife [similar to a piccolo] during my time as an army cadet.”
Taylor’s parents are both musicians: Nicole is a singer, while Rod plays several instruments and sings. “My dad can pick up and play just about anything,” she said. That musical talent has been passed down the generations. Taylor’s late grandmother, Carol, was a popular local country music singer in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Like just about anyone, Taylor is afraid of a lot of things; however, she never allows fear to control her. Certainly not since a most frightening experience in her early twenties.
While employed as a promotions representative with Up with People in 2018, Taylor ended up living and working in Durango, Mexico. She sustained a serious brain injury in a freak fall and spent several days in hospital there.
“The doctors suspected a possible brain bleed, but their medical equipment wasn’t able to identify that right away,” she said. “So, for the next few days, I was monitored to determine the outcome. I spent the entire time wide awake and reflecting on my life and future.”
Thankfully, Taylor survived that traumatic accident; however, she continues to experience some residual difficulties with memory.
“The main thing is that I recovered and what I came away with was a greater outlook on life in general,” she said.
“I realized just how lucky I was to be alive. Today, I live life constantly challenging my fears and never letting them control me. I don’t shy away from seizing opportunities. That experience—and being so far away from home and family—opened my eyes to how fragile our time is on this earth. I want to live close to family and friends. I value those relationships deeply.
“That’s why I think it’s so important to follow one’s passions.”
An entrepreneur by nature, Taylor has indeed followed her passions. At 18, she opened Sudbury School of Performing Arts, where she taught children and young adults who were exploring their own interest in the arts.
In 2019, she and her father hosted a fundraiser to support the Sudbury-Manitoulin Children’s Foundation’s efforts to make summer camp available to kids from low-income families. “I believe strongly that all children should have access to the same opportunities, and summer camp is such an important phase of young lives.”
It sparked an idea in Taylor to start her own summer camp program called Camp Star, where she taught music, theatre, stage presence, marketing and leadership skills to youth aged seven to 17. “It was so rewarding to see how the program helped them develop their self-confidence,” she said.
Then, when the pandemic swept the world in early 2020, Taylor stepped away from teaching and began concentrating on building a party entertainment business.
We Bring the Party Home started off rather by accident.
A friend’s young daughter was struggling with pandemic life, even having nightmares about germs. “Being a natural lover of princesses, I decided to write a short script and perform it for her, in the hopes it would help her overcome fear and a feeling of isolation,” she said.
“I dressed up as a princess, recited a script describing the lengthy isolation between Anna and Elsa resulting from Elsa’s magical ice powers. I also sang a few songs I knew my young friend would recognize.
“A friend video-taped the entire performance and posted it online for the family to enjoy again. It was a whim, really, just my way of helping a little girl feel okay and stay safe.”
That initial performance not only went viral on social media, it led to a viable business that brings Taylor and her troupe of performers incredible joy.
“Kids of all ages love fairy-tale characters to begin with, so having a visit from them ‘live and in person’ and having the chance to sing along to their favourite songs lifts everyone’s spirits,” she said.
Clients can request pretty much any character, from popular superheroes to their favourite princess.
Taylor owns more than 70 costumes and has entertained kids as young as one, to adults and residents of seniors’ homes. “My talented troupe performs at birthday parties and anniversaries, which has been an especially popular request by families who love to celebrate milestones along with their children,” she said.
We Bring the Party is based on theatrical character performance. “My employees are all highly trained theatrical performers.”
Taylor’s team includes several talented young performers.
Trinity Thibeault, an incredible singer who started off playing Anna, now has a broad repertoire of characters. “She’ll be attending college in Toronto next year,” Taylor said. “I’m hoping to send along a few princess costumes so she can continue to perform as we explore opportunities in southern Ontario.”
Fabio Sinel, a local paralegal and Bazinet family friend, performs as Spiderman. “He’s such a talented musician and a dedicated volunteer for children’s causes,” she said.
As Taylor’s company expands, recent recruits include Katie Behun, Aiyana Louis, Leah Gravelle and Zac Rivest. “They do a fantastic job playing many characters, such as Moana, Ariel, Rapunzel, Superman, Spiderman and Batman,” she said.
Performances don’t follow a strict script but instead play off the energy of the audience. “It makes the experience more authentic.”
Another component enhances the experience.
The singing is live, not a lip sync to recorded music. “Our cast learns the songs and performs them,” she said. “It’s very real to our young audiences; the characters come alive and that makes every child’s dream come true.
“It’s so rewarding being in this line of work. You see the kids’ faces light up with excitement at meeting their favourite fairy-tale characters. We’ve actually been a big hit at birthday parties for young and old alike. Our performances make people happy, and that is so needed these days.
“In these strange and trying times, it’s heartwarming to witness the excitement and enthusiasm everyone has for the live music and skits. But that’s also bittersweet because it brings home the reality of just how much the pandemic has impacted people’s lives. I’m fortunate to have been able to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and continue performing.”
Taylor has expanded her business once more to include mascots, “… like the gorilla who delivers ‘gorillagrams’ and gift baskets to those who are celebrating birthdays and milestone events. We have characters for every occasion. There’s truly something for everyone.”
Her entrepreneurial and organizational skills and passion for helping others have also proven useful in her other jobs.
At Laurentian University, where Taylor works in the Communications Department, she writes blogs and social media posts. With Northern Lights Festival Boréal, she is a volunteer coordinator. “I’ve developed ways to manage a super-busy schedule and have shared tips on a recent LU blog.”
“Nothing I have accomplished could have happened without the encouragement and support of my family and friends, and my team,” she said. Taylor has also been blessed with mentors who have taken her under their wing in personally challenging times, as well as in building her businesses.
“My brain injury left me starting from scratch in terms of reading and writing, and I still suffer some residual difficulties with memory. Back then, I was told I should not consider returning to university in the near future, but I was determined to complete my degree.”
With the patient guidance and support of Professor Janis Goldie, Taylor was indeed able to continue her studies at LU, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications this past April. “Dr. Goldie invested so much time helping me during my recovery. I’m forever grateful for her mentorship and friendship.”
John Hartman, owner of Icedrum Media, has been a strong supporter of Kassie’s entire team. “I’m in awe of his talents in all aspects of media and studio work. His marketing expertise has been instrumental to the success of my business. John is always my first call when I have news to share or an idea to explore. He’s genuinely excited about helping us with new projects and endeavours,” he said.
“Relationships with those who inspire you and who share their experiences and advice help shape our personality and interests. They motivate us to pursue our dreams and achieve our goals.”
Today, Taylor not only works as an intern at LU, she also drives a special needs bus. “It’s a busy schedule, taking classes, driving bus, performing shows and running my company, but I love it,” she said. “My life and career revolve around kids and I enjoy bringing a smile to their faces.”
With all that she has experienced in her young life, Taylor knows exactly what she wants out of life. “Everything I do is something I’m passionate about; it’s not about the money or anything ‘superficial’.”
Kassie Taylor's Words of Inspiration
When you want to accomplish something, don’t hold back—just do it. When you have what you believe is a great idea, jump on it, even if you’re not fearless. Otherwise, you’ll never know if a project or a career will be the right path for you.
Being involved in community work is so rewarding, especially getting to know those people you’re helping…. not just on the surface but taking a genuine interest in their lives. Your community is there to support you just as much.
Marlene Holkko Moore is a local communications professional and regular contributor to Sudbury.com.