Minnidip’s Founder Shares Tips for Throwing the Ultimate End of Summer Backyard Party

We spoke to Emily Vaca about the inspiration behind her inflatable pool brand, Minnidip’s latest collaboration, and her must-haves for pulling off a great backyard shindig.

Minnidip
We independently source all of the awesome products and experiences that we feature on Thrillist. If you buy or book from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission — which in turn supports our work.

Yesterday, the New York Metro Weather announced that this will be the last time that the sun will set at or after 8:00pm in New York City until next summer. This not only means that we’re going to lose some crucial hours of daylight but it also means that warm weather is sadly on its way out. But, before we go back to cozying up in our cocoons, there’s still time to plan at least one backyard party to end summer with a bang.

To help you do it right, we spoke with Emily Vaca, founder of Minnidip, about why her products make a perfect addition to your backyard, and asked her for what else you’ll need to make your end of summer celebration one for the books.

Tell us a little bit about the Minnidip design approach. What’s the inspiration behind it?
Emily Vaca: The idea of Minnidip was born in 2013 when I was hosting a party for my friends on our rooftop. I wanted an inflatable pool that was as beautiful as all of the other design-focused details I had curated and planned so perfectly, but it didn’t exist.

Being a designer with over 10 years in the design and advertising industry at the time, I knew I could create a pattern that was modern, chic, and most importantly adult-friendly. And Minnidip launched as the original and first designer “adult-kiddie” pool in Summer 2017. The first pattern I ever designed was the That’s Banana(leave)s which was inspired by our travels to Tulum, Mexico. I wanted to bring tropical vibes to our urban rooftop. Since then, I’ve designed and launched over 40 different Minnidip patterns—each has its own unique inspiration that I design to speak to different styles…similar to picking out a favorite swimsuit for that season.

Minnidip

Summer is coming to an end, what would be your ideal backyard party scene to celebrate the last warm days of the year?
Vaca: In Chicago, our summers are everything, so as soon as the warm weather hits, we’re all outside soaking in every sunny moment possible! We mainly spend our time on our rooftop where we always soak up the last bits of summer sun in our Minnidip and sip on frozen cocktails while blasting 90s music with our friends and our pup Bananas.

When it comes to a backyard party, we look for design-minded and fun-enhancing items, what are your must-haves?
Vaca: When it comes to hosting a party, the details are my favorite part! Design-minded yet functional products play a big part in that.

Lounging:
Having a spot for everyone to sit comfortably, preferably in the shade, is the first step. Outdoor furniture sets have really stepped up their game with the designs even worthy of indoor lounging. If you don't have the space for a full furniture set, make it casual yet comfortable with large outdoor blankets for everyone to lounge picnic-style:

Music:
I love Ultimate Ears' Wonderboom speakers because they’re battery-operated, waterproof (they even float in your Minnidip!) and they sync up to multiple surround sound speakers throughout your home. They look and sound great and hold the charge all weekend long, so you’ll be able to get through your entire nineties playlist… a few times!

Drinks:
Refreshing cocktails are key, and I love a good frozen cocktail on hot sunny days. I'm so obsessed with crafting frozen drinks that we recently splurged on a slushie machine! I'm a big fan of Blendjet, a battery-powered blender so you can easily make fresh frozen margaritas (yum!) without even worrying about having an outlet!

Cooling off:
On hot days, ice cream is a MUST! Our absolute favorite is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and we were so thrilled to collaborate with them this Summer on the ultimate ice cream pool party for our Minnidip x Jeni’s Pool Party In A Box Collection! We also created a backyard game inspired by their iconic orange ice cream pint as well as a miniature floating ice cream truck cooler that keeps all of your favorite flavors cold and within spoon's reach while minnidipping!

Eats:
We’re obsessed with the new Spark Grill because it cooks with charcoal which tastes the best, but uses electricity to start right away when guests start to get hungry!

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.