A Little More Pomp

3 ideas to spruce up your graduation party displays

By Zeke Jennings |

Retailers are constantly in need of new and fresh ways to liven up in-store displays for yearly occasions. Graduation parties are a great example.

Here are a few ideas to spruce your graduation displays using simple and common items when the time comes next spring.

1. T-shirt yearbook. Display a T-shirt with the name or logo of a local high school or university with well wishes and signatures on it from a grad’s friends and family (the lighter the color, the better the signatures will show up). Many of you already carry local high and school and college products, but even if you don’t parents will enjoy the idea for a fun addition to their grad’s party. If you don’t normally carry T-shirts, it’s a great chance to collaborate with another small retailer who does.

2. Thank-you note hashtag. The celebrant will undoubtedly receive more than a few gifts, monetary or otherwise. Encourage thank-you note buying by opening a package of a selection you stock and making a display of hypothetical thank-you notes. Here’s the extra step — at the party, encourage guests to take pictures and post on social media using a specific hashtag, (i.e. #StephanieMooreParty2017). Have the grad write the hashtag on every thank-you note they send out. “Dear Aunt Martha, thank you so much for the generous gift. So sorry you couldn’t be at my party, but be sure to check out pics on Instagram and Facebook at #StephanieMooreParty2017.” It’s a great way for friends and family, whether they were in attendance or not, to relive the special day, not to mention a keepsake for the graduate. A nice way to push stationery sales, as well.

3. Clothesline photo album. Hanging clothesline with clothespins holding pictures from throughout the grad’s life is not only an easy and cheap way to dress up your in-store graduation display, it will be inspirational to party planners. It wouldn’t hurt to stock multi-purpose clothesline and clothespins, of course.

What’s hot in graduation balloons and décor with Denise West of Mayflower Distributing

PPR: Are you seeing any variations in the market outside the traditional black and gold?

Overall, school colors are still the most popular styles. Even if the theme of the party is not in school colors, customers still get at least some of the balloons/balloon bouquets in the graduate’s school colors. Popular colors are blue, burgundy and red. Dated balloons are also always a hit. 

PPR: What about partyware and other decorations for grad parties? Is the taste in that area fairly traditional, or are you seeing more wants for certain styles or looks?

Overall, keeping with the school color theme is still popular. However, female grad parties seem to be straying further from traditional school colors. Luau and brightly colored chevron/polka dots are popular designs and gold, hot pink and black have been popular colors. Male parties still seem to be themed around more traditional and school-colored themes.

PPR: Have you received any recent requests for products retailers are struggling to find?

No. We have an extensive line of party and paper goods for graduation parties. We have not had a request lately for anything we have not had or could not easily source. 

— Denise West is the Customer Service and Key Accounts Director for Mayflower Distributing, headquartered in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.   

Originally posted Monday, Oct. 31, 2016

Tags: graduation party products