Party People: Claire Geldard
The Party’s Here
The Party’s Here is a family-owned and operated business that opened in 2004 in a small shop in Panania, Australia (the business moved to a larger location in nearby Padstow in 2013). The Party’s Here is an active member of the local community, supporting businesses, schools and fundraising events when possible. Employees regularly attend training days, meetings and conventions internationally, as well as liaise with other members of the balloon and party industry through Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN) and the Balloon Artists and Suppliers Association (BASA).
1. What is the best retail advice you’ve received?
Show what you want to sell. Customers often come into the store not really knowing what they want and what’s available. By having a range of balloon arrangements on display throughout the shop, including the front window, you’re showing them this with minimal effort. Putting a price tag on is also effective as it means customers don’t have to ask. Often, they’ll think it’s too expensive if it doesn’t have a price.
2. What are your goals for the upcoming year?
We’ve recently updated our website, http://www.thepartyshere.com.au to in,clude e-commerce and shopping cart features for our party supplies and giftware. Our goal is to promote the website, particularly through various social media channels to increase our reach to customers who aren’t local that can still enjoy our products by shopping online.
3. What are your biggest frustrations? How do you handle them?
In every industry there is always going to another store undercutting someone else’s prices. My best advice is to have confidence in your products and services — this will shine through and your customers will notice. What you’re offering is more often than not of better quality than what the discount stores can do. Lots of customers don’t know that there’s any difference between your balloons and the balloons down the road. Why not educate them?
4. How do you stay passionate about what you do?
Training days, meetings and conventions are extremely important to keeping up with recent trends, new products, designs and networking with other balloon professionals. I make every effort to attend as many of these as possible, as I’ve found I always learn something, even if it’s just through a casual conversation with another artist. Learning new skills and designs keeps our work fresh and our customers interested in what we do, which in turn keeps us happy, too.
5. If you had $10,000 to do whatever you wanted to your store, what renovations would you make?
Space has always been an issue for us, but we’re lucky to have moved premises in the last 18 months to a bigger, newer shopfront. It would be great to have some more effective signage on the shop front so that customers can find us more easily. I would also use that same sign design to match the sign on our two delivery vehicles, which at the moment need a revamp. There’s a residential apartment above our shop, but if that became available we’d love to rent that as well and convert it into a workshop area. We only have a small section at the back of the shop for inflating balloons and storing extra stock. If we could increase this area we’d be able to spread out the retail displays even more.
— Do you know of a party person we should highlight? Send your suggestions to email@example.com and they could be featured in an upcoming issue!