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April 2015

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Party People: Laurie Ross

Party People: Laurie Ross

Life O’ The Party Hackensack, New Jersey Laurie Ross found a passion for entertaining at a young age on grand stage — the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Today, Ross employs her skills as a performer at Life O’ The Party — one of the premier entertainment and balloon companies in the metropolitan New York area. Established in 1980, Life O’ The Party products have been featured in numerous big-budget films, including “You’ve Got Mail,” “Ransom” and Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center.” 1. What is the best retail advice you’ve received? Label everything with your logo, phone number and web address. 2. What are your goals for the year? Increase visibility and ultimately sales via social media — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 3. What are your biggest retail frustrations? Being primarily in the balloon and entertainment business, people really don’t take us seriously…  » Read more
Party Line: Quality Service is No Temporary Goal

Party Line: Quality Service is No Temporary Goal

I’ve been a seasonal employee. Amid a sea of employees whose names you may not know, it can be hard to stand out to employers. Plus, knowing your time at a company is limited can offer little incentive to go the extra mile for customers, coworkers or management — and that extra mile is key in making your customers’ shopping experience stand out. There are many very basic things to do as an employer to excite your staff’s spirit and create a positive work environment, and it’s up to you to ensure your work environment is one in which people want to work. Making sure your employees are well acquainted may sound very obvious, but you might be surprised at how often seasonal employees may not even be on a name-to-name basis. When you have an influx of new hires, it can be difficult to…  » Read more
Hot Trends are Frosting Over

Hot Trends are Frosting Over

With "Frozen" themes thawing out, new birthday bonanzas are on the rise Cindy Kavanaugh knows when a birthday party theme has the potential to snowball into strong sales. Weeks before Disney’s “Frozen” really heated up, Kavanaugh, co-owner of Parker Party America in Parker, Colorado, with her husband Matt, planned their buying to include elements, such as snowflakes, that could be promoted to customers looking for ideas. The runaway success of “Frozen” has meant sizzling sales for party and paper retailers like Kavanaugh but even she’ll admit that things have gotten out of hand in that area: “It’s almost like there’s this ‘Frozen’ competition out there, everyone’s going over the top — the gift bags are getting bigger, every child must have a wand and tiara, the tableware has become larger, as have the balloon bouquets,” Kavanaugh pointed out. Creativity sells Does the continued popularity of…  » Read more
Celebrate Every Occasion With Balloons

Celebrate Every Occasion With Balloons

The calendar is full of holidays you probably didn’t know about In the party industry, we know birthdays are the “everyday holiday” — which means a lot of opportunities to sell balloons on any given day. But in addition to the perennial birthday party profits, you can capitalize on sales from many lesser-known occasions that still deserve a celebration. Mark Your Calendar Have you noticed the increasing prominence of holidays and observances (some more quirky than others) recognizing certain people, foods, activities, or occupations? It’s just further proof that people like to celebrate anything, and they want an excuse to do it! So why not join in and use the opportunity to boost your balloon sales? Here are just a few examples throughout the year (specific dates may vary by country): Administrative Professionals’ Day is celebrated the Wednesday of the last full week of April…  » Read more
Inflating the Family Biz

Inflating the Family Biz

Northstar Balloons recounts its company history and where it’ll float to next For some people, balloons mean party décor and favors. For retailers, they may mean sales and merchandising, but for Nico Kieves Wyrobek, balloons mean family and a buoyant business future. Wyrobek’s family has gone a long way from founding and selling Anagram International to eventually getting back into the business by starting Northstar Balloons. Maintaining its family focus, her company is striving to become the leader in its industry, from using advanced manufacturing technology to being design trendsetters, Northstar is making its mark in industry history. Party & Paper Retailer got the chance to speak with Wyrobek, CEO and owner of Northstar, about her long history in the balloon industry, which started when she was an adolescent. PPR: What was it like growing up in the balloon industry? NWK: My parents founded Anagram…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Fancy That

Shop Talk: Fancy That

Spotlight On: Hillsboro, Oregon Realizing success after imagining a dream After working for several Fortune 500 companies in retail and management, Lisa Komer took a graceful, well-planned leap into the realm of independent party supply and gift retail. Nearly 10 years have passed since Komer started her shop — first online and then as a popup in a bakery — it wasn’t until 2012 when Komer, with a burst of color and community involvement, opened the doors of her brick-and-mortar celebration shop. Almost two years later, Fancy That, located in Hillsboro, Oregon, is already thriving as a result of Komer’s industry ardor, a new community events studio and a modern mind on marketing. Prepping for the party Anyone’s first foray into being an independent retailer is always rife with surprises and challenges. Don Morgan, director of Party Club of America, once said: “a tip for any retailer is to…  » Read more