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August 2011

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Party Line: What makes you smile?

Party Line: What makes you smile?

Is it your family? Friends? Funny movies? The Annual Party & Paper Balloon Issue (wink, wink)? No matter what your answer is, one thing's for certain - everybody smiles, and it can be contagious. A smile is the quickest way to endear people to you, it doesn't cost a thing and it can open up a world of new relationships - both personally and professionally. I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that a smiling person is often judged as more pleasant to be around and is considered more confident and successful, all important characteristics of those in the retail industry (and in life.) Harnessing the power of a smile, the International Balloon Association chose the smiley face balloon as their "representative" for September's International Balloon Month, using positivity to promote "Bring Balloons" while growing sales and awareness for balloon-related businesses…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Balloons-N-Tunes

Shop Talk: Balloons-N-Tunes

Spotlight on: Sedalia, Mo. If you build it, they will come How does one go from secondary education to singing telegrams? Well, sometimes you choose your career, and sometimes your career chooses you. Eric Monsees didn't know that his position as a Program Coordinator for an agency that trained independent living skills to individuals with developmental disabilities would eventually lead him to owning Balloons-N-Tunes, but it did. Now four years after a leap-of-faith opening, this one-stop party shop has settled into its current 3,700-square-foot location in a prime retail traffic area of Sedalia, Mo. "You sell...balloons?"A close friend Monsees had met through work owned a home-based balloon delivery business that Monsees had helped finance. When she decided to sell it, he took over - despite the fact that he had no retail experience and had never even entered a party store before. "The store initially…  » Read more
Inflation Innovation

Inflation Innovation

Sights and sounds for balloons in 2012 If you sell party goods of any sort, you know that licensed products are perennially popular. Dora the Explorer, Disney's Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean are constant blips on the retail radar in everything from costumes to balloons. Because you can refer to the Licensing Lists on our website, this annual balloon trends feature isn't going to talk about any of that. Instead, this feature will focus on innovation and ideas for implementation. So let's look past the old and get to the new, as 2012 looks to be another great year for balloons. Bright and BoldWhen it comes to basic aesthetics, expect to see bright and bold colors and traditional party-related icons like cakes/cupcakes, candy, streamers and presents. Shanan Kern of Anagram Int. said specialty film types are a key way to differentiate your offering from…  » Read more
Sell a Smile

Sell a Smile

How will you promote International Balloon Month? By Abby HeugelManaging Editor The International Balloon Association (IBA) has declared September to be International Balloon Month, a month-long call-to-action for everyone in the balloon and party industry to bring the concept of balloons to forefront of people's minds. With "Bring Balloons" as their slogan and a smiley face balloon as the logo, the IBA's goal is to be inclusive to every type of individual and business in the balloon industry. "Encouraging people to think about bringing balloons could mean inviting a twister to entertain at your next event or hiring a balloon decorator to take your event décor to the next level," said Kathi Leiden, IBA Marketing Committee chairperson. "The logo includes smiley face balloons because every balloon manufacturer makes some type of smiley face balloon in latex or foil and they fit any season." Leiden said…  » Read more
Full Speed Ahead

Full Speed Ahead

The racecar theme shows no signs of slowing down When Disney's "Cars" came out in 2006, it sped to the top of the box office and had people racing to create their own racecar-themed parties. The success of the animated feature hasn't lost any speed and hit the big screen once again with a sequel in June, reigniting the popularity of Lightning McQueen and his friends. A fun family movie with a great message also makes for a great party theme, so with the sequel came a new wave of racing fans and a new wave of sales for retailers. So whether customers opt for Disney "Cars," NASCAR or a generic racecar theme, retailers need to keep the pedal to the medal and buckle up for some speedy sales. License To SellClaire January, associate product manager for Hallmark Party, said that they see an enormous…  » Read more
The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

The joke's on you...if you're lucky I grew up in New York City, and like most kids, I found myself spending a significant amount of time in the local Magic and Joke Shop. What would life have been like without a Whoopee cushion, rubber chicken or invisible dog leash? As long as people enjoy a good laugh, there will always be a demand for clever jokes, magic tricks and novelty gifts. Sadly, the Magic and Joke Shop as we know it has fallen victim to high real estate costs. The existence of these types of specialty stores is few and far between. However, fear not! Such an unfortunate set of circumstances may give rise to a new opportunity for you. Fit In FunnyI would like to discuss how these types of products can fit nicely into your store so that you can capitalize on this…  » Read more

Tricks of the Trade Show

Tips for attendees and exhibitors By Walter ErwinSpecial to Party & Paper Woody Allen famously said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." While that may be true for many of life's endeavors, it doesn't apply to attending or exhibiting at trade shows. To get the most out of the trade show experience, you have to be an active participant, not just "show up." Like many of you, I have attended a lot of trade shows. I first started going to general merchandise shows back in the early 1970s, and have been traveling to a variety of different shows multiple times a year since then. For the most part, I have attended trade shows as a buyer. But when I started Party Club of America (PCA) in 2002, I got to see what it was like to exhibit at, and organize, a trade show. To…  » Read more

Store Room: “How do you explain what you do to those unfamiliar with the industry?”

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers. "How do you explain what you do to those unfamiliar with the industry?" Daniel HazenOzzie DotsLos Angeles, Calif.Actually, sometimes I don't have to explain. I just apply a bunch of clown make-up or smear blood gel to my face and that says it all. But when I try to explain what I do to someone unfamiliar with our industry, first of all, I don't really have to because our store is so jam-packed with goodies that they're overwhelmed. I also jump when necessary to special order what they need. I also explain that our industry is really magical and thrilling, because we all gather our brains together to create fantasy and illusion for their next big party or event. I finally explain that most people in our…  » Read more