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January 2012

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Party Line: Happy New Year

Party Line: Happy New Year

It's time to turn the page on 2011 and dive into 2012, a year that is sure to bring with it new challenges, new opportunities and new connections. It's also sure to bring with it more Halloween, as even though we're still recovering from 2011, the Halloween & Party Expo in Houston at the end of this month reminds us that it's never too early to start looking ahead. Halloween 2012 looks to be bigger and better than 2011, as according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2011 Top Costumes survey, Americans were expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes in 2011, with more than $1 billion spent on children's costumes, $1.2 billion on adult costumes and $310 million on pet costumes. While witches, princesses and superheroes continue to top the lists each year, the innovations and special effects that manufacturers launch is what…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Performance Studios

Shop Talk: Performance Studios

Spotlight On: Nashville, Tenn. For what you need from top to toe What began in 1988 as Interstate Cosmetics, an 80-square-foot store in the corner of a lighting shop, has grown into Performance Studios, a 17,000-square-foot retail space in Nashville, Tenn., with more than 20,000 costumes and accessories, two fully functional hair salons and a wide variety of makeup and professional services. Owners Glenn Alexander and Gary Broadrick started the company under the premise of creating a line of cosmetics to be worn daily, as well as used professionally that would be distributed through hair salons. "It was our belief that women should buy their makeup where they get their hair done and have available to them a quality product at a good price point," Broadrick said. "As the makeup line continued to grow, so did the space we occupied, allowing us to add a…  » Read more
Halloween How-To

Halloween How-To

Be on the look out for the hottest trends There are some things you can expect every Halloween - black and orange, ghosts and witches, licensed costumes - but there are also those trendy details that can set your store apart and make Halloween a ghoulish goldmine. Because according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch, seven in 10 Americans (68.6 percent) planned to celebrate Halloween in 2011, up from 63.8 percent in 2010 and the most in NRF's nine-year survey history. The average person was expected to spend $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, and total Halloween spending was expected to reach $6.86 billion. Of that, Americans were expected to spend $1 billion on children's costumes, $1.21 billion on adult costumes, and an average of $19.79 on decorations like life-size skeletons, extra large inflatable pumpkins…  » Read more
Grown-Up Garb

Grown-Up Garb

Get a look at what's in store At the end of the day, a costume is a costume, and customers can decide what they want and who they want to buy it from in a variety of ways. While some adults might be happy with a simple mask, others have a more discerning taste and set of criteria for their purchases. "I once had a good customer tell me that he bought from five great costume vendors and asked what I had that was different," said Sean Monahan of Party King. "Why should he buy from me? Great question, and I think about that all the time. The same can be said for retailers, as shoppers don't need you if you're showing them things they can buy elsewhere." So why should consumers buy from you? One answer is that you keep up with unique and…  » Read more
Survival of the Hippest

Survival of the Hippest

Consumers turn to pop cultural icons and themes for inspiration Another Halloween season has come and gone, leaving us gripping our seats wondering, "What's next?!" Incumbent vampire darlings? More celebrity masks? Will we be blown away by a late-in-the-game celebrity who makes a splash in the news? The fact of the matter is that the presence of pop cultural stimuli continues to overwhelmingly trickle into our daily lives. From the "Jersey Shore" to Charlie Sheen and everything in between, consumers keep their fingers on the pulse of society and they intend to show it. We can't even escape the fact that on the one night out of the year when we can fantasize about being anyone else for a night, many inevitably turn to the everyday inspirations from pop culture. As I scavenged through shops this year, I noticed the aisles were flooded with recurring…  » Read more
Superheroes, Super Sales

Superheroes, Super Sales

This looks like a job for ‘Super Retailer!' The classic battle between good and evil is nothing new, as people have always been draw towards an escape from reality and something heroic to follow. Lucky for retailers, the superhero genre has seen a resurgence in the past decade as more classics are being brought back to the big screen and new ones are jumping right in. Characters that dominate the big screen will dominate store shelves on everything from cups to costumes, which is good news for retailers, as a love of action and superhero role play is not relegated to simply the young or the old, male or female. It's an all-encompassing trend, which means more sales and chances for world - or at least retail - domination. And...Action! Claire January from Hallmark Party said that superheroes as a party theme is always huge,…  » Read more
Little Kids, Big Screen Sales

Little Kids, Big Screen Sales

If it captures their attention, it can capture sales Are you familiar with Frankie Stein and her "ghoulfriends" from "Monster High"? How about Lalaloopsy dolls? If you're not, you probably should be. Kids are spending more time than ever before watching television, playing video games and watching their favorite DVD over and over and over again, so these characters play a large role in their daily life. When it comes to Halloween - or dressing up for fun any time of the year - the characters they see each day are the ones they want to be. Opening CreditsWhile some of the characters are new on the scene, some like Spider-Man and Strawberry Shortcake are simply being reinvented for a younger audience that wasn't previously exposed to them in the past. Taking a bestselling costume character and reinventing it for a new demographic allows the…  » Read more
Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Help customers party all day, every day of the year Holidays are certainly fun and exciting - and the fuel to every party business - but there are at least 362 days in the year outside of Halloween, Christmas and New Year's. To keep customers coming in the store year round, owners must walk a fine line between offering a basic product foundation for any and every party and not letting that aisle of basic products grow dusty and boring. Follow these tips and advice to make sure your store can create an amazing party for every customer, every day of the year. How to StartWhile Halloween may pack a powerful sales punch, basic party supplies are a must. They can be used for any party fathomable, and yet a plain, solid-colored plate doesn't seem that exciting. But it can't be ignored, as even the…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Foy’s Variety & Halloween Stores

Shop Talk: Foy’s Variety & Halloween Stores

Spotlight On: Fairborn, Ohio Success is in the numbers For Michael Foy of Foy's Variety/Halloween Stores in Fairborn, Ohio, success is in the numbers. What started as a 5 & 10 store 80 years ago has turned into six stores with four generations of retail experience and countless memories of customers, costumes and friendships. "While we started as an old time 5 & 10 Variety Store, when we branched into the Halloween business our inventory began to increase drastically, prompting us to seek another location to house our costume sales and rentals," Foy said. "Having a store location vacant one block down from us gave us the opportunity to rent this location and open Foy's Costume Store." As time went on, more store fronts became vacant directly across the street and the building was placed up for sale. It already included their Kid's Costume store,…  » Read more
Bridal Bouquet

Bridal Bouquet

Be sure to offer customers a little of this, a little of that When it comes to a wedding, the classic "Something old, something new ... " might apply in the traditional sense. But when it comes to bridal offerings and party stores, it might be more accurate to say "A little of this, a little of that ...." It's impossible to be all things to all people, so offering a little something in terms of partyware, balloons or favors and accessories is the key to them saying "I do" to more sales. Mix and MatchColor is one of the most important factors in bridal décor, and Amscan's Robyn Behring said their new wedding product for 2012 allows any bride to create a unique color story or match a previously chosen one. Their new 2012 bridal concept starts with solid color on-trend wedding decorations and…  » Read more

Mission: Possible

Making Stellar Employees Out of So-So Associates By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle With the good comes the bad, and in the case of retail employees, this is often the situation. From late arrivers to gossipy co-workers to lazy performances, many associates come with attitudes and habits that aren't ideal for your business. We can't overlook our achievers, however. Amidst the bad are hard workers with flexible schedules who are dedicated to your store profit. Then of course, there are those in between - the gray group. Neither black or white in their performances - or lack of them - but instead a blend of both good and bad attributes. Sound familiar? So-so associates are common in retail, bringing to the table just enough to stay on the schedule but not enough to really shine. Simply stated, this is a problem. The real problem, however, is that…  » Read more

The Store Room: What are your business resolutions for 2012?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "What are you resolving to do with your business in 2012? Cornelia FranklinA Pink GorillaClevelandOur plans will be focused on a few different aspects in our marketing program, led by my husband, Domonic. His focus will continue to be improvements to our website, rotating pictures of décor and bouquet offerings through our online ordering. We also have tapped into Twitter and Facebook over the past two years and will continue to drive clients old and new to those sites with a large emphasis on our current database of emails. We have increased our email blasts and continue to reap the benefits. We have learned that keeping your name out there, keeps the phone ringing! With the economy coming back in Cleveland and millions of dollars being put…  » Read more