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March 2012

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Party Line: Do You Have the Answer?

Party Line: Do You Have the Answer?

While we here at Party & Paper Retailer pride ourselves on being the go-to resource for the party industry, we don't have all the answers. In fact, a lot of the time my job is simply to tap into the expertise of others and pass that along to you. But at the end of the day, trends and colors and product patterns don't mean quite as much if your store is struggling to stay afloat and compete with the big-box competitors and Internet, an issue I know many of you face with increasingly regularity. I've heard from a few of you that the state of the retail part of your store is feeling the pinch. With so many other types of stores carrying party supplies, people are taking their business where the prices are set at levels that are unrealistically low for an independent store.…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Ibsen Costume Gallery

Shop Talk: Ibsen Costume Gallery

Spotlight On: Omaha, Neb. Where they do what they love, and love what they do Dwayne Ibsen is a man who wears - and sells - many hats. He currently owns and operates Ibsen Costume Gallery in Omaha, Neb., and he will tell you he's also a past president of the National Costumers Association (NCA), an organization he joined in 1982. But he's humble, so we won't also tell you that he has more than 30 awards from the association, was a Harrelson Award recipient (for service to the costume industry) in 2005, has won the Grand International Award twice, has hosted two national conventions and created the first costume style show at the Chicago TransWorld Halloween show. In addition, his Halloween ads have won two gold and two silver awards from the Nebraska Federation of Advertising. In other words, the man knows his costumes.…  » Read more
2012 Costume Trends

2012 Costume Trends

Find out what's on the costume horizon for 2012 Undead zombies and the superheroes that fight off their attacks will duel each other for costume supremacy in 2012, while accessories are once again seen as the perfect way to both build and complete creative costumes. Q. What do you predict for 2012?Sergio LemusDisguise Inc.Halloween 2011 showed the strongest consumer spending in nine years, and 2012 should be no different. Children, the core of the holiday, will undoubtedly continue to hit the pavement in strong numbers, and an emerging young adult market will still be able to take advantage of a full weekend of celebrations that concludes with the official Wednesday festivities. This, in theory, could amount to three or more costume purchases per participant. Alicia BrockwellDreamgirl Couple's costumes did great in 2011 and we expect the trend to continue for 2012. In 2011, we also…  » Read more
Sexy Never Left

Sexy Never Left

Risqué costumes are no longer a risky gamble The daily rummage through my closet entails pushing through racks of costumes that have been amassed over the years - a sexy maid, a sexy butterfly with an innovative pair of removable flutter wings, a sexy geisha, a sexy fringed cowgirl and, I admit, a sexy Santa outfit. Is there a pattern here? When we think of nurses, cops and various other occupations, we don't initially assume them to be in tight-fitting, low-cut and colorful garb on any other day aside from Halloween. So why is it that on this one night (or weekend), many adults step out of their scrubs and business attire and into skimpy white dresses and caped, superhero(ine) bodysuits to flock the scene? If it's fantasy we're after, why are the hemlines getting shorter as a result and the demand growing stronger? Economics…  » Read more
Two Parties, Double Profits

Two Parties, Double Profits

Bridal showers and bachelorette parties bring twice the chance for sales Before a bride walks down the aisle, she walks into your store, possibly looking for everything from bridal shower decorations to bachelorette party wearables. Whereas the former is usually traditional and demure to some extent, the latter tends to be a bit more trendy and relaxed. The key is offering product for all parties, whether they be bridal showers or bachelorette parties, and creating an accessible environment that compliments both scenarios. Simple ShowersCelebrations in Delphos, Ohio, stocks a large assortment of bridal shower themed tableware, balloons and decorations, making sure to keep solid colors in both tableware and balloons fully stocked. "This can be a challenge since the guest lists for bridal showers are reaching all time highs; we are seeing bridal showers with as many as 100 guests," said Owner Tammy Corzine. "It's…  » Read more
Marketing to Parents

Marketing to Parents

Remind them that sometimes it's easier to let someone else do the work I am a 28-year-old stay-at-home mother of two. I live in the suburbs on a middle-class income and drive a minivan that my husband embarrassingly refers to as "new hotness." I cook meals, schedule play dates and maintain a tight budget. My idea of a party is a good book and glass of wine with my friends, peace and quiet. Does that make me dull? Maybe, but it also makes me a party store owner's target demographic. And I have valuable information to help owners increase their Halloween sales. The mind of a mom can be a complex, scary place. It's full of things like knowing exactly how long to reheat strained squash and the hidden locations of missing shoes, keys and pirate treasure. But there's some valuable information in there, too…  » Read more
California Costume Collections

California Costume Collections

From glitz and glamour to mutts and masks With a home office located in the historical toy district of Los Angeles right next to the garment district that neighbors hip Hollywood, California Costume Collections has established itself as an innovative and unique presence in the industry. The company offers everything from Animal Planet costumes for kids and pets to innovative masks and celebrity costumes, and Senior Sales Manager Jennifer Flores shared how they're looking to continue their success in 2012. PPR: When was the company established? JF: California Costume Collections was established in 1991, and our current CEO and President, Peter Woo, obtained the company in 1992. We are recognized in the industry for providing innovative designs with an emphasis on contemporary trends, features, quality and fit. We are a market leader in the generic costume category among Halloween specialty stores and have a unique…  » Read more

Right Products, Wrong Location

Facing the challenges of a bad store location head on The old saying goes that there is no point in dwelling on the past. And in the case of choosing a storefront that has not proven to be the right location for your business, this is - unfortunately- the best way to actually handle the situation. Sure, you could point fingers and blame someone else for swearing your current storefront would have been a hit or desperately beat yourself up for not picking your second choice as your first, but this won't get you anywhere. Instead, let's look at the reality of your store, its location and how to find success in sales despite the not so great street address. The Glass is Half Empty...or Full Before your store actually existed, did you envision its location to be one of your key marketing factors? If…  » Read more

Social Networking

Networking in a ‘fan,' ‘like,' ‘follow' world Any profitable businessperson will tell you that networking was integral in their success. Meeting and interacting with people in your industry provides you with connections you need to move your business forward. Good networking skills can even provide you with connections you didn't think you would need - until you did. Luckily, there's an app for that. Several, actually. Never have there been more opportunities to engage your clients, your colleagues, your consumers. Social media platforms, it seems, have overtaken the Internet. While some may bemoan their presence as taking away from that "personal" connection, social networking has created myriad opportunities for businesses and marketers to reach out to their consumers and engage with them on a whole new level. According to Social Media Examiner, there are more than 800 million active Facebook users, and 53 percent of…  » Read more

The Store Room:  “What have you found to be the most useful social media tool?”

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "What have you found to be the most useful social media tool for your business?" Julie SnyderMetamorphosis Costume ShopHarrison, Ark. Our Facebook page has greatly increased our ability to reach people on a much more personal level. People are able to use our Facebook page to ask inventory questions, make appointments, check our daily or weekly sales/promotions, etc. In addition to making new product/service announcements, this social media is used to do contests where the first person to come in and answer the daily Facebook question gets a certain percentage off their entire purchase. This added to the fun during the height of Halloween season. Wickel DonohueWickels BalloonsHuntingtown, Md. My best tactics for social media would have to be LinkedIn. I link up with people that were…  » Read more