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November 2011

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Party Line: Recharge, Restock, Restore

Party Line: Recharge, Restock, Restore

As anyone in this industry knows, Halloween can take a lot out of you - physically and mentally. So as we enter November, I hope you've taken a couple days to recharge, restock and restore your spirit for the winter months ahead. Now I know some of you might be shaking your head at the thought of taking a day or two off, but it's crucial for keeping things sane. With all the varying responsibilities in our lives, ranging from work obligations to running a household, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, and a "break" from the grind just doesn't fit in. But the first step to sanity is learning how to delegate some of the responsibility to other people, whether it's temporarily shifting some work duties to an associate or sending the kids to the grandparent's house for the weekend. It's not being lazy and…  » Read more
Shop Talk: All Occasions Plus LLC

Shop Talk: All Occasions Plus LLC

Spotlight On: Defiance, Ohio If it's not Extraordinary, It's Invisible! If I told you that you could run a successful business with 70 feet of retail product, what would you say? Cheryl Rupple of All Occasions Plus LLC in Defiance, Ohio, would tell you that's just how she prefers it. "We have about 70 square feet of retail with some bridal accessories, high-quality plastic tablecovers, plastic rolls, plastic table skirting, balloon weights, onion grass sprays and ribbon. That's it," Rupple said. "We tried retail, but I found I personally didn't like it. I thought it was just because I didn't understand it, but after years of spending my hard earned money on things I hoped someone would walk in and buy someday, we gave most of it up. Now I buy things after I meet with people and we decide on how we are going…  » Read more
Graduated Sales

Graduated Sales

Retailers can teach parents the perfect party plan Planning a graduation party is quite similar to planning a wedding reception in that you decide on a guest list, food and décor for the big day. However, most people plan months - and even years - in advance for their wedding and often hire party planners to make thing easier. When it comes to graduation parties, parents often are relegated to the role of amateur party planners for these rather large and important parties. While they may have a sense of what they want, they might not always know exactly how to plan for the right number of people, what décor would work best or how to go about affordably outfitting the occasion. So the question is, how can retailers help parents plan, prepare and party without breaking the bank or their sanity? Home Economics According…  » Read more
A Candy Wonderland

A Candy Wonderland

Sweet ideas for young and old Throwing a kid's birthday party is supposed to be fun, right? Absolutely! The catch? Some customers are bored with traditional kid themes and are looking for new ways to capture the attention of both parents and kids attending the parties. Recently, in honor of my daughter's third birthday, I challenged myself to host a party that kids and adults would love and that retailers can suggest to their customers. I was determined to find a common theme that both a princess crazed tot and football obsessed 30-something dad would love. It didn't take long to realize candy was a shared favorite among my two favorite people - sweets. Skittles in bowl for a mid-game snack? Check. Lollipops used as rewards for being good? Check. Chocolate as a favorite dessert? Check. I was excited as a kid on a sugar…  » Read more
Red Carpet Retail

Red Carpet Retail

Turn a Hollywood theme into award-winning sales Whether you refer to it as Hollywood, "Awards Night" or simply a glam event, the aim of this popular theme is to bring some of the glitz and glamour of celebrity events to everything from Oscar and Golden Globe Awards night parties to everyday occasions. "College students use the theme for fraternity and sorority parties; acting groups celebrate the last call of a theater performance; and corporations use this theme to honor their stellar performers," said Mike Fague of The Beistle Co. "It is also a great prom and wedding reception theme." Amscan's Jillian Svenjak agreed, adding that Hollywood is one of Amscan's top selling categories due to its versatility and broad appeal. The popularity of reality TV and the YouTube craze has made instant stardom a possibility for many, making this category a big hit for everything…  » Read more

Special Events on a Budget

By Bob and Susan Negen, WhizBang! Training Retail promotions and special events are the salt and pepper in your marketing plan. They spice things up and keep your store fun and exciting. Promotions are a great way to keep your regular customers interested in your merchandise and give them more reasons to shop with you. Promotions can also be a great way of attracting new customers. It's just one more way to keep your marketing message in front of your customers and prospects. But doing promotions on a limited budget can be challenging. You'll need to plan to spend some money to get the word out about your event, to purchase any necessary supplies, materials, or prizes and to pay for any extra payroll hours needed for the event. However, you don't have to spend a lot of money - use imagination and hard work…  » Read more

The Store Room: “What do you hope to see more of in 2012?”

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "What products, patterns, costumes, trends, etc. do you hope to see more of in 2012?" Barbara RozemaParty Plus Inc. Redlands, Calif.We are selling tons of lanterns right now for all occasions, and I wish zebra lanterns were available in all sizes. Anything zebra and magenta is really in demand. We have sold dozens of Siege Chemical cupcake liners with zebra and magenta border. Mary Kay ThomasBest of Both Worlds DancewearCincinnati, OhioI would love to see ballet and dance related items. Customers are always asking for paper and party goods related to dance - ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, etc. Lori VieraAmerican Balloon CompanyAlexandria, Va.I hope to see more party favors to go along with the themes. Laura HeuglyMask Costumes Salt Lake CityWe love the trend toward creative steam…  » Read more