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Call us on:

08453 070707 Browse the full range at

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Visit Rubie’s at Spring Fair, Hall 5 stand F110-G111 for the latest licensed costume ranges

@Rubies_UK @RubiesUK @rubies_uk @Rubies_EMEA

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WELCOME The home of market leading trade magazines

The home of market leading trade magazines max-publishing.co.uk The home of market leading trade magazines The home of market leading trade magazines March/April 2013

The home of exhibitions The home of exhibitions The home of exhibitions The home of exhibitions

The home of market leading trade awards The home of market leading trade awards The home of market leading trade awards The home of market leading trade awards

Max Publishing Ltd, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP T: 020 7700 6740 F: 020 7607 6411 www.max-publishing.co.uk hello@max-publishing.co.uk

Welcome to the Party Moving into the new year is the perfect time to sit back and take stock of the previous 12 months. There are many things we all know we should do to ensure we get the new year off to a good start; sleep for eight hours a night, drink more water, lay off the gin and get exercising. But the start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to take stock of things in business as well, so we’re adding a few work-related things to that checklist; work smarter (not harder), stay on top of our paperwork and take (calculated!) risks. After all, if you Above: Progressive Party Europe’s don’t change anything, nothing will change. Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr. So where to start? Was there one major party craze which swept the nation this year? What sold well and what sat on the shelves untouched? What challenges did we face – both as an industry and individually – and how did we face them? Most crucially of all, what can be improved as we move into 2019? For the ninth year in a row, these are the questions hope to answer by dissecting the information you have given to us by sending in your answers to our annual Progressive Party Europe retail survey. We’ve picked your brains and checked out what’s in your (virtual) stockrooms in our quest to give the most accurate snapshot possible of how the party industry fared in 2018. As always, it’s been fascinating from start to finish, with retailers reporting fortunes and failures in roughly equal measures. That 2018 has been a difficult year at retail is no secret; anyone on the front line is going to be painfully aware of that. In fact, a number of retailers spoke to us about how close they have come to closing their doors for good, with only 7% of independent party retailers reporting that their sales had grown over the last year. Key party seasons such as Halloween, Book Week and New Year’s Eve have kept many of our established independent party stores up and running, while the public’s affection for the increasingly creative décor created by talented balloon artists has given many retailers a new lease of life. For more detailed analysis and to see the information in greater detail, turn to page 19 of this issue – it makes for some very interesting reading! We are now firmly in 2019 and it’s time for a fresh start. With Brexit due to be put to bed one way or another (and in the interests of brevity we’ll save you our opinions on that for another day), it’s time for suppliers, retailers and consumers to start looking to the future. What better way to do that than spending the next few weeks visting as many exhibition centres as possible? So the next few weeks have a lot to live up in terms of expectations as the annual trade show season is already off to a strong start, with the Halloween & Party Expo taking place first and playing host to almost 200 party exhibitors. Following that comes Nuremberg’s Spielwarenmesse, which will be celebrating its 70th birthday this year and where Hall 9 will be jam-packed with over 250 party, dress-up and carnival companies. The European show has become increasingly important to the party trade over the last few years and this February the party sector will be bigger than ever, featuring a new Showtime catwalk and demonstration area for the first time. Hot on the heels of Spielwarenmesse comes Spring Fair at the NEC, which is always a great place to catch up with all manner of balloon and costume companies. With a fresh exhibitor portfolio, it’s always worth heading to The Party Show in Hall 5 to see what’s on offer. (Although plenty of partyware companies can also be found in Halls 3 and 12, so make sure pay those a visit as well.) Never one to pass up on a day out of the office, PPE will be walking the halls at all these shows, so please feel free to stop us for a chat and a catch-up. Happy 2019!

@Prog_Party_Eu ISSN 2058 797X


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What‘s on the playground? Stay on the ball and experience the multifaceted world of play in one place: the right products for your business model, inspiring special areas, interesting presentations and an exciting festival specially for visitors to celebrate our 70th anniversary.


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What’s inside: JAN/FEB 2019






The latest from the party world


2018 UK retail analysis


The year that was 2018


Who’s there, what to see


New products, from Europe


Preview to Birmingham’s finest

07 19 31 37 47 51

57 59 61 65 69 71


The importance of knowing your customer


Always be Batman


Don’t turn the page on this feature

FIRST QUARTER EVENTS It’s not just St Patrick’s day


Gosh; it was good


Throw away the old dusty ones


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NEWS UPDATE Spielwarenmesse party sector to include new Showtime area The festive articles, carnival and fireworks section of Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nuremberg will be featuring a new Showtime area for the 70th anniversary of the show, which is taking place from Wednesday 30 January – Sunday 3 February, 2019. The new area will see the party and carnival product group – which is based in Hall 9 and is officially named Festive Articles, Carnival, Fireworks – showcasing a dynamic activity and promotion area and offering a number of innovative ways for exhibitors to get involved. This year, more than 260 exhibitors will be showing their latest products, having travelled from 34 different countries, making

Spielwarenemesse a truly international show. In light of the growing character of the party, festive and carnival sector segment - and in response to ongoing demand from exhibitors for a larger area - this vibrant category has now been extended into part of Hall 8. The new, 200m² promotion area, dubbed Showtime, will play host to an entertaining programme of events each day. A catwalk show will take place three times a day, while other innovations from the sector will be shown in their best light during hands-on demonstrations. “This step enables us to better reflect the diversity of

The Party Shop closing at the end of January Popular town centre store, The Party Shop in Mold, North Wales (UK), will be closing its doors for the final time at the end of January following a drop in trade over the last 12 months. The shop has been running for almost 20 years, and has been owned and managed by Katy Duplock for the last seven. According to Katy, business has become more difficult over recent years due to a combination of factors, but the main one was competition with the internet. “It has been very difficult over the last year,” she said. “Halloween is usually our big business and noticed a big change. We were still busy but they used to be queuing outside the doors.”

Fancy Dress Worldwide is named Export Business of the Year Online fancy dress and costume retailer Fancy Dress Worldwide has been named Export Business of the Year in the Startups Awards 2018. The independently-judged awards are open to privately-owned businesses that have been launched in the last four years. “It means so much to win such a prestigious award,” said founder Dom Portman, commenting on the Export Business win. “The whole team at FDW have worked so hard towards this, including during the launch of our new website fancydressworldwide.com.” Fancy Dress Worldwide has rapidly scaled to reach customers in 85 countries in just two years and is set to grow by an impressive 500% in the next three years. Right: Dom (centre) collects his business award at the prestigious event.

Above: The party sector at Spielwarenmesse will be expanding for 2019, due to popuar demand.

Balloon Kings launches national franchise programme New York-based balloon décor and display company Balloon Kings is launching a franchise programme, with the aim of rolling out the Balloon King business to ten locations nationwide by 2020. The retailer, which specialises in balloon arrangements and décor for events and special occasions, is New York’s leading balloon supply company offering custom and off-the-shelf balloon bouquets, arrangements and structures. Owner and balloon expert Gene Nifenecker announced his plans to expand in early January, explaining that; “The Balloon Kings name is plural for a reason.” “At Balloon Kings, we believe that a party without balloons is just a meeting,” added brand development manager Ana Carter. “We are always looking to take balloon decoration to another level to make any event truly special.” Balloon Kings has teamed up with franchise industry expert, Gary Occhiogrosso to offer franchise locations in NY, CT, PA, NJ and along the eastern seaboard. “Any business that brings a smile in today’s stressful times is welcome,” says Gary. “A balloon business is easy and fun to operate, needs little capital to start and typically returns high margins.” Visit www.balloon-kings.com to find out more.

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this product group for buyers and retailers,” said Ernst Kick, ceo of the Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair. “It will also allow us to provide manufacturers with an even more effective marketing platform.” Find out more and order your tickets at www.spielwarenmesse.de

HAuNTcon opens early for H&P Expo visitors

The HAuNTcon show floor will be opening up an hour earlier on Saturday 26 January specifically for Halloween & Party Expo attendees. Opening its doors at 8am rather than 9am, HAuNTcon is giving visitors the opportunity to shop the HAunTcon floor and source new products without taking time away from other appointments. To find out more please visit halloweenpartyexpo.com

PEBA UK launches to protect balloon industry PEBA UK has been set up as a UK arm of the original Australian organisation PEBA to encourage UK balloon professionals to take a stance on balloon releases and to educate the public in the environmental dangers of releasing balloons. The initial set up of PEBA UK has been funded by BAPIA, who believes it is critical that the balloon industry takes action to protect itself for many years to come. The UK initiative has been generated by four of the current committee members: Aimee Smith, Natalie Saunders, Mike Hurst and John Bowler, who have now been joined by Greg Brown and Bob Armstrong, both of whom have a well-established stance on balloon releases. PEBA UK has made a commitment to working with balloon professionals, environmental groups, government and the media to eliminate the organised, deliberate release of balloons and to educate customers and the public on the responsible use and disposal of balloons. “We want to educate those within the industry and the general public that releasing balloons can cause environmental damage and this could ultimately result in irreparable damage to our industry,” commented BAPIA chairman John Bowler. “Now is the time to take action and help protect the balloon industry and see it thrive.” You can sign up to PEBA at www.pebauk.co.uk.



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Join us before the krewe leaves New Orleans! CO-LOCATED WITH

STAY IN THE KNOW! halloweenpartyexpo.com

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Fancy dress comes under scrutiny on primetime TV Channel 5’s consumer entertainment programme Do The Right Thing, which is presented by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, included a segment on controversial fancy dress in the Sunday 13 January edition of the show. “We like to celebrate all things British,” said Ruth, introducing the segment, “and what could be more British than the right to wear a silly fancy dress costume?” She went on to explain the recent ban on certain fancy dress costumes by the University of Kent, saying that; “dressing up and having fun are now under threat.”

Eamonn listed some of the costumes which have been highlighted by the university as potentially problematic, drawing a pantomime-esque groan from the audience. Reporter Stephen Bailey then came on to report back from the recent World Darts Championships, where he spoke to members of the public to find out what they would make of the story. He spoke to members of the public wearing all types of fancy dress, from colourful OppoSuits and all-

in-one parrots to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even Jesus, asking them if they thought ‘banning fancy dress’ was ‘PC gone mad’. A panel in the studio then went on to discuss what this ban could mean for panto and other performance art. Above: Reporter Stephen Bailey spoke to members of the public for the Channel 5 show.

Party City shares drop in Q3 report

Save The Date: WBC 2021 dates and venue announced

Leading US party chain retailer Party City saw its shares sink by 11.2% after reporting that its Q3 earnings had been hurt by ‘operational disruptions, inflationary pressure, helium shortages and lower-thanexpected sales’. “Our third quarter and fiscal October results were softer than expected,” stated ceo James M. Harrison, “impacted in part by temporary operational disruptions, increased inflationary pressures associated with distribution costs and helium shortages and slightly lower sales than expected.” The retailer also reported that its Halloween business was down on last year, with the strengthened online business and improved temporary store offering only partially offsetting the declines seen across the permanent store portfolio. Based on its financial performance so far this year, the retailer will be revising its original fiscal predictions for 2018.

The dates and venue for the next Qualatex World Balloon Convention have been announced, with the international event taking place 23 – 25 March, in Orlando, Florida, USA. Following this year’s successful show, which was held in San Diego, USA and was a resounding success, the eagerly-awaited 2021 information has now been revealed. The World Balloon Convention (WBC) was first launched in 2010, and is specifically designed for business-minded balloon decorators, twisters/entertainers, and party store retailers, as well as ambitious newcomers wanting to explore a rewarding and profitable career in the balloon industry. In addition to exclusive balloon education, epic competitions and grand events, the WBC will also include a carefully-designed educational curriculum and other growthoriented activities. Visit worldballoonconvention.qualatex.com to find out more.

New face painting world record set A new Guinness World Record has been set by five artists who painted 950 full faces in just four hours in the Indian city of Chennai. On Thursday 10 January, the face painters broke the previous record of 680 faces that was set in 2012 in the UK by a team of five face painters (Helen Elvins, Helen

Eyre, Sandra Crofts, Rosie Watson and Jane Amatt) in Birmingham, UK, on 18 April 2012. The record-breaking feat was performed by Azhagesan, Anandan, Vijayaraj, Rosario John Victor and L Ramachandran and was organised by The Art in coordination with Tharansia.

For the latest news visit PartyWorldwide.net

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The designs were all painted around the theme of ‘World Peace’, with the colours taken from different flags of the world. “Painting 950 different designs is not an easy task,” said L Ramachandran, “we practiced for a whole week on mannequins!”

BAPIA decorates GOSH Christmas parties In what is fast becoming an annual tradition, BAPIA members came together and volunteered to give their time to decorate the venue for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Christmas parties for the sixth year running last December. Delegates travelled from right across the UK to spend the day creating décor for four parties which saw between 1,500 and 2,000 children, family and carers having some time out to enjoy themselves. “I love organising this day,” commented John Bowler, chief executive of BAPIA. “I had the pleasure of helping at one of the parties this year and meeting some of the children who were a huge inspiration.” He continued: “I could see what a difference the balloons make and it is a real opportunity for us to showcase our skills and our products. In doing so we help to make Christmas a little more special for these exceptional children.” John went on to thank the team who generously gave up their spare time for free, saying: “I have to say a big thank you to all those who attended and those who missed out this year. I also have to give a big shout out to Amscan, BOC, Premium Balloon Accessories and Qualatex who all very generously supported the day and sponsored product to make it possible.” Below: The balloon décor at the GOSH Christmas parties has been created by BAPIA members for the last six years.

Trick Or Treat Studios adds to its AHS range Trick Or Treat Studios has added a new line of handmade masks to its already popular American Horror Story range. The new collection of accurate replica masks, is inspired by Cult, the seventh season of the American Horror Story which features members of a cult who dress up in morbid clown costumes to hide their identity before commiting various crimes. Each of the five masks in the Cult collection is officially licensed by 20th Century Fox and has been made directly out of the master mould used by the show itself.



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Waitrose to go glitterfree by 2020

Angels Open Days announced for 2019 Angels Distribution is delighted to announce that it will be holding its Open Days event for the third year running. Next year’s event will run from Sunday 31 March until Tuesday 2 April and will once again be hosted at Angels’ North London head office. Angels Distribution will be showcasing its new lines and classic ranges from Rasta Imposta, InCharacter and Tinsley Transfers, and will be joined by some amazing exhibitors, including Palmers Agencies, Bristol Novelty, Fun Shack, Leg Avenue, Morph Costumes and OppoSuits, all of whom will be putting

on some unmissable special show offers. Angels will also be offering visitors the unmissable opportunity to tour the Angels Costumes warehouse, the largest costume house in the world, home to over eight miles of hanging costumes and over one million items. “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to our Open Days,” commented director Emma Angel. “The last two events have been a great success and we expect 2019 to be just as well-received.” “Our London Head Office offers easy access to both UK and international visitors,” Emma continued.

Smiffys signs Danger Mouse, Wind in the Willows and Rainbow R H Smith and Sons, owner of the Smiffys and Fever brands, is pleased to announce new licensed costume ranges for a selection of classic children’s television series: Danger Mouse, Wind in the Willows and Rainbow. The new lines will include dress-up collections for both children and adults, including costumes, masks and associated accessories for the iconic and nostalgic programmes. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Boat Rocker Rights on these nostalgic licensed properties,” said director Dominique Peckett. “We cannot wait to bring a host of colourful new characters to life through these exciting dress up ranges, which will be a welcome addition to our award-winning collection.” Right:Rainbow's iconic Zippy is now available as a costume.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to meet several suppliers who might not be at Spring Fair or Nuremberg.” A complementary light lunch will be provided and Angels would like to invite all party and costume retailers and buyers to attend what is sure to be a great event. For more information, please email customer. services@angels.uk.com or call 020 8732 8879. Above: Angels' London head office will play host to the Open Days.

It’s a bullseye for fancy dress at World Darts Championships Fancy dress hit the spot in the UK media before Christmas as British fans dressed up to enjoy the Darts World Championships at London’s Alexandra Palace. Fancy dress has become something of a tradition at the annual event in recent years, with fans going all-out to plan their costumes well in advance as they do their best to attract attention with their increasingly attentiongrabbing outfits. Last year’s noble efforts also included a swarm of bees, giraffes, traffic cones, whoopee cushions, Buzz Lightyear and even a surprise visit from Donald Trump.

Bristol Novelty’s business revamp includes new website and licensed lines Major changes are underway at costume and party company Bristol Novelty, with significant developments taking place both internally and externally. Backed by international costume giant Rubie's, Bristol Novelty is building on its glowing reputation in the business with a complete transformation of the company and its offering. A brand new website has been launched, introducing plastic-free wig packaging and the first-ever Party and Events catalogue. Bristol Novelty will also be

stocking over 500 licensed products from the Rubie’s collection, including exclusive costumes from the Opus range. “It’s a very exciting time for both staff and customers of Bristol Novelty as we are all pulling together to ensure we make our ambitious plans a reality,” commented marketing manager Fran Hales. “We’ve certainly thrown ourselves into this dynamic project, which will see major changes to the way we are viewed as a company and how you view our products

For the latest news visit PartyWorldwide.net

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in stores and online.” Chief operating officer Mike O’Connell has been the driving force behind the changes. He added: “We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to provide our customers with an improved wholesale experience... Our new management team is almost complete and we will work together to grow and expand Bristol Novelty as we continue being the experts in fancy dress and accessories – both now and in the future.”

Waitrose & Partners has pledged that by Christmas 2020, all its own-label cards, wrap and crackers will either be glitter-free or will use ‘an environmentallyfriendly alternative’. News that the grocer is planning to lose ‘some of its shimmer’ was reported by the media, with The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Telegraph and Sky News all covering the news. Tor Harris, Waitrose’s head of CSR commented: “Reducing the impact of plastics on the environment is something our customers care passionately about. While it’s important to eliminate the use of glitter, we’ll find other ways to make sure our products sparkle at Christmas and throughout the year.” By the end of this year three quarters of the retailer’s own label cards, wraps, crackers and tags will be glitter-free. The retailer has also brought forward its target to make all its ownbrand packaging widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by two years, from 2025 to 2023.

NABAS reveals plans for 2019 Balloon and party association NABAS has revealed its plans for 2019, with a focus on the industry, NABAS members and their growth and development. The association’s AGM in April will be combined with a subsidised training day focusing on air-filled décor and centrepieces. This has been specially designed to help NABAS members overcome the potential issues arising from the helium price increases and shortages. Later on in the year, NABAS will be organising a three-day balloon extravaganza comprising of an ‘Enchanted’ big décor build, led by Tampilipe Corbelin of Switzerland. Taking place from 5 – 7 October, the build will be followed by a drinks reception on the Saturday evening and then two days of training from some of Europe’s finest instructors. So far, Carla Romina Finali, Rob Driscoll, Colin Myles and Chris Horne have been announced, with more to come. The event will also include a competition, gala dinner, international instructors and 4* accommodation. To book your place, visit www.nabas.co.uk/events



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Visit us at the Toy Fair Nuremberg! Hall 9 Stand D-09 Folat BV - Diakenhuisweg 15 - 2033AP Haarlem - Netherlands - www.folat.eu

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Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nßrnberg 30 jan – 03 feb 2019

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Pioneer Europe confirms Qualatex education schedule Pioneer has announced its education course timetable for the first half of the year, with two brand new courses; ‘Making Memories – The Early Years’ and ‘Simply Organics’. The 'Making Memories' one-day masterclass is a collaboration between Alberto Falcone CBA, Federico Onida CA, Sue Bowler CBA and Stuart Davies CBA. It focuses on the important occasions around the early years and celebrates all things baby. Delegates will be inspired with design ideas and the latest techniques to capitalise on the rising popularity of events such as gender reveal parties and baby showers, through to the baby’s arrival and beyond. The new ‘Simply Organics’ course, delivered by Sue Bowler CBA, explores the growing demand for organic styling in balloon décor. This hands-on

class will offer delegates a host of tips and tricks to increase their confidence, combining balloons of different sizes and colours and demonstrates both structured and free style organic creations. “We are committed to helping balloon professionals grow their skills and their business,” said Anna Hickman, Pioneer's education and export manager. “Whether you are a newcomer or a seasoned pro there are

NYE balloon drop cancelled after protests A high-profile and potentially record-breaking New Year’s Eve balloon drop was cancelled after protesters campaigned against the 130,000 balloon stunt. The record attempt was due to take place at a NYE party being held at a Manila Cove resort in the Philippines and headlined by British DJ Pete Tong. The event was cancelled after a backlash over its potential ecological impact, despite organisers insisting that the indoor event held no environmental risks as the biodegradable latex balloons would be recycled afterwards and not released into the air. The resort’s social media pages had been inundated with concerns from members of the public as well as campaigners such as Greenpeace Philippines. It also received a letter from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) encouraging a change of plan. In a statement announcing the cancellation, the resort said it ‘voluntarily’ decided to cancel the event ‘as a sign of respect’ for the government’s campaign to protect the environment.

Facade Academy announces Paradise Jam dates Face painting school Facade Academy has announced the dates for its popular Paradise Jam, which will be taking place on Monday 18 February 2019 at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. This year’s theme is ‘A Postcard from Europe’ and the jam is one of the UK’s biggest and friendliest face painting events. There will be plenty of demos and competitions as well as merchandise stands so that painters can stock up on supplies. Of course, there will also be face and body painting galore and the Face Painting Association FACE will also be in attendance. Tickets cost just £12 for the whole day and can be ordered here, while the Paradise Jam Facebook group will keep you up to date on all the latest happenings.

For the latest news visit PartyWorldwide.net

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exciting courses available, all led by our talented Qualatex instructors. We offer retailers and decorators the tools to confidently deliver designs in line with the latest consumer trends, thus helping them stay ahead of their competitors.’ Full details, Early Bird discounts and online booking can be found at www. qualatexeurope.com. Above: The Qualatex education schedule is already planned for next year.

Chippenham Giant Party Shop is closed for business Costume hire and party store Giant Party Shop in Chippenham is the latest independent party retailer to decide to call it a day in the face of a difficult trading period. Online sales have dented the store’s success and so owners Karl Potts and Joanna McKinlay have decided to open a hair salon on the premises instead. “We ran the Giant Party Shop for 17 years in Chippenham – eleven years in The Bridge and six years in our current location,” said Karl. “It has been really fun running the store. People came in because they were planning a party, so it all had a happy feeling.” “After over 17 years in Chippenham we have decided to close the store,” said a statement on the shop's Facebook page. “It’s a mixture of a downturn in the fancy dress industry and finding it very difficult competing with the likes of Amazon and eBay. We would like to thank everyone for supporting us over the years.” The pair also run the Giant Party Shop in Swindon, which will be staying open.

Party City to close Fairmount Fair store American retail giant Party City permanently closed its Fairmount Fair (Onondaga County, New York) retail store on 31 December 2018. The store, which specialised in party supplies, Halloween and fancy dress, had been a popular fixture in the Fairmount Fair shopping plaza since 2010. Party City’s other Onondaga County locations will remain operational.

Above: Mask-arade's new website offers a fresh face for the company.

Mask-arade launches new consumer website A brand new consumer-facing website has been launched by party mask geniuses Maskarade, updating the company’s previous online offering and bringing the brand more in line with its current offering. “As the original designers and manufacturers of personalised and celebrity masks, desktop standees and the new Party Faces – Goggle Eyes, Chinless Wonders and Bugalugs we have always strived to offer the best in class products as unparalleled well as customer service,” explained commercial director Ray Duffy. “Essentially, our old site was dated and slow and wasn’t as focused as we wanted it to be.” The new website offers consumers an improved user experience, with a cleaner and more striking graphic approach, an optimised one page checkout and live global shipping rates. “The new site represents our brand much more consistently,” says Ray, “and allows us to automate our consumer marketing. We control the web site ourselves so we can react to trends immediately, ensuring that interacting with www.mask-arade.com is always a positive fun experience.”



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Australia's Chris Adamo embarks upon UK and Ireland tour 2019 Chris Adamo, owner of the highly successful The Balloon Crew and Balloons Online, will be making a rare journey over to the UK later this year as he embarks upon a balloon education tour across the UK and Ireland. As one of the most popular designers and instructors in the balloon industry, Chris is universally acknowledged as a leading organic balloon designer, as well as being one of the friendliest guys in the industry.

Morphsuits star in fashion-forward Instagram account Morphsuits are being used to great effect by the fashionforward @checking_invoices Instagram account, which has almost 36,000 followers. The social media account features someone in a morphsuit wearing a selection of catwalk-worthy fashions from high-end designers such as Balenciaga, Gucci, and Halpern. Founded by an anonymous photographer and stylist based in Italy, the pair first started taking snaps when trying on outfits for shoots, covering their faces to keep their identity under wraps. This gradually progressed to wearing a morphsuit and then it was only a matter of time before the account drew attention from the likes of Gucci and has since taken on a life of its own. Below: Morphsuits making their mark across Instagram.

Dates and venues have now been confirmed: 24 April (Ireland), 28 April (Southampton), 30 April (London), 2 May (Birmingham) and May (Glasgow). Each session will be full of information, designs, techniques, hands-on opportunities and a chance to ask Chris questions. Topics will include: ■ The malleable Organic Garland; Quick discussion on constructing organic garlands and problem solving creative ways to style,

install, rig and frame the creation. ■ Framing, basic to intermediate; Using readily available basic materials, Chris will guide you through the best techniques to cut, bend, connect and support your balloon décor. ■ Organic balloon cloud; Design, calculate stock and price an organic cloud using the quick link 'x-grid' method, followed by hands-on build.

Earlybird price for BAPIA members - £75 (ends 28 Feb 2019). Full price £95 Earlybird price for non-members - £95 (ends 28 Feb 2019). Full price £120 For more information or to book, visit bapiaonline.com/events Above: Chris Adamo is making a rare trip to the UK and Ireland later this year.

Pioneer Europe celebrates sell-out Q-Jam winter extravaganza professionals, using the very latest in colour, seasonal trends and festive shapes. It provided an opportunity for retailers and balloon enthusiasts of all abilities to practice new designs, develop new skills and create showstopping pieces translatable to the retail environment. “The response to this seasons' Q-Jam has been absolutely overwhelming” commented Anna

Pioneer Europe delivered a spectacular sell-out event at the end of last year, bringing together balloon twisters, decorators and entertainers to celebrate the very best in industry-leading Qualatex balloon art. The Christmas themed Q-Jam was a one day event based in the Midlands which delivered hands-on interactive demonstrations from leading

Spring Fair reveals new layout for 2020 Leading retail gift and lifestyle tradeshow Spring Fair has revealed a new layout for the 2020 edition of the show. The new layout, which was announced in January by show organisers ITE Group, will see the show being reorganised the show into two overarching sections, Home & Living and Gifts. The idea behind the new layout is that it will improve the general flow of the show and provide retailer and other buyers with more crossover buying opportunities. The Party Show will remain in Hall 5, as part of the toy section. To mark the announcement, ITE Group is offering 10% off the cost of a stand for all exhibitors who book space for Spring Fair 2020 before Thursday 7 February 2019 (the final day of Spring Fair 2019).

Helium shortage being reported across the US to ensure they don’t sell out completely. Others, such as the Florida branch of Party City, have had to put up signs explaining that they have run out completely. “The shortage of helium supplies has impacted many industries,” read a statement from the party retail chain. “While Party City isn’t immune to these challenges, we are working aggressively with our supply partners and regularly receive helium replenishment to serve our customers in stores.”

A helium shortage has been reported across much of the United States over recent weeks, impacting balloon services and prices and affecting sales over the holiday period. The national helium shortage has seen retailers and balloon decorators forced to raise their prices dramatically, to almost double the original costs in some places. Some retailers have reported limiting customers to three helium balloons per order

For the latest news visit PartyWorldwide.net

News_PPE_Jan Feb 2019.indd 15

■ Illuminated balloons; Unleash your creativity with balloon décor and lighting. Class will discuss LED lighting products that don't just highlight your décor but form an integral part of the overall design.

Hickman, education and export marketing manager at Pioneer Europe. “It’s always incredible to see so many of our industry’s top experts come together to share ideas and inspire delegates with the very latest in Qualatex balloon techniques.” For more information about upcoming events and programmes please visit the events section on www.qualatexeurope.com

Cape Cod town to debate complete balloon ban A Massachusetts town is the latest to be considering a complete balloon ban, with a public hearing being held to help decide whether to prohibit the sale and use of balloons. The public will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed balloon ban in Orleans, which is situated along Cape Cod. “The purpose is really to address public concerns regarding the hazards to wildlife and marine life within the town for the release and improper disposal of balloons,” said John Jannell, the town’s conservation administrator. There will be a proposed fine of up to $50 for anyone found violating the law. Other Cape Cod towns Chatham, Nantucket and Block Island have already voted to prohibit the use and sale of all types of balloons.



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17/01/2019 12:25

Retail Barometer: 2018 In Review

2018: The Year In Party Each year, Progressive Party sets out to survey the party products retail market for the year previous. The results of this survey cover the 2018 trading period, January to December – giving a fair view across all product areas and seasonal occasions.


irst things first, we have to thank all the retailers who responded to this year’s request for information. Everyone who gave us feedback were promised anonymity of course, giving them an open opportunity to say exactly how things faired for them, without worrying that they might be the odd one out. The collective results give us as an industry a wide-lens view as to the state of the nation for party products in the UK. So on behalf of the trade, big thanks to all those retailers who spared their time and had to re-live the highs and lows of UK retail in its present form. The UK’s retail landscape needs no introduction, but while we’re doing the hard numbers – and realities, let’s recap: We (they) voted Brexit, causing huge turbulence and an immediate effect on product prices as currency markets became hugely volatile. Amazon continued to become a new normal way of shopping not just for the current generation of millenials, but for anyone who owned a smartphone and had a comfortable sofa. And then we move onto the party specifics: Frozen 2 is still in the bottom of the Indesit, desperately waiting to be plated and thawed. Licensing overall had more for adults than for kids, and while Nickelodeon have been keeping the TV screens busy, the costume translatable icons just weren’t as abundant. Moving on, Halloween was on a Wednesday. Half of Progressive Party doesn’t even work on a Wednesday let alone rush to the high street for fake blood and Haribo. Yet somehow the party trade limped on, by and large. Price increases started to come through and have found whatever levels of absorption suited the individual retailer. Anna and Elsa became old news but classic characters had a good airing, buoyed by World Book Day – our special friend with whom we have enjoyed an annual fling (behind Halloween’s back!) for some time now. And while a fairly big majority of

How has business been for you?

retailers reported Halloween as ‘the same’ and ‘ok’, the mid-week slot did provide select spikes in business with two weekends for kids, and a naughty Wednesday night out for the grown-ups (students). As we have proudly stated for many years, we do find ourselves in a specialist market. Indies would far rather the supermarkets left superhero costumes alone, but they have it better than a hardware shop trying to sell a light bulb which can now be delivered by drone before the incumbent has gone cold. Partyware and balloons have even more specialism. Yes, people will buy a family size bunch of solid colour latex and try and make it work. But they will probably only do it once. Proper balloon displays can only be delivered from real humans in shops, as can tableware – it needs to be touched and seen, married up with the other props and bits to a colour scheme that just isn’t as easy to work out online. The party shop has itself a bit of heritage and even tech-savvy teens enjoy visiting in groups to organise outfits and décor. It’s better than a gift shop which you know will smell of a vanilla Yankee Candle (other good suppliers are available) and is filled with motivational statements machine-etched into wood. Party shops still have a bit of magic, window displays change more often and there’s a great feeling of not knowing what you’re going to come out with. We’re not saying it’s easy, it’s not, and we’ve sadly seen some great retailers fall to the wayside in 2018. But you’d like to think they want the rest of us to punch on, and remember why we are great. While we don’t wish to insert motivational clichés here (either machine-etched or type-set), if we don’t celebrate what we’re good at, why our product is great, and how we can make the best of it, then the price increases will be the least of your worries. The party trade has soul and spirit – don’t let it go.

How have you seen the average spend per customer change? 62%

How has business been for you, 2018 vs 2017? 1% 18%




■ Significant growth ■ Slight growth

Taking the average, it’s a decline. Taking the middle ground, business has remained the same which would be a good result. With a small fraction reporting increases, the numbers suggest that growth is possible if you can hold on tight in the meantime. Never before has overhead budgeting and product selection been so vital.


As with the 2017 year, the average spend per customer remains largely stagnant, which we view to mean that the perceived value of party products hasn’t lessened.


1% 6%

■ Remained the same


■ Increased


■ Slight decline


■ Remained the same


■ Significant decline


■ Decreased


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Retail Barometer: 2018 In Review

Which main factors had a positive effect on your business this year?

These are the results we like! Trying new products, those ghastly new housing estates taking away doctors appointments but providing new punters and retailers getting trigger happy with their Facebook page. It’s true what they say, change is as good as, well, the plan to have Halloween always being on a Saturday. Trying new products


Reduction in competition


Website / social media development


Licensed product/films


Local area growth


Which of these main factors had a detrimental effect on your business in 2018?

We are asking for bad news so it’s no surprise that we got bad news here. But no real surprises, nothing new, just the reality of the seismic level consumer purchasing change that is now the new normal. If you can adjust the numbers and still make a profit, you can survive – that’s the simple answer. Mass e-commerce growth


Party products in supermarkets


Increase in overhead costs


The UK retail economy


Other factors


Category Focus What promotional activities have you used to generate custom?

Social media comes top of the charts as a tool to generate new custom, which by and large is free and easy. Dig out a copy of this survey from seven years ago and you’ll be reminded of your age. What the tech world taketh, it also giveth. #InstaBalloon

Taking categories as a whole, what have been your best-selling product areas throughout 2018?

Balloons still take top place in terms unit numbers for traditional party product retailers. As was echoed in the opening review, it’s a specialist area that is harder to buy online than other packaged items.




■ Seasonal promotions



Face-paint and special effects

■ Local advertising




■ Enhanced window displays




■ Staff training


■ Local events






■ Social media

3% How have supermarkets and discount stores affected your trade this year? 3% 7% 39%



No real change to the realities of independent retailing; supermarkets have the buying power and the car parking, but e-commerce gives consumers bargain priced product without leaving home. If you can’t beat them, try and join them…

■ E-commerce is more of a threat


■ Significant effect 29% ■ Slight effect


■ No real effect


■ Supermarkets hurt more than the internet



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Retail Barometer: 2018 In Review

All Seasons

Always Be Batman

Which party seasons / events have generally increased or decreased over the past year?

Another step forward for licensed dress-up; the generic pirate outfit is once again inched slightly further out. It’d be a sad day that every costume has to be a character, in PP’s view, for now we’re putting this down to World Book Day. Balloons and décor still run about even in their split, and it’s worth bearing in mind the huge difference between fashion and colour-conscious party-throwers and little Johnny’s Paw Patrol party.

Book Week continues to turn-in positive returns, with a 63% growth, continuing from extraordinary growth of 52% in 2017. Halloween was largely the same level as previous, but as such a significant event in the party retail calendar, we’re happy to take it. Some flattening of numbers across pocketed areas such as Hen and Stag and Festivals reminds us that caution was in the air from the top down.

How much of your overall business does licensed product account for? Balloons 48% Generic Dress-Up 72% Generic Partyware and Décor

Licensed Licensed

Halloween Increased Remained the same Decreased

7% 71% 22%

Festivals Increased Remained the same Decreased

13% 50% 37%

Christmas Increased Remained the same Decreased

15% 42% 43%

Valentine’s Day Increased Remained the same Decreased

19% 57% 24%

New Year Increased Remained the same Decreased

23% 41% 36%

Book Week Increased Remained the same Decreased

63% 29% 8%

Hen & Stag Increased Remained the same Decreased

33% 45% 22%

Saints Days Increased Remained the same Decreased

2% 68% 29%

Birthdays Increased Remained the same Decreased

61% 28% 11%




52% 28% 58%

With no increase or decrease to 2017 results information supply levels about licensed product and trends remain strong, with 70% of respondents saying they were satisfied with the level of information share.

Product Selection How have the following categories performed for your retail business?

The numbers need no real analysis – some up, some down. But these are worth comparing to your individual retail sales as a guide to how the UK is faring overall and certain areas you could look to develop in 2019. Kids Costumes: Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

12% 52% 36%

Partyware and Disposables Increased: 19% Remained the same: 74% Decreased: 7%

Adult Costumes: Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

3% 59% 38%

Props and Décor Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

16% 56% 27%

Sexy Costumes: Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

15% 78% 7%

Jokes and Novelties Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

9% 81% 12%

Comedy Costumes: Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

26% 52% 22%

Latex Balloons Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

25% 57% 18%

Licensed Costumes: Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

11% 72% 17%

Foil and Premium Balloons Increased: 19% Remained the same: 54% Decreased: 27%

Dress-Up Accessories Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

26% 57% 17%

Commission Balloon Décor Increased: 17% Remained the same: 58% Decreased: 25%

Face-Paint/Special Effects Increased: 22% Remained the same: 45% Decreased: 33%

Gas Hire Increased: Remained the same: Decreased:

4% 82% 14%


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Retail Barometer: 2018 In Review

Imports and Exports With the reach of this magazine now across 32 countries, and advertisers from the UK, Europe, Asia and America, we would hope to see a good mix of results. And of course it’s not just this title or PartyWorldwide.net offering product information, there are many ways to source product in the current age – with the positive being that retailers can stock more individual lines than previously. In terms of the product you stock, what percentage comes from domestic suppliers, versus International suppliers?

Everyone has a ’Top Five‘ List Parties, Halloween and Book Week. We probably could have guessed that, and so could you. No bad thing to confirm the areas we can just about depend on as vital turnover opportunities for retailers.

UK suppliers


European suppliers


American suppliers

13% 5%

Other suppliers

Looking Forward

What have been the key celebratory occasions for your BALLOON business in 2018? Birthdays/Milestones




Kids parties


Adult parties


Mother’s Day


What have been the key celebratory occasions for your COSTUMES business in 2017?

Positive energy shines through as retailers focus on the better angles, the benefits of trying new product and focusing on product and relationships as a basis for retailing. What has been your most notable success – either product or season – over the past year? 1st

Niche items as add-on sales


World Book Day growth


New Year’s Eve growth


Lesser effect of mid-week Halloween than suspected



Book Week


Birthday/Kids parties


What do you see as the major threats to the party industry in the next year?

New Year


1st E-commerce




Price increases


Expansion of multiples and discount stores


UK Economy/Brexit


Counterfeit/cheap and unsafe product available online

Which of these celebratory occasions have been key for your PARTYWARE AND DÉCOR business? Halloween


Birthday/Kids parties


New Year


What do you see as being the major opportunities for growth and expansion over the next 12 months?

Family Parties



Innovation in balloons




Better film/television opportunities than 2018


Personalised service


Working closer with suppliers while times are tough


Maintaining and expanding social media channels

Hashtag Heaven An interesting shift-change here, despite the volume of independent party shops decreasing. Less retailers than 2018 claim to have a website, but social media is a full-house. We would assume that the effectively free advertising via social media wins versus the reality that most independents will only be able to create a stock website, not e-commerce. As an independent retailer, do you have your own website? Yes

73% No


If you haven’t, are you considering developing one? Yes

69% No


As a retailer with a website, does the site help bring customers to your shop? Yes 100% No 0% JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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Retail Barometer: 2018 In Review

Team Players

Buyer Beware

There are countless opportunities to source these days. Fortunately for PP, niche industries such as this still value a glossy print magazine published by industry people. Reps and agents show as a slightly less preferred method of information, which marries up with some changes among suppliers and their sales methods, though service levels remain very good. It’s a mixed pool of votes for product sourcing in general though with some value on trade shows, some digital, and some traditional.

Counterfeit product has been a source of disruption for as long as most of us have been in business. But in recent years with a more masked manner of retailing via the internet, opportunity is rife for individuals or organisations to offer dangerous and also totally counterfeit product. A number of major suppliers have instilled formal teams of investigators, monitors, and legal counsel to deal with the growing threat, achieving solid legal / custodial results – showing that it is a real, dangerous, tangible problem.

In the last year, how would you say that service levels from suppliers have been?

Do you feel there has been a rise in counterfeit product in the last year?



Yes, significantly


Remained the same


Maybe, but no worse than usual




No, I’ve not noticed


How do you maintain your links with the trade and spot new product which goes towards making purchasing decisions? Reps and agents


Spring Fair


Progressive Party Europe


Supplier advice






Trade associations


Association events


Nuremberg Toy Fair


Have you attended any training course in the last 12 months? Yes




Has your store been offered product that you deemed to be counterfeit or unsafe? Yes




Would you be keen to work closer and to receive information from suppliers about the dangers of counterfeit and dangerous product? If so, how would you like to receive that? Yes, I’d like to hear more with regular emails giving news and advice Yes, I’d like to have access to a dedicated person within key suppliers No, I don’t feel affected by this

50% 3% 47%

Bloody Brexit As the final results of this survey are compiled, Brexit has taken yet more set-backs which either kick the can down the road, or go towards the end result. (PP is trying to remain neutral about the fact it’s all a really rather terrible idea). What is uncertain to some extent is the differential between changes stemming from Brexit, versus the equal expansion of e-commerce. How do you feel Brexit uncertainty has or could affect retail trade for you? It’s already shown an impact


I’ve not seen any effect so far


I do think it will have an effect


I don’t think it will have an effect


In terms of Brexit, are you prepared to increase prices to consumers? Yes, I will and I think it will work


Yes, but I think it will affect sales


No, I will have to absorb increases


I haven’t decided what to do yet



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FEEDBACK RETAIL REPORT: LOOKING BACK AT 2018 Whatever you might think of 2018, there is no doubt that it was a challenging year and the last 12 months have certainly kept the retail industry on its toes. With Brexit still proving controversial and consumers continuing to tighten the purse strings, it looks like 2019 is going to be equally interesting. Here’s what the industry had to say about the last year in party.

“Halloween was our business highlight of 2018. Being midweek it meant we got three Halloweens, and this year there were far more family house-parties than we’ve ever seen before, where the whole family dressed up and the house was decorated inside and out. For 2019, we hope to see that people hiring costumes (instead of buying) continues – it certainly has gathered momentum here over the last 18 months. We also expect to see a rebellion by parents who are sick of being asked to send their kids to school in fancy dress. The feedback we’re getting is that schools are asking far too often. It’s relentless, unnecessary, and becoming completely unaffordable for many. Our plan for this year is just to keep on keeping on. The uncertainty over the changes which Brexit will cause, especially regarding exchange-rates, prices and people’s jobs, will very likely affect how much people spend on ‘luxuries’ such as fancy dress. There are so many opposing forecasts (borecasts!) that in reality we’ve just got to wait and see how things actually do pan out. The party industry in three words: Still happening, phewwww!” KATE MOORE, owner, Jollyjesters, Derbyshire

Inset: Halloween was big business for 2018

“We have seen positive growth on party over the last year. As we specialise in core kids partyware, in the main it has been good for us. With consumers being increasingly cautious with their cash, we have seen a lot more DIY parties and dress-up has also seen a rise. We saw a real positive increase in our wholesale account base

throughout 2018 and FOB sales have seen marked improvement. It is evident that our customers are planning and forecasting more and taking advantage of simplifying their inbound stock. We think with the Brexit effect, there will be little growth in mainstream party goods next year, but we do expect Halloween and Christmas party items to show some modest growth. The party industry in three words: Buoyant, with challenges.” TIM RUDD-CLARKE, licensing director, Gemma International

“Retailers bought cautiously in 2018 but less so than in 2017, which we expected. The highlight of the last year for us was exceeding growth and continuing to develop our own personality. We endeavour to keep our partners happy; a notion born out of our experience as retailers. If there are any hiccups along the supply chain we roll up our sleeves and get things back on track. Most people are looking forward to 2020 and 2021 when Halloween falls on a Saturday and Sunday respectively. But you must plant the seeds now for them to bear fruit! We are encouraging retailers to buy across our range instead of topping up on bestsellers as this will give customers the confidence come back as you are keeping up with the trends. We have back-to-back tradeshows this January, starting with the Halloween & Party Expo in NOLA and the Toy Fair in Nuremberg. We expect this year to be our biggest yet for new products including hair dyes, glitters and all kinds of boxsets. The party industry in three words: Fear kills growth.” ADNAN RASOOL, DIRECTOR, Splashes ‘n’ Spills


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“The party industry has shown great resilience in 2018. Our business highlights were the Royal Wedding and the World Cup. The Royal Wedding was a pleasant and unexpected opportunity, while England actually turned up for a World Cup for once, making the market for England items quite a bit better than in previous years! Strong generic trends such as Unicorn and Mermaid have also been great over the past year and have given us all a shot in the arm during a tough period for licensed party. For next year, a lot will depend on any effects of Brexit. I hope the party market continues to specialise and out-manoeuvre the multiples who continue to try their hand at more core categories. We will be exhibiting at Nuremberg and buying at the NEC. We hope that 2019 will be a better year for licences, there are some strong movie franchises coming through this year and 2018 has been a little threadbare to say the least. Strong licences provide the backbone and vibrancy that we all need. The party industry in three words: Stronger than most.” STUART WHEELER, account manager, Delights Direct “The party industry has fared reasonably well over the last year. While it inevitably faces some of the same challenges as the broader retail industry, customers are still willing to spend on products that will look great in those all-important social media posts. Our websites have continued to enjoy yearon-year growth, even in these testing times. For 2019 we expect that people will still want to let their hair down and use parties as a means to escape the real world. Celebrations to mark life events and milestones have been around since time began and show no signs of stopping. I am looking forward to attending the Halloween & Party Expo in New Orleans as it’s a great way of picking up emerging trends. As well as the Angels Open Days in March, of course! The party industry in three words: Resilient, irreverent, fun.” EMMA ANGEL, DIRECTOR, Angels Fancy Dress

“The party industry is a sum of many parts. Some have fared well for us and others have been nothing less than disastrous. We have continued to do well with balloons and fireworks – Jellyfish Balloons and the chrome latex balloons from Qualatex have done really well. Partyware has been steady but fancy dress has been terrible. We had the most smashing New Year’s Eve ever in both shops and broke all records, so that was firmly our highlight of the year and exceeded all expectations. I’m still spinning from the shock! Best sellers on the day were fireworks, decorations, balloons and fancy dress in that order. Our takings were double that of Halloween this year! We will be attending the trade shows in early 2019 but I suspect we will be very cautious in regards to forward orders. Got to be there though to see what is new! For next year we will be opening both shops seven days a week and cutting staff holidays back to the statutory amount. It is horrible to have to do that but we must make savings wherever possible in order to keep us all in jobs.” REBECCA LEE-ALLEN, partner, Frog Orange, Oxford

Top: Foil balloons have kept business moving for Frog Orange. Above: The Royal Wedding was a highlight for the party industry and Mask-arade.

“The party sector was and is in a very good condition although the EU’s new restrictive regulations regarding singleuse plastic items will unfortunately have a great impact on the industry. Our business highlight of the last year was our eco-friendly biodegradable drinking straws as due to the EU regulations the demand for those straws increased significantly in the past few months and we expect that to continue next year. Foil balloons with sticks also did well in 2018, again, due to the EU single-use plastic regulations. For next year we predict that the balloon market will grow as significantly as it has this year. We have more customers interested in balloon decorations so we are preparing our offer respectively to meet our customers’ requirements. We will be attending the Nuremberg Toy Fair in early 2019 and extending our activity in international markets. The party industry in three words: Constantly growing market.” JANUSZ KRASZEK, ceo, GoDan

“The market seems quite tough at the moment, with various markets reporting falling sales. Traditional retail in Italy is suffering substantially, not just in party but also in toy and other related sectors, which is a factor of the well-documented economic conditions in Italy and the impact Amazon is having on bricks and mortar retail (like everywhere else). Our highlight for 2018 was expanding our European distribution network, which means we are poised to make a much bigger impact in the UK throughout 2019. I’d like to see less companies selling the same products and just competing on price. We need to try to protect margins by offering product differentiation as price competition only leads to one place! I’d like to see more true competition, with a wider variety of product and innovation.” ANDY CRITCHLOW, international sales director, Carnival Toys


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Spielwarenmesse 2019

SPIELWARENMESSE 30 January – 3 February, 2019 Nuremberg Exhibition Center, Germany www.spielwarenmesse.de


uremburg toy fair is celebrating its 70th year in 2019. The sixday show is billed as the place where ‘international toy markets come together’ and is key for European party retailers looking to be ahead of the game in 2019. Over 260 exhibitors from over 34 different countries will be showcasing their latest lines in Hall 9 – which is dedicated to the wide-ranging festival,

carnival and fireworks market. A new promotion area, dubbed Showtime, will also be launching this year, playing host to a targeted programme of events each day. A catwalk show will take place three times a day, while other innovations from the sector will be shown in their best light during hands-on demonstrations. Here’s a look at what else is in store.

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■ Bristol Novelty

2019 will be the first year that Bristol Novelty has its own stand at Nuremberg. This is +44 lnov a to bris huge achievement as the company moves forward to provide retailers with more choice. New wigs will be a prominent feature, providing something different for in-store wig walls and Fun Flatables will also be making their debut – these take the standard inflatable costume and ‘blow it up’ to the next level. The 8ft tall baby suits are perfect for gender reveal parties! Carnival costumes will be prominent on the stand as well, with a range of circus-themed costumes. It’s going to be a special year for Bristol Novelty and we welcome you to be part of it

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■B  oland Party Nuremberg offers party retailers the opportunity to find exclusive products that competitors do not have and is the largest offering of party products in Europe under one roof. Boland will be launching its 2019 catalogue with a huge range of new product, including a number of new themes with an emphasis on disposable tableware and party decorations. Accessories are a big part of Boland’s dress-up range and the new launch is not short of new ideas and products. The stand will be dressed in a Western theme including a bar and jail, depending on how visitors behave!

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■ Delights Direct The Delights Direct team is excited about meeting new customers at the show. “The last three years has been really good for that, but it’s also great to say hello to some familiar clients too,” says account manager Stuart Wheeler. “A much later carnival should be really good for footfall this year.” Delights Direct will have an extensive range of costumes and accessories for Carnival, including the very popular PJ masks outfits.

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■C  arnival Toys Carnival Toys will be presenting a selection of the year’s forthcoming novelties at the show and invites both existing and new customers to visit the stand, where of course the team also serves Italian espresso coffee! For 2019 Carnival Toys will be making sure it offers retailers something different, to give them a point of difference in turn. The Italian production becomes a real selling point here as Italy is the spiritual ‘home’ of Carnival in Europe, making Carnival Toys the perfect supplier for these lines. An in-house production facility produces the high quality costumes, wigs, masks, confetti and streamers.

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■ Amscan Amscan will be showing a number of exciting new licensed ranges including toy favourite Nerf partyware and balloons, well as Enchantimals and more. New everyday party designs include Rainbow and Cloud and Tepee and Tomahawk from the Riethmüller brand collection. The stand will also include new foil balloon designs by Anagram, including the must-see Ombre Orbz. There will also be a fantastic selection of new carnival and Halloween costumes and accessories available to view, showcasing the latest dress-up trends and styles.


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Viale dell’Industria, 3/C 20020 Busto Garolfo (Milano) - Italy Tel. (+39) 0331 560001 - Fax (+39) 0331 537565 E-mail: info@widmannsrl.com


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National UK Wholesaler/Distributor Tel. 01702 447676 - Fax 01702 447677 E-mail: sales@sanctointernational.co.uk


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Spielwarenmesse 2019

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■ GoDan

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■ Folat For 2019 Folat has developed a number of new items in matte metallic, including foil numbers in pink, green and blue which can be combined with matching plates and flag banners. At the show, Folat will be launching different types of decoration such as metallic rose gold, and silver and gold plates, cups and napkins which work well when combined with Folat’s table confetti and confetti balloons. Also new is a range of retro general birthday articles such as party horns, blowouts, eye masks, crowns and tiaras in metallic, glitter and holographic designs in a variety of colours including magenta, red, green, purple and gold.

During the fair GoDan will be presenting its most important product lines, including new and fashionable shapes of foil and latex balloons, as colours will continue to play an important role again as will foil balloons, which have started to become increasingly significant again. Godan will also be presenting additional party accessories for both event organisers and its consumers as well as the latest trends in birthday candle designs and tableware. A new range of interesting pinatas is expected to be very popular, as are the large number foil balloons in various colours and sizes and the disposable helium tanks with balloon gas direct from Polish sources.

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■ Grabo Grabo has been showing at Nuremberg Toy Fair for the last 30 years. As the biggest fair in Europe for balloons, it is proud to be a corner stone of the show, being the biggest producer and reseller in the old continent. The show is a great opportunity to see what Grabo has to offer retailers and decorators as it goes full throttle into the new year. Pastel colours, sparkly glitter holographic colours, new designs with llamas, narwhals, peacocks and much more. Oh, and that’s not even including the neverseen-before new blasting balloons!

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■ OppoSuits

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For 2019, OppoSuits has launched a licensed collection within its Suitmeister range for the first time. This means your customers can now dress up as The Joker, The Riddler or even Harry Potter in a full suit (jacket, trouser and tie) for just $49.95! This addition to the range applies across both the adults and children’s versions. The team is really looking forward to showing off the new range at Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg as well as revealing its exciting new plans for 2019 including a number of amazing new designs and products, both licensed and generic. Also a new technology will be integrated, which will really take OppoSuits to the next level!

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■ Henbrandt This show is probably the most important show in Europe, where everybody from the party industry goes if they are really looking for something new. It offers the latest trends across party, accessories, toys and other related items and it offers party retailers a much wider picture of the new trends that will be on the market. It also gives exhibitors a truly international platform to reach potential visitors, making it unmissable for anyone working in that market. Henbrandt will be showing most of its masks, pocket money toys, tattoos and stickers, along with our novelty and prankster range with some inflatables, summer and some party accessories.

■ Pioneer Europe Pioneer Europe will be showing its new product offerings and stunning creative displays of the Qualatex, Northstar Balloons and Pioneer Party ranges. Visitors will see captivating displays of the very latest in balloon décor from worldrenowned designers, as well as the full range of 2019 products. The displays will focus on the hottest crazes, latest fashion and lifestyle themes and showcasing new techniques and styles. On display will be an extensive selection of latex, microfoil and exclusive Bubble balloons, including new licensed and everyday products as well as the revolutionary new Chrome Microfoil balloons, which are available in heart, round and star shapes.


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Spielwarenmesse 2019

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■ Smiffys Smiffys is proud to present over 160 new lines for 2019! The food-inspired costume trend continues to grow and Smiffys has extended its selection of fun fruit and vegetable costumes and accessories, ranging from avocados and aubergines to lemons and watermelons. The all-new Circus collection is perfect for groups and families, while an extended range of rainbow dress-up and accessories is perfect for the Pride celebrations that have become an established yearly event in major cities across the UK and Europe. Also, staying ahead of the trend for family costumes is Smiffys’ Halloween collection which now includes group dress-up for aliens, vampires, ghouls, zombies and Day of the Dead.

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■ Mask-arade Novelty mask-maker Mask-arade has just launched its L.O.L Surprise! face masks. This licensed range features seven popular character masks; Diva, Rocker, Queen Bee, Punk Boi, MC Swag, Merbaby and Fancy. Demand for these super cute masks has come from all markets across Europe and they are ideal for children’s parties. Brand new character masks depicting Iron Man, Thanos, Groot, Iron Spider and Black Panther are also in stock now. These longawaited designs are set to head straight into Mask-arade’s top sellers for 2019 so now is the time to place your order.

■ Unique Party Unique Party is excited for 2019, which is bringing with it the launch of the highly anticipated new Glitz range along with many new ensembles with matching accessories. One of the favourites is the new ‘Hello Baby’ baby shower range, with pastel colours and gold foil detailing which makes for an elegant baby shower for any mum-to-be. With so many new other exciting products for 2019 on display at the shows, be sure to come visit the Unique Party stand and meet the team, as they love to meet new customers and catch up with the old!

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■ Splashes & Spills Splashes & Spills always looks forward to the premier show for the Halloween industry where it gets to meet valued customers from the EU, USA and Far East. New products that will be on show include all things glitter and the new range of ‘Be You’ hair dyes that come in 14 colours. ‘Be You’ is a fresh concept from Splashes & Spills, promoting the fact that makeup and hair colour allow people to simply be themselves as an expression of their individuality. All bestselling items are also now available as boxsets.

■ Widmann ■ Rubie’s Masquerade Showing at both Spring Fair and Spielwarenmesse, Rubie’s has big plans in place for the upcoming 2019 season. The team is extremely excited for the next 12 months with many highly anticipated blockbuster films in the pipeline, from Disney’s live-action Lion King and the much-anticipated Frozen 2 through to Marvel Studio’s Captain Marvel, out in March this year. The buzz around Rubie’s officially licensed Fortnite costumes is not slowing down and Skull Trooper, Bright Bomber and Dark Knight continue to be the must-have costumes for fans of the game. The latest collection of Rubie’s hugely popular inflatable costumes will also be on show, including Jurassic World’s T-Rex and Blue the velociraptor, a larger-thanlife Kong and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Leonardo!

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Widmann will be at Spielwarenmesse once again as the must-visit show attracts buyers and players in the fancy dress and party industry from all over the world. Widmann has completely renovated its modern stand, where it will be displaying its latest costumes and accessories and demonstrating its captivating visual arts prepared by its renowned graphics team. All Widmann top management will be present to assist customers with both the 15,000 item assortment as well as consulting on all services available for retailers, including enhanced access to product data and graphics for online provders. Representatives from Widmann will be conversing with industry representatives in over ten different languages, easily identifiable upon arrival on the Widmann stand. We look forward to greeting customers and all interested parties, always with a smile and ready to find the correct solution to meet individual needs.


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Premium Inflators for all types of balloons to prevent over-inflation or valve damage! The FoilPro™ Hands-Free inflation of multi-compartment foils, and latex, will not over-inflate, and will not damage self-sealing valves. The Twin-Air Sizer® II The only Inflator to digitally size all Latex balloons from 160’s to 3-foot! Can easily inflate double-stuffed 5” latex and run continuously without overheating. Now 25% Faster… 30% Quieter… 10% Lighter!

Come try them all at Nurnberg Toy Fair in Halle 9, Stand E-07

The Twin-Gas Sizer® For accurate inflation and digital sizing of all Latex balloons with Helium, Nitrogen, or compressed air. Comes as a complete system with all accessories included.

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Please visit us at www.premiumballoon.com to view our wide range of Inflators and Balloon Accessories

MicroAir® High-quality, powerful, compact, and affordable. Inflates 5˝ Latex and larger, plus foil balloons with Premium’s foil ‘Bypass Nozzle’ to prevent over-inflation. The only low-cost inflator with a One-Year Warranty.


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Spielwarenmesse 2019

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■ Peppy Group UK-based Peppy specialises in party aerosol products and is excited to be launching its neon collection and glow in the dark collection for the 2019 party season. The neon collection includes hair spray, party string, clothes tattoos and tattoo spray. All products are quick drying and easy to remove. The glow in the dark collection includes party string, Halloween and Christmas decoration spray, spider web streamer and stacking snow. Peppy also offers a wide range of party aerosol products for all occasions so make sure you visit the stand for all the latest products and fair exclusive promotions.

The Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ means Faster, Higher, Stronger. Palmer Agencies’ motto for Spielwarenmesse is ‘Maior, Melius, Mirificus’, meaning ‘Bigger, Better, Wonderful!’ This year Palmer Agencies has a BIGGER stand than ever before, in a much BETTER location and showcasing the most WONDERFUL new lines on offer in the European Halloween, costume and party market. On top of the new location, Palmer Agencies will be unveiling its new 2019 product brochure with over 165 new references and groundbreaking (literally!) Halloween decorations, licensed masks, creative costumes and professional make-up. Very special promotions and prices will be on offer during the show. Please book an appointment to avoid disappointment due to our usually rather busy stand. Latine Locutus Est. Wir Sprechen Deutsch. On Parle Francais. Se Habla Español. Parliamo Italiano. But most importantly, Palmer Agencies speaks your language: profitable retailing for independents and professionals.

■P  remium Balloon Accessories US-based Premium Balloon Accessories have a reputation for innovative, cost efficient effective products for the balloon industry. The flagship digital air inflator, the Twin continues this tradition as it is the only electric air inflator with the ability to accurately latex balloons – even a double-stuffed 5”! Premium’s CoolAire technology means that it can run continuously without overheating, while technical updates mean it inflates 25% faster, 30% quieter and weighs 10% less. It is fast becoming the preferred inflator of balloon professionals worldwide. Famous balloon professionals around the world sing the praises of the Twin Air Sizer, from Europe to the UK to Australia.

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■ Oaktree UK As a leading supplier of balloons and balloon accessories, Oaktree UK will be introducing a number of exciting additions to its comprehensive range of balloons, banners and bunting in 2019. Some of the most eagerly-anticipated new ranges include Sparkling Fizz holographic white and rose gold balloons, bunting and banners and the Sparkling Fizz holographic black and gold balloons, bunting and banners. In addition to these great news ranges, Oaktree UK has a lot more exciting new products for the coming year, which will all be on show at the stand.

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“My Twin Air Sizer is my go to machine for organic designs, I love it!” Chris Adamo, The Balloon Crew, Australia. “It easily inflates double stuffed 5” and keeps working without overheating.” Luc Bertrand, WAW Balloons, Belgium. “It sizes perfectly every time and doesn’t overheat, it really is the best machine.” Sue Bowler, UK “The Twin Air Sizer II ran for hours on end, inflating thousands of balloons with no sign of overheating!” Aimee Smith, Celebrations Party Shop, UK “I love my Twin Air Sizer and would recommend it to anybody.” Tope Abulude, Balloon Inspirations, UK If you haven’t tried the Twin Air Sizer II yet, make sure you head over to the Premium Balloon Accessories booth where the team will be happy to see you and you can test the machine, get updated pricing and much more. The Premium team will of course have its entire range of air and helium inflators on display along with the latest balloon weights and air-filled solutions.


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What’s New From Europe?

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What’s New?

Looking for something a bit different? Then it’s time for an international shopping spree!

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A Fright-Fest

Top It Off

Fit For A King

A new line of Halloween product from Boland Party will be launched during the tradeshows which are taking place in the early part of the year. Spooky costumes and accessories are strong sellers all year round, not just at Halloween and Boland will be making the most of that this year with a whole range of fresh takes on spooky favourites.

A great new range of blow-up balloon toppers has been introduced by Godan and are available to order now. The mini-inflatables are available in a wide variety of the latest colour trends, including a fresh blue and a rose gold, and offer the perfect finishing touch to any cake display or other birthday celebration or anniversary.

Need some hairy smiles to fit small faces? These new child-size fake beards and moustaches from Mustaches are a great fit for any mood or occasion and are fit for a king! “Kids will always have a ball when you put something furry on their face!” All items are certified safe under the EU’s strict standards for toys: EN 71-1, 71-2 and 71-3.


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Disco Dude The growth in popularity of OppoSuits carnival style suits has been phenomenal over the last several years. There’s no shortage of customers who really want to express themselves with bright, bold, and patterned suits in their favourite colours. This new 80s-insired line, Disco Dude, is expected to be extremely popular throughout 2019’s carnival and festival seasons.

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Funky Unicorn

Going For Gold

Innovative balloon company Grabo is going full throttle into the new year for 2019! The company is introducing pastel colours, sparkly glitter holographic colours, new designs with Llamas, Narwhals, Peacocks and many more. This colourful unicorn design is a Wonderloons joinable, perfect for any dedicated unicorn fan – of any age!

Perfect for combining with other metallic products is this new luxury gold Happy Birthday line from Folat. The full partyware collection includes a letter banner, flag banner, foil spiral deco, octagon plates, cups and napkins, all in shiny gold. These products also come in new packaging, offering more of a luxury look and feel.


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Outstanding Offers On Our stands Hall 9C73 Stand 5G104

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Spring Fair 2019


pring Fair is the perfect opportunity to kickstart the UK buying season; with more than 56,000 visitors attending over the six days, it is ideal for researching trends, discovering new product and catching up with industry contacts. Hall 5 plays home to The Party Show, which allows party retailers and buyers to see exactly what will be on offer THE

Spring Fair is an essential visit for anyone in the retail trade. Taking place at the start of the year, buyers, distributors and agents flock to the show to ensure they have the pick of the newest party product. PPE finds out what’s on offer... over the coming year, while Hall 3 (Greetings & Gift) will also be playing host to a number of party favourites such as Gemma International and Talking Tables. So whether you’re looking to add to your current stock or just want to find out what everyone will be wearing at this year’s festivals, Spring Fair is the place to be. We’ll see you there!

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Regular catwalk shows will be taking place at The Stage, in Hall 5, showcasing the latest in costume and dress-up trends. Balloon seminars and workshops will also educate and inspire.





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Retailers looking for exciting, on-trend party, balloon and costume ranges should head to the Amscan stand where the leading supplier will be showcasing an array of new ensembles for 2019 as well as its own refreshed company branding. The costume collection has also been expanded to include a number of exciting new licences and generic dress-up options, while over 20 new partyware ranges have also been added. Some stunning new balloons will be joining Amscan’s collection, with lots of fresh licences and everyday designs. The mesmerising new Ombre Orbz balloons are available in seven eye-catching colourways and are sure to be a hugely popular addition at celebrations everywhere.

■ Boland Party

■B  ristol Novelty Bristol Novelty is very excited about Spring Fair 2019, as it’s a chance for retailers to see the new-look company. From its new branding to exclusive lines, the Bristol Novelty stand reflects the progressive changes the company is making throughout the business. Accompanying its ever-popular accessories will be the new ‘Party & Events’ range, as well as collections being showcased for the first time in the UK. This year Bristol Novelty is launching its 80s range across both accessories and costumes. It will be taking orders for a new eye-catching plastic-free wig range, a new World Book Day range which has been designed in-house, Fun Flatables and a sensational range of generic and Halloween costumes.


Sta -H915198 Boland will be launching its 2019 catalogue 0 4 at Spring Fair, with a huge range of new 5G(09) 208n5d0.eu product including a number of new themes +44 bola and with an emphasis on disposable tableware and party decorations. Accessories are a big part of Boland’s dress-up range and the new launch is not short of new ideas and products. In 2019 an experiment is being carried out with Boland Party’s new catalogue, so the new Halloween collection will be included in the main catalogue, because as we all know, Halloween is not just for Halloween! This year’s stand will be following a Western theme including a bar and jail – which one you visit will depend on how you behave!

■ Creative Party Creative Party will be exhibiting a capsule collection of its new releases and best sellers in the Cardgains Village in Hall 3, while sister brand Anniversary House is also showing in the Kitchen, Dining & Housewares hall, on Stand 9A26-B27. This year, Creative Party is thrilled to be showcasing several new impactful party ranges in Baby Shower, Children’s Birthday, Themed Parties and Milestone Birthday ensembles. Highlights include a new Gender Reveal balloon assortment which is perfect for making the big announcement as well as a number of on-trend partyware designs, including iridescent, Mermaid Shine, Llama Party, Gaming Party, Rainbow Foil and the fabulous Fiesta Fun.

■ Carnival Toys

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c An Italian company specialising in carnival, Halloween, Christmas and party items, Carnival Toys today is one of the biggest and best established party companies in Europe. With a portfolio of over 6,000 products, Carnival Toys will be offering retailers something different and giving them a point of difference. The Italian production is a real selling point as Italy is the spiritual ‘home’ of Carnival in Europe. Carnival Toys will be presenting a selection of the year’s forthcoming novelties at the show and invites both existing and new customers to visit the stand, where of course the team also serves Italian espresso coffee!


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Spring Fair 2019

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■ Grabo The Grabo team had fun last year but this time it’s gonna be triple, with more colours, more ideas and more innovation! With an Italian-themed stand for retailers to take selfies with Grabo is hoping to bring the warmness of Italy to wintery Birmingham and let retailers take a part of Italy back home with them! Grabo invites everyone to visit its fab new stand, enjoy the new balloons and talk to the team directly. Going full throttle into the new year, Grabo will be focusing on pastel colours, sparkly glitter holographic colours and a number of new designs featuring llamas, narwhals, peacocks and many more. Not to mention the launch of the never-before-seen blasting balloons!

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■ Gemma International Spring Fair is perfect for retailers looking to buy into current trends and explore what’s coming for the year. Trends for 2019 include a huge resurgence on the 80s and disco era and Gemma has tapped into this across its greetings and gift packaging ranges, with the launch of the new ‘NOW! That’s What I Call Music’ range which will be on show at Spring Fair. Gemma is also delighted to be launching two fabulous new party ranges at Spring Fair 2019. A new Peppa Pig Party Pack collection will support the preschool favourite’s biggest year yet as she celebrates her 15th anniversary! Also new is the exciting new Natural History Museum complete partyware range.

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■ Henbrandt Henbrandt will be showing most of its new range for 2019 at Spring Fair, from its popular pocket money toys to its full costume side which covers everything from dress-up accessories for Pride, Easter and St Patrick’s day to tattoos, stickers and masks. This is in addition to the always popular Halloween and Christmas items, so everybody can see and get an idea of what the company offers and properly meet the team. Henbrandt will also be providing customers with its 2019 catalogue and is looking forward to showing people what it is doing and to meeting with current and potential customers.

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■ Davies Products ■ Mask-arade Mask-arade is looking forward to another Spring Fair as the 2018 show was a genuine success for the mask company, with a wealth of traffic on the stand, from existing loyal customers to new retailers looking for something different. Mask-arade is also excited to be launching more licensed masks in 2019, which is set to be another high point for the company which will be showing its new licensed masks from Marvel Avengers and L.O.L Surprise as well as its popular Party Faces range. Trade shows are the lifeblood of the industry and Mask-arade relies on them to meet customers and express the passion that it has for its products.

■ ITI UK Capitalising on the success of its confettifilled balloon range, ITI is delighted to add 36” and 12” options, all filled with red confetti hearts. The huge pre-filled gender reveal balloons have also been added to with a printed version and a 24” printed Mr & Mrs packet design. Some cracking new colours have also been added to the 24” and 36” pastel options as well as the 20” and 30” metallics, including Rose Gold. ITI has also continued to add to its popular balloon kits over the past two years and 2019’s additions include an Octopus Kit and three Flower kits, all at prices that have to be seen to be believed.

Davies Products is launching lots of exciting new ranges for 2019! The company will be showing hundreds of new products, featuring new designs and themes for both Halloween and Christmas. The Davies Products Scream Machine range is the complete onestop-shop for Halloween and its 2019 range has terrifyingly good selection of decorations, props and animated figures as well as a huge selection of make-up, accessories and more. Christmas is the time to deck the aisles and make your store a winter wonderland! 2019 sees Davies’ most impressive and extensive Christmas range ever, with new accessories and decoration themes which are sure to get your customers into the Christmas spirit.


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Spring Fair 2019

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■ Thetru Fancy dress company Thetru is coming all the way from Holland and will be exhibiting at Spring Fair for the very first time. The Thetru team is inviting all the retailers throughout the party industry to visit its Spring Fair stand so that it can to show off all of its different collections. Thetru develops, produces and sells costumes and accessories for Halloween, Oktoberfest, Carnival, Christmas and theme parties. The team are looking forward to meeting everyone at the show and would like to show the UK party retailers at the Spring Fair that it has great collections which are all available in perfect quality and at a good price!

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■ Unique Party The 2019 Spring Fair will be Unique Party’s 19th year at the leading trade show and the team is just as excited as ever. 2019 brings with it the launch of Unique Party’s highly anticipated new Glitz range along with many new ensembles with matching accessories. One of the favourites is a new ‘Hello Baby’ baby shower range, with pastel colours and gold foil detailing making it an elegant baby shower for any mum-to-be. With so many new other exciting products for 2019 on display at the show, be sure to come visit the Unique Party stand and meet the team, who are looking forward to meeting new customers and catching up with the old.

■ Rubie’s Masquerade Showing at both Spring Fair and Spielwarenmesse, Rubie’s has big plans in place for the upcoming 2019 season. The team is extremely excited for the next 12 months with many highly anticipated blockbuster films in the pipeline, from Disney’s live-action Lion King and the much-anticipated Frozen 2 through to Marvel Studio’s Captain Marvel, out in March this year. The buzz around Rubie’s officially licensed Fortnite costumes is not slowing down and Skull Trooper, Bright Bomber and Dark Knight continue to be the must-have costumes for fans of the game. The latest collection of Rubie’s hugely popular inflatable costumes will also be on show, including Jurassic World’s T-Rex and Blue the velociraptor, a larger-thanlife Kong and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Leonardo!

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■ Palmer Agencies Palmer Agencies will be taking centre stage at the UK’s biggest trade show. With over 50 years’ experience and having shown at Spring Fair for over 40; Palmer Agencies will lead from the front, as ever. Expect to see the best Halloween designs and products: namely the bestselling animated props in the market, costumes, masks and many other party lines that will make your retail/e-tail outlet stand out from the crowd. Palmer Agencies helps its customers keep their margins by offering the best customer service, quality products and innovative designs across costumes, masks and licences. In addition, a 10% discount will be offered on all orders placed at the show with some further items enjoying a very special promotional price structure.

■ Pioneer Europe Pioneer Europe, European supplier of Qualatex balloons, is readying for a return to Spring Fair with show-stopping new product lines and stunning creative displays of its Qualatex, Northstar Balloons and Pioneer Party ranges. Visitors to Pioneer’s double stand will see captivating displays of the very latest in balloon décor from world renowned designers, plus the full range of 2019 products. The displays will focus on the hottest crazes, latest fashion and lifestyle themes and showcasing new techniques and styles. On display will be an extensive selection of latex, Microfoil and exclusive Bubble Balloons as well as many new everyday and seasonal products for 2019, including new ‘PinterestReady’ must-have shapes such as the elegant 35” Swan shape, the celebratory 39” Trophy and family favourite, 31” Precious Panda microfoil. The team will also be delivering hands-on advice from the stand, showcasing innovative new window display and point of sale ideas, with the talented Qualatex instructors offering free balloon demonstrations at the on-stand education area.

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■ Party Deco PartyDeco is a designer, producer and importer of wedding and theme decorations. PartyDeco believes that throwing a party is one of the greatest things a person can do for the special people in their life and this is why, over 20 years, the family business has become a worldwide producer and importer of bestselling party supplies for all ages and occasions. PartyDeco offers its customers a combination of a coherent, attractive product and a modern business approach, with an emphasis on products and packaging as well as top workmanship. The in-house design studio employs the industry’s top designers that work through the whole year providing retailers with new products which meet the latest worldwide trends in the party field.


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Guest Columnist

Mark Brett, Boland Party

The Word Otn ee r t s e th

The latest in PPE’s series of guest columnists, Mark Brett is the UK agent for Dutch party company, Boland Party. Here’s his take on why it’s so important to really know what your customer is looking for – and how the party industry can get better at this fundamental part of business.



anding over my customary packet of biscuits (two this time – nothing to do with Christmas, but we’ll come back to that later), the customer responded; “Thanks! It surprises me that most of our suppliers still don’t understand what they need to do to get an order...” We then had a discussion about the importance of knowing your customer. I have to point out that this is the only customer to get packets of biscuits from me. If I didn’t get them biscuits, it would not affect the level of business I get from this client, but it underlines the need to know and understand them; whether they are trade or consumer. This knowledge is probably one of the most important part of any retail business, at every level of the chain. For many years retailers have invested vast amounts in trying to find out more about their customers. But market research, focus groups, consumer panels, loyalty cards and even online algorithms all have their failings. The first three are flawed in many ways. They are an artificial construct. Anyone who has seen the recent Brexit drama ‘Uncivil War’ will have an idea of how troublesome focus groups can be. They are driven solely by the limited information they are asked about and they work on

relatively small samples. These samples are subjected to statistical analysis but as we all know with political polling this is a science that is not espcially accurate let alone scientific. Customers of any sort are prone to respond to questions and discussions in a very different way when not faced with real-life decisions. While being very powerful tools, algorithms and other data analytics have a degree of unreliability built in because they rely on patterns. As humans, we often make buying decisions that are not the consequence of patterns – or make one-off purchases for any number of reasons. My eclectic Amazon order history is a case in point! The point I am trying to make is that no matter who you are aiming to trade with, you have to engage with

ABOVE: Would you be able to pass the biscuit test? RIGHT: Market research indicated that consumers would never buy Sony’s Walkman cassette player but it went on to sell 330million units!

them in one way or another. Steve Jobs of Apple used to quote Henry Ford; “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’!”

Norwich is not Ipswich, Brighton is not Bournemouth. It is said that every one of the 33million who voted in the 2016 referendum had a different reason for voting the

“Anyone who has seen the recent Brexit drama ‘Uncivil War’ will have an idea of how troublesome focus groups can be.”

Apple uses a technique called ‘ethnography’, which involves watching how people react to product in their stores. There is very little actual selling activity within their stores, so this seems to be more about interacting with the consumer and getting to know more about them. With all this accrued data, they then create product that the consumer didn’t know they needed. That surely is really knowing your customer. The UK high street is just starting to realise this. I believe that multiple retailers will not be continuing to use standardised planograms for much longer; after all, Bury is not Bolton,

way they did. This might be an exaggeration, but it gives us an idea of the disparate nature of UK consumer. Planograms are compromises and that is not enough for the future of retail. New customers often ask for ‘Top Sellers’, but they are rarely useful really. Just because one item sells very well for one person does not mean that it will sell well for everyone – there can be many reasons for products selling well in isolation. I go back to the two packets of biscuits I mentioned at the start of this column. I bought two packs, not because it is Christmas, but because I like nuts. For the infrequent visit to our biscuit tin I always try to ensure there is a biscuit with nuts – they are my favourites. However, I know that most of the members of staff at this particular retailer prefer chocolate. When I gave them the option to choose one of the packets when I arrived, the chocolate packet was politely whipped from my hand, as I had predicted. The biscuit test might not quite be ethnographics, but it is certainly part of knowing your customer...”


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Dino Appeal Dinosaurs have a huge appeal for all ages and Gemma International’s exciting new Natural History Museum party range will be no exception. Featuring the favourite species from the new collection of NHM dinosaur illustrations, this popular party theme will include plates, cups, napkins, table cover, lootbags, invitations and cardboard banner.

Licensed to Party Spring Fair

Progressive Party rounds up the latest licensed releases.

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Famous Faces

Play With Peppa

The latest brand new character masks from Mask-arade feature Iron Man, Thanos, Groot, Iron Spider and Black Panther and are all in stock now. These long-awaited designs are set to head straight to the top of Mask-arade’s top sellers list for 2019 so now is the time to place your order if you don’t want to miss out!

Peppa Pig is celebrating her 15th birthday in 2019 and is a popular preschool favourite for World Book Day events. Cutouts and masks are ideal for retail promotions as well as for use in schools, libraries and book clubs across the country, be sure to promote cut-outs and masks to make any literary event literally brilliant.

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Cat In The Hat With World Book Day coming soon on 7 March, now is the perfect time to stock up on costumes which are likely to be popular. Amscan has added some great new Dr. Seuss themed fancy dress lines for the 2019 season, including a Cat in the Hat jumpsuit, dress set and accessory set, as well as Thing 1 and Thing 2 styles.

Kids Classics

Character Cake

Smiffys has released a new licensed costume range for the children’s classic book and television series, Wind in the Willows. The new dress-up line will include costume, masks and accessories for the iconic and muchloved preschool series. Characters in the range include the four main stars of the book; Toad of Toad Hall, Rat, Mole and Badger.

Celebrate World Book Day with Creative Party’s Peter Rabbit sugarcraft toppers and cupcake cases featuring the lovable bunny himself, making it simple to create show-stopping sweet treats. A brand new licensed range for 2019, the home-baking party collection focuses on Beatrix Potter’s original lovable characters that have charmed and enchanted us for generations.


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Book Week 2019

A Moveable Feast This year, the official World Book Day is Thursday 7 March 2019, although schools often move the date or add themes to fit in with their own timetables and curriculums, so it’s always worth checking out what’s happening in your local area.

Imaginations A WORLD OF

Over the past few years, World Book Day (or Book Week, as it is more commonly known) has catapulted children’s fancy dress to the forefront of the party industry. Here’s what’s new for the 2019 season.


ith schools across the UK continuing to embrace the literary celebration that is World Book Day, fancy dress shops are able to capitalise on the event, which is now a key date in the calendar for the party industry. Last year’s celebrations were a boost for costume shops, despite the heavy snow which saw many regions delaying their celebrations until the weather was more suitable. While many parents continue to rely on supermarket or internet shopping to source their little darling’s costume, many others leave it far too late to do anything other than buy in person from the local party shop. As a key event in the dress-up calendar, all the major suppliers now offer their own, dedicated Book Week collections. Amscan offers a wide range of styles covering the main themes from historical to careers,

Joining In The Fun “Book Week is the most important time of the year for us for children’s costumes. Licensed costumes from popular film and book franchises always do well. Perennial favourites include Harry Potter, Where’s Wally and anything Roald Dahl. For younger children, classic fairy tale costumes are always popular. Mary Poppins has always been a popular choice for Book Week and following on from the recent film, we expect her to be even bigger this year. We are seeing an increasing number of teachers coming into our stores to purchase costumes as well. They want to be part of the fun and tend to choose similar costumes to the children.” Emma Angel, director, Angels Fancy Dress

fairy-tale and animals, with new lines for 2019 across all of these. “Our classic character styles such as Mad Hatters, classic Red Riding Hood and Alice are performing well, as are the licensed lines The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Elmer the Elephant, revealed Sam Taylor, Amscan’s dress-up category manager. “Our new range of Dr Suess costumes and accessories is already starting to trend, so we predict that will be big this year – especially everyone’s favourite, The Grinch!” A brand new World Book Day range from Bristol Novelty has already been very well received and the company is delighted with how popular the new range has proved with customers. “Since the new range arrived in stock we’ve seen a huge demand for the classic and creative variety of costumes,” said marketing manager Fran Hales, who strongly recommends putting in an order before the range is showcased at Spring Fair! “We love the World Book Day costumes,” he continued. “It’s been a real pleasure creating these as we had fun with the designs and the incredible imagery which has helped bring them to life. My favourite has to be the World War costumes, as a set they have real stand-out from other on the market right now.” Also boosting its World Book Day offering is Smiffys, which has recently added a number of new generic and licensed lines across its preschool and primary

Left: Amscan’s new range of Dr. Seuss costumes includes the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2 as well as the Grinch. Below left: The new Wind in the Willlows line from Smiffys is expected to be hugely popular for Book Week 2019.

portfolios. “From animals to pirates and princesses, we are continually developing our range of costumes and accessories to make sure there is something for everyone,” explained trade marketing manager Sharon Poulter. “And continuing our strong association with children’s literary licences, we are delighted to have been able to extend our range of officially licensed children’s costumes and accessory kits.” The new range of toddler costumes includes CBeebies favourite Bing, as well as Postman Pat and Where’s Wally, while other characters include favourites from Roald Dahl, Where’s Wally, Horrible Histories, Goosebumps, Peter Rabbit and David Walliams. Early reports coming through from Henbrandt show that sales of Book Week lines are continuing to rise for 2019, with costumes, hats and costume accessories continuing to sell well. “We are bringing in more costumes that appeal to this market,” said marketing manager George Morgan. “And an increasing number of classic books are being made into films and television series and this has definitely increased the popularity of those costumes and accessories.” One of the best things about World Book Day is that the number of smaller children’s dress-up occasions throughout the rest of the year means that stocking up is a relatively low-risk business for retailers. Keep turning the page! Below: Bristol Novelty has introduced a new line of Book Week styles for 2019.


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Book Week 2019


Historical children’s costumes are popular all year round, with a boost in popularity around Book Week so Fun Shack has added Florence Nightingale, Edwardian Garden Girl and Musketeer to its range.

Book Week is a very busy time for Widmann and the company has many new lines which tie in brilliantly for the season’s ever-increasing demands, with everything from Peter Pan to historical knights.

A firm favourite for Book Week is Elmer the preschool elephant. Amscan has a range of dress-up options including this hooded cape with head and tail detailing. Classic fairy tale characters such as Goldilocks are a popular choice from Henbrandt, which also offers a range of accessories and simple and affordable dress-up kits suitable for the season.

Smiffys latest additions to its popular preschool line include these deluxe Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny costumes, perfect for Beatrix Potter fans at Book Week. Licensed lines from Creative Party have a focus on nostalgia and popular culture, and this Peter Rabbit line is expected to be popular for Book Week celebrations.

Roald Dahl’s larger than life characters are always a popular choice for Book Week, such as this officially licensed Augustus Gloop costume, now available from Smiffys.

This moving mouth fox mask from Palmer Agencies has a great deal of potential for Book Week and is likely to give more than one teacher an affordable solution to this event!

Fun Shack’s new dinosaur and dragon costume have already been popular in the run-up to Book Week.

Amscan has a wide range of classic character styles including this Miss Hatter costume featuring dress, gloves and headband.

Star Cutouts has a new range of table top cutouts available which are perfect for promoting Book Week events at retail or in schools and literary clubs across the country.

A new range of Book Week costumes from Bristol Novelty has a while range of options suitable for preschool and primary-age children and these World War costumes are a particular favourite.


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Book Day

n e e w Hallo

NEw WIGS 3rd - 7th Feb 2019

3Oth Jan - 3rd Feb 2019 Nuremberg Toy Fair Hall: 9 Stand: B33

HATS • Accessories • MASKS

Join us

Birmingham NEC Hall: 5 Stand: 5E102-F103

Make-up • PARTY & EVENTS


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Q1: Spring Events


As consumers continue to look for any excuse to have a good time, PPE takes a look at the miniseasons which keep party retailers busy for the first few months of the year.


tarting a new year is never easy – it’s cold, everyone’s broke and half your customers are doing Dry January. Luckily, this doesn’t last for too long because there’s plenty to keep the party industry ticking over and the Q1 micro-seasons – primarily St. Patricks’ Day, Mother’s Day and Easter – are now increasingly important to the party sector. By investing in these smaller occasions and driving the sector forward, the party industry is ensuring customers come back each year, helping to cementing the occasion as an ‘event’ and increasing both consumer loyalty and total spend in doing do. St. Patrick’s Day has always been a great excuse to have a good craic and suppliers are continuing to add to their ranges wherever possible. Mother’s Day and Easter are also both seeing plenty of fresh product in bright, modern colours and styles. According to Mark Brett, UK agent for Boland Party, these events are becoming increasingly important to party suppliers, with the extended carnival season still leading the way, with events and parades taking places right up to Easter itself. “St Patrick’s Day is becoming increasingly popular throughout Europe,”

Doing It All “The ‘sub-seasons’ at the start of the year provide a great boost when things might otherwise be a little quiet. Easter is a later date in 2019 which helps to space the events out a bit and should help to maximise activity as consumers have a bit more breathing space between celebrations!” Stuart Wheeler, accounts manager, Delights Direct

of it

Right: Fun Shack has a wide range of St Patrick’s Day dress-up options available.

says Mark. “There are few large towns in the world that don’t have an Irish pub or two and they all want to join in. The night of the week on which it falls has a big impact on its success – it’s a Sunday this year so we expect to see some sore heads on Monday!” Fun Shack’s marketing manager Alice Knight agrees that most popular of these sub-seasons is St Patrick’s Day. “We have seen a huge demand for our Leprechauns year-on-year,” she states. “These are a classic line for us and part of our core collection. They do sell all year round but there’s no getting away from the fact that the bulk of their success is focused on the celebrations being held during the first few months of the year.” Alice also sings the praises of classic animal lines, with bunny, chick and duck often proving to be popular choices for toddlers and other young children around Easter and Spring time. Also focusing heavily on its Easter offering is Davies Products, which has a wide range of Spring Season lines suitable for a whole range of Easter festivities. “Easter celebrations are proving more popular each year,” says Gemma Davies, who has the final word. “And there’s a lovely long run up to take advantage of in 2019 as Easter Sunday is not until 21 April, so there’s lots of time to maximise those sales!”

The Fun Factor “Customers may not have considered dressing up for these mini-events so it’s important to make sure that the costumes you might want to push for these events are displayed prominently so that consumers can be inspired. Ensure that each separate event has a dedicated area with an attractive, well-stocked display. Carnival is the most popular event for us around this time of year and sales have been increasing significantly yearon-year and again, the emphasis is on fun, colourful, over the top costumes. We always see an increase in sales around St Patrick’s Day. It’s a big night out and customers really get into the party spirit. Leprechaun costumes are always a good seller, as are comedy accessories – anything that helps people get into the party spirit for their big night out. ” Emma Angel, director, Angels Fancy Dress

Top: Get the St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans underway with this handy decorating kit from Amscan containing a great mix of decorations. Above: This cute Mother’s Day Cactus Anagram balloon is available from Amscan.


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Q1: Spring Events

Spring events

The new Spring Tulips partyware from Creative Party features colourful tulips framed in fresh gingham prints, perfect for Mother’s Day and Easter celebrations.

It’s springtime so flowers are blooming! This balloon flower kit from I.T.I. UK is available in Rose Red, Bluebell Blue and Marigold Yellow. Each kit includes a selection of 5” and 12” balloons. Add to the St. Patrick’s Day fun these new rainbow glasses and stylish new Satin Luxe Shamrock-shaped balloons from Amscan.

Rasta Imposta’s Beer Bottle is perfect for St Patrick’s Day parties, carnival celebration or springtime stag parties. Polish language balloons from GoDan are available for Grandfather’s Day, Grandmother’s Day and Mother’s Day.

This new Golden Easter partyware collection from Creative Party pairs pretty spring pastels with chic golden accents and offers a beautiful, elegant way to celebrate. Boland Party launched a brand new St. Patrick’s Day range last year which proved very successful and is expected to do well again in 2019.

A whole range of St Patrick’s Day goodies are available from Henbrandt, from accessories and dress-up kits to photo prop kits.

From bonnets and baskets to bunting and bunnies, Davies Products has everything you need for a great Easter.

Unique Party’s new spring floral ensemble with coordinating foils is the perfect excuse to for an afternoon tea on Mother’s Day. Easter Egg hunt kits and other fun accessories are a popular option at this time of year and Henbrandt has a number of different options available.

These bunny-shaped paper plates and this adorable new Lamby SuperShape from Amscan are perfect for Easter celebrations.

New to Amscan’s Mother’s Day collection for 2019 is this pretty pink SuperShape foil balloon featuring a Satin Luxe print.

Delights Direct has an huge selection of Valentine’s Day decorations including this fun new unicorn balloon.

St Patrick’s Day is always a popular event for Widmann, which offers a wide range of fancy dress and costume accessories for anyone looking to join in the craic.


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John Bowler has been part of the party industry for more years than he cares to remember! John currently runs the Balloon And Party Industry Alliance (or BAPIA) and can be contacted on info@bapiaonline.com


In his latest column, John Bowler looks back at the GOSH Christmas party décor day, one of his highlights of 2018.

The GOSH Christmas party is my favourite event of the year and going by the registrations we received, it is one of the most popular for delegates as well! Last year's event was absolutely no exception, with the day once again being hugely oversubscribed. This is very exciting but does create a problem for us as we would love to allow everybody to attend, but logistics mean that would be impossible. Without your desire to be involved and make this so special the parties would not be what they are. The GOSH Christmas party day is such a great opportunity for everybody as it enables us to achieve so many things. Most importantly, it means that we are able to help make the Christmas parties memorable for the exceptional children from Great Ormond Street Hospital who truly deserve nothing but the best. It is an opportunity for us to give something back and to put smiles on faces. It also gives the delegates an opportunity to be a little creative and to work with our great instructors and other like-minded delegates. From my experience of previous GOSH events I believe that

everybody there on the day is inspired to create the best décor for the children and somehow this brings out more creativity and a desire to do as much as possible. I really enjoy watching the networking that starts even before the day begins and the camaraderie that builds throughout the day and continues into the bar, where offers of mutual working relationships are made and contact details exchanged. The balloon decorator industry is made up of a large number of independents who work on their own a great deal and they thrive on the opportunity to work with others, which feels a little more special when it is for such a great cause! There are always one or two attendees who are nervous either because they feel they lack

ABOVE LEFT: ITV presenter and entertainer Stephen Mulhern was one of the famous faces in attendance. ABOVE RIGHT: The BAPIA team come together to show off their work.

What Is BAPIA? The Balloon And Party Industry Alliance, or BAPIA as it’s more commonly known, is designed to work for the party industry to promote the benefits of using industry professionals and to bring significant benefits to our members. BAPIA is a member of the European Balloon and Party Council (EBPC) and keeps members updated on the latest news, including the most recent initiative – the Code Of Best Practice for balloon retailers and professionals. You can read more about this in BAPIA’s latest quarterly newsletter. Mailed directly to members, John is happy to send a copy of the latest edition to interested parties – simply email him at info@bapiaonline.com.

experience or they do not know anybody, but within a matter of minutes they are at ease and really enjoying the day and throwing themselves into the event. Finally, this is a great opportunity for us to showcase our industry, products and skills. The designs and décor will be seen by the 2,000 party attendees as well as the celebrities who attend and then by the sponsors, supporters and media. I absolutely believe that an event such as this one with GOSH, serves many purposes for our industry and I am extremely grateful to the sponsors who have supported us since we began as it would not be the same event without them. Amscan, BOC, Premium Balloon Accessories and Qualatex, thank you guys and we hope to see you again next year. I must also mention the designers for this year: Tatiana Kempinski and Sheena Timmins who stood in for Chris Horne due to an injury, Natalie Saunders and Sue Bowler, your time and effort are, as always greatly appreciated. Thank you. We have been running this event for a number of years now and hope to continue for years to come. My only disappointment is that we cannot open it out to more delegates, but if the opportunity arises we will grab it with both hands!” WHAT’S NEXT? Another interesting event coming up this year is the Chris Adamo UK & Ireland tour which really is exciting. Chris is one of the nicest guys in the trade and he loves sharing his ideas and knowledge with the industry. We have now confirmed the dates and venues for his tour: Wed 24 April (Ireland), Sun 28 April (Southampton), Tues 30 April (London), Thurs 2 May (Birmingham), and Wed 8 May (Glasgow). Visit www.bapiaonline.com/ training for more details and to book online. You can also join facebook. com/groups/chrisadamouktour


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Balloon Industry Party Progressive Ad Vertical Quarter Page HIGH RES.pdf 1 5/4/2018 12:27:26 PM

UGlu® The Strength of Adhesive, The Convenience of Tape!

See us at Spielwarenmesse Hall 9, Stand D-36

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“Finally we have a UK distributor for UGlu® Dashes. These are by far the best way to stick foil to foil, foil to latex, latex to latex, balloons to foam board. In fact they stick almost anything to anything” Mike H. (For Every Occasion Balloons) Rhyl Balloon World Unit 105 Golborne Enterprise Park Golborne, Warrington, WA3 3GR Phone 01942-719888 Website: https//www.balloonworld.co.uk/ “The Wholesaler That Works For You”


is the online news website for the global party and costume industry. Launched by the leading publisher to the worldwide party sector, Progressive Party Europe, the website serves as an essential online resource for the global costume, party and balloon market. « Twice-weekly newsletter landing in over 8,000 inboxes « Industry jobs / agents board « Resource section with industry analysis « Digital editions of Progressive Party Europe « Fully supported by industry associations and key trade shows

“We know our retail buyers trust and rely on Progressive Party Europe for their news, product information and seasonal focuses the launch of an online service reaching their inboxes will help retailers even more, which is something all suppliers can support.” Tracey Devine, head of marketing and licensing EMEA, Rubie’s Masquerade.

Brought to you by the publishers of

For sponsorship and commercial enquiries please contact Rob Willis on robw@max-publishing.co.uk For news submissions and content enquiries, please contact Jacqui Parr on jacquip@max-publishing.co.uk

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New products don’t come much better than this...

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Big Is Beautiful

Eat The Worm!

For 2019 I.T.I. Balloons has developed three new Mega (24”) balloon products, perfect for single use, to give bouquets a boost or for attention-grabbing décor and venue design. The first includes various shades of blue, the second is a different pink selection and the third includes printed Mr & Mrs designs. All come in attractive retail packaging.

This year, Angels Distribution has added some brand new eye-catching costumes from novelty fancy dress favourite, Rasta Imposta. What could be more appropriate for the upcoming carnival season than a Tequila Worm?! The one-size-fits all unisex costume is easy to wear and is perfect for any customer who is ready to party.

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Shine On All the colours of the rainbow have come together in Creative Party’s new iridescent range, featuring a luxurious foil finish that works its magic on the colourful setting. The fashion-forward trend is perfect for birthdays, showers and more, with standout products including paper straws, cello bags and treat cups. These new iridescent glitter numeral candles complete the versatile, must-have party theme of the season.

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Star Man Pioneer Europe is launching a wide range of show-stopping new product over the coming weeks, including this Adorable Astronaut and birthday astronaut designs. The 37” shaped balloon matches the 18” round, printed foil perfectly, making for an impactful bouquet or décor option. The new Qualatex designs are available to order now.

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En Guarde!

Not A Unicorn

Historical children’s costumes are popular all year round due to curriculum subjects but there is always an increase in popularity around Book Week. This year Fun Shack has added a number of new kids lines to its range, including Florence Nightingale, Edwardian Garden Girl and Musketeer, all of which can work flexibly as a multitude of literary and historic characters.

A narwhal might not a unicorn but it is still magical! This pretty pastel coloured range, featuring a narwhal design, is a new ensemble from Asmcan’s 2019 collection. The range includes a mix of tableware, letter banners and loot bags and can be combined with matching new holographic balloons to complete the enchanting theme.


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Profile for Max Media Group

Progressive Party: January/February 2019  

Progressive Party: January/February 2019