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Welcome to the Party It’s official: the UK has gone Halloween-crazy. Admittedly, our social media algorithms might be slightly biased, but there’s no escaping the onslaught of adverts – both online and offline – for elaborate themed Halloween events, zombie runs, ghost hunt, and family-focused festivals. It might be a Thursday, but Halloween is still big business in 2019, with scare zones and gruesome scenes being meticulously planned by party planners up and down the country. Of course, our primary concern is always going to be how that translates into consumers spending at retail, which can often be another matter entirely. Anyone spending a decent chunk of money to attend a haunted house spectacular is clearly buying into the overall Halloween experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be wearing fancy dress themselves. Conversely, it could be said that families or groups of friends attending a street party or themed event are more likely to want to join in and make an effort with their costumes – hopefully buying something new, or at least a few new accessories to update their existing look. From this perspective, independent party retailers have to remember that – especially in the current political climate – they need to give consumers a good reason to spend their hard-earned cash. Making the most of suppliers’ 2019 lines or highlighting products which can be linked to local Halloween events is an unmissable opportunity to encourage consumers to buy something new. Luckily, PPE has been busy finding out what’s already been selling well and which new lines have been introduced since our main Halloween feature back in

May. It turns out that quite a lot can happen in a few months! From updated catalogues with thousands of new lines through to some impressive new licences there’s a lot of Above: Progressive Party Europe’s new product out there to Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr. be getting to grips with. Of course it’s not all about Halloween in this issue, we’ve also got features on themed décor, a licensing update for the second half of the year and an in-depth look at the essential birthday market. As one of the most lucrative core markets for the party retailer, the constantly ongoing nature of birthday celebrations means they are crucial to business throughout the year. We have also included all the regular features you have come to know and love as well, with a Brexitrelated Word on the Street column ensuring that we’re as up-to-date with that particuarly thorny issue as any bi-monthly print publication can be. At the time of going to press we are no clearer as to what will actually happen on Thursday 31 October, or indeed in the days, weeks and months that will follow. So for now, we’re going to keep one eye on the rolling news feeds while we look forward to Halloween and try to enjoy ourselves. Happy haunting everyone – we’ll see you on the other side.


What’s inside: SEPT/OCT 2019 NEWS

What’s going on in the world of party Did someone say Brexit?


The power of word of mouth.


Feel-good feedback back from the frontline.




The latest releases from around Europe


The business-boosting power of the brand.


Looking at the core birthday market


Get that look with props and decor.


All your new licensed favourites in one place



The best things since sliced bread


Masquerade Fancy Dress shares its vital stats




OMG it’s nearly Halloween!






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New Year’s Eve

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NEWS UPDATE Disguise and MorphCostumes announce distribution partnership American costume company Disguise and MorphCostumes have announced a strategic distribution partnership which will see MorphCostumes selling, distributing and marketing Disguise’s licensed costumes across EMEA. The agreement represents a significant milestone in Disguise’s efforts to expand its global footprint and will see MorphCostumes distributing iconic brands such as LEGO, Nintendo, Minecraft and Microsoft Halo. “We have been actively pursuing our objective of growing our licensed costumes sales in Europe,” said Tara

Hefter, Disguise’s executive vice president and general manager. “EMEA is a key part of our overall international growth strategy and MorphCostumes is a strong partner who shares our commitment to quality and customer excellence, while providing expertise in fancy dress up and costumes in Europe.” Gregor Lawson, co-founder of MorphCostumes, added: “We are delighted to partner with Disguise and gain the opportunity to distribute their world class portfolio of licensed costumes. It is great recognition of the competitive advantage achieved by our complementary strategies to

maximise sales across Amazon, our own websites and retail partners.” Above: MorphCostumes will be distributing iconic brands such as LEGO, Nintendo, Minecraft and Microsoft Halo throughout EMEA.

CTI Balloons UK has gone into liquidation

Party City has sold its Canadian business US party retail chain Party City has sold the Canadian arm of its retail business to Canadian Tire Corporation. Canadian Tire acquired Party City’s 65 Canadian retail store locations in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately CAD$174 million. The two companies have also agreed to a long-term wholesale supply agreement which will see Party City’s wholesale business, Amscan, providing Canadian Tire with consumer products for the next ten years. The company expects to double Amscan’s

average annual wholesale shipments into the Canadian marketplace during the term of the agreement. “We are pleased to have completed this transaction with Canadian Tire which will fuel the expansion of the Party City brand and our distribution throughout Canada,” said James Harrison, Party City’s chief executive officer. “This partnership and long-term wholesale supply agreement reinforces our position as the North American leader in the party goods space.”

The UK arm of American balloon company CTI Industries has gone into liquidation, as of Tuesday 1 October, 2019. Based in Rugby, CTI Balloons UK supplied high quality foil balloons and a complete range of latex to retailers and wholesalers across the UK and Ireland. The liquidation announcement means that the business is judged to have no prospect of recovery and has been shut down. US-based CTI Industries, parent company of CTI Balloons, was originally established in Chicago, America in 1977. It is a manufacturer and marketer of novelty balloon products, flexible packaging and storage products and other home organising products.

Pinterest reveals the most searchedfor Halloween costumes for 2019 Social media mood board Pinterest has revealed the most searched-for Halloween costumes for 2019, according to its user-base. The image sharing platform is already playing host to hundreds of thousands of Halloween costume ideas, ranging from popular TV shows and films (creepy clowns) to faithful old classics (vampires and witches). The latest Pinterest report outlines the most-searched for Halloween ideas of 2019 in more detail.

Female costumes: ■ The Powerpuff Girls ■ Pirate

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Established balloon and partyware wholesaler PartyBox Wholesale has moved into new premises in Dagenham. “After a successful three years in our old unit we needed a much bigger space to increase our product range,” explained owner Tony Pike. “The new warehouse is much bigger with room to grow and will allow us to increase our balloon range and balloon accessories.” The new warehouse can be found at Unit 15-18, Radio Lane, Dagenham, RM8 2GU.

Smiffys’ 60th anniversary Barbie costume takes home Licensing Award Smiffys’ fabulously stylish 60th anniversary limited edition Barbie costume was named the winner of the hotly-contested Best Licensed Dress-up or Partyware Range at the 2019 Licensing Awards. The award, which was sponsored by Beano Studios, was collected by director Dominique Peckett and team. “We are thrilled to have won this year’s award,” commented Dominique. “It’s been a great collaboration and the Mattel team have been fantastic to work with. It was great to work on something a little bit different to what’s already on the market. A big shout out to Barbie and Mattel!” Above: The costume recreates the iconic look of the first ever Barbie doll.

Amscan takes on Peppa Pig party licence in the UK

■ Circus ■ Stranger Things ■ Alien

Partyware and balloon company Amscan has taken on the Peppa Pig licence for partyware in the UK, following the demise of Gemma International earlier this year. Amscan was appointed to produce a collection of party products for both Peppa and PJ Masks (both eOne), joining its existing foil/latex balloons and dress-up costumes for both brands. “We’re really excited to add party rights to our existing product offering of foil/latex balloons and dress up for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks,” said Melanie Beer, licensing director EMEA of Amscan.

Male costumes: ■ Super hero ■ Viking ■ Spider-Man ■ Joker ■ Jedi

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PartyBox Wholesale prepares to open new premises



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Prog Party ads Sept 2019.pdf




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Party City announces Q2 trading results American party retail chain Party City revealed its Q2 trading results over the summer, with the helium shortage and inflated costs continuing to affect sales across the board as it increased the number of stores it plans to close this year (up to 55 locations from the previous 45). The company’s net income was $48.4 million during Q2, up from

Bristol Novelty’s latest catalogue is out now The latest new release catalogue for 2019 from costume and accessory company Bristol Novelty is out now. This year’s release is jampacked with new lines including costumes, revamped wigs, expanded 80s accessories and new Halloween make-up as well as a number of exclusive costumes from the company’s US division. “It’s been a very busy and productive period here at Bristol Novelty,” said chief operating officer Mike O’Connell. “The catalogue reflects the journey we’ve been on as a business and showcases the new products we’ve been developing. The look and feel of it will be very different to what people are used to.” Contact sales@bristolnovelty. or call the Bristol Novelty team on +33 (0) 117 972 4012 to request a printed copy. Below: The latest new lines from Bristol Novelty.

$19.3 million in the same period last year. Retail sales increased by 2.9% year-onyear, driven primarily by a number of store acquisitions, while same-store sales decreased 2.1%. James M. Harrison, chief executive officer, commented on the results: “We continued to experience headwinds from direct and indirect impacts of

the helium shortage and higher helium costs in many of our markets... [but] we are in a very strong in-stock position

Below: Party City is looking forward to a strong second half of 2019.

for the key Halloween selling season and expect second half tailwinds including an extremely strong IP calendar, a Thursday Halloween and benefits from supply chain investments...” James also highlighted the steps Party City has taken to position the business for future growth; securing additional helium supply, completing a multi-property sale leaseback transaction, adding Brad Weston to the leadership team and selling the Canadian division to Canadian Tire Corporation.

Smiffys declares: ‘It’s business as normal’ Leading fancy dress and party supplier Smiffys has issued a statement informing all its customers that its service will remain constant and reliable, despite the ongoing Brexit uncertainty. The costume company is guaranteeing uninterrupted service to its European customers, with no disruption, additional costs or additional administration, regardless of the eventual

outcome. Director Elliott Pechett has spoken about the company’s plans in more detail in PPE’s Word on the Street column which can be seen on page 21 of this issue. Smiffys also has a fully-fitted EU Showroom conveniently located in Amsterdam, 12km from Schiphol, where customers can view the full Smiffys and Fever range.

UK press covers helium price rises The UK press focused its attentions on the rising price of helium in mid-September, with both The Times and the BBC running news stories on the effects of the global shortage. The Times was the first to cover the situation, talking to NABAS chairman George Oustayiannis. The article, published on Monday 16 September, began by talking about how much the price rises have affected the balloon industry, before moving onto essential medical uses for helium and the supply levels worldwide. The article itself quoted George, as he explained the effect of the price rises and what they could ultimately mean for the balloon market. He was also quoted as explaining that there is ‘plenty of helium left on our planet’. It went on to speak to Tom Dolphin of the British Medical Association, who said: “The helium we have comes from a finate supply… every helium balloon let go of today is impacting your ability to get an MRI scan in [the future].” An article on the BBC website followed a similar vein; starting out by discussing the helium shortage and its impact before ending on a direct comparison between balloons and MRI scans.

Above: The Party People's ceo Dean Salakas collects the award.

The Party People is named Best Small Retailer in Australia Australian party retailer The Party People has been named Best Small Retailer in Australia for its Drummoyne store, courtesy of Australia’s National Retail Association. Although it was named winner of the Small Retailer of the Year, The Party People Megastore, located at Drummoyne in Victoria, is actually Australia’s largest physical party store. It achieved sales of $1 million in its first year and has continued to grow between 10-20% annually since. “We are delighted to have won the award,” commented ceo Dean Salakas. “The store continues to go from strength-to-strength... continuing to grow in both sales and profits, which are a key measure of a businesses performance.” The store manager for the Drummoyne branch of The Party People was also a finalist for store manager of the year at the awards. “She truly deserved that praise, as that store would not be the success it is without her,” added Dean.

BAPIA responds to helium reports Balloon and party association BAPIA responded to the latest reports in the UK press, which focused on the rising price of helium and the effects of the global shortage. John Bowler,

chairman of BAPIA, commented: “Every industry faces challenges at some time and I am sure that our whole industry has suffered due to the current helium shortage. While I am sure that

For the latest news visit

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the availability will return, it is unlikely that prices will revert to where they were beforehand, but I am afraid we are not going to change that. It is more important that we spend our time and energy

working on alternative ways to satisfy customer demand for balloons, to ensure the survival of our industry.” John's statement can be seen in full on



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there’s still time to order for Halloween

©Amscan 2019, ©Anagram 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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Halloween Alley teams up with Party People for pop-up partnership Canada-based pop-up retail expert Halloween Alley has teamed up with Australia’s leading party retailer Party People for an international pop-up partnership. The first store opened on Monday 2 September and is Australia’s largest (and currently only) Halloween pop-up. The new store will be opening in a 3,000 sqm space, making it bigger than any existing party or costume store in Australia. It will stock over 10,000 costumes, candy and Halloween decorations, with many of the

products from Canada and not available anywhere else in Australia. “We believe Halloween is growing in Australia and we love what Halloween Alley does so we wanted to take it to another level,” said ceo Dean Salakas. “The Party People team will be running the store on a day-to-day basis and all our employees are make-up artists, actors, cosplayer and lovers of Halloween so I know the store is in good hands.” “For the last few years we

Left: Innovative technologies include a smart mirror which allows customers to try on costumes at a glance.

have done a one-day pop up store at Sydney Zombie Walk which is Australia’s largest zombie walk (11,000 people in 2018). Last year we also ran a

two-week pop up store at Sydney’s major city market, but this year will be the next level.” He continued: “Ideally we would like to do between two and four stores next year but first we need to figure out what Australian customers want from a Halloween pop-up chain and make sure we provide that for them!”

The Hen Party Shop fined £65,000 for counterfeit costumes Dorset-based fancy dress company The Hen Party Shop has been ordered to pay £65,000 for selling counterfeit costumes after owner Michelea Mariner, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994. The online business fell foul of the law following a trading standards alert from costume company Rubie’s. When officers investigated and entered the property, they seized nearly 200 counterfeit costumes and other items. Most of the products being sold were illegal

copies of costumes for which Rubie’s holds the official licence, such as Superwoman, Snow White, Supergirl, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Batman. Mike O’Connell, Rubie’s global head of antipiracy, commented: “I’d like to thank Dorset Trading Standards for their considerable effort in bringing this case before the courts. Counterfeiting continues to cost our industry millions each year. The Proceeds of Crime order, demonstrates that crime doesn’t pay.”

Pioneer Europe Thetru extends UK team Dutch-based costume specialist Thetru has announced that Jayne announces Richards has joined the team as its new head of UK sales and worldwide launch of marketing. Jayne brings extensive experience in both licensing and Northstar Jelli range childrens’ products, having previously worked with UK-based Balloon and party company Pioneer Europe has announced the worldwide launch of the brand new Jelli ombre numbers range from Northstar Balloons. The striking new balloons are produced to achieve a unique 'jelli' finish. The front of the balloon appears as a translucent pastel ombre, while the back is a solid silver foil. The on-trend collection is available in numbers 0 – 9, in size 16” (41cm). Designed to be airfilled, the self-sealing valve delivers the ultimate in convenience – making for quick and easy inflation. Below: Jelli balloons have a striking look and feel when inflated.

costume and party specialist Amscan. “The fancy dress and accessories market has changed and expanded significantly over recent years with people investing time, money and energy and really throwing themselves into the party spirit,” commented Jayne. “I’m looking forward to being an integral part of Thetru’s UK growth.”

Rubie’s Marc Beige stars in CBS online feature Rubie’s Costume Company took centre stage in a CBS online feature interviewing ceo Marc Beige as he outlines how the company prepares for the Halloween market. Following a tour of Rubie’s Westbury flagship store, Marc told CBS that the company is ‘always preparing for Halloween’. “We’re developing costumed 365 days a year,” he clarified. “Sometimes it feels like 400 days a year!”

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The interview also features global design director Joe Petrollese, who reveals that work started on the Halloween 2020 line in December of 2018. “We look at what films are coming out, what’s going on in the fashion market… you start to see it in everything, in party goods, in childrenswear, in houseware – so you know to pick up on that trend.” The video is hosted on the CBS YouTube channel.

Above: Paula has said she is 'delighted' to be working with Grabo.

Grabo appoints UK chief of decorators Italian party and balloon company Grabo has appointed Paula Ardron-Gemmell, owner of Pink Tree Parties, as its ‘chief of decorators’. In addition to running her own balloon business and being an active member of the NABAS committee, Paula – who is based in Lancashire – will now also be showcasing Grabo’s everexpanding ranges of everyday and seasonal lines. Paula is bringing her vast talents and experience as a top decorator to oversee all aspects of Grabo’s strategy to help promote its wide-ranging balloon offering across all media, internet and distribution channels. “I am very excited to welcome Paula to the UK Grabo team,” commented Phil Bardsley, business development manager for Grabo UK. “She will be a valuable asset in promoting our products through her superb decorating skills.”



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Spielwarenmesse promises strong party portfolio

HCA’s National Trick or Treat Day petition smashes goal

As the world’s leading toy fair, Spielwarenmesse (taking place from 29 January to 2 February 2020) is also firmly established as a exhibition hub for festive articles, carnival products and fireworks. It promises a strong party product portfolio for next year's show, reflecting the diversity of products available in the celebration sector. With the party product focused in Halls 8 and 9, trade visitors can experience an abundance of innovative trends and highlights from this product group, ranging from costumes and party accessories to decorations and fireworks.

The petition launched by the non-profit Halloween & Costume Association (HCA) to change the date of Halloween has smashed its original goal. The petition was originally launched towards the end of 2018, proposing that Halloween should be moved to the last Saturday in October each year. A recent update has seen the HCA change its approach to call for an additional ‘National Trick or Treat Day’, launched and promoted in partnership with Party City. Thousands of people have now signed the petition, which cites safety reasons and having more time for celebrating as key reasons for the Saturday celebrations. The original goal of 75,000 signatures has been exceeded, with the current number now standing at 149,000 and climbing. “Our petition has evolved into a message of unity, acceptance and equality,” read a statement from HCA. “Instead of changing the date that Americans celebrate Halloween, we will be adding an additional day of festivities in the hopes of bringing more people together.”

The Showtime activity area in Hall 8 was introduced at last year’s 70th anniversary of the show and was a resounding success. It provides retailers and buyers with an overview of the latest ideas and highlights from across the party spectrum and features a varied, daily programme which shines a light on fancy dress, decor and special occasions. “It’s fascinating to see how Showtime effectively brings to life such a wide array of products, presenting them in commercial settings,” said Ernst Kick, ceo of Spielwarenmesse.

“The varied supporting programme at Spielwarenmesse 2020 will go a long way to strengthening the already highly successful product group Festive articles, carnival and fireworks.” Above: Spielwarenmesse will be taking place from 29 January to 2 February 2020.

Balancebest relaunches with new look

US costume ban is no joke

Established UK balloon and party product distributor Balancebest has relaunched its retailer-focused website with a fresh new look and features along with an overall brand refresh. The revamped website offers customers a number of new services and features, including a review section, next day delivery, a ‘Recently Added’ page, stock alerts and a wish list function. “We are really pleased with the new look and the new website,” said marketing manager David Sherwood, “and we’re excited to see what difference it makes to our customers.” The new revamped website – – also offers discounted prices when ordering from the bulk buy section.

A number of major cinema chains in the US have banned masks and costumes at screenings of Joker, the latest film to feature Batman’s nemesis. The film, which was released on Friday 4 October, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Joker – a hugely popular character both in the world of fancy dress and in the dedicated cosplay community. The ban had been issued by a number of cinema companies, including the US’s largest cinema chain AMC Theatres, in response to concerns about the potential for violence connected to the film, despite Warner Bros.’ assertion that the film is not 'an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind'.

Rasta Imposta banana injunction is upheld The Third Circuit appeal court upheld an injunction on Thursday 1 August against Kangaroo Manufacturing for copying Rasta Imposta’s famous banana costume, despite Kangaroo arguing that the banana costume could not be copyrighted. The appeals court noted 20 different banana costume designs and found that Kangaroo copied a number of features found on Rasta’s costume, including the curved lines which come down the sides and the black tips of the banana. “Although a banana costume is likely to have ends that resemble a natural banana, those tips need not look like Rasta’s black tips,” said US Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman. “The protection of intellectual property rights is particularly important to companies like Rasta Imposta, which pride themselves on creating unique and innovative costume designs,” commented Flaster Greenberg attorney Alexis Arena, who was working for Rasta Imposta. Above: A banana by any other name is not the same.

Pioneer Balloon launches Tuesday Talks Pioneer Balloon has announced the launch of ‘Tuesday Talks with Ted & Betty’, a regular video series which will celebrate 40 years of the Pioneer Balloon Company. The new video series will see Ted and Betty Vlamis – founders of Pioneer Balloon – answering a variety of questions, from how balloons are made to their own personal experiences in the balloon industry. Each week will see the pair covering a new topic in the bite-sized videos which will be up to ten minutes long. Subscribers to the Pioneer Worldwide YouTube Channel will receive notifications when a new video is posted each week.

For the latest news visit

News_PPE_September_October 2019.indd 15

Below: The HCA want National Trick or Treat Day to take place on the last Saturday of October.

Carousel Fancy Dress to close after 30 years Carousel Fancy Dress Shop, based in Basingstoke, UK, closed its doors for the final time on Friday 30 August, after 30 years of business. “We are absolutely devastated that we are having to close,” said current owner Tamara Griffith. “Unfortunately due to the way people shop and a lot of people using the internet for their fancy dress needs we just can’t compete anymore.” She continued: “We’ve very much enjoyed the fun and laughter that running this business has brought to us. I have been so lucky to have a job that I absolutely love.”



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B-Loony’s BalloonGrip wins Save the Planet Award 2019 UK-based promotional balloon company B-Loony has been awarded the Save the Planet Award 2019 for its BalloonGrip eco-friendly balloon holder after selling over 10 million units in just eight months across the UK and around the world. The award was given at the prestigious European Carton Excellence Awards ceremony, held at the ECMA Congress in

Smiffys new offices focus on design and creativity RH Smith & Sons, known as Smiffys throughout the trade, recently moved into a new office space in Leeds which has been carefully designed to act as a creative hub for the business. The two-storey premises was specifically space-planned and designed for efficient working by Yorkshire workplace designers Ben Johnson Interiors, while Sophie Peckett Design completed the interior finishes, including colour palettes and wallpaper choices. Around half of the ground floor is currently being used for merchandising and product display as well as housing the boardroom and can also be used as an exhibition space when required. “We love our colourful new workplace – not only for its fun appearance, but also because the new layout and efficient use of space makes our work much collaborative,” said Smiffys’ director Dominique Peckett. Below: The new premises includes a communal eating area, juice bar and breakout zones for meetings.

Left: BalloonGrip's eco-friendly balloon holder has sold over 10 million units in just eight months.

sustainability as it is 100% renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. The cardboard BalloonGrip balloon holder – which launched in January this year – was developed by B-Loony in response to the ban on plastic balloon sticks in the Single

Malta. The judges said that, with environmental impact high on everyone’s agenda, BalloonGrip offered the perfect example of

Fresh faces at new-look management team for Rubie’s UK Fresh faces make an appearance at Rubie’s UK as both old and new faces come on board to bolster the UK management team. Following Holly Oldham’s return as managing director in 2018, a new-look UK management team is now in place. Samantha Bourne has made her return to Rubie’s as head of brand licensing, while Donna Joyce returns as business development manager. Vicki Hamilton has also joined the team as UK marketing manager and Lindsay Rearden has come on board as design studio manager. “We couldn’t be happier to have both Sam and Donna back in the team,” commented managing director Holly Oldham. ‘They are both in new pivotal roles that are critical to the success of the business going forward.”

She continued: “The decision to bring in external expertise across the business with Vicki and Lindsay is deliberate. Both have significant experience both in and out of the costume category and we are looking forward to seeing how they can help take Rubie’s into the next phase of our evolution.” Above: The new Rubie's team, pictured clockwise from top left: Vicki, Lindsay, Sam and Donna.

Reese Witherspoon launches new line of partyware Award-winning Legally Blonde actress Reese Witherspoon has launched a new line of partyware as part of her Draper James fashion and homewares collection. Draper James has been established since 2015 and sells clothing, accessories and homeware, but is now teaming up with party company Coterie for a collection of decor and partyware sets. The first collection was themed for the start of the American football season, with two more sets due to be rolled out over the next three months. “This line is full of charming party products that capture the spirit of both brands,” said Kathryn Sukey, head of design.

Showcase Dance and Fancy Dress looking for new owners Established dance and costume retailer Showcase Dance and Fancy Dress is looking for new owners as John and Heather Pannett plan to retire after Christmas, following almost 30 successful years in the business.

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wide range of dance and theatre schools and associations. The hunt is now on for someone with a passion for dance and theatre to take over the business and continue its legacy. Interested parties should contact Meridian Business Sales for more information.

The Cheltenham-based dancewear and fancy dress shop has been a successful and popular local business since it first opened and thanks to John and Heather’s lifelong connections within the amateur dramatic community, the shop is the first point of call for a

Use Plastics Directive, which is due to come into force in 2021. The company now has an international patent pending on its invention which has proved to be a best seller across the UK and globally. “The new balloon holder has been an unqualified success and we are delighted with the number of orders we have received from around the world,” said commercial director Andy MacInnes. “If we assume that our new balloon holders are replacing plastic sticks, that’s already saved nearly 50 tonnes of plastic from landfill.”

Party City hires 25,000 for Halloween season American party retailer Party City is hiring approximately 25,000 temporary employees to support seasonal demand at Party City and Halloween City pop-up locations. The company is opening around 275 Halloween City pop-up stores for the 2019 Halloween season and expects to retain about 10% of these employees. “We are excited to welcome talented new team members to the Party City community,” said Brad Weston, president of Party City and ceo of Party City Retail Group. “We pride ourselves on having a work environment that encourages professional development and fosters growth amongst associates. Our seasonal jobs often lead to permanent employment and even longterm careers for some.”

New NCA board elected at 2019 conference National Costumers Association (NCA) members from all over America gathered at the Crowne Plaza Kansas City Downtown for this year’s ‘All That Jazz’ NCA Conference, where a new board was elected. Marion Bradley was re-elected as the NCA president, while Pam Markel has been named as the new vice president. Two new board directors have also been elected for the next term; Lori Hammes and Tyler Volz.



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Guest Columnist

Elliott Peckett, co-director, Smiffys

The Word Otn ee r t s e th

The latest in PPE’s series of guest columnists, Elliott Peckett is co-director at dress-up and party company Smiffys. Based in Gainsborough, Smiffys is a family-owned, global organisation with 125 years of heritage in the dress-up industry. Since the result of the UK’s 2016 referendum on leaving the EU, Smiffys has been working hard to make sure that it is able to continue serving its customers in the manner to which they have become accustomed. Elliott explains how Smiffys has planned, developed and delivered its complete Brexit solution.

SMIFFYS’ VERY BRITISH BREXIT objective at Smiffys has been to implement measures to safeguard the business against the worst-case Brexit scenario. Central to this has been safeguarding the employment of our valued European staff, while putting plans in place to deliver an uninterrupted service to all our customers without any additional costs, tariffs or duties. However, this has not been the easiest of processes, thanks in part to a distinct lack of clarity, understanding or transparency from the UK Government. The recent official campaign and guidance to aid companies who export to the EU elude to contacting European agencies for the answer. Consequently, we have had to work with European customs agencies, accountants and trade law firms to establish a position that protects our business, employees and customers.”

BE PREPARED “Although we didn’t expect the referendum result, we put contingency plans in place prior to the referendum, setting up our European business – RH Smith & Sons BV – in the Netherlands. Preceding even this, we had previously opened a European warehouse in Neuss, Germany which has been supplying our European customers since

early 2016. We then opened a European showroom in Amsterdam in March 2017, providing a fully European face to Smiffy’s customers on the continent. The final piece of the plan was a Chinese warehouse, which we opened earlier this year. We have Dutch customs’ approval to send our goods directly from China into the Netherlands and then onwards to our German warehouse, all without entering the UK. By implementing such a structure, we can trade and operate our business as normal, regardless of the type of Brexit eventually delivered. Such implementations

ABOVE: Smiffys’ Posh Politician dress-up kit is perfect for customers looking to satirise the Brexit situation.

ABOVE: These latex masks from Smiffys are perfect for all sides of the political spectrum.

have not come without cost however, both financially and in terms of management time spent planning and delivering. But we believe they are essential to protect our business with the current lack of certainty around what Brexit will be delivered.” SMIFFYS IN EUROPE “Our European sales continue to increase across the channels in which we trade, currently representing roughly one third of our global revenue. European Governments have been advising local businesses about the likely trade barriers of a no deal Brexit, but we have worked hard to ensure that all our European customers know that we have plans firmly in place to combat any scenario. All customers require certainty in their supply chain, or they will simply switch to alternative suppliers. It has been critical to reassure our customers that by continuing to trade with Smiffys, their goods will arrive with no service disruption and without additional duties or administration to them.

With the cementing of our European infrastructure, coupled with our ontrend designs, competitive prices and locally based sales representatives and distribution services, we are confident that – whatever happens with Brexit – our European sales will continue to grow.” TALKING SHOP “Our customers have expressed both relief and gratitude that, as a major supplier to the industry in both the UK and EU, we have been proactive despite the uncertainty over the what will happen when the UK does leave the European Union. Their main concerns have centred around potential delays in our supply chain, administrative burden from imports into the EU, extra duties and regulatory and labelling issues. However, they have been both relieved and delighted when we have been able to reassure them that our actions will safeguard them against all eventualities, regardless of the final outcome of Brexit.

Regardless of one’s own “Brexit disposition, our


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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


It’s been theorised that in many businesses, 80% of positive outcomes (ie sales), come from just 20% of your actions. This idea is based on the Pareto principle, a theory suggesting that generally only a small percentage of our overall actions lead to the biggest results. This in turn suggests that 80% of the time we’re spending energy and money on things which won’t have a large return. Can you identify this pattern in your business? Perhaps you offer a wide range of party services but most of your sales come from balloon design work? Or do you find that the majority of your customers find you through one particular form of advertising over others? The 80/20 split is not always a bad thing and can be inevitable in some areas of business; after all accounting, stock management and business development may not immediately drive sales but they're all necessary. It is important to ask yourself if you can capitalise on this and make the most of the areas that make you money while cutting back on those that don’t. It can be easy to get bogged down pouring energy into the lagging areas of our businesses rather than focusing on what’s already doing well. For instance; a balloon retailer might find that personalised balloons sell extremely well compared to seasonal foils. It may be tempting for them to create a promotion

around the foil balloons to encourage sales. But imagine instead, if they created a promotion around the personalised balloons which already generate four times as much profit. Much less effort would be required to upsell these and success would be guaranteed since they were already selling well to begin with. Once you've established where a promotion will work best, how should you go about letting customers know about it? Word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising. Did you know that 92% of people believe recommendations from friends over all forms of advertising? It makes sense – you’re much more likely to pick the party company that your friend

ABOVE LEFT: Balloon work by BAPIA member @Doodles_Balloons (Instagram) in Essex. RIGHT: BAPIA member @creativedecorations in Houghton Regis shares a glowing customer review on Instagram.

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

ABOVE LEFT: An Instagram post by BAPIA member @for_every_occasion_ balloons in Rhyl. RIGHT: BAPIA member @askmeforaballoon makes the most of Instagram's story feature.

used over one you saw online. Every happy customer holds the potential to unlock even more sales for you and that’s something you should take advantage of. Many customers simply forget that a recommendation would be helpful, but every time a customer gives you good feedback, thank them and politely ask if they’d recommend you to any family and friends who may be looking in the future. They’ve nothing to lose and most people are happy to pay you back for your work. For word of mouth advertising to work, your details need to be readily available and easy to pass on. Partygoers will often ask the host who did the decor so be sure to leave them armed and ready with some beautiful business cards to share, complete with memorable social media details, of course. When a customer gets asked for your details a year later, you want them to be able to remember and pass on the information easily. Got a complicated name? Choose a nickname for social media – something short and unique that customers can easily search to find your full details. You can also offer an incentive to encourage past customers to pass on your details. A discount on their next order or a freebie for their next celebration are all gratefully received. Just be careful to make sure you track the referrals properly so you can reward your customers and watch your business grow.” SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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Running a successful independent retail store can be a hard and often thankless task. Dealing with suppliers, invoices, stock issues and all the other minutae of being a business owner can sometimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth. To help counteract the negative retail reports and ongoing Brexitrelated doom (whichever side of the fence you are on) PPE asked party retailers to share their positive stories; everything from successful new business boosts to funny customers and even personal triumphs. Because when it’s going well, there’s no business like the party business. GET THE LOOK “Customers can be a great source of joy, whether they know it or not! We will always remember one guy who came into the Shaftesbury Avenue store for our help. He was going to see Kylie at Glastonbury and wanted us to help him recreate her iconic KYLIE album cover. We had so much fun helping him recreate the look, replicating the skull-less brimmed hat with hair coming out of the top by using a wig and a witches hat! We practically put it together in store and he was so happy. We were more happy when we saw him in the crowd on TV. I love that fancy dress industry is so busy and never sleeps... there is always something happening all year around, with Carnival, Valentine’s Day, Book Week, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, festivals, hen and stag dos, Oktoberfest, to the Halloween, Christmas and New Year period. We like busy and it means there is always something to look forward to.” EMMA ANGEL Angels Fancy Dress, London

POWER OF THE THEME “So far our year has been going on in a very unpredictable way and June and July were up and down week by week. Then August hit – wham! Preparing for Goodwood Revival saw lots of demand for costumes from the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s We also provided costumes for the after-party which followed a Grimm Fairytales theme. All our customers were wonderful and really appreciative of the work we put in. We recently had two parties taking place over one weekend – it was better than Halloween for costume hire! One was Victorianthemed and the other a ‘Stage and Screen’ charity event which saw people digging deep to find the most innovative costumes possible. It is really hard to to get out of the shop to attend training courses or business initiatives as a sole trader. We did attend the Smiffy’s roadshow and I was able to put faces to voices and the demonstrations of the new MOON make-up were very inspiring. I placed orders for Halloween, Christmas and regular stock and added to my shopping on the day as there were so many new things I just

couldn’t live without! Bristol Novelty also had a roadshow but I wasn’t able to attend but I do think they are an excellent idea. Customers never cease to amuse and amaze me. We have people cherry-picking parts from five different costumes and wondering why it renders the rest useless to hire, while others question the need for a deposit when we are hiring them a costume worth over £200. The most lovely ones restore our faith in humanity and present us with chocolates and flowers for the extra alterations we provide to make them look fabulous. The best thing about this job is definitely seeing the enjoyment as the customers leave satisfied with our service and sharing the results of their good times. This is a very complex industry and any company which has managed to pre-empt the seasons, second-guess the next big thing and juggle their stock levels deserves a big pat on the back. Without their tenacity none of us would survive!” SHIRLEE GIBBS The Dressing Up Shop, Aldershot Below: It was vintage costumes galore at the Goodwood Revival motor show.

Above: The classic Kylie look which was recreated with a wig and witches hat.



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DON’T FEED THE BIRDS “We have had some fantastic customers over the years, who have really made us laugh. A few years ago a very strange lady came into the shop pushing a shopping trolly that had a pigeon inside it. She stood a looked around at the Halloween displays and gave us a strange and dark warning. She pointed around the shop and said: “This sort of stuff... will attract... the Devil!” And off she flounced with her pigeon squawking in the trolly. It’s true that you never know what’s next! Another highlight was a chap trying cowboy outfit on. He came out of the dressing room and had put the chaps on his bare legs with just his underpants on! I very calmly said: “Those chaps will chap your legs Sir if you do not wear trousers underneath them.” I am not sure if he was more shocked by his mistake or the fact that I wasn’t phased by the sight of his pants. My favourite memory though was eighteen men all going to a special event together, dressed up as Elvis. He’s my favourite singer of all time so I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!” JEAN HARPER Masquerade, Watford Above:Pigeons: generally happier when not in shopping trolleys

Above:Thanks to the power of social media, Jollyjesters was able to let five-year-old Jamie McGrath know that he made their day.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION “Our busiest week of the summer was when the Rocky Horror Show was in town. It was good fun too, because most people knew which character they wanted to be and we were able to get them sorted quite easily. There have also been quite a few Peaky Blinders events and those costumes (especially the beaded/ sequinned dresses with all the accessories) have been really popular. People love wearing them and the men seem to enjoy being Thomas Shelby! As far as the customers go, one moment really stands out. There was one kid in particular who really was a breath of fresh air. He was so polite, outgoing, articulate, smiley and genuinely lovely. We love it when customers are happy. It sounds obvious maybe, but it’s a real delight when people come in and we can offer them far more choice than they expected and they can choose a costume that looks great on them, at a fair price. Then, after the party, they send us their photos, interact on Facebook with us and leave a five-star review. Perfect!” KATE MOORE Jollyjesters, Derby

Above:Justin with one of the children he and Robert have been looking after. In costume, of course!

A FAMILY AFFAIR “I was born into a fancy dress family, as my grandparents started the business a few years before I was born. So I’ve now had 43 years in the business and have seen lots of ups and downs. Although it can be great fun, it’s also easy to get frustrated with so many things – people trying 100 costumes on in-store then googling to buy cheap online, people who let their kids run wild in the store, touching everything, people expecting a head-to-toe look for £5 etc – it drives me mad. So many UK shops have closed down and customer expectations have changed so vastly that it dawned on me that the business I have may not be the career for life I once thought it was. I decided, for once, not to think of the business and to think about myself and my family. After some talk, my partner Robert and I decided that we should reduce our opening hours and he should step away from the business.

We then took the steps and completed the training needed to become foster parents. First of all we looked after two very young sisters for six months as we helped them transition to adoptive parents. We were so proud of how the girls transformed with a bit of love. The children we look after have just taken over our lives and our hearts and the business is now second or even third place. It’s still there and doing okay, it’s just not our ‘everything’ anymore. I would say to everyone – whether your business is good or bad – don’t let it take over your life. We currently have two boys who are likely to be with us until adulthood. Both have already expressed a desire to have their own fancy dress stores, so I may have to keep going and expand the business for them! But if I can’t, I will know I’ve done my best.” JUSTIN HEAVEN Fantasy World, York


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Launching in perfect time for the party season are two new drinking games from Boland Party, both certain to get guests in the party spirit. The new Sparklingpong and Roulette games are both available now and will be sure to give all house parties a little something special as well as a number of funny moments that no-one will remember.

This fabulous new bright green latex overhead Alien mask is just one of over 1,000 new lines being introduced by Widmann in time for this year’s Halloween season. The new additions include masks, costumes, accessories and props across a range of popular themes and styles, all ready for order and available now.

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■ Confetti Crazy A brand new range of mini confetti cannons from GoDan is already selling very well. Currently available in a selection of three different colours (silver, gold and rose gold) and in two different sizes (15cm and 20cm), the line will be expanded further in the future. The tubes are ideal for every occasion, from weddings to baby shower, birthday parties and more.

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■ Hit This Pinatas have been gaining popularity for some time so it was only a matter of time before a Pinata-themed costume was launched into the market. This colourful and fun dress and jacket combination from Folat is a perfect couples costume for anyone looking to party all night long. The costumes are in stock and available to order now.

■ Space Warrior Send your customers into space with this fun Space Warrior suit from Folat. The three-piece costume is perfect for anyone who wants to look ‘out of this world’ and offers a fabulous alternative to the classic Alien invasion style costumes. The irridescent outfit includes the top, leggings and skirt as well as the arm cuffs, for that perfect finishing touch.

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■ Star Turn These new linking star balloon shapes from Grabo International are a new addition to the balloon decorators portfolio. They are perfect for playing around with and can be used with both air and helium for maximum creativity potential. The linking starts can also be chained together, tied up or tied down – it’s entirely up to you! Grabo is delighted to have bought the stars to you.


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Halloween 2019

It’ll Be All Fright On The Night O

f course, in an ideal world we’d have all been prepared for Halloween months ago, with trends identified, costumes sourced and stockrooms ready to go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work out like that as the general public can be a tricky bunch and very rarely do what we want them to. Retailers can never really guarantee what will sell well for any season, but with potential costume ideas and party themes being explored on Pintrest and Instagram right up to the very last moment, Halloween trends are notoriously difficult to predict. As marketing manager for Bristol Novelty, Fran Hales is already anticipating another busy season. “We’ve been in Halloween mode since it ended last year, so we are all set for any last minute requirements or requests from our customers,” he revealed. “I’m personally looking forward to getting into character – keep an eye on our Instagram account for that!” Halloween this year falls on a Thursday, and so Fran expects that children and students will predominantly be the target market on the day with adults more likely to have made purchases with the weekend in mind. “There’s nothing quite like leaving it to the last minute to get your costume and we don’t feel that will change anytime soon,” he says. Fran also acknowledges the effort retailers put into preparing for the season, changing their stores around to create an immersive and interactive experience for everyone involved. “It’s something the independents do really well,” he says. “Encouraging customers in store with personalised services such as, make-up demos, animated props or simply staff dressing up, will always help to engage and attract customers.” As far as what’s been selling, Fran reports seeing ‘the usual trends’ once again, in addition to a strong interest in all the new product. “Classic slasher costumes, killer clowns and even the odd mermaid (or man) are Left: This new Bat pinata from Unique Party will make any Halloween party spooktacular!

Above Left: Amscan’s Creepy Doll costume comes with matching accessories. Above right: Mr Bonejangles is a popular line from Bristol Novelty. Right: OppoSuits vintage-style clown suit offers a fresh new take on the classic clown look.

our top tips this year,” he states. “We are expecting Mr Bonejangles and the Evil Grin masks to once again be among the big sellers. The classic lines will always be popular - you can’t go too far wrong with devils, witches, clowns and fake blood.”

Argubly the most important season for the dress-up and party sector, most retailers will have been preparing for Halloween 2019 since the start of the year. But for those of you who like to keep things a little more spontaneous, here’s PPE’s Halloween update... Over at Smiffys, licensed Halloween dress-up remains a firm favourite; bringing to life favoured fictional icons of horror. “Our new Chucky family collection has already proved very popular,” says trade marketing manager Sharon Poulter. “It’s a look the whole family can wear, even toddlers and babies!” The newest addition to Smiffys licensed portfolio is The Addams Family, which includes costumes for Morticia, Gomez, Pugsley, Wednesday and Lurch. Family-friendly Halloween costumes are a key feature of Smiffys generic offering for the 2019 season as well. “Our inhouse design team have made sure that family dress-up collection takes centre stage this year,” adds Sharon. “Featuring vibrant colours and bold prints, our Day of the Dead and Alien Family costumes are expected to sell well too.” According to Emma Angel, director of Angels Fancy Dress and Angels Distribution, costumes inspired by popular movies and TV series are becoming very popular. She also reports seeing an increase in sales of couple costumes and points out that it is possible that Brexit may Left: Folat’s Creepy Pastel tableware covers a wide range of occasions.

Creepy Colours

“We expect people to be dressing up more then ever this year. They tend to use Pinterest as inspiration and many of them will use normal costumes, making it suitable for Halloween with lots of blood and scary accessories. This year we have identified the trend to celebrate Halloween in a more colourful way, so we introduced our new Creepy Pastel and Witch tableware ranges, which have been selling really well and are perfect for a Halloween High Tea or a sweet candy filled Halloween party. Retailers have also been ordering a lot of Red Devil products.” Angela Reijenga, marketing coordinator, Folat SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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Halloween 2019

Below Left: Pioneer Europe had a great reaction to the ‘Golden Skull’ microfoil shape when it first launched last year. Below right: Boland Party’s Pumpkin range of tableware is expected to be a top seller for 2019.

influence this Halloween with customers coming up with both funny and scary ideas. “Customers usually buy their make-up at the last minute, but this year they seem to be very organised and are paying more attention to the detail to get the perfect Halloween look,” she says, revealing that Tinsley Transfers tattoos and 3D FX are on the list of Angels’ top 10 best sellers.

Prop Forward

“Halloween is definitely trending very well for us so far, so the signs are good. It’s actually strong across the range, but decorations and props have been particularly buoyant in 2019.” Stuart Wheeler, account manager, Delights Direct Over at OppoSuits it’s a similar story, with a heavy focus on TV and filminfluenced costumes. “There are also a lot of good Halloween movies coming out, so we feel that there is a big hype and anticipation for Halloween this year,” reports account manager Robin Breeman. “Our licensed The Joker suit and clown suit have been very popular. It seems as though retailers in Europe feel that Halloween is growing there – they are certainly buying more compared to the last few years.”

Back To Basics

“We expect a slightly better Halloween season compared to last year, orders are already coming in on a daily basis. Traditional lines have been selling well, like spiderwebs, small and large spiders, big skulls, hanging life-size skeletons... we also expect our Voodoo and Day of the Dead ranges to do well. Our Pumpkin range tableware is proving very popular as well.” Jan-Willem Tuitel, general manager, Boland Party Right: The refreshed Pennywise from Rubie’s is expected to be very popular, thanks to the recent IT: Chapter 2 movie.

American costume company Elope is particularly excited about the current growth on its e-commerce platforms. “If last year’s peak time was any indication, that steady upward trend of online orders will continue well into mid-October leading right up until the Halloween itself,” says Jaclyn Simmons, creative marketing lead. “We’re noticing that more and more retailers are incorporating the ‘experiential’ element into their store displays, making their stores a destination for party and Halloween. Keeping up with the social trends and really honing in on those ‘hidden gem’ costume themes can help retailers stay ahead of the style curve and stand out from the competition,” she adds. Balloons are an essential part of Halloween décor and Pioneer Europe has introduced a number of new lines for the 2019 season, from colourful Halloween cupcakes to more classic spooky designs in bright fun colours. “We had a great reaction to the ‘Golden Skull’ microfoil shape, when it launched last year,” says head of marketing Julie Dommett. “The large, glam skull-shaped balloon adds instant impact to any party, and we’re expecting another strong year from this design.” Julie also advises retailers to get product on display as soon as possible, both in store and online. “Customers are a lot more likely to want to buy Halloween balloons if they have Left: A range of family-friendly options from Smiffys includes this Vampire collection.

already seen some inspiration,” she points out. “The movement of the balloons in store windows is also great for catching the eye of potential customers and putting Halloween party thoughts in their mind.” The team at Creative Party has also identified the shift from ‘scary’ to ‘pretty’ regarding Halloween partyware and décor and expects the trend to continue. “We have noticed our customers purchasing a variety of Halloween styles to suit consumer demand,” says product and marketing manager Shayna Bowles. “We expect this to continue as consumers primarily fall into one of two camps; traditionalists and those looking to put a more modern twist on the spooky season.” With this in mind, retailers are advised to keep an eye on social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, making sure they know exactly which are the latest looks which will be seen at Halloween parties and trick or treat celebrations this year. Below: Angels Distribution has added two baby dragon costumes to its InCharacter range.

Classic Horror

“We always try to prepare new designs for each season but there are also some items that we have been offering for years which are still in great demand. Our customers are asking more for artificial blood or liquid latex and all kind of adhesive wounds. Halloween accessories are always very popular, particularly vampire and werewolf teeth, pumpkin buckets, artificial witch noses, spooky foam masks, spiders and spiderwebs. Balloons are also a must-have. Each year we offer new designs to freshen up the collection. In Poland, 1 November is celebrated as the All Saints’ Day and All Saints’ balls are being organised more and more often around this date, with angel and shepherd costumes, wings and halos.” Magdalena Wojteczek, sales manager, GoDan SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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For the


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Halloween 2019

HALLOWEEN Iridescent Ghost – BOO! This not so spooky ghost SuperShape balloon from Amscan adds a stylish touch to Halloween décor.

Day of the Dead, Room Decorating Kit: New additions to Amscan’s Day of the Dead collection include this room decorating kit with paper fans, fringe swirls and cut outs.

Cute foam masks in a range of designs suitable for kids are always a popular accessory line for GoDan.

Masks sell particularly well at Halloween and this Evil Grin design from Bristol Novelty offers just the right amount of creepiness.

This decorative Day of the Dead partyware range from Creative Party is a perfect contemporary alternative to traditionally scary partyware.

GoDan’s accessories and add-ons such as these novelty pointy noses are a classic Halloween addition but have the additional benefit of being able to be used all year round.

Belbal has a full range of creepy, crawly and oh-so-spooky Halloween balloons.

The officially licensed The Joker suit from OppoSuits is expected to do well this Halloween, thanks in part to the latest film, released in early October and starring Joaquin Phoenix.

The scary clown is a Halloween staple and this classic jumpsuit from Hembrandt offers a simple, all-in-one solution.

The Scream Machine range from Davies Products offers all the last-minute Halloween essentials, with masks, décor, accessories and animated props all on offer.

Delights Direct has a vast range of devilish decorations for 2019 including these impressive giant spooky door decorations.

Folat has high expectations for this classic black and gold withch-themed tableware collection, which also comes with coordinating décor.

24 Carat Bones – Go for gold this Halloween with this metallic gold 24 Carat Bones Bodysuit outfit from Amscan.

Witches are a classic Halloween choice and this child’s costume from Boland Party is new for 2019. A wide range of accessories and novelty extras are available from Henbrandt, from trick or treat loot bags to bloody cleavers.


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Halloween 2019


The ‘Halloween Fun Font’ Bubble balloon does well for Pioneer Europe, with the fun design and colour scheme making it the ideal choice for a younger audience.

Shrine face and body jewels have collaborated with Rubie’s and Warner Bros. to create a stunning range of face and body jewels, perfect for adding a unique twist to any outfit.

The new Tinsley Transfers neck tattoo range from Angels Distribution is available in six designs and is expected to do well all year around, not just for Halloween.

A Day of the Dead collection includes neon wigs and accessories as Smiffys offers a complete look for any families daring to go bolder this Halloween.

Perfect for kids who favour an alternative aesthetic, Sally Finkelstein and Jack Skellington are now available from Smiffys. Team with white tights and face paints for a doll of a Halloween bundle. This Bat Ears headband from Elope features luxurious batty black faux leather ears which sit upon an understated black velvet covered headband.

Potter continues to be an evergreen theme for Halloween and Rubie’s Wizarding World mix and match range is new for 2019, letting customers create their own Harry Potter look.

With 1,100 brand new lines available for the upcoming season, Widmann has a number of fresh Halloween items available for order now, from masks and accessories to complete costumes.

Unique Party’s Full Moon Halloween Party supplies features harvest moons, haunted houses, and witches in flight. They’ll help set the scene for time so fun, you just might scream!

New for 2019, Smiffys Bug Print collection has been popular with individuals looking for more fashion-inspired Halloween dress-up, the designs include a zip up all-in-ones for an instant, on-trend look.

The love for frightful faces at this time of year is celebrated with Pioneer Europe’s Jack Face foil options and the latex assortment, all in the impactful orange, black and gold colourway.

Pennywise and Annabelle cut outs from Star Cutouts are ideal for the horror fan looking to add a frighteningly realistic touch to any party, celebration or haunted house.

The new Microfoil Halloween Cupcake shape from Pioneer Europe steps away for classic Halloween colours and offers some colourful ombre tones instead.

Star Cutouts’ Halloween party masks are a six pack of spooky face masks including clown, skull, vampire, werewolf, zombie and devil.

The new officially licensed Addams family line from Smiffys is perfect for Halloween and includes beloved Addams Family members Morticia, Gomez, Pugsley, Wednesday and Lurch.


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Licensed Party Product

Licensed Look Get The

With Halloween just round the corner, a plethora of new ranges launching at BLE 2019 and companies already looking forward to Book Week 2020, this is a busy time of year for anyone in the business of licensing. PPE finds out more about the business-boosting power of the brand.


t’s an industry that embraces new characters and larger-thanlife looks, so it’s no surprise that licensing is an integral aspect of the dress-up and party sector. And it’s big business. New licence agreements and updated and refreshed ranges are announced throughout the year, but Q3 is a particularly active time for the industry as licensees prepare new lines for Christmas and the new year and licensors announce new partnerships and extended deals in the run-up to and aftermath of Brand Licensing Europe. Licensing is particularly important for costume company Smiffys, which won the Licensing Award for Best Licensed Dress-up Range in 2019, for the second year running. “The Licensing Awards are accolades

SUITS YOU “Licensing is very important to the party trade. It is certainly important for us, as almost 30% of our business now comes from licensed product. Earlier this year we launched our Super Mario suit which sold out immediately, while PacMan and all our Warner Bros. lines such as The Joker and The Riddler have been doing well too. We have got exciting plans in place for 2020 but I can’t reveal them just yet!” Robin Breeman, account manager, OppoSuits

Right: Smiffys won the Licensing Awards’ Best Licensed Dress-up or Partyware Range for its 60th anniversary limited-edition Barbie costume.

to strive for and show a real distinction within the licensing world,” said Smiffys’ director Dominique Peckett. “Our category wins are testament and recognition to the constant work our team carries out as it designs, develops and markets our innovative licensed portfolio.” In general, Dominique emphasises that Smiffys’ licensing business is continually growing and expanding. “The most influential aspect would be the licensed children’s market,” she says. “It grows continually, particularly as World Book Day has become pivotal in schools and nurseries across the UK. The parental desire to have a child’s favourite book available in costume form warrants licensed costumes and we recognise the need to bring those characters to life.” Smiffys has continued to acquire licences, with new lines for this year including a Chucky family range for Halloween as well as Book Week favourites such as Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter. Brand new collections which will be available for 2020 include a line of costumes inspired by MGM’s The Addams Family Movie, Mattel’s Thomas & Friends as well as preschool literary favourites Spot the Dog, Mog and The Tiger Who came to Tea. “The licensed baby and toddler markets are continually growing and our in-house design team are working hard on some exclusive pieces for next year,” adds Dominique. “The importance of events like World Book Day and Halloween cannot be overstated. Licensing will continue to be an area that we invest heavily in.” Left: OppoSuits’ Mario Kart suit sold out immediately when it launched earlier this year.


Licensing is also ‘very important’ to Julie Dommett, head of marketing at Pioneer Europe, who points out that having key licences at the right time can prove very successful. “Licensing has become more competitive in recent years,” she says, “especially as non-licensed on-trend themes have become more popular. Licensed business was historically spread over a wide range of characters but in recent years this has become more concentrated on the top properties.” Julie reveals that Pioneer Europe is continuing to invest in new products for its long-standing licensing partners’ brands but is also working on some brand new opportunities for 2020. “Character licensing is key for the party sector, where many of the products are better suited to a lower age group,” she adds. “Properties that target preschool up to age eight tend to work best as these are the children most likely to want a characterthemed birthday party.” The final word goes to Stuart Wheeler, account manager at Delights Direct, who says that: “Apart from a few notable exceptions, we have found that licenses have not been so strong in the last couple of years, with generic themes breaking through instead. Still, I’m sure everyone will be looking to Frozen 2 this Christmas, hoping it replicates the incredible highs of the first one!” Above: Toy Story 4 product has performed well and Pioneer Europe expects this to continue. Left: Creative Party’s Peter Rabbit range of cake decorations focuses on Beatrix Potter’s original characters.

GROWTH GOALS “We have been actively pursuing our objective of growing our licensed costumes sales in Europe. EMEA is a key part of our overall international growth strategy. While we have always been a powerhouse for Halloween in North America, it is our goal to provide costumes globally for incremental dress-up occasions like Carnival and World Book Day.” Tara Hefter, executive vp and general manager, Disguise


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Licensed Party Product


Smiffys new Only Fools and Horses instant kit is an addition to the Only Fools and Horses collection, paying homage to cherished TV favourite Derek Edward Trotter, aka Del Boy.

These Snowman cello bags from Creative Party are decorated with a classic design and offer an ideal way to present seasonal goodies.

Global phenomenon Baby Shark is now launching as an official party range, with this new collection from Amscan, including tableware, decorations and pinatas.

This complete collection of tableware from GoDan features characters from the globally award-winning Miraculous Ladybug cartoon. Super Mario fans of all ages can now become their favourite gaming character with these fun Mario Kart costumes from Disguise. American costume company Disguise has launched a range of dress-up and accessories for both kids and adults, based on popular characters from popular computer game Minecraft.

Delights Direct always carries the latest and hottest names in licensed partyware, including this fab new range of JoJo Siwa products.

The release of Smiffys new Chucky family collection has proved popular in the run up to Halloween 2019, offering an instantly-recognisable look the whole family can wear.

These stunning new Shimmer and Shine costumes from Rubie’s come complete with mock waistcoats, digitallyprinted character bodices and shimmering fabrics.

Reinforcing the popularity of Toy Story 4 is this tableware offering from GoDan, which added the latest addition to the evergreen franchise to its portfoio earlier this year.

Brand new Peppa Pig dress-up (not forgetting George, of course!) will be available from Amscan in perfect time for World Book Day 2020.

Rubie’s inflatable Jurassic World costumes have had a huge impact within the market, but there’s more fun to be had with Pteranodon, Triceratops and Blue Velociraptor all waiting to be discovered.


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Disney Frozen 2 will hit UK cinemas this November 2019. Order your Disney Frozen 2 Balloons & Partyware now!

Ask about our in-store marketing & display options ©Disney

See our full ranges at (Balloons) and (Party) or call our friendly team on 01279 501090 to place an order. USA ©2019 PBC SB-1910017 U.S. Patent No. 6,782,675

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■ A Sunny Look Budding hair stylists of all ages will love this new Sunny Day costume from Amscan, starring the main character of Nick Jr’s latest hit animated musicalcomedy-adventure series. Featuring a dress, a pair of leggings and of course a fabulous wig, the children’s costume is in stock now, suitable for children aged between three and eight years old.

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■ Bubble Brands As experts for novelties and toys Henbrandt likes to be able to offer a range of licensed bubbles as an alternative to the non-branded options it also offers. Mickey and Minnie Mouse have always been consistent good sellers for the company, while other Disney characters come and go in line with the latest trend or film release.

■ Horror Show Two new lines from Star Cutouts have been launched in perfect time for Halloween, celebrating horror characters both old and new. A recent take on the classic Pennywise character, the clown from Stephen King’s IT has already proven itself to be a Halloween favourite. The second character, the Annabelle doll, is the wooden – yet terrifying – star of popular The Conjuring franchise.

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■ Prison Style Arguably one of the most successful series of the past six years, Orange Is The New Black – which is set in a minimum-security women’s prison – has delighted fans across the globe. This new branded costume from Smiffys is based on the iconic orange jumpsuit worn by inmates and comes in two pieces, complete with jailbird accessories.

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■ A Baa-rilliant Look

■ Shark Attack

Smiffys has released a line of Shaun the Sheep costumes to coincide with the much-anticipated UK release of Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. The movie is Shaun’s second feature-length film is the the follow-up to 2015’s smash hit Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Smiffys range of official dress-up is perfect for transforming into the world’s favourite woolly hero.

Anyone who has been within three feet of a preschooler over the last few months will be well aware of the Baby Shark phenomenon, so an official coatume was only a matter of time. As a result, Rubie’s is delighted to unveil possibly its catchiest range ever, featuring Baby Shark, Mummy Shark and Daddy Shark. Each costume comes with a sound chip for extra fun!




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Focus On: Birthdays Below: Folat.




s one of the core occasions in the party calendar, birthdays are hugely important to the sector. From the cuteness of a first birthday party (all colourful plates and cakes they won’t remember) to the debauchery of a 21st celebration (where the banners and balloons have been sellotaped to a table overflowing with alcohol), the one thing we can be certain about with birthdays is that most people celebrate them in one way or another. For party products supplier Creative Party, birthdays represent a huge proportion of the company’s business.

Left: A fun coordinated balloon and partyware Happy Birthday line from Boland Party.

Major Milestones

“Birthdays are still very important to our business. We know that, besides our extensive Happy Birthday range, most of our themed lines are used as birthday decorations as well. Milestone birthdays are still popular – for instance, we know that most of our very popular foil number balloons are used for birthday parties.” Jan-Willem Tuitel, general manager, Boland Party 40

“Everyone has a birthday; adult, child, male, female – meaning the demand for birthday décor and tableware is constant,” says product and marketing manager Shayna Bowles. “And although all birthdays deserve to be celebrated, milestone birthdays are extra special. These only happen once in a lifetime – it’s an achievement to reach them and important to celebrate them!” Creative Party offers party retailers over 70 different birthday ranges to choose from, catering to all ages, fashions and interests. The ranges comprise high-quality tableware, décor and coordinating baking accessories in a multitude of different styles, meaning customers will be able to find something suitable for any occasion. “Our children’s birthday ranges feature punchy colours and trendy motifs, while the adult ranges tend to lean more toward sleek, modern, minimalist design, with clean lines and key colours such as fresh mint, blush pink, navy and metallic foil accents taking centre stage,” outline Shayna. Creative Party is predicting a number of its new trend-led designs will be big for 2020 – Sloth, Swan and Woodland Animals offer a cute approach to favourite animal characters and are all available to order now. “We’re working hard behind the scenes to introduce several new party ranges for every occasion, due to be released early next year,” added Shayna. “2020 is going to be an especially big year for milestone birthday at Creative Party…watch this space!” Over at Amscan, birthday celebrations are equally important, as marketing

Halloween and Christmas are all well and good, but – unfortunately for the party industry – they only come once a year. Birthdays, on the other hand, are more of a rolling event, with approximately 17 million people celebrating a birthday on any one day of the year. PPE breaks out the birthday bunting to find out more.

Above: Neon colours and honeycomb fans are a popular choice for Folat.

Birthday Brights

“Every day thousands of people celebrate their birthday, so it is very important for our business. In our portfolio we have everything people need for a birthday; balloons, flags, banners, decorations and tableware in a lot of different designs. Milestones are still key; we have Sweet 16, 18th birthday, 21st birthday, Abraham and Sarah (which means to turn 50!) and decoration for all ages. Our most popular collections are the Rainbow Dots and the traffic signs. We also have a range of collections for children – prints with animals such as dinosaurs and unicorns are very popular at the moment.” Angela Reijenga, marketing coordinator, Folat


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Focus On: Birthdays

Right: An on-trend dinosaur bouquet from Pioneer Europe.

executive Charlotte Terry explains. “From first birthdays and the preschool years, through to teen and adult milestones; birthday celebrations are hugely important to us. We currently have over 50 birthday ranges in total.” She continues: “The preschool market is particularly key for us, with a child’s first few birthdays often celebrated with parties being held for both friends and family. Milestone celebrations are still important as well, and our highly popular Gold and Pink Sparkling celebration ranges continue to perform strongly.” Product design and staying on-trend is important to Amscan, with a design team ensuring that the company is able to continually refresh ranges and develop new designs to stay ahead in the market. “Rose gold is (still!) a very popular colour scheme for adult birthdays, as is Below: Classic birthday lines from GoDan.

Kids V Adults

“Birthday parties for children are almost always about the most popular cartoon shows! But there are some of our customers who prefer generic designs. We do offer them as well and they are loosely divided into the more for girls and more for boys designs. Popular colours for children are metallic and pastel rainbow colours. We have a whole range of products in those shades. Adults prefer more quiet colours such as black with gold or silver. As a rule, adults mainly celebrate their milestone birthdays, but what’s interesting is that both groups are paying more and more attention to the look and style of the party decorations. Everything has to look nice and fit well with each other. The price is not that important anymore which is good for us because it means we can offer more premium products!” Magdalena Wojteczek, sales manager, GoDan

rainbow and products featuring an iridescent finish,” reveals Charlotte. “Collections aimed at children tend to feature licensed characters more heavily, as well as a wider variety of dedicated themes. Unicorns remain a top choice, while space, dinosaurs and llamas are also popular.” Acknowledging that younger birthday boys and girls are more likely to want a full-scale ‘birthday party’, Amscan’s children’s ranges also include a larger selection of items compared to adult ensembles, including themed party favours, games, invitations and other add-ons. Focusing primarily on balloons, Pioneer Europe describes the birthday market as being ‘really important’. “Birthdays are the first occasion that jumps to anyone’s mind when they think of balloons,” said head of marketing Julie Dommett. “While we do have a huge range of balloons for every event, it is still true that birthday is the essential party and balloon occasion!” With over 350 unique birthday ranges available from Pioneer Europe’s extensive portfolio, the company is confident that it offers the perfect balloon for everyone. “Designs often differ between adult and children’s birthdays on balloons, but many of our designs are designed to work for anyone regardless of age or gender,” explains Julie. “These designs with a wider appeal can be really important, especially for smaller trade customers who only have room for limited product.” Unsurprisingly, milestone birthdays are ‘definitely important’ and Pioneer has several of these milestone ranges across its latex, foil and Bubble balloon categories. The recent extension of its popular Pink and Gold Dots range means that the collection now includes milestone ages from 18 right through to 70, which has been very well-received.

The Birthday Pie

“The birthday sector has always been a large slice of the Henbrandt pie. Party bags and boxes, party bag toys, hats and novelty items fly out the door for children’s parties with confetti shooters, balloon weights, party poppers and fountain candles making a big dent in sales for adult parties. Birthday party accessories will always be a part of what we sell here at Henbrandt, some things will never go out of fashion!” George Morgan, marketing, Henbrandt Of course, the ages that fall between big milestone birthdays can be celebrated using the perennially popular number balloons. The new Northstar Jelli Ombre number range has been a popular addition to the market, meeting the modern demand for celbrating milestone celebrations with on-trend, colourful, air-filled product. “Colourwise, the metallic look of Qualatex Chrome balloons and ombre designs are also strong right now,” concludes Julie. “Designs with ontrend themes such as space, unicorns, dinosaurs and mermaids all continue to perform well for the birthday market.” So whether your customer is looking for the perfect superhero range for a fifth birthday party or the perfect sophisticated range for a 50th, there will be something out there that is perfect for their very happy birthday.

Below: The new Northstar Jelli Ombre number range from Pioneer Europe.Right: The Sloth Party birthday partyware range from Creative Party. Below right: Amscan’s space-themed Blast Off children’s partyware.


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Focus On: Birthdays


The adorable Barnyard party range from Amscan is perfect for animal lovers! The ensemble includes different napkin designs for 1st, 2nd and 3rd birthdays.

A number of fresh new birthday collections from Folat includes this pastel rainbow themed range which includes tableware, banners and other décor for a sophistcated look.

The new Marble Mate numbers from Grabo offer an elegant and refined option for milestone birthdays, complete with glittering details.

Pioneer Europe’s themed balloons with designs such as space, unicorns, dinosaurs and mermaids all continue to perform well. Creative Party’s new Rainbow Foil birthday design features a dazzling rainbow foil finish, while coordinating décor and a giant Happy Birthday foil balloon banner help set the scene.

GoDan’s party collection for adults includes everything from balloons and décor to novelties and photo props.

Pioneer Europe has recently extended its popular Pink and Gold Dots range to include milestones from 18-70 across Microfoil and Bubble Balloons.

The Stylish Swan Party from Creative Party features gentle hues of baby pink, white and flecks of gold alongside subtle birthday messages and coordinating décor.

Party bags, lunch boxes, gifts, novelties and other children’s birthday accessories make up a significant part of Henbrandt’s party business.

Amscan has added this bold new ‘Reason to celebrate’ SuperShape to its birthday offering, suitable for all ages.

These roar-some new balloons from Amscan are a cute take on the classic dinosaur theme. Standard, SuperShape and Bouquet formats are all in stock now.

The Wild One Woodland Animals ensemble from Creative Party is perfect for creating a natural rustic atmosphere, perfect for young children’s birthday and nature-themed parties.


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Setting The Scene

Get the Look


Setting the right scene for an event is essential for creating the desired atmosphere. PPE takes a look at the coordinating décor, props and accessories taking centre stage at everything from stylish Christenings to raucous 40th birthday parties.

hemed parties are big business for party retailers. And although making sure a party looks as picture-perfect as possible is no small task, it’s never been easier for party organisers to make sure the venue hits the right note. Thanks to a plethora of online design pinboards, hashtags and blog posts, party hosts looking for inspiration are more aware than ever of the endless options open to them – whether their chosen venue is being reimagined as a Hollywood after-party or a wildlife-filled jungle. A strong décor look is often the starting point when deciding on a theme, with the rest of the party – balloons, invites, cakes and a myriad of other finishing touches – then built up around it. “In an Instagram and Pinterest obsessed society, the need to create a trendy party atmosphere is becoming increasingly apparent and important,” says Creative Party’s product and marketing manager

Right: Sharks are the latest animal to follow unicorns, llamas and dinosaurs into the children’s market, according to Pioneer Europe. Below: Creative Party’s Snow Princess range is ideal for winter celebrations.

HISTORY LESSON “Our customers often ask for items which allude to socialism, which was a very specific time for Polish people. We offer a range of colours such as orange, brown and red shades as well as posters and other accessories which characterise those times. Although it’s a small local market it is beginning to be a very important one for us.” Magdalena Wojteczek, sales manager, GoDan


Top right: It’s all about colour and contrast at Folat. Above: Good Vibes is a complete 60s-themed range from Amscan which includes a wide variety of decorations and balloons.

Shayna Bowles. “Paying attention to the finer details, adding special finishing touches and paying keen attention to creating the perfect look really enhances a party-goer’s experience.” Creative Party is already seeing exceptional sales results across its Early Release 2020 launch, particularly across the coordinating décor and accessories ranges that offer a bit of extra detail. “We’re especially excited about our ‘Snow Princess’ party range, in particular the detailed 3D castle centrepiece,” Shayna adds. “We are also expecting our new ‘Roaring Twenties’ partyware range to be popular as it is guaranteed to add some glitz and glamour to any Gatsby-themed celebration.” Over at Pioneer Europe it’s not hugely surprising that its focus centres strongly on balloons and balloon décor. The company releases countless new designs and innovations each year. “We like to encourage customers to set the scene by combining Qualatex balloons, Northstar script and letter balloons and Pioneer partyware to create a perfect setting,” says head of marketing Julie Dommett. “We develop all of our balloons to be in line with the latest and upcoming trends, including recent popular themes such as sharks, dinosaurs, tropical, panda, and of course mermaids and unicorns.”

“We have a wide range of decorations and accessories to create any themed party, but as well as silver and gold we also have a range of products in different colours like turquoise, pink, blue and green. They work so well together and for us it is all about the colours at the moment.” Angela Reijenga, marketing coordinator, Folat Pioneer Europe also offers a host of training courses so that its customers can learn all the latest techniques needed to create the perfect scenes that consumers are looking for. “Our ‘Making Memories – Big Parties’ course focuses on big important family occasions such as anniversaries, milestone birthdays, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and similar events that tend to be celebrated in bigger venues,” explains Julie. “These events typically require bigger balloon décor, such as entrance arches, photo backdrops, table centrepieces and buffet table arrangements, so this course is ideal for anyone looking to expand their party décor portfolio.” Taking a different approach to the air-filled market is Smiffys, which has a line of new novelty-themed inflatables available in perfect time for Halloween. “The popularity of inflatable décor is evident and something that will continue to grow for us across all segments of the market,” commented trade marketing manager Sharon Poulter. “An instant accessory, yet easy to store and reuse in the future, the versatility and novelty appearance will ensure of inflatables remain popular right across the party sector.” It’s clear that retailers need to be able to deliver a wide choice of themes to meet the market demand, but with so much available there’s no excuse for not getting in on the action. Left: Perfect for Day of the Dead-themed events, Smiffys’ inflatable designs include a large multicoloured skull as well as a 6ft skeleton. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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Setting The Scene


A fresh take on the new pastel and matte colours from Grabo are these new unicorn balloons, which are perfect for unicorn-themed parties and leading the trend with a great new look.

Qualatex balloons from Pioneer Europe are developed in line with popular themes such as sharks, dinosaurs, tropical, panda – not forgetting mermaids and unicorns of course.

This fun new Llama collection from Boland Party offers an incredible 22 coordinating items, including decorations, paper straws, wooden cutlery and tableware.

Setting the scene at hen and stag parties means focusing on décor and accessories and Smiffys design-led range includes a number of fun games and novelty accessories.

Set the scene for a roaring good time with Amscan’s Hollywood-themed collection, which includes everything from wall décor to centrepieces, cut-outs, hanging signs and even a director’s clapboard.

Bright colours, bold prints and fun animal themes are key party themes for Folat, which offers a wide range of decoration and accessories to create the perfect themed party.

Merry Christmas is Neviti’s stylish new offering for the festive season and is available in either classic red or on-trend rose gold, with collections including tableware and room décor.

The colourful Toucan is a brand new theme for Boland Party, taking the fashion for tropical trends one step further, with tableware, giant bunting, flags, pinatas and much more. GoDan has found that its Polish customers are looking for themed party product to recreate a socialist atmosphere, so colours such as orange, brown and red are popular.

Make Christmas parties pop with beautiful decorations from Neviti’s new Merry Christmas collection. From confettifilled balloons to pinwheel tree decorations, they look great when paired with the matching disposable tableware.

Creative Party is seeing Rose Gold, a recurring colour trend for 2019, take centre stage across glitter centrepieces, confetti and cake toppers.

The new Iridescent Snowflake collection from Neviti features delicate holographic snowflakes against a frosty blue background and includes classic tableware and beautiful table decorations.

It’s an animal revolution! This wide range of emoji-like animal heads are the latest new foil balloon design from Grabo and are perfect for creating the right animal-themed atmosphere.


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Available soon at Folat:

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■ S eason’s Greetings

■ Brexit Bash

■ Religious Icon

Merry Christmas is Neviti’s stylish new offering for the festive season, coming in two different options of either classic red or on-trend rose gold. Both collections feature delicate falling snowballs onto shining foil and include all the classic tableware as well as gorgeous room decorations, such as the new pinwheel tree decorations and beautiful confetti balloons.

With the UK scheduled to be leaving the UK on Thursday 31 October, a Brexit theme is exected to run through much of this year’s Halloween celebrations. Smiffys has embraced this wholeheartedly with a range of Brexit-themed dress-up and accessories, including four new latex masks, a Posh Politician kit and a fabulous Posh Prime Minster piggyback costume.

A popular option from the recent Qualatex Q3 product launch was a selection of balloons that fit the bill perfectly for Christenings, Communions and Baptisms. The new 18” microfoil, Golden Cross & Greenery is beautifully complimented by three choices of 11” latex balloons that feature gold text on a white background, ideal for each of these key religious occasions.

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■ Blow It Up

■ Flapper Girl

■ Roaring 20s

The latest essential from Premium Balloon Accessories is the Premium FoilPro, which has been designed for easy, hands-free inflation of all foil, latex and high-pressure balloons. The inflator uses Premium’s patented Cool Aire technology to inflate with cool air, while clever nozzles ensure that balloons will not over-inflate and a convenient hose is ideal for inflating multi-compartment foils.

Embracing the 1920s trend, Amscan has recently added a new range of 1920s-style flapper dresses to its dressup collection. The stylish costumes are available in silver, red and black and are the perfect choice for NYE celebrations. With both child and adult sizes available, these costumes tap into the matching mother/daughter trend which is popular at the moment.

With the NYE 2019 just round the corner, Creative Party is expecting its new ‘Roaring Twenties’ partyware range to be popular. The high-quality tableware features gold foil accents and comes with coordinating décor including a foil tassel banner, deluxe photobooth props and foil wall signs - guaranteed to add some glitz and glamour to any Gatsby-themed celebration!


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Facts and Figures

WHAT WOMEN WANT “For our female customers, the most popular items are wigs, eyelashes, hats and boot hire. As far as packet costumes are concerned, younger customers still go for short and sassy, while more mature ladies like the 1920s or Medieval costumes.”

Above: Period costumes are always in demand across the hire side of the business.

WINDOW SHOPPING Jean changes the window at least once a month, to coincide with upcoming seasonal events and celebrations. At the moment she has an amazing Halloween window on show.


FANCY DRESS IN NUMBERS Masquerade is a long-established, family run, fancy dress and theatrical costume shop based in Watford, Hertfordshire. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, a treasure trove of costumes and outfits are available for hire or to buy. PPE spoke to owner Jean Harper to find out the figures behind the store’s success.


Below: The instantly recognisable Masquerade Fancy Dress.

Masquerade is a family business which Jean runs with her husband. Her sons and daughter in law pitch in to help at busy times and with the website.

“We have been working with Bristol Novelty since we first started in the party and dress-up business, around 30 years ago. They have always been reliable, helpful and friendly and whatever we needed they always seemed to have it. Fun Shack, Wicked Costumes and Sancto have always been popular too and for hire costumes we always return to Magic by Freddys, Thetru and Palmer Agency.”

KEEPING BUSY “The average spend can be anywhere from £8 to £46 per customer. It’s impossible to pin it down closer. That’s the fun of it though... you never know what’s next.”

more popular, from the overhead latex style to Venetian eye masks.”


“Children’s costumes – we mostly leave those to the supermarkets and multiples these days.”


KEEPING IT NEW “My latest new supplier is Shadow Factory Masks – a new mask company with an amazing skill for getting the detail righton overhead masks. The Alien and the Frankenstein style masks are just amazing.”



“Masks are becoming

“Halloween has already started for us. We had two amazing ladies come in on Saturday, who spent £200 on decorations and costumes. They had come down from ‘up North’ for the weekend to visit the Harry Potter Experience and saw our shop on the way there. So that was a great start!”

Left: A Frankenstein’s monster-style mask from new supplier Shadow Factory Masks.

IT TAKES ALL TYPES “Some people love to dress up... they are full of fun and have a great sense of humour, they are our type of people. On the other hand, some people are a little shy and will settle for a hat and a dicky bow. But at least they have made an effort!”


T T  he shop is about the size of a tennis court, while the stock room where all the hire costumes are stored is about the same size again. T A  pproximately 20,000 costumes and accessories are available. T O  f those, around 15,000 are available for hire.

Above: Satisfied customers make the most of Masquerade’s Halloween offering.

THE KING LIVES! “Our best customer over the past few weeks has been someone holding an Elvis party – he purchased a large number of items including costumes, wigs and accessories to make his house party special and effective.”


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Profile for Max Media Group

Progressive Preschool Europe September October 2019  

Progressive Preschool Europe September October 2019