The end of the summer is the perfect time to take stock of the first half of the year before everyone goes Halloween crazy. PPE spoke to Kate Moore at Jollyjesters Fancy Dress to find out how the party business has been so far in 2018.
How has business been for you in the first six months of 2018, in general?
“Compared to 2017, it’s definitely busier this year. More customers are coming through the door and the feedback we’re getting is that they’ve been let down when buying online and are returning to proper shops where they can see what they’re buying.”
Do you think that the last six months have been a fair representation of the state of the party industry at the moment?
Every week we’re hearing of more shops closing and more businesses folding – not just in the party industry, but right across the retail spectrum. If Poundworld can’t make it, then it’s worrying for the future of shopkind as we know it.”
Have you seen any particular crazes or fashions this year?
“For trends, we have seen huge demand for both Peaky Blinders and The Greatest Showman-inspired costumes. These have completely replaced Frozen for us.”
Have you made any significant business changes this year?
“We’ve made a few business changes this year. We’ve given more shop space over to accessories and less to pre-packed costumes. We’ve kept our pre-packed costume stocks lower, but offer a next-day ordering policy. Hires are continuing to increase, but we’ve lowered our hire charges to help keep the momentum on this. What was £18 is now around £15-£16 and pro rata.”
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to your business this year?
The shop re-fit was expensive but we’re hoping it will pay for itself before too long. It also sends out a message that we’re investing in the business, not winding it down. Have to say though how deeply we sympathise with all the shops that are shutting down.”
Is there a particular product, range or supplier that has has really made a difference to your business in 2018?
“I would like to say that we are hugely grateful to Smiffys and in particular to Shaun Altoft who has understood the problems of the independent shopkeeper and worked with us to help keep our business going. We now order more regularly and have a much greater monthly spend with them than we did in 2016 (our toughest year). We’re also very grateful to Wicked Costumes and Sancto for their pleasant, friendly, polite and efficient service.”
How do you expect the rest of 2018 to be for your business?
“If we can keep the momentum going we hope to still be here in 2019!”