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January 3, 2022 • Sarah Schwartz
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My Mind's Eye Party Supplies lifestyle image

As COVID-19 cut its swath through American life, partyware was hit hard. Yet, in helping customers navigate cancelled, postponed and reconfigured events, certain truths became evident, noted Adrianne Pepitone, founder and creative director, Studio Pep.Golden Moon Banner from Studio Pep“Although the awe-inspiring parties with big budgets on social media are fun to look at, they feel daunting and overwhelming,” she observed. “I feel they have created a comparison culture among moms, and even a feeling of unworthiness for less elaborate celebrations. But truthfully, our products on their tables and floating on their ceilings are not the heart of the party, it’s the time spent celebrating and gathering.”

There has definitely been a shift in consumer motivations, agreed Jennifer Luna, owner of Paper Luxe and The Curious Bear Toy & Book Shop, Fircrest, Washington. “People want to celebrate their loved ones in more meaningful ways. While some opt for less expensive, big box store supplies, there are plenty of others willing to make a small investment in quality party décor and supplies that are thoughtfully designed and curated.”

Paper Luxe balloons

This desire led to increased sales at My Mind’s Eye during lockdown, explained Candice Stringham, marketing director. ”Because much of our brand is about celebrating the everyday and making (the most of) small daily celebrations, people had the desire to make at-home birthdays, graduations, and holidays extra special. (Thus) party and home décor became key purchases.”

LOCKDOWN & LOOKING AHEAD

During lockdown, Pepitone saw a “dramatic uptick” in sales for confetti and balloons. Luna also experienced success with balloons. “In a new world filled with drive-by birthday parades and porch drop-offs, balloon bouquet sales skyrocketed. Giant number balloons and themed bouquets were an easy way to make a big statement.”

The Curious Bear Toy & Book Store

Luna saw a bump in greeting card sales, specifically birthday cards “as more customers sent cards to those near and far,” as well as virtual backdrop decorations and party favors, she added. “We helped quite a few customers with party décor to display on a wall behind them or for their guest of honor at Zoom parties — (like) banners and giant paper pinwheels for baby showers and birthday parties. We also helped source favor boxes to mail to each attendee.”

Party Hat from Rifle Paper Co.

Likewise, Pepitone noticed “moms throwing more intentional and elaborate parties at home with their immediate families. We also noticed products being purchased as gifts for loved ones as a way to send a little celebration in the mail.”

Stringham has also realized that “selling party décor doesn’t have to be about huge events, it’s about creating connections and making product that (enables) an event, no matter how small, to feel extra-special. When we visit a collection we ask ourselves if each piece feels special, and we have gotten really good as a team at editing our collections down so that our clients can create a beautiful look without feeling overwhelmed by the cost or work to put it together.”

Rifle Paper Co. party products

With that knowledge, My Mind’s Eye is releasing not only several themed collections for 2022 — especially their Adventure range unveiling in spring —but are also incorporating sustainable and reusable materials and “taking our party designs into home décor.”

Whimsy, Classic Balloons

Pepitone’s 2022 releases have an open-ended, versatile approach. “I’ve designed a monochromatic line of confetti, classic balloons, balloon garlands and banners. The collections form a rainbow of colors to be mixed and matched or used on their own. Does your child want a banana and blueberries party? Grab our yellow confetti and our blue confetti and mix! Or the dreaded character theme parties with their even worse character theme décor from big box party stores. Now you can create a custom blend of confetti or balloons that is aesthetically pleasing, while still honoring the child’s love for Paw Patrol or Pokémon.”

Unicorn Artisan Confetti from Studio Pep

For now, Pepitone is “staying in my lane and doing a few things really well,” she commented. “When I do that our products sell themselves. Many companies have popped up in this space, but the successful ones create party trends instead of following them, and make those parties attainable to everyday, busy moms. I’ve learned to focus on what makes Studio Pep different from everyone else — our confetti. No one else makes handmade confetti that is high quality with a wide range of party themes. I still feel the pull to create products that are outside of our wheelhouse, but I’m getting better at keeping my head down.”

Paper Luxe party-wall

She cites the biggest concern her clients have “is wondering if what they are doing is enough, especially when friends and family who normally celebrate with them are absent. We offer reassurance that even a few balloons tied to a highchair and some confetti sprinkled on the table is enough. I’d love to see a pivot to more relaxed, simple and homey celebrations being spotlighted on social media.”

Stringham underscores several strategies My Mind’s Eye has adopted to make sure events run seamlessly. “Supply chain issues can be troublesome, but working farther in advance of past timelines will help us all make these issues less stressful. We have started offering pre-orders for the first time and it has really helped!”

Kitty Meow Boutique cocktail napkins

Luna’s strategy throughout has been to try “to be flexible, listen to the market and display what is needed at the moment. So for a while we put away almost all food serving items and showcased more of the balloons and candles and banners. Now we’re showcasing bundles of curated goods and all the food serving items.”

Regardless, smaller events don’t mean smaller sales, Luna emphasized. “A lot of people are still concerned about gathering in large numbers. This actually works well for us because they feel better about spending more on a smaller number of guests, with add-ons (like) place cards, décor and invitations.”

For now the ST Editorial Board member is awaiting a bountiful spring. “Our hope is by then, kids will be vaccinated and the world will allow for more travel and in-person gatherings. We think people are going to really want bright, cheerful and happy products as we emerge from winter and hopefully the worst of COVID-19. They’re going to want to travel to see family and celebrate and make up for the past two years!”




75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345

616.520.2137

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