Thursday, December 19, 2013

Part 2 of our review - 2013 was it a good year for the Balloon Industry?

As we know many parts of the world are still struggling with recession, so I asked two balloon companies from Europe to talk about their 2013 and whether or not the current economic climate had effected their businesses?

Elegant Shopping Mall Decor by Party Land Spain

Firstly we visit Spain and Laura Lozano CBA, of Party Land Spain.

Laura opened Party Land as the first "one stop" party supplies and balloon decor store in Madrid in February 2005 and today already has almost 20 franchised shops across Spain, where you can find everthing in order to make a party festive, whatever the theme. In its own, separate world inside Party Land, you can find all sorts of balloon bouquets for any occasion, from the simplest forms to the most elaborate designs. Only one month after opening her first shop, Laura learned the importance of training in balloon decor to set her business apart and has attended numerous industry events such as WBC, Oxford and BACI, where she became CBA in March 2009.  
Laura with Luc Bertrand at BACI 2011.

How would you describe 2013 in business terms? Better than previous years? Not as good as previous years?
Overall we can't complain about the sales results obtained in 2013 because we have experienced a positive growth despite the economic situation in Spain. Some shops have seen an increase in sales with respect to the previous year and our chain has grown to the almost 20 shops that currently make up the Party Land Spain "Family".
What type of decor proved to be the most successful for you this year?
Our most successful decor in which we have experienced a noticeable increase with regards to previous years has definitely been Corporate Decor. In the past few years we had observed a gradual decline in corporate decor probably influenced by businesses cutting down on expenses after the economic crisis and perhaps the fact that our core business was increasedly focused on kids parties. But it is probably no coincidence that after offering our franchisees a Corporate Decor Master Class by Luc Bertrand, CBA in which we all learned on how to approach and offer our clients a corporate sale, we have expanded significantly into corporate and shopping mall decor.

Corporate Decor by Party Land Spain

Corporate Decor by Party Land Spain

What was your least popular decor this year compared to previous years?
Over the past years balloon numbers built on frame using clusters of 4 x 5 inch balloons had become a popular favorite in our shops but after switching to Foil Balloon Numbers combined with other themed foils, crescent moons, tapers and starpoints, we have sold very few of those and changed to a more versatile style probably more eye-catching to our customers and also less time intensive for us to make.
Number Designs by Party Land Spain

Number Designs by Party Land Spain

Number Designs by Party Land Spain

What are your thoughts moving into 2014? Do you feel positive, do you have an action plan to grow your business in 2014?
After the overall growth of retail sales experienced in 2013, we trust that 2014 will provide even better results and perhaps this upcoming year will be a new beginning for businesses and consumers that are forward-looking after managing to pull through Spain's economic hardship. We plan on expanding with a total 4 shops by the end of 2014, starting with a new Party Land store opening in Jávea in late January. So in 2014 we are definitely looking forward to having more Party Lands in Spain! 
Do you have any tips for our readers?
At Party Land we value the importance of qualified professional training to build upon our culture of continuous improvement. Attending and competing at international industry events such as the Qualatex Event in England, BACI, and World Balloon Convention has encouraged learning experiences and inspiration that have contributed to our overall goal to improve and continue to provide quality products to our customers. 
Also we suggest everyone to bear in mind that the more training we attend the more technical we become and the less we make sense when approaching a client. We try to simplify our technical jargon to more "tangible" words and rely mostly on drawings, sketches and/or portfolio photos and ideas to offer our clients what we feel best suits their needs
What was your top selling Qualatex balloon for 2013?
Given the polka dots design trend experienced in 2013, 11" Polka Dot and 11" Polka Dot "Feliz Cumpleaños" Balloons have been our top sellers in the printed latex category. As per other type of Qualatex balloons, Deco Bubbles, specially 20" Clear, Scroll Filigree All Around and Big Polka Dots All Around continue being among our clients' favorites. Also, after winning 1st place at BACI's Balloon Column Competition with a design in which we incorporated the Elegant Roses & Butterflies Deco Bubble, replicas of this column and bouquets inspired by this design have sold really well this year.

Thank you Laura for such a great insight into how your balloon business is flourishing in Spain, 2014 looks to be an exciting year for you and Party Land!

We now visit Yves Matouvu 
Yves Matouvu CBA

Yves Matouvu Bride & Groom

Unfortunately 2013 has been worse than in other years. Less Wedding, but more birthday.

Budgets not being the same, so there was a certain lack.

Weddings mostly asked buffet decorations, centerpieces this year in France, the great fashion "do it yourself" won the balloon market.

Yves Matouvu - 'Eeyore'
The best seller of 2013 is again the Bubble. Customers remain very applicants compositions with modeling. The small detail that they do not usually see.

Yves Matouvu - Elegant Wedding Centrepiece

2014, I will further diversify the compositions to go. Birth, birthday, wedding, the balloon market is rapidly expanding here, everything is done to ensure that customers know more balloons and change their habits.

Thank you Yves for sharing your 2013 experience, I think that many people have experienced the same decline in weddings, however, this is strongly associated with the fact that many brides did not want to get married in 'unlucky 2013', so maybe the wedding market in 2014 will be a bumper year?

Having an action plan is a great way to expand your business, and I believe that creating a line of  'Decor to Go' is a fantastic way to attract new customers and grow your market.

There will be a 3rd and final part of the 2013 business review in the next few days, but please feel free to contact me or leave a message at the end of this blog if you would like to tell us how your 2013 has been?

A huge thank you to Laura and Yves for sharing their 2013 stories, and I wish you both a truly successful and prosperous 2014!

Happy Ballooning!



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