Party Rental Boom
If you follow influencers on social media, you already know that the party business is booming. Curated kids’ parties are all the rage, with the cutest pint sized highly designed items filling feeds for birthdays, tea parties and celebrating just because they can. Even bachelorette parties are celebrating in the same fashionable ways, with exquisite table settings, menus, party favors, and décor.
As the world trudges out of the COVID-19 pandemic, these parties will become even bigger and more expensive as party-throwers try to out-party each other, hiring event planners and caterers and purchasing and renting high- end finishes for the perfect, Instagrammable moments. Retailers can provide everything their customers need to host the perfect over-the-top event.
Party pro Maranda Palova, owner of Little Dreamers Sleepovers and Events in Grand Rapids, Michigan takes the stress out of party planning for her clients. Their team of sleepover and event experts provides everything needed to host the perfect party at home or a venue.
“During the pandemic I pivoted my business and purchased a bell tent to add to my experiences. It soon became clear to me that I could offer couples an intimate, backyard wedding option.” – Maranda Palova, Little Dreamers Sleepovers and Events
They offer full delivery and set up or DIY options. “We have 35 A-frame tents and 10 lace teepees within our inventory,” she explained. “Our tents are hand made and sewn by myself. This allows us the flexibility to change our fabric for a variety of themes,” Palova added. Little Dreamers offers over 30 different themes that can be customized for all ages. “We offer a spa party add-on that is quite popular. Each guest receives a robe, face mask, cucumbers, a brush to apply the face mask, washcloths, bowl, foot soak tub with bath bomb, and all the other items to pamper themselves for the night (including our DIY spa directions),” she said.
Pretty Little Daydreams owner Alyssa Woycik books, on average, 2 to 3 parties per weekend in the West Michigan area. Her most popular rental items vary depending on the time of year. “In the summer months, our luxury picnics are most popular. In the winter months, our kids’ sleepover tents and teepees are more popular,” she said. The accessories she uses in the rental kits, like the trays, pillows, lanterns and lights, are sourced from multiple stores or she creates them by hand.
For retailers seeking a new product offering with party rentals, Kaitlin Malaspina, the entrepreneur behind Pitch A Fête, shared some tips on how renting party kits and other merchandise can be a boon to business.
Pitch A Fête’s kits are mostly child- and teen-oriented, and offer adorable teepees, mattresses, linens, activities and more. The mattresses themselves are adult-sized, so her rentals can be used for kids at heart, too. She ships the kits from Pittsburgh to wherever the party is. After the event, the party-throwers simply ship everything back so that there’s less mess to pick up when the kids go home.
The first step is to pick which demographic you want to support. This should align with your core business — children, teens, young adults, parents, or general. The rentals can include furniture or not, depending on available storage or partnerships available. Curate sets for children’s daytime or slumber parties, cocktails or bachelorette events, baby showers, family game or puzzle nights or anything that your customers currently shop for.
Next, choose your designs. Malaspina recommends starting with just a few basic designs. For example, she suggests that a set of kids’ party rental kits might include a jungle animal theme, puppies or kittens and generic super heroes (letting the kids’ favorite hero be an addition the parents add).
Think about the party experience and what you’d include, and design around a theme, and if your rental kits match the stock of your other party goods, then offer a discount on matching items to increase sell-through.
Pick durable, unique-looking items for each party- goer’s individual kit. These items could be hand-made, like Pitch A Fête’s linens, but they could also be from other stores locally or items you actually sell in-store. If your rental kits match the party goods, then offer a discount on matching items to increase sell-through.
Each kit should include most of the things that a party needs for success. For kids, this will include a pretend play element. “Pretend play is the most gracious gift you can give to a child. It might be a craft, making binoculars out of a toilet paper roll, grandma’s extra yarn, every party has a pretend play element. They don’t come to a party to get face painted and run in the yard. They come to celebrate with friends,” Malaspina said.
For grown-up kits, the creation aspect could be a food or drink, game inspiration, candle-making kits or conversation starters. Include a charcuterie board per every 5 guests and durable drinkware for each guest. Offer drink markers, cocktail or mocktail kits. Include linens, décor, fresh flowers and a vase, party games, and make it memorable. Set the stage and make it simple for the party throwers to clean up in minutes. Offer tables and chairs for those who need them as an add-on option.
Many shops face a shortage of storage, so consider partnering with a furniture rental company. If they don’t currently carry the inventory that goes with your rental kits, your repeat rental business could be the incentive they need to ensure their stock isn’t just wasting space.
To promote party rental kits, Malaspina recommends throwing a party in your shop. Invite your favorite customers, hire or barter with your favorite photographer and get photo releases signed by all. Let customers experience the rentals in-store and have the photographer document the whole experience. The photographer can sell future photo packages to all those who attend and even sell the photos they take that day. Credit the photographer in your advertising to help them get additional business.
Party rentals are a great source of income and a way to help take that pressure off of people trying to create the ideal celebration. By offering rental kits, you help customers become their own party planners with a photo-perfect finish and lasting memories.
Check out more party inspiration at Pitch a Fête, www.pitchafete.com @pitchafete; Little Dreamers Sleepovers, www.littledreamerssleepovers.com @littledreamerssleepoversmi; Pretty Little Daydreams, www.prettylittledaydreams.com @pretty.little.daydreams.
As seen in Celebrations & Occasions, a special issue presented by Gift Shop® Plus and Stationery Trends.