Feb 3, 2015
Go for the Glitter
Nita Crighton, Special to Party & Paper Retailer

Help create children’s parties that shine

Party trends may come and go. However, there are a few industry staples no self-respecting party store should ever be without.

Glitter is the perfect example of must-have party-store stock. The tiny, reflective particles have the power to transform an ordinary storybook character into a fairy princess or make a shy singer into rock ‘n’ roll royalty.

Glitter and sparkle items are always in fashion, said Allen Scarsella, Mayflower Distributing’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This type of product has been around for a long time. I’ve been with this company for 13 years,” he said, “and the products were certainly here before me.”

Scarsella reports Mayflower works with four or five manufacturers, all of which make some type of glitter products. “Glittery, sparkly items are extremely popular,” he pointed out. “They are evergreen-type products and always good sellers.”

The glitter trend has proven to be enduring and extends to all ages, but store managers agree girls are more likely than boys to be attracted to sparkly products. “Glitter is definitely more popular with little girls,” said Cory Vaughn of Simply Unforgettable Party Shops in Ocala, Florida, but added older girls are also jumping on the glitter bandwagon.

“I would say glitter items are popular for girls anywhere from age 9 all the way to 16. It’s big for Sweet 16 parties,” said Vaughn, who makes sure no customer that comes into his store looking for sparkle ever has to leave empty-handed. “This is a very large store, and we always have some type of glitter products in stock. If someone comes in asking for that type of product, I always say ‘yes’ because I know I can find it.”

Impress without the mess

Anyone who has ever handled an item coated with glitter knows the tiny sparkles have a tendency to stick to everything they touch. But thanks to a number of innovative new products, you can now get that twinkle without leaving a trail of messy glitter. “A lot of the items intended to glitter in the daylight don’t contain actual glitter,” Vaughn said.

Among the no-mess sparkle items found on the shelves at Simply Unforgettable Party Shops are electroplated tiaras, prismatic foil tableware, colorful banners and pearlized balloons. All offer plenty of sparkle but are less messy and perfectly safe for young children.

High-flying glamour

Foil balloons – such as Anagram’s Butterfly Sparkle, Barbie Sparkle, Pink Sparkle Ballerina or Pink Sparkle Happy Birthday balloons – also deliver mess-free dazzle. In addition, the balloon manufacturer has a numerical lineup of gold sparkle balloons appropriate for any occasion in digits 0 through 9.

The popularity of princess-themed parties led Qualatex to manufacture an 11-inch latex princess balloon. The balloon comes in white or pink and features a glittery crown positioned over the word “PRINCESS,” accented with a trail of sparkly stars. The princess balloon is available through burton + BURTON, a family-owned and operated balloon and gift wholesale company in Bogart, Georgia.

Other latex balloons that can please sparkle-lovin’ adolescents without leaving a residual glitter trail include the Sparkles & Swirls latex balloons available in black, gold or silver and the Hearts and Sparkles clear balloon. Glossy pearlized latex balloons also add a touch of shimmer to a birthday balloon bouquet.

Props & party loot

Shoppers at The Party Place in Rogers, Arkansas, also use glitter to add a little glamour to princess-themed children’s parties, said store manager Tabitha Lasiter. “Our store sells a lot of party favors,” she said and noted tiaras, wands, rings and bracelets are among customer favorites.

Zurchers, a family-owned party and wedding store chain with 13 locations throughout Utah and Idaho, stocks a wide variety of glitter-garnished party favors and other products. Among them are glitter sticky hands in assorted colors, glitter foam stickers, glitter gel bracelets, gold glitter eyeglasses, glitter make-up, glow-in-the-dark glitter nail polish, glitter putty tubs and dozens more assorted items.

“I would say these items are perennial favorites,” said Kyle Zurcher about Zurchers’ glitter products. “We always have them on our shelves.”

Glitter takes the cake

Glitter has even found its way to the table. Amscan’s 9-inch pink prismatic princess plates feature a tiara along with all the accessories an aspiring princess requires, including images of a diamond bracelet and ring, a bejeweled handbag, wand and sparkling Cinderella-style slippers. Matching cups and napkins also are included in the line.

Encourage customers to continue the theme by rounding out each table setting with Creative Converting’s Glitz Glitter Cutlery. The heavy-duty utensils come in a variety of shimmery bold colors and are sturdy enough to handle any party fare parents care to serve up.

Aside from the honoree, the most important feature at a child’s birthday celebration is the cake – so why not make it shine? Zurchers carries an array of Wilton’s edible glitter in a variety of colors and shapes. From lilac purple pearl dust, to shimmering bronze stars and gold hearts, just a tiny bottle can take a birthday cake from dull to dazzling. Topped with a sprinkling of glitter sparkle candles, this confectionary delight is sure to spark enthusiasm in even difficult-to-impress party guests.

Displaying glitter

Since a little glitter goes a long way, party store retailers that carry glitter products recommend they be interspersed throughout the store rather than gathered into one large display.

“We try to make sure to stick with a theme when displaying our glitter products,” Vaughn said. That means at Simply Unforgettable Party Shops you’re likely to find tiaras and magic wands in the princess section of the store, while Sweet 16 and pirate props are displayed with like merchandise.

Presenting the products in this manner makes it easier for customers to locate specific merchandise and helps individual items stand out. It also reminds customers the right accessories can add polish and style to the overall theme.

DIY decor

With the current popularity of do-it-yourself projects, savvy party-store owners are stocking embellishments that can be used to personalize basic party items.

“Customers like to add their own touch to items,” Zurcher said. “We watch the DIY trends and follow sites like Pinterest to keep up – you have to.”

Keeping basic DIY products, like bottles of colorful glitter, on the shelf is a great way to attract budget conscious consumers as well as creative crafters. And it just may help owners turn all that glitters into party-store gold.

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