Tony skinner 00:01
Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel on www.podcastmybusiness.com.au. And we have Dean from www.thepartypeople.com.au How you doing, Dean?
Good Tony, how are you doing?
Tony skinner 00:16
I’m ready to party
let’s do it.
Tony skinner 00:20
Yeah, let’s bring it on. Okay. So when we say party, we’re not talking about end of school term or school year parties, which is in the news at the moment, we’re talking about normal parties with kids dressing up. And back in the day when I used to have them office parties and things like that set. My very first question is, let’s deal with this straightaway. How do you
discriminate? We do all parties, it doesn’t matter which one it is if the kids want to do something from a cafe and they’re getting dressed up, which they are at the moment, we’re doing that today.
Tony skinner 00:54
Okay, I stand corrected. I was thinking about a different party perception Wednesday
night when I tell people we sell party supplies. You know what substances that are going around and
Tony skinner 01:10
and the alcohol and other things that go on? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, okay, good. Okay. So good. Okay, so we’re talking about costumes, mostly for kids and children’s parties and things like that. We’ve got Halloween coming up October 5, so you got some adult parties as well. So my first question is, how does a business organizes party survive when we’re not allowed to have parties?
It’s been a it’s been a very bumpy ride for us over the last, what is it six to nine months or whatever thing. In March, when COVID really got real for everybody. We were down about 93% that month. One thing we probably did. First off was we noticed that you’re still getting 8% of sales. And you know, we were talking to our team and thing get out there. And these customers were not actually buying because obviously parties were illegal at that point. So yeah, we got out there and had a chat with customers. And we pivoted a little bit based on that information. So we we set up a page on our website, the main banner was called Coronavirus, survival. And in there we were selling sanitizer and masks. One section in another city was selling baking, because people were coming in and buying baking stuff because I’m a cooped up at home selling dress ups. But people think again, things for people to do at home, and arts and crafts. So we focused on those categories. And obviously, they that this has bounced back from day one that was a you know, I guess when it comes to the sanitizer, that was a completely new area to jump into. But the other categories, I will just like refocusing of our off bar, which certainly made a massive difference, and we bounce back pretty quickly.
Tony skinner 02:53
Yeah, and I think that’s what it is, I think smart businesses have, and I’m sure there’ll be a better word. Next year, we’ll be talking about a wonkier word and let’s stick with pivot.
Yeah, it’s getting a bit old.
Tony skinner 03:06
Yeah, it is. It’ll be some sort of our financial compass resetting or something like that.
Probably some new buzzword.
Tony skinner 03:18
Yeah, exactly. So yeah, so we’ve all had to do that. And I’ve had to do that. And every business has to do that. And those who I interviewed fritchie bester, the co founder of final.com that I use a little while ago. And he was saying that for businesses these days and what they’re looking for, for venture capitalism, whatever, is, it’s not the ability to maintain steady as she goes, it’s the ability to change rapidly and come up with new ways and new things to do. And you guys have certainly done that.
Yeah, I’d like to think so. I mean, actually, to be honest, that we’ve probably been very well known for our ability to innovate and adapt to change. Over the years. We, you know, we will want to Google Australia’s best advertisers and jump onto a bunch of tech innovations in retail as a first mover or at least an early adopter. But when over here, I mean, even I mean, we reacted relatively quickly, but it was certainly very difficult for us. So I’d hate to see how other businesses would cope with that. But certainly, we did adapt. I mean, sanitizer was one of those things. We jumped on very, very early, in mid March, got supplied, secured long term supply and then got out of it a couple of months ago, as the market started to get flooded, so you know, we, we still adapting now, I mean, I mentioned about the early days of COVID, but certainly today, the current environment with you know, different levels of restrictions around the country. You know, we’re seeing some interesting things where, you know, we’re seeing in Sydney For example, that a lot of people are not having the big events. So the big, you know, the big scale, things aren’t happening as much. But there’s a lot more small scale stuff going on at the moment. And they usually use, you know, people before you have a birthday, they might have it at a nightclub or, or at a restaurant or something where now everyone’s having a party. So they need stuff for that. And we’re seeing, you know, growth in areas that we wouldn’t have expected. We’re seeing declines in costumes and things like that. But, you know, balloon decorating and balloons in the home is, is, you know, probably, I think, where we’re sitting at about double last year in that particular department. So it’s kind of thrown everything in into a completely new sort of businesses had to sort of have a look at how it operates and change its whole operating model in the current environment, which has been plenty of fun, I guess. But we’re not the only one. experiencing that.
Tony skinner 05:50
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, that’s what you’ve got to, you know, adjust quickly. And I guess in Melbourne, they’ll be starting to party. Now. Now that the restrictions that in the come down a bit. And in Sydney, I think they’re going to allow bigger events, I know, theaters and whatever, are starting to increase the capacity. And I think that’s going to get even better as we go along. So you do quite a few different things. So What’s your main line? Is it the balloons? Is it the costumes is? Uh, what actually is it? Mostly?
I mean, I would have been party supplies. You asked me pre COVID. Yeah, balloons is the key category at the moment that’s keeping the business doing well, I guess is probably the best way to put it. But yeah, that kind of, you know, cost if you have to split the business into costumes. splitting the costumes, events, party supplies and balloons, then, you know, costumes are pretty much non existent at the moment because no different costume parties. Yeah, events. No one’s doing those large scale events like other best Halloween, which I’m sure we’ll talk about. And you know, even things like St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, none of them really happened on a large scale. party supplies are sort of hovering around. I mean, it’s not as big as they used to be because people obviously having parties at home. But the restrictions are, you know, 10 to 20 people. So people often have custom plates to cater for that. Then I’m buying and you know, and but with balloons, they’re still gonna decorate. So decorating parts of our business are doing quite well. Today with the business.
Tony skinner 07:40
Well, yeah, and we were talking about Halloween. No, no, I was in America two years ago for Halloween, but they go nuts. They are absolutely nuts. I was in a haunted house, I got very lucky in a haunted house. And they have actors that play parts of a camera and scare you and touch you and shake you and do things and whatever. And I got lucky. Behind this teenage couple. And the girl was a shrieker. She screamed all the way through and I just couldn’t stop laughing. And if they sat down and wait for them to keep going as a no, no, no, no, I’m staying behind you because you are just too awesome. So Halloween this year, I still think Yeah, I was very lucky. I still think it’s gonna be on. And it’s because Halloween is a lot. I imagine there’s a lot more in the home, then huge, full scale parties necessarily.
Yeah, look, you’d be surprised. I mean, Halloween has typically been a lot to do with the nightclubs and pubs as well doing stuff. Um, so you know that part of the business obviously I don’t think any of those things will happen. Trigger trainings and other part of Halloween that is a massive part of it. And I can’t see that happened even in 16 is a question mark But no, but I can’t see it happening. I mean, you got the other side of the whole country I mean, you know, run an obviously a national podcast the I mean, depends which part of the country pocket wi is going full steam ahead with Halloween. So you’ve got just such a difference between different states in what we’re doing. I mean, we’re online so we feel you know, we’re seeing all sorts of interesting stuff we w a, in a room with marketers right now online. Melbourne also real good market because people ask the doing Halloween all the stores are close so you’ve got to get your stuff somewhere. And like you said people are doing it at home and then we Sydney I think a lot of people are probably more undecided about what Halloween did em initio because the moment we could be looking at a coven Halloween where it’s fully restricted or we could be looking at restrictions getting lifted. So the real difficult thing for me as a business and for a lot of businesses even at the moment. You know, a lot of businesses are on Christmas, for example. Is the we don’t even customers don’t know what they’re gonna do for the seasons. And us as businesses can’t be preparing last minute. So we need to try to figure out what’s gonna happen before the consumer even knows what they’re doing.
Tony skinner 10:13
Yeah, and I think you’re right I know, with chicken treat, you know, kids dressing up, I still think there’ll be an element of that they’re going from door to door and getting lollies and even put up by a pair of hands picked up by another pair of hands and and put in a bowl and other pairs of hands. sanitizing lollies and whatever, even though kids aren’t at risk, shall we say is going to be? Yeah, I think for all intents and purposes, Halloween is not going to be huge this year. So let’s look at let’s look at Christmas. I mean, I see you don’t have that up on your website yet. Because you know, you’ve got other celebrations you want to get out first. But how do you perceive with Christmas? Because I think it’s going to be fairly well open by then. So do you think it’s worth you pushing Christmas earlier and getting it out? going first and just saying to people or celebrate the end of the year, maybe having special items, think God is end of Coronavirus a year or something like that?
Yeah, I think it’s again about the different categories of Christmas and what what will go well, and what won’t, you know, I mean, we’re looking at things like we do a lot of wearables, you know, like hats and things like that, I can’t see them doing anything meaningful this year, in terms of growth, companies will go backwards. Because, you know, there’s those logical events, like carols and things like that aren’t happening around the place. And all the different sort of, there’s a lot of innovating around the country. So I don’t think any of them will happen. But on the opposite side of it, you’re gonna have a lot more homestyle things, I think people go a little bit bigger on decorating the yard and the house, because they want to have a bit more fun. And I think people make that home Christmas party or Christmas Eve parties or catching up with friends and things like that, I’ll probably do that a lot more on the small scale than they might have otherwise. So the home Christmas will be bigger than usual. So I think again, we’ll see different parts of this. I mean, we still a good example might be bond bonds, we still take versions of bond bonds, and we sell 100 catering packs. So we’re not forecasted to so many catering packages. So we’ve cut that range down and really gone hard on the boutique range of bond bonds. Because we think with the sort of smaller parties. We’ve had to tailor our range for that.
Tony skinner 12:42
Yeah, and I think you know, and of course part especially kids parties were famous for, you know, will you have yours and McDonald’s we’re having ours that are ice skating rink, where we’re hanging out on top of the harbour bridge or in the opera house or whatever. So I guess you can see that that won’t be similar. Say for bond bonds, you might want to say well, okay, let’s see if people can compete for the best BonBon and things like that. So maybe that’s the way to go.
Yeah, and there’s a lot of different things innovative like Halloween digress too much but you know, showing we’re looking at all sorts of fun things like people making spooky face masks, you know, using the mask and drawing on them and you know, parties like that instead of decorating a pumpkin and people doing more stuff like that driving around spot the pumpkin or reverse trick with reading going and delivering stuff to family and friends. So I think we’ll see people get innovative and fun without Halloween and Christmas issue them and try to make it memorable. I’ve been like what we’ve seen with parties I mean parties in general. You know, a lot of people have seen it as an opportunity to have a unique birthday party that I wouldn’t have ever because you’ll never be nice environment again. But you know people looking like all what have these but let’s do a drive by birthday party because it’ll just be one of those things. Remember, remember they told me how to drive by birthday party so I think people decide Christmas and Halloween like that too.
Tony skinner 14:09
So I drive by birthday party so drive by Christmas party. Is that when you get a present and you throw it out the window and hope it bounces on the lawn or something?
Yeah, there’s a few ways to do it but that’s one of them.
Tony skinner 14:23
I just that just popped into my head I thought great. You know I have something like that now you got Abby’s and just drive off.
Like the newspaper guy just drive around and throw it on the lawn? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Tony skinner 14:34
I look I can see that and I can certainly see. Yeah, that people will have bigger outdoor Christmas decorations this year. So families when we drive around even more, I’m right. I’m here in Lane Cove and our streets stripped down the end of the road has won the Best decorated street for the last 10 years or something. In fact, they stopped putting going into it. regularly. It’s a traffic cue. So I can see that’s happening going to happen a lot more and people might just decide to go for bigger decorations out the front.
Yeah, we hope so.
Tony skinner 15:13
Yeah, exactly. Okay. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So looking past and looking through where we are now with Coronavirus, because although we’ll be talking about it for next 50 years, we certainly won’t be living it the next 50 years. So how do you recover and grow back into the categories that will essentially they will making you the most money and I guess that would be things like costumes and a lot because people buy costumes? I buy everything. How do you increase on that next year?
Yeah, it’s Look, it’s a very, very difficult question, because there’s just so many variables to that dilemma. Um, you know, I mean, you know, whether we’ll be in a position in 12 months to have that I know what the question is, like, how long is Coronavirus? gonna hang around? I mean, it could be another year, leaving final vaccine, are we going to have constant flare ups on and off for the next four months as well? A lot of people are talking about, are we going to be like wa, which is just let’s just party and it’s all gone? And back in? Everything’s under control? I don’t know. And that makes it really difficult for us as a business. I think we were sort of looking at the opposite, you know, sort of the best case in the worst case when we were planning. So we’re going okay, well, if things improve, what he’s planning for that, if things get worse, what do you plan, things like that? And that’s how we’re sort of tackling it. I mean, one of the things you said, like you, things will get better, how do we regrow the pedigree? I mean, there will be significant opportunity, we think, you know, particularly our business. And I think a lot of this is going to be similar, where, once this is all over, there’s a lot of people that you know, will go out of business for various reasons with they either. Like there’s some businesses that just can’t survive this, and the government attempts to start helping them. So they’re really unlucky, because not the fault at all. They just just can’t sustain the sort of things and now
Tony skinner 17:12
I question that and that, okay, the reason why I’m questioning that, is that there are, I would say, a lot of very small micro businesses that have always been just hanging on. Um, and with that, I’ve, I obviously talked to a lot of different people, and what have you, and I talk to people I go are so how did you go with your best discord or Honor, I don’t have to pay bass anymore? If you’re not making a turnover, then are you really in business? So I think we need to look through those numbers a little bit. And I think you’re right, I think, established businesses, unfortunately, a lot of them are gonna go, but does it present opportunities?
Yeah. And that’s what I was gonna say. Yeah. So there’s certainly opportunity as well, you know, we could see a situation in four months where half our competition is going out of business. And there’s a lot of stock available, because all the suppliers are left alone again, as well. So you can have cheap supply, lack of competition. I mean, you could have a very good environment for growth moving forward, if you survive. Yeah, so that’s kind of that’s one way to look at it. It could be a lot of opportunity. I mean, with anything, there’s opportunity in change shots. The fact that Coronavirus came along was also opportunity. I mean, we’ve seen it, you know some businesses killing it like doing fishing or you know, biking, smashing it or highways, or electronics. Yeah, smashing it. So there’s also opportunity, and I mean, we got into a sanitizer because, again, that change presented a cooler opportunity, but certainly some some way for us to go and customers wanted
Tony skinner 18:50
to get to know me. That’s right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, look, I agree with that, if you can hang in. And, you know, that’s just a lot of it is cutting costs and unfortunate times it can be costs can be staff costs, as well. But business is a business. So anything else you’d like to add?
No, look, I think I agree. I like you have to, you have to completely change the way things are working. You can’t your model didn’t work. I mean, with our, with our stores, we had a bunch of rules in place for you to COVID on how the businesses operate will soon as Kevin said, we get those. Get those plans. This is the new operating model we can have to live you know, this is the new operating model. This is what’s survivable. You know, forget what is appropriate for business, we need to put in a model. That means we’ll survive. So yeah, 100% i think you know, that that’s what needs to happen. Continually. Think about what’s the model in the current environment, not what you know, the modeling if you need you know, in a nice home or whatever something Yeah, putting that model.
Tony skinner 20:06
Yeah. And that’s a frustration for all of us in business is that, you know, we want to look for growth. And we’re always looking for growth and expansion and new things and what have you. But yeah, it’s a difficult time to be convincing people to be growing and expanding and doing new stuff. So yeah, I think we’re all going to look forward to just seeing the back of this year where you’re heading up to October but stagger through to the end of the year, have a massive party for Christmas, and new year’s budget for New Year’s Eve. See the back of that. And when we have a massive party, we’ve got to of course go to the www.partypeople.com.au that I got a year. So you like the way did that? And, yeah, and then by our party supplies from there, and you guys do online, of course, and everything else, so I’ll be buying stuff as well.
Awesome. Sounds good. What are you buying?
Tony skinner 21:01
Um, I think I’m going to buy a bigger. I’ll live in an apartment, but I’ve got a garden apartment. So I think I might buy a bigger Christmas decoration of some sort of inferior at power. And have that on the wall outside. And you do not have to buy fireworks. Oh, yeah.
No, no. But we could do like this certainly inflatables and trees and things like that. You can hang off the the pins.
Tony skinner 21:28
Yeah, I’m on the ground floor. So I’m lucky but inflatables not a bad idea. But Hi, when I think of inflatable, I think of a different type of party. So yeah, exactly. So yeah, I think it inflatables on a bad idea. I’m sure between now and then you’ll get it up on your site, and I’ll be able to find it a lot quicker and easier. So that’ll be good. All right. Sounds good. Thanks, Dean. Have fun. Thanks. See
- Bye. Bye.