A guest post by Party Kit Network member Beth Roberts, co-founder of Little Kits, which supplies themed children’s party kits for hire in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
If you’re thinking of starting a party kit, you can of course just keep it generic, but at Little
Kits we absolutely love a theme! My business partner, Natalie and I have always enjoyed
the process of putting together party themes for our own children and we’ve been able to
transfer that passion into the business.
Over the last nine months, we’ve built up a collection of ten themes for hire and loved every minute of it, but we have learned some important lessons along the way. Here are our top tips on how to create a themed party kit…
Start small and build
If you’re anything like us, you’re brimming with ideas and raring to go, but our advice would
be to not rush in with lots of different themes to begin with. Choose two or three – perhaps
one aimed at girls, one aimed at boys and a unisex theme – and see how they go down with
your customers. As you get more bookings in, you can reinvest and build your portfolio of
themed kits as your business grows.
Pinterest is your best friend
If you’re not brimming with ideas and you need a little inspiration to get started, Pinterest
really is the best place to visit. Simply search the specific themed party and you’ll be able to
scroll through hundreds of photos that will spark your creativity in no time. Some things
won’t fit the sustainability message (balloons are obviously a no-no!) but you’ll be able to
take some ideas and make them fit the reusable party kit brief in style.
Go classic and timeless
While it can be tempting to go with the latest fad or trend, the best way to ensure longevity
for your business is to choose themes that will stand the test of time. Most children go
through similar phases or interests as they grow up, such as dinosaurs, space, unicorns and
princesses, so stick to these more generic ideas rather than specific characters. If you do
choose a theme around a film, TV show or computer game, make sure it’s a much-loved
classic and be aware of licensing laws. (Party Kit Network has a guide to avoiding trademark issues in the Members Area).
Follow a template for each kit
Before you begin, have an idea of what you want each of your kits to include and keep that
template for all themes. It not only makes it easier when you come to put together a new
kit, but it also makes pricing and marketing more simple as each kit comes with roughly the
same items. For example, our kits include a backdrop, bunting, tablecloth, table props, cake
stand, serving ware, plates, cups and bowls. We generally stick to that formula and it works.
Invest in quality
It was a wise person that said, “buy cheap, buy twice.” If you scrimp on items in your kit,
you’ll ultimately end up having to replace it sooner than you’d like and defeating the whole
point of the Party Kit Network’s mission to make parties more sustainable! Remember that excited little party guests do not necessarily have gentle hands, so invest in quality items
that will last being hired out again and again.
Hand make if you can
I’ll admit that I am very lucky to have a super-crafty and creative business partner who is an
absolute whizz with a sewing machine, as well as a husband that is very handy with a piece
of wood! Natalie hand makes the majority of the bunting and backdrops in our kits, plus lots
of other bits and pieces such as food labels and party favours, so we know that they are top
quality and completely unique. If you can turn your practical skills to anything handmade,
we recommend you do so, or alternatively try finding a local company that you can
Create new from old
You don’t have to start from scratch every time you want to introduce a new theme. Look at
the themes you have already and see what you can build if you re-purpose the items. Our
tropical kit borrows a number of items from our dinosaur kit, while our rainbow and unicorn
theme can easily be turned into a princess party with a few tiny tweaks. Don’t forget not to
book both themes out at one time though!
Think beyond kids’ parties
If you’re really clever with your themes, you can market beyond children’s parties and cater
for other events such as baby showers, milestone adult birthdays, hen parties and even
weddings. Simple things like switching out the ‘Happy Birthday’ bunting for ‘Hello Baby’ or
removing child-focussed table props in favour of more grown-up centrepieces can transform
the entire kit. Our rainbow kit has been used at an intimate garden party wedding
reception, while our tropical theme has been really popular for hen weekends. There is
really no end to where your party kit can be used!