Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mabel’s Labels BlogHer ‘10 Contest

Contest Premise:
"Write a post on your blog in response to the following hypothetical situation: Electrical storms are going to wipe out the Internet (perhaps forever). You have one day left to write about your passions: what do you want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less?"

Through all the glue-gunning, basket-packing, balloon-blowing, child-herding and finally vomit-on-the-carpet-cleaning, one thought resonates with me: “Mamas – you’re doing it wrong.” But that’s okay, because I’m here to help. I’m a Children’s Party Planner and from “do I get a pwize?” to “that was the best party EVER!” I’ve seen it all.

People call me because they are stymied when it comes to meeting their own over-the-top expectations when it comes to their child’s birthday party. I’m here to say, don’t let the “Four Lacks” get you down: Lack of Money, Inspiration, Time or Help (MITH). Keeping up with the Johars should come down to one thing: did the kids have the best party EVER? (and did they get a “pwize?”) Let’s blow MITH out of the proverbial punch bowl and put Inspiration at the top of the list. The rest will follow because if you have a really great idea for your child’s party, if you’re really letting the creative juices flow (can I get a Disney Princess napkin over here?), then your excitement, CONFIDENCE and newfound energy to make this thing happen will overcome the other obstacles.

Sit down with your child and ask what he or she would like for a party. Brainstorm about themes because everything from colour scheme to food to activities will need a solid foundation that is your theme. Write down everything your child says and reject no idea up front.
Finally, it’s okay to say “no”, both to yourself and your child. It’s okay to say “this is my limit and no one will suffer because of it.” Now go have a great party!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hullabaloo Wanted to Know - So You Told Us!

The results are in! First I would like to thank the many moms and dads who participated in our survey. You gave us some very valuable insights into what parents are thinking when it comes time to plan for their child's birthday party. We've met with many parents but we've never captured the metrics of their opinions about party planning. Let's take a look at what you said!

We asked what was the most important factor when planning your child's party. It was almost a three-way tie, with "budget-friendly" in the lead, followed by "less stressful for you" and "most fun for your child and guests." We didn't offer up "keep up with the Joneses" as an option.

Among all of the options you could include in your party package, games were selected 92% of the time (multiple choices were allowed), followed by crafts, and then face painting. This tells us that keeping the children occupied was your greatest concern and that would be your expectation of a party service.

Next we asked how important it was to you that your party be environmentally-friendly. 71% of you were somewhat to very interested in having that as a consideration. Food for thought for us! What did Kermit say? It's not easy being green? We'll prove him wrong!

Ah, then we asked you what was the most difficult part of planning a party on your own and almost half indicated TIME - not having enough of it. Next was how to occupy the children. Running out of valium didn't make the list.

You went with the very traditional themes as your favourites:

1. Pirates and Mermaids
2. Knights and Princesses
3. Jungle/Rainforest

Oh, Hannah - time for career change?

This next one was important to us because we have, on occasion, offered a higher-end craft instead of a loot bag but didn't know if it should be a standard option for our clients. 63% of you essentially said "keep your stinking loot bags and give us something we can treasure." (For the record, our loot bags do not stink. Humph.)
Here's where it's not surprising, but I do so love to mention what most of us already know. While 71% of you said it's mostly the mom who makes the decisions about the parties (our mom clients do consult with the dads about our price before going ahead with a party), almost 91% said moms do the majority to all of the work for a party. In "all my years" of party planning, it's the moms who contact us, meet with us (sometimes with the dad looking on, and rarely sitting with us) and coordinate with us. I have only ever had three dads approach me about booking a party. (Here's where I wave my banner that says "You Do enough! You ARE enough!")

Thanks again for participating. Your opinions shape who we are. Congratulations to Janine Murray, winner of a $25 Swiss Chalet gift card!