Starting a party supply store involves work and details, but the result can be very popular and profitable. The supplies you need to get started are relatively easy to come by. A store should offer something for all different occasions, such as birthday parties, anniversaries, holidays, weddings and graduations.
Put together a business plan. Not only will this ensure that you have the proper city, state and federal paperwork filed, but it will also give you an idea of how you want to run your business. Think about the supplies you will need and where you will get financing. A party supply store can be a small shop on the corner or a huge store in a shopping mall. How big you want the store to be will decide how much money is needed to get it started. Include salaries of employees (if any), advertising costs, inventory costs and any other start-up fees you envision.
Plan what items and services you will sell. Party supply stores can offer a multitude of inventory choices. Decide if you want to work within a specific niche, such as just weddings or just birthday parties, or whether you want to offer everything dealing with any kind of party. Start getting in touch with wholesalers to set up accounts, so you can buy supplies at reasonable prices. There are plenty of wholesalers to be found the Internet, as well as by looking through the yellow pages. Consider that many party supply stores offer rentals of helium tanks, tents and other items, and decide whether you want to be involved with this aspect as well.
Find a location. Location is so important to the success of a new business, especially a small business. Renting a store in a high-traffic area is ideal, but it may cost more money than you have to work with. Consider all the areas in your neighborhood or city, and then narrow it down to popular malls, shopping plazas or areas in which there are several businesses nearby to draw in customers. Without the perfect location, the store can fail quickly, so this is not a decision that should be made lightly.
Spend a healthy portion of your budget on advertising. Party supplies are always in demand, but unless customers know where to look, yours will not be the first store they go to. Post fliers around the area of the store, send out mailings to locals by using bulk-mail rates through the post office, and place ads in newspapers. Another option is advertising on websites that may send business your way, such as children's websites and bridal websites. Offer special deals during the grand opening week. Always use word of mouth as a free and effective form of advertising as well.
Make sure to keep the paperwork you signed when entering into a relationship with dealers. Have a contract for customers to sign regarding use of rental equipment, if necessary. People shopping for party supplies are generally happy, so you must be cheerful and helpful when dealing with customers. If you start small, perhaps only one niche, and find success, you can grow over time. Once you get going, consider selling party supplies online as well as in a physical location for added revenue.