Thursday, 1 October 2009

Birthdays and a Giveaway

I'm thinking cake, the big indulgent covered in whippy fluffy frosting kind. I'm thinking wibbly wobbly jelly and creamy ice cream. I'm thinking traditional party games like pin the tail on the donkey and pass the parcel. How about party bags with nostalgic retro sweets and a classic little toy like a yoyo or a skipping rope? I am thinking birthdays.

Now, being the mother of a 6 year old, we do attend a number of birthday parties each year as well as throw our own parties. Not, just birthday ones either, we also have a halloween party annually. This means that I have attended quite a few kids birthday parties and they have ranged from scary bad to pretty good with the occasional really good one thrown in there. I have sensed a trend in most kids birthday parties though and that is the theme of the parents wanting to do as little as possible. I know it might sound like it but I genuinely do not mean that as an insult! I get not wanting to do much, really I do. I am a busy mum myself and this sort of thing happens to be my forte but if it's not yours, I really understand wanting to avoid it. It seems that there is a limited number of choices when it comes to the birthday party that someone else organizes though.

I love birthdays and celebrating them and growing up birthdays were always important and it was your day and you were really made to feel special and even a bit spoiled. My mother always made an effort at putting together beautifully wrapped gifts, fanciful and fun parties and of course lovely cakes. Well, except that one time with the doll cake and her hair on fire...actually, let's just save that one for my therapist.

So, why on earth am I going on about birthdays? It's not my birthday or my daughter's even. No, it's that I have an idea and I want to run it past you. I'm thinking 'Retro Birthday Package'.
Yes, I have too much time on my hands and have come up with another business idea that I can fit into my spare time! "What is a retro birthday package?" you ask. Well, I am so glad you asked because it would be swell to tell you all about it.

I see a retro birthday package a providing all you need for a fabulous old fashiondy (not a real word, I know!), traditional birthday. What I would provide would be; a party plan, a couple of games, invitations, a tea party style finger food buffet (little sarnies, mini tarts, jelly, ice cream...), party bags (as described above) and either a cake or cupcakes. This would all be delivered to the host and even set up if needed.
I'm not talking princess, fairy, ninja turtle pirate party. Just a good old fashioned, back to basics birthday party. What do you think?

What I need here is some feedback now. I am looking for opinions on this-real ones, if you hate it say so but do tell me why please. I'm interested in knowing how parents feel about this as well as non parents. In addition, anyone think this kind of thing would also go over for the 20 something market? Please comment and let me know what you think.

Just to motivate you all, though I know you'd help out through the kindness of your heart, I will throw in a little giveaway.
That's right, just comment on the idea, give me your feedback, your constructive criticism and be entered into a giveaway! "What could I win you ask?" Gosh, you ask a lot of questions!

What you could win is a fabulous Make a Fake Cake kit. That's right, what you be more festive than a fake cake, ugh, I mean aside from a real cake that is.

The giveaway will end on Monday October 12th at midnight (UK time).


Autonomous Artisans said...

All in all I think it's a fab idea, one problem I foresee is the food part. Making and selling food has a lot of rules and regs attached to it and you would need to have your kitchen inspected and signed off etc if you plan on making the food yourself.

Leanne said...

I think its a brilliant idea, although you will have to get your food hygiene cert and likely have to get your kitchen the once over by food standards if you plan to make a sell food, plus insurance too and the allergy guarantees.

I think you might find most of your customers end up being the over 20 crowd, you can't really get all nostalgic about old fashioned birthday parties until you're knocking on 30:) One of our big soft play centres here makes the majority of its money booking hen ans stag parties now so that a bunch of 30 year olds can run about in their socks and play in the ball pit and go down the big slides:)

Covetables said...

The kitchen thing isn't an issue as I already run a food (baking) business out of it.

OMG Leanne that is too funny about the play centre! I can actually see the fun in that though. Since I am knocking on 40's door I wouldn't actually want to throw myself around but I get the idea!

JCHyde said...

Hiya. I think its a really good idea, but I don't think I can advise on the business side of it, I have no clue. But - my experience of party's that Emily has been to is pretty similar to yours. Most Mum's don't want the hassle, and most we go to are at those vile 'soft play' centres, that are usually tired, smelly and in need of renovation. All the food is usually provided by the play centre and is always of the cheap pizza, crisps, chocoloate fingers variety. So this year Emily really wanted a party with a few friends invited. For her previous five birthdays we've usually done days out followed by a family tea party (usually one set of grandparents, perhaps my sister and her two boys). I really wondered how I'd be able to invite 4/5 girlfriends in a small semi-detached house, with only 4 dining chairs.. Then my fantastic Mum had a lovely generous idea. She wanted her first grandchild to have a party, so she elected to have it at THEIR house, she'd do the food, I'd do all the organising. She wanted to stay 'behind scenes' in teh kitchen. And you know what, it was an old fashioned party of the kind I had in the 70's. Emily had 4 friends from school, 2 cousins, her sister, and one other little boy who we know, my friends son. We played musical bumps, musical statues, pass the parcel. They had small sandwiches, crisps, cherry tomatoes etc etc. Then jelly and icecream, then the birthday cake. I really don't think anyone missed the soft play etc. The party lasted 2 hours, but I did run out of games! My sister, being a teacher, thought up a quiet drawing game, based on Consequences, and saved the day. We had party bags at the end, to which I refused to add the evil Haribos which no one in this house likes. It was a lovely party, even though we had a thunder storm!! So yes, I love your idea!!! Sorry I can't offer any other suggestions.. at the moment anyway.
Good luck
Jill xx

moosh said...

Brilliant idea! I had a retro party a couple of years ago (I think it was 28th) and this sort of service would be ideal for busy people. Esp as it would be portable - ie you don't need to have it at your home.

Not just individuals who would be interested - maybe some indie bars etc might like the idea - once they see your cupcakes, they will sign up on spot!

Jennifer said...

I'm 20 something and I want an old fashionedy birthday party! ages ago I had a wee birthday tea party for a few friends, and it was nice (a bit more low key than yours sound) but it was a bit of effort, especially for my own birthday. Something like this would be great because my boyfriend could hook it all up.

I'm sure parents would like it for their children too, although I think a deciding factor could be whether the children want a princess party, or a ben 10 party or somesuch.

nickyorr said...

It is a good idea. Go for it!

I have three girls, and they've always had home birthday parties, with bunting and proper cakes and napkins and polka dots etc.

My party bags are reknowned. I made them all this year. It can be expensive though, so try a party present, plus a good quality sweet.

I've learned not to underestimate the number of games I'll need. Kids can romp through the games, and want to move on (and what do you do with those who don't want to participate at all).
There's a wonderful new book called "Organised Fun" by Josie Curran. Lots of fab ideas there.
Everyone still loves musical bumps/statues. If you have enough prizes, that can go on for a few rounds.

Build in some free play (or hide and seek), and something to make-and-do (that'll be easy for you!) Don't forget a supply of aprons).

Calm it down with stories towards the end, up to about age 8.

Good luck.


Covetables said...

Excellent pointers everyone.

Nicky I am sure the bunting t your kids parties is absolutely stunning! I also have no doubt about the coolness of your party bags.

Frank said...

I think a plain 'old fashioned' b-day party is a great idea, it could be mentioned to the party planner that it avoids any anxiety about dressing up or finding the right costume/color/theme/whatever for guests to dress in. Not sure what old-fashioned Brit birthday parties were like, but I could see this working for people wanting a simple 'party in a box' thing for significant others, etc. - could go over really well!

Karen said...

I Love the idea, but I think for kids - you'll have to aim for a certain age group before they get into all the tv cartoon themed parties (Ben 10, Bratz, Barbie... which I personally HATE) and the ages where they want to forgo traditional parties at home and request their parties to be held at indoor play centres, Laser tag centres, bowling, go-karting, girly makeover parties or whatever...
Definately try the older markets - I wouldn't mind having a party like that - and I'm 45! Heck, you could even do a retro type event for pensioners, nursing homes and the like. They would LOVE IT! (Maybe not all the games, but it might give you a whole other market!) When my eldest was 4 - we had a great party at home with a magician in our lounge - who wowed them by producing a rabbit. He also did face painting afterwards. The following year, we held a Punch & Judy show in our garden and everyone loved it. All the neighbors were hanging over their gardens to watch it too. Nostalgia is a great thing! Keep up the good work Michelle!

glitterysah said...

Oooh sounds like a great idea!! I remember the fab birthday parties my mum would throw me and my sisters, and other peoples birthday parties from childhood, but most of our mums were at-home-mums who didn't work. I'd imagine if you were a busy modern mum then this kind of service would be fantastic to take advantage of (I'm not a parent though). And I think its definately something that me or some of my friends may use to throw a nostalgic kids-like party despite us all being 25+ hehe... I can't wait to see how you get on with this idea, good luck!! x

Joby said...

Absolutely inspired you have to do this, needs to have bunting and goody bags to take home at the end. I was brought up in a religion that doesnt celebrate birthdays and since being an adult have tried to recapture some of the parties I missed and I would love this.
The best of luck with it


Chris said...

Last year I catered a client's 50th birthday party and this is exactly the kind of party she had. She and 15 of her best girlfriends donned party dresses and put their hair up in pigtails (well those who could still!) and played pin the tail on the donkey and twister etc. At the end we arranged to have an ice cream truck arrive and serve treats. It was a HUGE hit. I think its a fab idea and a welcome change from a Disney or some other hideous character party.

BeadyPool said...

Fab idea, we are all noe tending to go for the old fashioned partys with our kids - especially as play centres etc can be sooo expensive.
I did similar for my sons 3rd birthday last year, only thing I did though was hire a hall rather than being at home as I didn't want my carpets ruined lol.
I think one of the downsides can prepping all the food and storing it so if someone was going to do it for you lots of people would see that as a bonus.