Party Business in the Philippines. I wrote about this idea just a few days back, regarding online business and the supposed “sleaze” factor.
But if that article had a real failing, it would be that it didn’t focus in any way on living in the Philippines … a major reason many of you out there show up.
(And thanks for showing up, by the way, many of you haven’t missed one of my “highly irregular roll calls” in years and I appreciate it. I truly have a lot to be thankful for, and my readers are very high on that list.)
As so often happens, the comments to that “sleaze” article were at least as valuable as the article itself.
A great one came in from my good friend John Miele … (you can read a lot more from John here on Live in the Philippines.com) and in true online opportunist style, I have appropriated it and made an article out of it … suitably annotated, of course. Thanks, John.
Party Business in the Philippines — Real World
Funny you should mention party stores. I’ll relate a bit of a long story here, and a party store success in the unlikeliest of places.
Abulug is pretty remote… The largest “big” town is Ballesteros, around 10 km away. Since we’ve lived here, we became acquainted with the head of the local FX drivers’ association up there (The guy who deals with the LTO for the FX drivers).
His family owns one of the few “big” grocery stores in town (NOT as big as a supermarket, but much bigger than the average Sari Sari).
As a family, they invested earnings from the store into FX, and they now own a fleet of over 20 of them. The FX profits were used to expand into other areas.
A cousin noticed that there were no party supply stores, or planners, in the area, but kids still had birthdays, people still got married or dropped dead and had wakes (The nearest Jollibee is in Aparri, nearly an hour away, at minimum, or Tuguegarao, 2 1/2 hours).
They started small, with a little countertop display in the store. The FX drivers would stock up on supplies in Tuguegarao or Baguio, and bring them to town on empty return runs (They are employees, so they still drive, only carrying cargo).
They added the following:
- Favors of all kinds (They have hundreds of types now),
- Cakes (brought up from Tuguegarao with passengers… on the day needed),
- Food (from lechon to burgers to pizza (some things brought, again, from Tuguegarao),
- Balloons of hundreds of types, (Ed: There is a HUGE markup in helium filled balloons.)
- Clowns or costumed guys,
- Karaoke rental,
- Chaffing dishes,
- BBQ grills,
- and even those inflatable bouncy house things… Anything you could possibly need.
Party Business in the Philippines — Stay the Right Size
Aside from some of the audio equipment, food serving equipment, and basic decorations, everything is ordered when they receive an order (minimal inventory). Their catalogs are all in PDF on a computer in the store (Internet is spotty up there still).
This is a pretty fantastic writeup, John. There are a lot of people who claim to be “business consultants” and such who have never even looked a lot of simple, but easy to set up and highly profitable business this insightfully. Here’s my thoughts:
- Right-size. So many people dream up and idea that will need thousands in investment without even beginning the party business in the Philippines to prove what will and won’t work.
The business boomed. Big time. They bought the shop next to the store as “Party Central”… All in a tiny, poor, very rural, farming town.
A party store is about the last thing you would expect to see there, yet they receive huge word of mouth, and receive quite a lot of business. They developed relationships with venues, florists, caterers, etc. All on minimal capital.
Party Business in the Philippines — Brick and Mortar AND Online
The .pdf catalog is a good idea, but for maximum exposure one ought to have a simple website for ordering as well. “Best of both worlds” so to speak. The beauty of the Party Business in the Philippines idea is:
- People spend on kids parties. In a land where even bath soap is sold in a one or two use cachet instead of by the bar, people will find thousands and thousands of pesos for a kid’s birthday
- It’s global. What better gift could a tita or tito working overseas give to a favorite niece r nephew than a “party in a box” … providing the overseas relative could find a place to order it?
- The Philippine sis blessed with cheap transportation/package services. You can send a small package anywhere in the Philippines overnight for the equivalent of a few dollars … unlike the US where you would rack up huge costs from FedEx or UPS.
- People can pay very easily with a cell phone, PayPal or even with Western Union or another padala service. No need for expensive, difficult credit card merchant processing setups.
- I see exactly zero “Sleaze factor”. If there’s a better way to make a buck than putting a smile on a child’s face,I haven’t heard of one.
So, the rest of you waiting out there, let me hear your thoughts on the Party Business in the Philippines.