Party Hunterz: Putting together a bash in $10.5B party store industry
Want a Hawaii-themed or pirate-themed house party? Want to host a gory Halloween party? Fretting over a baby shower, silver anniversary or fancy brunch? Looking to surprise your BFF with an innovative drinking game at her bachelorette or delight your daughter with a princess-themed or sprinkles-themed birthday?
Tired of planning and execution?
Look no further than the ‘one-stop party shop’, says Sharon Timmins, owner of the Party Hunterz store, and purveyor of an extensive and exciting range of party ideas, party gear and accessories.
For Sharon, it all began in October 2009, over a cup of tea in Mumbai. Her son’s first birthday was round the corner and she wanted to do something special. She was surprised by the lack of party shops in India - after running through all of Mumbai in search of party supplies.
“Immediately, it hit me that this is what I ought to do!” says Sharon, who opened the first Party Hunterz store in Bandra less than a month after that.
This concept store is the first of its kind in India, and is in keeping with international standards. Party Hunterz is perfect for those looking for class and style, attention to detail, and a professionally managed event - be it local or abroad, intimate or grand. Here’s what’s written on their website: "an experience that goes beyond merchandising... We make sure you receive a collection of the most popular party items from around the world, procured and put together creatively, resulting in one of the most sought after party collections in India".
The store hosts a professional in-house team (trained by pioneers in the field) to provide specialized services such as putting together invites, balloon bouquets, table decor, creative art and decoration, personalized delivery and customization.
'Theme parties' include services for themes such as Angry Birds, Barnyard Bash, Buried Treasure, Casino Night, Deep sea fun, Mardi Gras, Divinity Collection, Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Buddies, and many others.
"Unmatched quality of entertainment, mouth-watering cakes, bartenders, fire jugglers, stilt-walkers to waitresses on skates, there’s nothing under the sun that we can’t bring to your party," promises the website, boasting of more than 2,000 products that cover all aspects of themed decor, costumes and return gifts.
Reason to rock
Party Hunterz has grown from one store to more than 20 stores across India, and has even breached international borders to reach Nepal, Kuwait and Qatar. Growing at about 25 per cent, month-on-month, and with an annual turnover of Rs.3 crores, it has formed associations with several international brands foraying into the Indian market with similar intent.
The enthusiastic public response made Sharon realise that this is what India needed all along. “We have taken the party spirit to a whole new level. We have exposed people to the Party Hunterz style of creating a sense of festivity. It has made many a head turn,” she says proudly.
Demand for such a product line brought in franchise opportunities from other cities. The venture is now being managed by a team of professionals from across the world, and Party Hunterz is making its presence felt all over India.
Funding and competition
Sharon initially invested Rs. 1 crore in her venture, and most of the money was spent on renting prominent retail locations and import of merchandise from reputed and innovative sources. She denies having raised any funding as yet, but says that investors are keen on investing in her startup, and also being a franchise partner.
Party Hunterz is also facing some stiff competition in the highly profitable $10.5 billion party store industry. Sharon, however, sees the competition as healthy; rather she says, “it keeps us on our toes and makes us strive to be the best."
She, however, complains of competitors copying her store's innovative products and sourcing them from China "so as to wholesale and retail at much lower prices than ours". She, however, remains positive: "We can overcome this by being ahead of the market in terms of innovativeness, exclusivity, and aggressive e-marketing and e-commerce."
Asked about the growth prospects, she replies that the team is targeting to open another five retail stores in a year's time.
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