Top tips for a Kids Bee Happy Halloween

Top tips for a Kids Bee Happy Halloween

Top Tip – Not everything that sells in October is a Pumpkin.

If I was to ask you what proportion of pictures sold between November and December were Christmas Themed – what percentage would you guess – 80%? 60%? 50%?  Well let me let you into a trade secret – in 2015 only 32% of the pictures sold in November and December were Christmas themed, and in 2016 it was 36%.  So why is this?  It’s Christmas – surely everyone would want to make a Santa picture???  Well, there are a number of reasons, firstly Christmas is literally all around, from Halloween until 26th December it is completely everywhere, so it makes sense that not everything that everyone would want to do or buy during those months will be Christmas themed – if it was, everyone would be totally sick of Christmas long before Santa’s elves had loaded the sleigh.

Think back to Easter – did you exclusively sell only Easter themed ovals?  Or were these in fact just a proportion of pictures and your sales?

So what’s this got to do with Halloween?  Well its exactly the same, just because the date is Halloween, it doesn’t mean that everything everyone wants to buy or do during October will have ghosties and ghoulies on it.  Infact, the majority will probably want the opposite. So here are our Top Tips for Halloween Sand Art.

 

1. Look to what the kids choose as costumes

If you want to know which designs sell well at Halloween, then learn from the masters – next time you’re in your local fancy dress shop, take a quick squizz at the childrens costume section and Disney characters will be dominant.  In fact Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, Elsa and Anna are consistently year on year in the top20 Halloween costumes list for UK, adult versions as well as children’s.  I’m lucky, I have one of the UKs biggest fancy dress suppliers just down the road, and I can verify that every October for the past 14 years I have visited and spent over an hour helping my daughters choose that years Halloween constume, and what can I tell you – that over 1/3 of the shelf space will be for Disney character costumes,  and not just the princesses, but also Woody from Toy Story, Cars, Dory, Nemo and the Good Dinosaur are there too.  Remember that when you’ve got the little kids – the costumes and characters they pick at Halloween aren’t the scary kind – they’re the friendly familiar kind. And even the bigger kids drift back to Disney after a couple of years as Witches, and Devils – which is why of course there are so many adult Disney costumes.  So make sure that your stocks include as many of the Disney Characters as possible – they are all available in packs of 5 so you don’t have to buy hundreds, and remember any character picture can be made “scary” just by mixing it up with the colours.

2. Capitalise on Trends

Did you know that Scary Elsa has become a real “thing”?  Give it a quick search on google and you’ll be amazed at what you find.   I remember last year that Debbie, our Leaders did some great Scary Elsa pictures with some of her Halloween customers – green faces, orange and black dresses, red hair – it was amazing – and the children had such good fun letting their creativity run wild with them, and the best bit is that these pictures are never out of “season” so you know that they are always a safe buy.

3. Remember the Parents

The thing about Halloween is that it tends to happen in the dark, which means that all of the children are accompanied by parents – so make sure that you’ve got some Ailsa Black pictures or Mandala pictures in your stocks so that the grown ups can have a go too.

4. Halloween Themed Pictures

Halloween themed pictures are another essential.  There a range of 6 different designs of Halloween pictures, but remember don’t make your event exclusively Halloween only pictures because our statistics tell us that at least half of kids will want to do something else.  There are already 4 Halloween pictures available on site – Haunted House (A4), Trick and Treat (A5), Ghostie Boo & Witches Hat (A5) and Bat and Boo.  From the 5th October we will also have the Spider back as an A6 picture, and the Cat on a Broomstick as an A6 picture too.

5. What is Scary?

The most scariest piece of music in movie history contains only 3 notes.  Those three notes aren’t scary, and if you’ve never seen Jaws those three notes on their own probably wouldn’t make you hide behind a cushion.  So what makes it scary ? – our imagination, knowing what those three notes are telling us, knowing that something is going to happen but we don’t know what, and we don’t know when, the suspense, the tension, the build up.  Can you feel it now – just reading this?  So use those same techniques in HOW you deliver the sand art, stories whilst the children are making the pictures, suddenly turning the lights off unexpectedly, etc.  All of this stuff is free – there’s no cost – but its going to be this stuff that makes your Halloween event the stand out event that they’ll remember for years to come – rather than just the design on the picture card itself.

6. Be Imaginative

So, we’ve ticked the obvious boxes, Halloween themed pictures for the ghosts and broomsticks.  Disney pictures so that the kids can make a picture of the character that they are dressed up as.  Now its time to let your creativity take over.  For example, in Scotland a fairy isn’t traditionally what you would think of as a fairy, they are faeries – tiny mischievous and powerful beings that deliberately wreck havoc in peoples lives – that sounds pretty “halloweeny” to me, the same with Leprechauns who do infact magically exist all year round, not just on the 17th March 😉 and of course Leprechauns are real, we know because an  Irish MP has blamed the wee critters for permanent road problems only a few weeks ago .  Another one – the Ailsa Black isn’t just any cat, it is infact a magical Witches cat in disguise, full of magical powers.  All these little stories etc are special to the children, and help them engage and enjoy the sand art much more than simply the design, they take the picture home, share the story and the imagination……

7. Halloween Bears

And don’t forget that the bears can be all halloweened-up too. As well as of course as making witches cats, you’ve got the opportunity for creating Halloween designs and doodles on the tee-shirts and hoodies.  But again, back to being creative and imaginative, bear making gives you such good environment for telling scary Halloween stories, for example Did you know that dogs and cats are supposed to be able to see the supernatural – so if you’ve got some children who really are a bit spooked out by Halloween, what better thing for them than a lovely Cocoa, Lemon or Charlie, who will sit watch all night next to them protecting them from all the scary monsters.  There are lots of stories about phantom and magical tigers all over the world.   And well, anyone that’s seen Fortitude can definitely verify that Polar Bears can be very scary.  And i’m willing to bet good money that 2 minutes on google will reveal a whole wrath of american scary stories about bears.  So every bear has the potential to be a Halloween bear – and it won’t cost you a penny extra.

8. Halloween Sand

Mix the colours up – be brave, take out the pink and add some darker colours.  Top up your orange, red, black and brown.  And don’t forget the silver – always fab to give a picture a completely different sense.

 

So, there you go, a few of our top tips, and as you can see the simplicity is in looking beyond simply the date and the theme, using your energy, creativity and enthusiasm, and making it about more than just colouring in a picture.  Why don’t you join the brainstorming session in your teams and share spooky stories and ideas.

 

 

 

Disney, Clarks and Gender Neutral Classrooms – what does it have to do with me?

Disney, Clarks and Gender Neutral Classrooms – what does it have to do with me?

During the very busy run up to the end of August, you might have missed this post that went viral  about a little boy not being allowed to go to a “Princess for a day” party at Disneyland.   And with BBC’s No More Boys and Girls, and the Clarks shoe debacle, when big companies get it wrong it seems like a great opportunity to discuss what the public is increasing expecting regarding gender neutrality in play.

As you know, Kids Bee Happy has been the proud supporter of Let Toys Be Toys, and been awarded the Toymark Award for the past 2 years, but it’s something that we should never rest on our laurels and always be at the forefront of how we do business.  There is a fantastic moment in the No More Boys and Girls episode 1 where the producers swapped a baby boy and baby girls clothes round, and then put the babies on a mat with an adult and a selection of toys, and then watched as the adults pushed gender stereotype toys onto the children without even realising that they did it.  It was very noticeable that the stuffed passive toys were directed at the “girl”, and the mechanical toys for the “boy”.  And it shows instantly how all these influences are around children everyday, and how they all add up.

Now me, you might have noticed that I have a huge passion for levelling the playing field.  I personally have spent the majority of my life being the only female in the room, and I haven’t lived that rebellious a life.  And as a mother of girls, I had hoped that what gender they are would have no impact on the choices of my children in their careers and future.  However, the world moves slowly it seems and we’re still fighting the battle.  But the one thing that I can do as the Managing Director of Kids Bee Happy is to try my upmost to make sure that its something that we as a company join the battle to eliminate.

Kids Bee Happy offers a very wide range of Sand Art pictures, and we try to ensure that there is something in there that appeals to everyone, however, when i’m out at the events I have to consistently remember to help the children choose in a gender neutral way.  All too frequently we see the parents or grandparents steer their children’s choice in the direction of “suitable” pictures, how many times have we seen wee boys hovering over a butterfly or a fairy picture to see the mum go “Oh, there’s a dinosaur, or how about a car?”  Or to see a girl thinking about a robot picture and their parent suggest a “pretty butterfly”.

As advocates of gender neutral play, we have a role to play here, little things that we can do can make a difference.  If a parent is pointing at lots of stereotypical pictures then interrupt (gently) point out other pictures that they can equally enjoy.  If we’re making recommendations to children then again mix it up so that the suggestions are wide and varied, and be brave, make the first picture something that could be associated more with the opposite sex.   Make it clear to the boys that if they want to colour in a picture of a princess then that is absolutely fine, and make it clear to the girls that we know that they like cars and planes just as much as boys.  On the tables, in the displays mix up the pictures, make it clear that there is no such thing as a “boys” section and a “girls” selection.

When we colour in our display pictures make sure that we make them as multicoloure as possible, using all the colours from pink to blue, and all the other ones inbetween, so that we don’t send out the subtle “pink for girl” messages that we see so often in the clothes and fashions sectors.  What I personally prefer to do is to mix up the colours in the most wonderful and creative way, pink loins, red dolphins, brown butterflies, orange fairies, orange, pink and yellow skies, even a punk rock hedgehog.  There is no right or wrong with colour when it comes to sand art, so the more creative we can be with our display pictures, the more we send out the “anything goes” message to the children.   If a boy’s colouring the picture point out to them that they’ve not coloured anything in Pink yet. If we’re chatting to the children about colour start a conversation about how “brown” is your favourite colour etc and make up a whole load of wonderful reasons why brown is so good.

Draw attention and offer an alternative, that’s all we have to do.

In the great big gender debate it’s very easy for critics to dismiss it all, saying “oh why do we need to worry, the children will choose what they want”, but the problem is that by the time the kids get around to choosing they’ve already have years of marketing, fashion, TV, books, films, cartoons, and adults telling them subconsciously what they “should” be preferring, and sometimes its difficult for them to say something different.  And this is where our role comes in.  I know that all of our consultants work hard to ensure gender neutrality with our young customers, however, its important to remember that they might not have that same influence elsewhere, they could perhaps live with very traditional parents or grandparents, so your voice is important, even if it by doing something as tiny as just adding in the word “fairy” into a list of suggestions of boys pictures, let them know it’s OK to do something different.  From little acorns big oaks grow, so please continue to plant those little acorns.  Thank you.

Leave No Lead Behind!

Leave No Lead Behind!

I have a motto that I live my life by, it’s a corrupted version of the US Army’s “Leave no Man Behind” – but mine was a bit more personal – “Leave No Biscuit Behind”.  (It came about from my mum, my sister and me all sharing a 10pack of Toffypops, and that inevitable decision on what to do with the last one – somehow everytime, we managed to take care of it, lol)  My Moto has stood me well over the years, although, I can’t say the same for the Toffypops.

Anyway, back to business – It’s essential that in Kids Bee Happy we apply this level of duty of care to our event booking leads, because really, with all of the options available to us, an event organiser should never hear that we can’t attend their event.  And our Moto is simply “Leave No Lead Behind”.

Even if your diary is jam packed, every day through to February next year, when someone asks if Kids Bee Happy can attend their event, your answer should always be Yes.  And here’s how:

  • If you are free and you are able to do the event then book it in your diary.  Please make sure that you get back to organisers quickly so that they are reassured that the event is booked.

If you are fully booked, then these are the other routes you should take:

1. If you are free and you are able to do the event then book it in your diary. Please make sure that you get back to organisers quickly so that they are reassured that the event is booked.

2. If you can’t do it, then tell the organiser that you are already fully booked, but you are sure that another consultant in the area will be available. Take all of the organiser’s details and tell them that they should hear directly from someone in the next 48hours. Give your Team Leader the details, the TL will publicise it in both your Team Group and the Team Leaders group as most teams have people from all over the UK in them.

3. If you think that you can do it, but if you can’t you know someone else that can, then tell the organiser that “Yes, someone can do this event for you, can I take your details and we’ll be back in 48 hours to confirm who”.

4. If no-one can do it – then offer a DIY Package. If it’s a school then talk about the benefits of letting the older primary children being able to use it as part of their Enterprise projects and learning.

5. If they still don’t want to do that, then ask the organiser if there is someone who will already be at the event who could be interested in running it for you – and sign them up as a consultant.

6. If you have tried all the other options then there is a big red flag being waved at you – the fates are telling you that you need to build your team and recruit people.  And what better way to encourage people into your team by presenting them with a list of events that are already booked by you for them to attend.

Kids Bee Happy is all about the teams, and our consultants have one of the highest rates in the industry for sharing and passing on events, and this is something that is really essential for us all to maintain.  Ask yourself, how would you feel if there was an event organiser near you who wanted Kids Bee Happy Sand Art at their event, but that another consultant said that no-one was available because (a) their diary was full or (b) it was too far away for them to travel to.   Imagine your frustration in knowing that KBH, the event, your business and the other consultants own business would all have been better and stronger if the original consultant had only past the event details on.

Think of the event enquiries and booking leads as a soldier, or if you prefer, as a Toffypop – as a company, we need to take make sure that each and every lead finds a home and is never left behind.

So, next time you have an enquiry for a date that you are booked – just remember me and my Toffypops.

What does KBH Stand For?

What does KBH Stand For?

When you join a Direct Sales company you really become a part of it, and it becomes a part of you.  So its important to know what the mission or purpose is of that company, and what its aims and objectives are.

Instead of the normal simple mission statement, at Kids Bee Happy we have a set of values that our actions and decisions must measure up to:

  • To create the highest quality products to be enjoyed by children and families together.
  • To promote inclusion and equality in play by creating products that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of gender, ability or disability, or age.
  • To Support our Independent Consultants to grow meaningful businesses that contribute not only financially but meaningfully to their family lives, their local communities and economies.
  • To balance the social and financial needs of our stakeholders, our customers, our consultants, our corporate customers, employees and suppliers, to ensure that everyone achieves maximum possible value.
  • To develop support and employer our consultants in their personal and business journeys.
  • To undertake our business in a manner that is ethical, respectful of its global environmental impact, human rights, equality and fairness.

So next time a potential team member asks you what KBH stands for, you’ll really be able to give them the full answer.

Children's Franchise Company included in list of UK Top Startups

Kids Bee Happy received a fabulous boost last week when Startups included Kids Bee Happy in it’s prestigious Startups100 list.

The Startups100 is a bi-annual roundup of the most “creative, original, disruptive and downright impressive new companies and exciting startups in the UK”, and previous winners include companies that have grown to become impressive and forthright businesses including Huddle, Wonga, and Zoopla.

“Being recognised as one of the UK’s top startups is phenominal” said Alistair Patterson, Director of Kids Bee Happy.  “But the biggest compliment I think comes from the “disruptive” tag.  Kids Bee Happy is all about doing franchising a bit different, and shaking it up so being described as original, creative and disruptive is indeed a compliment”.

“It’s absolutely great to included in a such a great list of Startup companies.  Being part of the entrepreneurial-spark movement really brings home just how many great businesses there are in the UK at the moment that most people are completely unaware of, determinedly getting on everyday.  And it’s these startup businesses who have the greatest ability to create jobs, and make a positive impact in the UK economy.”

Startups 100 winner profile on Startups.co.uk

Kids Bee Happy Sandart BBC Sunday Politics

Entrepreneurship in Scotland – With BBC Sunday Politics

Last week we had the privilege of being interviewed by the BBC for the Sunday Politics show for a feature about how Scotland, and in particular the Entrepreneurial Spark are taking steps to help push forward startup businesses.

The Entrepreneurial Spark  is a “hatchery” which aims to remove all of the barriers that stop small businesses succeeding.  Facilitating through Ideation and mentoring to produce sustainable profitable businesses.

For Kids Bee Happy the Entrepreneurial Spark has allowed us to concentrate efforts and resources on employing staff and marketing the business for growth and is a terrific launch pad which we feel thoroughly grateful to be involved with.