by Julie Hughes Published 01/08/2004
Just as a side note, I have always insisted on catering to the children. My office manager Liz is naturally great with kids, so she is a valuable asset to our company. We are extremely kids-friendly here, and we have a toy room with dolls, and GI JOES, riding toys, colour books and crayons, and the legendary toy chest! We have a real chest filled with dollar toys and quarter candies, and lots of cool things for boys and girls.
You cannot believe the amount of cooperation we get out of our young clients with tried and true techniques, but then that is another story. Let's just say our young clients will actually beg to come back! You and I both know that if we get the children in our pockets, the adults will gladly follow.
After you book the party with the mum get her to pay all, or most of the fee, well in advance; if you have not photographed the child very recently, get them in for a photograph to make invitations with. The other mums see these and go wild! Where did you get these? Who made them? What a great photo, etc... Design the party totally for each child. If her favourite character is Barbie, make sure you use lots of Barbie themes in the party favours.
If her favourite colour is purple use purple cloths (dye them yourself) to cover the table and drape around the party room. Have a beautiful picture framed and sitting on an easel for all the Mums to ohm and ahh over. You can put it in a mat and have the children sign around it if they are old enough to make their mark.
Of course all these add-ons add up, including a deluxe birthday album at the end. My advice is to keep the initial cost very reasonable, and offer the mums add-on sales.
The best part is introducing our wonderful studio to new friends and clients. The Moms are blown away, and the kids are begging to come back. This is a win-win situation. Make sure your studio is polished and pristine for the actual party. Put anything breakable or dangerous away from little hands.
The children need to feel welcome and unrestricted. Collect addresses and info from all the Moms so they can attend a private screening of the images in your projection room. Of course these mums are added to our mailing list, and most become treasured additions to our studio family.
The party should last for only two hours, no more or less. Most kids are still having fun, and do not want to leave. This is the plan. Leave them wanting more, and they will be sure to come back. Be very strict about the time limit.
The Birthday Girl and her family arrive thirty minutes early, and settle down. The Birthday Girl picks her costume or pretty dress out of the prop room, hair is made up, and light make-up is applied. We have a very glamorous make-up area with lighted mirrors, and lots of clear lip gloss in yummy flavours.
Obviously keeping the make-up age appropriate is important, however, little girls love make-up, and a big part of the party is sitting in Miss Liz's big girl chair, and being pampered. Find a student who loves make-up and kids, or hire a stylist who is great with kids. Making it fun and beautiful is the key.
You still have to furnish the highest photographic quality you can. The girls must look great, and the clothes they are dressed in must look the part. All the clothes in the photos are clothes I have collected through the years.
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