Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party

Tips on putting together a carefully planned amazing birthday party!

Knoxville Party Magic would like to help you put together a carefully planned amazing birthday party! Your child’s birthday is one of the most important times in their life. Throwing a fun party is a fantastic way to celebrate this special event! As parents, we feel compelled to provide the best we can for our kids, but at what cost?

A memorable birthday party can make a huge dent in your bank account if you’re not careful. The best way to do that is to start with a plan. Then carefully budget and track your expenses, projected expenses and stick to the plan!

Parties are so much fun and provide loads of wonderful memories for our little ones. However, there is a chance they will not even be aware of the huge amount of money you have spent to provide it!

The way I see it…

As a professional children’s entertainer, I see the entire gamut of parties. Some done with a minimal amount of funds to those where parents rent dance halls, DJ’s, Bounce Houses, mobile video game trailers, etc! However, a carefully planned amazing birthday party doesn’t need to break the bank or send you to the silly farm with anxiety attacks!carefully planned amazing birthday party

My advice to parents that book me is to realize that children will be engaging with me for 80% of the time. The other 20% is spent eating party food and receiving gifts. Keep this in mind when planning your party and considering decor and extras.

The fact of the matter is that kids remember the experience, the fun they had with their friends, laughing, playing and maybe pigging out on the cake they with the special design they expressly requested! Think of things that are most likely to stick in your child’s memory and spend your money on those things that matter.

A great way to save money is to make your own decorations with your child(ren)! Your kids will treasure the experience. The results of a carefully planned amazing birthday party will create lasting memories. So try not to make it a chore. This party may be some of the best memories you share with them in the future!

Knoxville Party Magic Continues to Offer Face Painting and Balloon Twisting!

face painting and balloon twisting returns

 

Face painting and balloon twisting returns to Knoxville Party Magic! 

Yes, face painting and balloon twisting returns Knoxville Party Magic due to popular demands and requests. Although available again, it is quite possible that a different professional artist will show up in our place. The artists that I will send are all highly qualified and possess years of experience.

As much as I would love to work at each party that requests me, because of the volume of business that is coming in for my other business (see post below), I’m not able to commit to neither face painting nor balloon twisting.

However, should there be last minute bookings requesting services that I offer and that I’m not scheduled for a balloon decor build, I will gladly come and perform at your event. 


It is with sadness in her heart that Ms. Tickle is leaving the world of children’s entertainment! It’s been a wonderful ride and she will forever cherish the encounters she’s had with Knoxville’s littlest people.

This is a decision that wasn’t easy for me to make but my new business, Volunteer Balloon Decor needs my undivided attention. Each party that books me requires a few hours of “behind the scenes” time that I can no longer afford to take away from Volunteer Balloons. Not to mention the sales and booking process, emails, phone calls, practice & rehearsing, maintaining this website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Beginning February 1st, 2016, Ms. Tickle will no longer be available for magic shows, face painting or balloon twisting for private parties.

I cannot do this personally but if I could, I would like to thank all the little ones that have made me smile over the years. I’m even grateful for the few that made me grit my teeth! With each party,I learned valuable life lessons that will certainly serve me in my personal life.

Follow my journey! Should you ever need balloon decor, whether it be for your birthday party, prom, wedding or corporate event, call me.  I would love to discuss the options you have!

Thank you, each and everyone!

Christine Maentz

aka Ms. Tickle

face painting and balloon twisting returns

Knoxville Party Magic – How fees are determined

Establishing appropriate fees

Ever wonder how coffee shops go about establishing appropriate fees? I recently stopped for coffee at a bagel place and noticed on the counter that they were selling Rice Crispy Marshmallow Treats. One little block about 2 inches square was $2.79. Regardless of the cost, I’m sure they sell plenty and no one bats an eye on the price. Will customers understand the costs involved in producing that little chunk of sweetness? Maybe not and I doubt they’ll question the clerk on why it’s priced higher than the box of cereal itself! 

establishing appropriate fees

Children’s Entertainer Fees

It’s very different when clients are considering hiring entertainment for their children. When quoting my services to potential clients they are always taken aback by my fees. As a professional balloon twister/face painter/kids magician/entertainer, I often have to justify my rates… something the clerk at the coffee shop is never asked to do. Neither is the caterer, the venue manager, the photographer, etc. But for some reason, kid’s entertainers do.

Is Knoxville Party Magic Charging Too Much?

Generally, most people think that I charge way too much for what I do. This reaction isn’t limited to the mom who wants to throw her child a party… I get the same reaction from corporations looking for entertainment during their company events. I’ve often been told, “Come on now, you take a couple of $0.05 balloons and within a few minutes produce a cute little balloon animal and you want $X.XX an hour for this? Are you kidding me?”. 

Charging the right amount is nothing to laugh at!

No, I’m not kidding. Whether I’m twisting balloons, painting faces, performing as Ms. Tickle or putting up spectacular balloon decor, this is my business – not a hobby. I pay my bills with this income… I’m blessed that I can earn a living doing something that I absolutely love! However,  just because I love what I do doesn’t mean I should do it for free. I’m going to simply explain how I go about establishing appropriate fees. 

So, when the time comes and you find yourself considering hiring me (or any other entertainer), to perform for an hour or so at your event, think about this:

Items or areas considered when establishing costs to clients

Before the show:

I will spend a minimum of an hour preparing for this event to make it perfect for you and your guests. Twice as much time if you’re hiring Ms. Tickle for a magic show.

Behind the scenes:

Exchanging emails to negotiate, finalize and confirm your gig. Sometimes I have threads of 15 or more emails… there’s a lot of time involved in correspondence.

Insurance:

I carry over $1M in liability insurance – hopefully, I will never need to use it but for your peace of mind, I still have to have it and I have to pay for it.

Trustability:

I’ve had background checks done and I participate in an ongoing program to maintain certification on child-safe issues. If you’re going to let a stranger in your home, don’t you want it to be someone you can trust and obtain referrals for? I have an established business and can easily provide referrals.

Reliability:

Once we have an agreement, rest assured that I will show up and perform. If for some unforeseeable reason I wouldn’t be able to show up, I will find a replacement for me. My reputation is on the line and I will do everything I can to maintain it at the highest level.

Business expenses:

My office and studio located in our home occupy almost all of the basement. Furthermore, in addition to regular overhead costs, I have a vehicle used almost exclusively for my business, which clearly identifies my business.

Education:

A large chunk of my income goes towards ongoing education so I can continue to improve my skills, learn current trends and be better at what I do.

Inventory:

Keeping a respectable inventory of products doesn’t come cheap. Sure a bag of balloons is less than $10 but I can’t operate my business on one bag of balloons and professional grade, FDA approved face paint doesn’t come from Walmart.

Taxes

Knoxville Party Magic is a legitimate business and I pay taxes – including collecting and remitting sales tax when applicable.

Likability:

Not to toot my horn but kids love me! Isn’t that important to you as a parent? It’s proven that folks do business with people they know, like and trust! Should I have the opportunity to discuss your event with you, you’ll quickly find me easy to work with and will have no doubts as to whether you’re hiring the right person. And if I’m not the right fit, I’ll be happy to recommend someone that would be!

I could easily go on but I don’t want this post to appear as a rant because it isn’t. I simply want to educate folks on how Knoxville Party Magic operates. Should I be fortunate enough to be hired for your next event, know that you are getting your money’s worth and more!

So, the next time you walk into that coffee shop and spot that little chunk of Rice Crispy Marshmallow Treat, remember why it costs more than a box of cereal!

Kids Magic – Ms Tickle Meets the Cub Scouts

Kids Magic at the Blue & Gold Banquet

The Cub Scouts of Pack 329 enjoyed a magical evening with Ms Tickle.

Ms Tickle performed kids magic for the Cub Scouts of Pack 329.

Ms Tickle with the Cub Scouts of Pack 329 and their families after the kids magic show.

This week Ms Tickle performed kids magic for the first time for Cub Scouts at their annual Blue and Gold Banquet. She and her husband received a warm welcome and were immediately made to feel like part of the “pack!” The special event was hosted at their regular meeting place, St. Mary’s Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Most Cub Scouts celebrate Scouting Anniversary Week in February (or end of January), with a “birthday party” called the Blue and Gold Banquet. In nearly all packs, this event is the highlight of the year. It brings families together for an evening of fun and cheer. It’s often the pack meeting for February (or January in this case).

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This special event has many purposes… celebrate the pack’s anniversary, thank pack leaders and other adults who have helped the pack, and inspire the leaders, Scouts, and parents. Packs often like to invite former members and other Scouting or community leaders to take part in their celebration.

The Banquet can be like a regular pack meeting, with songs, skits, stunts, and awards. Or it can be something different and a little more special. A pack may decide to bring in an entertainer such as a Ms Tickle!

Although booked only as a 30 minute show, Ms Tickle was having so much fun with the kids magic show that before you knew it, with all the music and crazy dancing, an hour had quickly gone by!

After packing the Big Pink Box of Magic, Ms Tickle was invited to judge the cake contest. Thankfully she wasn’t asked to taste them all, but simply to judge them on originality. Someone was clever and had baked a cute cake in the form of a black magician’s hat with white bunny ears sticking out! That was Ms Tickle’s favorite – but because the event was really in honor of the Cubs, she chose another which was decorated as a camping scene, complete with tents and campfire!

The evening brought fond memories to my photographer husband as he’d raised two Eagle Scouts many years ago and was then an active leader.

I hope to be invited again next year!

A Memorable Kids Birthday Party Should Include Loot Bags

Loot bags or not? That is the question!

A unique idea for a memorable party favor. Souvenirs such as party (loot) bags help to make a memorable kids birthday party and are a great idea, but they shouldn’t break the bank.

memorable kids birthday party knoxville

Creative souvenirs are not expensive.

The answer is definitely YES  to party bags (also referred to as Loot Bags). Many children have been conditioned to expect them and it acts as a “Thank you” for coming to the party. However, no need to fill them with cheap, junk type items to save money. Providing a “take-home” souvenir makes for a memorable kids birthday party shouldn’t break your budget.

A take home craft that they have made at the party can double up as a party favor.  Your children’s entertainer may also be able to twist balloons and offer those as “take-homes”.  Or you can simply contact a balloon twister to see if they’ll provide sculptures that you can pick up or have them deliver before the party.  You’ll be surprised at how inexpensive this can be and you’ll probably get creations that are much nicer than what they can provide on location.

Another great idea are balloon candy cups. Many balloon artists offer them (as I do), and they can cost as little as $5.00 a piece!

You could also plan your party decorations to end up as party give aways!  Helium balloons that serve as decorations during the party can be sent home with the guests when the party ends -saving you not only money, but also the hassle of getting rid of them later!

memorable kids birthday party Knoxville

A helium balloon is a very cool party favor.

Speaking of Helium, you can purchase your own Mylar balloons along with a tank of Helium from any local party store.  By planning wisely, you could save enough money to be able to provide one awesome balloon to each guest.  Imagine the boys leaving with their favorite super hero balloon – Batman, Raphael or Spiderman and the girls leaving with their current hero, Elsa or Anna!  You’ll be the mom remembered for giving out the coolest party “bags”! A little bit of creative thinking can save you some money and may  ultimately be quite unique.

I encourage you to use my budget tracker found at the bottom of my Magic Show page. It will help you keep tabs of where you are with your party expenses.

Remember that it’s all about creating memories and if I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to call me! When it comes to planning a memorable kids birthday party in the Knoxville area, my number is the only number you need. 865-567-4806.