Carole Middleton introduces ‘reward points’ for Party Pieces’ return customers…?

As we’ve known for years, Party Pieces is struggling. I would imagine it’s been struggling for a while, but I understand why it would have been successful in the catalog-and-website business model’s early days. But now? When most people can find cheap party decorations anywhere in stores and online? So Carole Middleton is trying to save her struggling business by bringing in new partners and by trying to introduce Party Pieces to American audiences. She’s explicitly selling it on her image and on her connection to the Windsors too. I don’t know if Carole’s new ShopRite business partners are giving her some tips, but it looks like Party Pieces is now introducing a rewards program. Like… how many overpriced kids’ party decorations are British people buying?

The Princess of Wales’ mother Carole Middleton has launched a rewards system for her party paraphernalia business – after expanding the company to the US. Party Pieces was founded by Kate Middleton’s mother, 67, in 1987 when she was looking for inspiration for her daughter’s fifth birthday party. She realised there was a gap in the market and set up the company that offers time-pressed parents an easy choice of imaginative parties for their children.

The brand’s best-selling Party Pieces Collection features products such as plates, napkins, cups, hats, balloons, treat stands and decorations. All three of her children have worked for it at some point – Kate helped develop the first birthday and baby category.

The news was announced on the company’s official Instagram last night, with a post reading: ‘You’re officially invited to the Party Pieces Rewards club, where you can earn exclusive rewards when you shop. You’ll also get access to exclusive discounts, early product launches, shipping benefits and more.’

On the company’s website, customers who become members will automatically earn ’40 Party Points’, and will then earn 1 point for every £1 spent.

[From The Daily Mail]

A missed opportunity to call them Keen Points or Marvelous Middleton Points. Again, I don’t get the business model here, in 2022. I can use “reward points” on one of my credit cards, and I get Kohl’s cash and Old Navy Super Cash and, God knows, I order enough from to get perks like free shipping and free pumpkin pies. Those are all “perks” for businesses which have repeat customers and people ordering from the same place once a month or what have you. But are people genuinely and consistently repeat-customers at Party Pieces? I would absolutely love a no-bullsh-t investigation of Party Pieces’ actual business and how it’s managed to stay afloat in a wildly changing market.

Incidentally, I really did look at Party Pieces online just now, and they legitimately have some cute Christmas decorations. I could see why people would buy some of their stuff, especially if they couldn’t find it in brick-and-mortar stores. So I have to wonder why Carole settled for ShopRite, a limited grocery chain. Surely, a better fit for the whole Party Pieces line might have been Target or Kohl’s?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Party Pieces’ IG.

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35 Responses to “Carole Middleton introduces ‘reward points’ for Party Pieces’ return customers…?”

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  1. equality says:

    Well, if she signs up Hilaria Baldwin, Nick Cannon, Kody Brown, or the Duggars she can get some repeat business. I notice they had to mention the POW title and Kate several times in the article, but she it totally not taking advantage of that royal connection.

  2. Amy Bee says:

    How long before Carole gives up on Party Pieces?

    • Danbury says:

      If it’s used for money laundering like I think it is (of course i have zero proof lol), I think it’ll be running for a long time

      • Sunday says:

        I think back in the day, when it was funding expensive educations and flats for unemployed daughters, it was absolutely being used for money laundering.

        If I recall correctly, this deal wasn’t even with the overall Shoprite brand, which is in multiple states, it’s exclusively with the Saker Shoprite locations, which are just in NJ and are all owned by the Saker family. So this deal might have been more motivated by a connection with that family (such as a need for that family to clean some money) rather than just a scraped-together deal to save a failing party supply company.

      • lleepar says:

        As Sunday says, the deal is only with the Shoprites owned by the Saker family. So it seems to boil down to two private family businesses hooking up. How they found each other is anybody’s guess. Maybe Uncle Gary and the Sakers have done business in the past.

  3. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Love the term “party paraphernalia,” as though it’s some illicit contraband for kids. It’s apt.

    Also, no.

  4. Becks1 says:

    If I were buying something from here, I would sign up for the rewards program (is that going to work in the US? Usually when you buy something from a store you get that store’s rewards, not the brand’s rewards) but it would be meaningless to me, like my rewards at Jo-Ann Fabric, the craft store – a place I shop at every 3 years and am a rewards member because why not? (I actually dont even know if Jo Ann’s has a membership program lol, I’m just using it as an example of a place where I rarely shop and where the rewards program would not motivate me to shop more than I need to otherwise.)

    I think its clear she went to Shop rite because Target, Kohls, et al rejected her. No way was a small grocery chain in New Jersey her first choice.

    The christmas selections at PP are nice, but they still aren’t that different from what I can get in Michael’s or Homegoods or even Walmart. I guess the appeal is that if you are grocery shopping, you can just pick up whatever you want without a separate stop. but Amazon is also very convenient for most people soooo….

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      In the UK we have a high street chain called Poundland where they sell party stuff all year round – they have stores pretty much everywhere. I had a former colleague once buy from PP’s and vowed never again as the quality was soo bad – none of it could be saved for future use.

    • windyriver says:

      Unfortunately, PP just showed up in my local SR – fortunately without Carole’s picture anywhere. It’s an older, smaller store by comparison with some others (the aisles are maybe 2/3 the size of the one pictured above). It’s in the aisle with cards and wrappings, and I was unpleasantly surprised to see it when I was looking for a card – primarily because the store removed a whole section of useful non-birthday, non-holiday cards (sympathy, thank you, etc.) to fit in the display (I needed a thank you), and I suspect that’ll be permanent regardless of how PP does. I was pissed so didn’t hang around long; my initial impression was, the stuff was expensive for what it was, and in my store, way too much pink and unicorns (!) on things, but I suppose convenience is the factor, just like with the cards and wrappings. Will look at it more closely next time I’m there, but overall, ugh…

    • BeanieBean says:

      And I’m guessing if you’re buying PP at Shop-Rite you’re probably using your Shop-Rite loyalty card anyway (assuming they have one, as all other grocery stores do).

      • ACB says:

        I found Party Pieces effluvia in a nearby Shoprite last week, when I ran in for a few things. They’re already on sale! I tried to send a pic to Celebitchy’s tip email address, but the email was too big. I took a selfie with Carole and sent it to my BFF,
        a fellow Celebitchy reader!

    • Mjane says:

      Big retailers like Target and Kohls have their own in-house design and purchasing teams

      • Becks1 says:

        Of course, but they also partner with celebrities all the time. Do you think Shoprite was Carole’s first choice? Of course it wasn’t.

  5. Chloe says:

    Maybe she should start selling more luxury party pieces? Like table pieces etc. And work with clients a bit more higher up.

  6. Roo says:

    Curious that theDaily Fail not only writes about this new program, but quotes verbatim the Instagram post and emphasizes the royal connection. But, of course, British Kris Jenner ™ is not trading on her connection and ALL businesses get such a breathless write-up. 🙄

  7. Jay says:

    A lot of these loyalty programs are really just ways to get your info along with your buying habits. I’ve seen in past articles that one way party pieces used to make money was selling their email lists and such, but that was curtailed somewhat by EU privacy laws. Maybe this is a fresh attempt?

    • Sunday says:

      You’re absolutely right, it is a method of data harvesting that trustworthy brands would use to better analyze and adapt to shopping habits, and untrustworthy brands would just sell to the highest bidder.

      When Princess Keen had her 5 big questions, everyone was crowing about how dumb it was that the survey didn’t limit participants to just the UK, but that was the point – to harvest as much data about who was completing the survey as possible and do God knows what with it.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Name list $$ is a way all catalog companies made extra money (I used to work at one such place). They term it ‘renting’ not selling, as you use those names for a specific purpose or period of time, say for your Christmas catalogs only, or Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day catalogs, and so on. Sometimes it’s an exchange, you can have our name list for your Christmas catalog & we want your name list for our Christmas & Easter catalogs. The terms are negotiated by brokers. The PP name lists would have been considered low-ticket, something like Neiman Marcus high-ticket, so not a lot of extra $$ for PP but some.

  8. Ginger says:

    Carole needs Party Pieces to stay afloat because they need to buy more bots to praise “Catherine” and to slam Meghan.

  9. Digital Unicorn says:

    As usual they are late to the party – pun intended! Next they will be offering tickets to palace garden parties that they have ‘sponsored’, don’t laugh you know it’s coming.

    This business hasn’t made any money in years and its clear Uncle Gary and her moderately wealthy SIL are keeping afloat – either that or that pot farm is making all the profit thats then put back into PP.

    The desperation for money and recognition is strong with Ma – she needs the money to setup her own shadow Royal court.

  10. C-Shell says:

    ONE POINT PER POUND SPENT??? Well, that’s just a huge motivator, isn’t it? Let me buy a pile of cheap party paraphernalia maybe once a year and rack up those points! To get advance notice of new releases and maybe a deal on shipping? This is so lame I’m firmly on board the train that says their antiquated business model is a beard for money laundering.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Certainly in my own online shopping experience, I get those advance notice emails & discount emails & free shipping emails whether I’ve signed up for membership or not. If you’ve ordered from them, they’ve got your email & that’s all they need.

  11. equality says:

    If the stuff was quality and reusable, customers wouldn’t be repeating very often. So the MIL of the prince who is saving the world is selling crap to fill up landfills and contribute to global warming and plastic waste.

  12. AmB says:

    “Surely, a better fit for the whole Party Pieces line might have been Target or Kohl’s?”

    Maybe, but getting into those stores is not like opening an Etsy shop – it’s more like getting a publishing deal. A Target/Kohl’s just has to have enough selection to satisfy most; the picky shoppers will go next door to Party City.

    It really is a saturated market for an ephemeral, low-value product – in a recession (is it officially a recession?).

    • Deering24 says:

      Aldi’s would have been a smart play. They could use a dedicated party goods department. As well, Aldi’s has an irresistible “chic cheap” appeal because it comes up with some one-of-a-kind finds and unique stuff you can’t get for that price point anywhere else. With proper branding, Carole’s stuff could actually look like a decent chic bargain.

    • Peachy says:

      Also, Target and Kohl’s both are having financial outlook issues.

  13. Pumpkin (Was Sofia) says:

    Maybe it’s a way to get more repeat customers, isn’t that the whole point of rewards system anyways? You need points so you spend until you get them. But I agree with others that people can just get their party supplies from Amazon/big chains – especially when said chains have their own reward points system so people can spend their points on anything rather than just party supplies.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I think this initiative is also telling us that they are not getting repeat customers 🙂

  14. Kokiri says:

    I recall, the UK online sells cakes.
    Like birthday cakes, real cakes.
    So I guess that’s the repeat customer: you buy your cakes from them, with matching decorations, each occasion.
    They deliver it all to your door, which would have appeal for some.

    I’m not sure I’d ever buy an online cake,but to each his own.

    Martha has zero to worry about with this grifter.

  15. BeanieBean says:

    She may have tried for Target, but they said Carole Who? Target partners with people like Martha Stewart, Joanna Gaines, Michael Graves (that was the first one I remember), Marimekko. Carole is not in that league; she’s Shop-Rite league.

  16. CC says:

    All I see with those publicity photos is the episode of “It’s always Sunny” where they place Dee directly in front of a floodlight.

  17. Isabella says:

    Does Kate imitate her mom or does her mom imitate her. Because that brooch and big brim hat is so Kate.

  18. Pam says:

    What they should have done is partner up with Amazon. Last year, my step-daughter threw a birthday party for our grandson with adorable decorations—all of which she found on Amazon. At the very least, if not Amazon then perhaps one of the larger places, like Walmart or Target. The points thing seems weird. Like someone said, that’s usually through a store or website, but for a product.

  19. Peachy says:

    Target and Kohl’s are both having a downturn in financial outlooks. Also, has anyone actually seen a Target that *isn’t* right next door to a Party City???? I think it’s part of the zoning request.