Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.
Hey, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. Every week we come to you with ideas from the mouse on how you can grow your business. This week, we’re delving into the entrepreneurial world that Disney has spurred and inspired themselves. It’s called the small shops and these shops are by Disney fans like me and you who create shops to sell Disney, inspired gear and accessories to decorate your home things, to wear in the park. And even some things that are really innovative and enhance your overall Disney experience. So I’m going to hand the floor over to Yasmine, who has a story she wants to share about how she found these small shops online.
So unlike the call, I can actually go to Disney world a lot. When I was a kid, I’d go to Disneyland cause I had family in LA. And we’d always go for the day, but I had never experienced the magic of the world until I was an adult. In fact, I was 34, my first trip to Disney World. And I was so excited. I was super jazzed. I spent so much time planning every moment of the trip. And I just remember going on to shop disney.com and looking at all of the cool ears and wishing I can get them all to match all my outfits because of course I was going to try Disney bounding for my first trip there, but the sh shop doesn’t really ship to Canada and it was going to be really expensive to get like five different sets of years to match every single outfit.
So I actually went to Etsy just to see if anyone had anything or I could find anything that would be an adequate replacement. And my mind was blown. I ended up not only finding a whole bunch of years to choose from. And I found a pair of ears that I, you know, had like the sparkly sequiny many years, but they had interchangeable bows. So all I had to do was buy five or in my case, 10 different boats and I could match every single outfit. I had an Aurora set of ears, basically for my Aurora and I had a Jasmine set of ears for my Jasmine outfit, of course, aerial as well and snow white. So I was able to Disney bound as all the princesses and have ears to match with only one pair of your side, just switched up the bows for him and many years, or just one example of the super popular products that you can find in these Disney, small shops, as Nicole said.
Yeah. So, you know, I just did a run Disney race a few weeks ago. It was my first one and I was really excited about it, but I was more in my head about the running than about the experience of it, because I am not a runner. I turned for months to try and even be able to finish a K and like the extracurricular side of it didn’t even come to my mind till probably a day or two before we were leaving to go to the race. And it’s a big deal to do a run Disney race. Apparently there are costumes, there are tutus, anything you can can possibly imagine. And the joke I had made when I first signed up for the star Wars run was that my husband was running on the dark side. He was it’s the rival run. So it’s the dark side versus the light side.
And so he chose the dark side and I chose the light side. And if you are a star Wars fan, you probably know that hope is what the rebellion is built on. So I would use this like phrase when I was talking about this run, like I’m huffing and puffing with hope because I don’t know if I can actually run a 10 K right. And so I get there and you know, it’s two 30 in the morning, the race is starting and like three hours. And I see all these people wearing amazing outfits that they either made themselves, or they went to Etsy and found. And I was like, man, I really should have gotten a shirt that said huffing and puffing with hope. And I felt so left out and came home. And I immediately like Etsy to run Disney to see what’s even available.
And you guys, there’s a whole industry that supports people who are addicted to running and Disney. And it’s amazing how many small shops created all this stuff, probably because they are Disney runners and they went and wanted all these items for themselves. And now you can see, like Disney’s kind of copying them in some ways, because when I entered the expo, the first thing you do when you get to run Disney, as you have to go pick up your bid and they have an expo and there is, it’s just insane. How many products they have available to you? And they’re specific to the race you’re running to. They have five K shirts. They have 10 K, they have the challenges, they have special metals, commemorative, pins everything possible. And so there’s so many things to buy while you’re there. And, you know, that’s all spurred from the fact that these other industries are creating things. So they may as well created and upsell it and it’s official. So we definitely spent a good number of dollars in that little area to commemorate our first run Disney. And now we’ll probably be back
As you can see, everyone is really getting inspired and actually buying things for Disney before they even step foot in the parks. It’s a huge shift from the way that, you know, I hear it’s been done. I haven’t had this personal experience Nicole way. And if you have, but you know, I read a lot of stories about parents wanting to save money and shopping in the parks and stopping at Walmart and target and picking up, you know, cute little Elsa costumes and Mickey shirts. So they have Disney gear in the parks that they don’t have to, you know, spend Disney parks prices for, but now they have so much more choice and they’re stepping beyond the sort of standard Disney licensing products or licensed products. I should say. They are able to buy from independent sellers that are coming up with the most creative and let’s be real slogans for shirts. They’re coming up with cute costume accessories. And like Nicole mentioned some super innovative products. If you go on Etsy and you search for many years right now, you’re going to come up with over 39,000 results. Let that sink in for a second 39,000 different types of many years, and Disney has won their shop 10, 15. I know they’re constantly adding things, but it doesn’t compare to the selection that you can find online.
I also think that people making their own and selling them spur Disney to get into this let’s create as many years as we can. Let’s have, you know, the vault again, where we put some years away, we bring some new ones out. There are way more, many years now and styles and options than there were even two or three years ago. When I would go as an adult, I, you didn’t even see people wearing many years as much as you do now. Now everyone has a different color for every outfit I personally travel with too. I didn’t even wear either of them for run Disney weekend, but I had two in my backpack and I brought them down. I bring them down every trip.
I am just being honest, have a mass like eight different pairs. And that is more times than I’ve actually been to Disney world. So you know, I went there for my bachelorette parties. We talked about, and I actually had different years for every girl that attended with me to coordinate with their outfit. So, you know, it worked out it’s super fun. But yeah, it’s so interesting. It’s actually caused Disney to be more competitive because they’re seeing what the small shops are doing. I want to take a second to talk about some of the innovative products that they’re coming up with. So did you know that you can actually buy a case to hold your Minnie ears? I don’t know about you, but like I carefully wrapped them in my suitcase. Try to make sure, you know, the bows don’t get smushed, but how cool is it that there’s an actual accessory for those hardcore Disney fans to protect their most valued accessory?
And one of the things I saw with the run Disney stuff is there are people who make like plaques and things. You can hang on the wall in your house to display all the metals you get, because you know, you do one run Disney, you’ve got to collect all the rest of the metals. Right. so it was just really interesting to see because I never would have thought of that. I, like I said, I’m not a runner. And I don’t have these metals from all these races, but yeah, you bring it home. You need to display it somewhere. It’s not going to go in the closet. So now you can get a piece to hang it on and it spurs you to go on more Disney trips.
Exactly. I’ve also seen that for magic bands. There are these really cute wooden Mickey assigns that you can basically hook all your magic bands around and you know, it looks cute. You can add like four or five, but like you really want to fill it up to really make that a display piece in your house. So same with the Ron Disney metals, you would actually want to go to Disney to get more magic bands to fill that up. So they are coming up with really interesting ways to protect and display your Disney fanaticism, which is so super cool. I think it’s also important
To talk about how yes, before you could go to Target or Walmart and just get a simple like shirt with a Mickey face on it. But now there’s different styles. And I mean, there’s a whole industry of children’s clothing, right? You can have high end children’s clothing where you’ve got these like princess inspired dresses that are still Orlando weather friendly because that is not what the traditional princess dress is. That’s usually a little bit like starchy. The kids don’t really want to wear it all day long, but they do. You can go find some really cute Disney inspired gear from these small shops and doing research for this episode, I started getting ads served to me on Facebook for some of these small shops and, you know, things that I would come across were high-end designer ish brands for a kids that were designing Disney inspired gear. So they had like bomber jackets with Mickey ears on the back and they were beautiful and gorgeous. And I just keep thinking as a parent, man, my daughter would outgrow that in like a month, but it is adorable. And I need that for my trip.
Yeah, that’s so awesome. And these like brands are really like creative with the things that they’re coming up with. Another super interesting thing with small shops is like, yes, they’re creating things for kids, but they’re also expanding the possibility of what adults can buy that are Disney related. So we tease our client about this quite a bit, but she once said to us that like, when she thinks of adult Disney fan, she thinks of someone wearing like a super faded Donald duck shirt from like 20 years ago. And let’s be real for the longest time. That’s kind of all there was, you know, it was like Disney kid’s clothes, but like in adult sizes and the small shop industry has been able to create really fun, trendy, really cool shirts that you actually want to wear as a grownup and created this entire market of products for Disney adult fans.
You can buy high-end Disney jewelry with like your favorite quotes on it that are 24 karat gold bracelets. You can buy designer handbags. You know, coaches definitely put out a few Disney bags. Kate spade has too, but some of these Disney’s small shops are actually creating artisan handcrafted leather goods that are Disney inspired as well. So, you know, as a, you’re not gonna buy those things for your kids, but as an adult, you might like splurge to you know, dress up your Disney outfit when you’re in the park. So it’s really cool that they basically created an entire market that in a way, Disney was kind of ignoring, had forced Disney to really step up their game. As Nicole said, she mentioned the fact that they came out with so many more ears because they noticed these small shops coming up with super creative and crafty design in 2017 Disney doubled the amount of merchandise and specifically licensed merchandise that they had in shop disney.com. They noticed that in 2016 retail sales are falling by 6%. People just weren’t spending as much time in malls. And why would they, when they had a plethora of options available to them online at their fingertips? Just not from Disney.
Yeah. And they closed a lot of Disney stores all around. I mean, and those stores, like you said, had that traditional look to the clothes and the things that they sold. And just a few weeks ago, when I was in Disney Springs, there’s a whole shop. Now that’s just really trendy and modern with the clothes that they have. They’re kind of bringing back some of the eighties style, early nineties style, and like the shirts are cut. Well, that’s my biggest deal with t-shirts as a woman. And I’m sure most of you can relate. They just aren’t ever cut for our bodies. They’re so square. And they actually make things that fit in, look nicely on all sorts of body types, because everyone loves Disney. And it’s just been great to see that, that transformation, I never bought like souvenirs or merchandiser gear and I’ve been to Disney many, many times. And I will say that I didn’t start buying these things until probably the last two to three years, because nothing really ever appealed to me. And now they’re creating these aligns that I would actually wear outside of the parks without feeling bad about it, because it’s not a faded Donald duck shirt saying that I’m going crackers or something silly.
Yeah. And Disney’s actually collaborating with some of these like small shop artisans and other up and coming brands to bring you more creative and innovative products. I’m a big makeup fan. I spent way too much money at Safara. And some of the collections I’ve been super jazzed for this year was ColourPop’s collaboration with Disney for both the designer princess collection and the villains collection. Yes. I bought every single piece. No, I will never wear a purple highlighter, but I really, really wanted that highlighter with Ursula on it. Cause it’s super cool. So they’re actually making it more accessible to get cool Disney things by partnering with brands that have an entirely different audience space and in a way, capitalizing on the nostalgia of Disney. And that has really turned around retail sales for Disney. So we’ve talked a lot about what Disney has done, what small shops have done to change the industry and how it’s impacted Disney. What does that mean for you?
We really want to get at here is that you as a small business owner, can you think about like the things that you’ve created for yourselves and how you can market that to other people? Because a lot of these products from these Etsy shops really stemmed out of someone who really wanted this for themselves and then realize that there were other people in that predicament too. So for an example, there is a travel planner out there who magical Miranda, who makes a planner specific to Disney. So it’s got all the different dates in there that you should know about. Like Mickey’s not so scary. Halloween party is coming up and after hours events and all sorts of things like that, that is something that you probably thought you needed when you were planning a Disney trip and couldn’t find anywhere. And now she makes an annual planner.
So that way you can buy it and you can use it as a regular planner and just get a little bit of a Disney fied feeling to your day, make a magical day for yourself. But you can also use it to plan those trips that you are going to plan. So, you know, that exists because she needed it for herself or for her clients because she a travel agent and then she put that out there for everyone else. So what do you have in your business that you use all the time that you think is so simple and basic, and everyone must do this and how can you get that out to people?
Yeah. And it’s funny, like there are tools and systems that we use every single day that we kind of take for granted. And sometimes it takes someone else just being like, Whoa, that’s a really cool process to understand the potential that exists there because here’s the thing, not everyone works the way that you work. Not everyone thinks the way that you think. So you always have something of value to share. I think it’s just a matter of looking at your business and finding out what’s that thing that’s uniquely yours. It could be inspired by someone else’s system, but format it in a way that works for you. I mean, that’s what all of these small shops have done. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent original. It just needs your take on it. So we really encourage you to look at your business and find what those opportunities are. In fact, our amazing friend, Christina Scalera, who you may know from our intro is all about finding ways to create digital products in your service-based business. So you can bring in passive income. We’re going to link her up in our show notes because she has a ton of great resources on how you can start to find out, you know, what those opportunities are in your business and how to go about creating digital products that you can actually.
So we’d really just love for you to leave us a note on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits tell us who your favorite Disney shops are because we are always looking for new gems and people ask us a lot about our favorite Disney things. And we like to share cool new stuff with them. So let us know on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits. And I also want to encourage you to think about that white space in your industry. What do you have and what can you provide to people who you may not even know that they need, what you’re sitting on. You could be sitting on a goldmine and you don’t even know it. So until next week, we’ll chat more. Thanks. See you real soon.
Speaker 4 (17:09):