Celebrating 80 Years in the Party and Novelty Industry
1932 – WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Just two and a half years after the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 Mr Antonio Faiella, an Italian immigrant from Sorrento, opened a small Novelty and giftware shop by the name of “The Novelty Supply Store” on the 19th of March, 1932 at 480 Pitt Street Sydney, Australia under the arches of Sydney’s Central Station.
Faiella cleverly timed the opening of his family business to coincide with a massive historic event that was to occur in Sydney on that same day. The iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge was having its grand opening and there was an estimated half a million people in the city area to experience the event.
Over the first few years, The Novelty Supply Store was quite successful despite being relatively small in size. Its product range, largely imported from Japan, consisted of small novelties and trinkets such as spinning tops, wooden cars, sewing kits, comb sets, and unique inlayed wooden pens. At that time, these were rather unusual items to be imported from Japan but Faiella trusted his instincts and the products were selling well.
The business’s location under Sydney Central Station was very convenient and serviced many types of customers, not just city folk. The Novelty Supply Store and its products became very popular with carnies, hawkers and schools. Orders were boxed, wrapped in rope and sent off via rail.
1947 – STEP RIGHT UP
After the end of World War II, Australia’s economy was prospering and Faiella’s business started to expand. Not only did the family run the retail shop in Sydney but also began supplying to customers from the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Capital Shows & Country Shows Australia wide.
The Novelty Supply Store started building a strong presence within the carnival scene, known for its supply of toys and wooden pens, bamboo canes, organza and tulle (craft items that were used for the manufacture of kewpie dolls) and many other colorful items such as soft toys and novelty windmills. The comb sets and sewing kits were especially popular amongst the travelling carnival folk!
1956 - NEEDING MORE ROOM
In 1956 The Novelty Supply Store moved to 188 Goulburn Street, Sydney occupying two levels of this building. After Faiella’s death, his wife, three daughters, two sons and son in-law continued to run the business.
With the expansion of space, the business had started to supply their customers with more than just lucky dips and hoopla novelties that were popular at carnivals. They now began selling bikes, tricycles and more toys such as metal diecast cars, hoola hoops, paddle balls, jacks sets, marbles, toy soldiers, yoyos and Old Maid card games.
They were also the first agent in Australia to sell some of the bigger name brands that were coming from the U.S such as Play Doh, Slinky, Mr. Potato Head and Barbie dolls.
1966 – TIME FOR A CHANGE
The Novelty Supply Store moved once again, but this time to a large warehouse at 4 Bridge Road in the suburb of Glebe, Sydney. Another big milestone for the business during the mid 1960’s was the changing of the business name to “Carnival & Toy Wholesaler”.
The Faiellas certainly remained in the carnival scene, packing and selling Arnotts show bags at various shows while they also had several stalls of their own where they sold Lavender House bags, dolls on sticks, monkeys on sticks, spiders on sticks, and just about any other novelty that could fit on a stick!
They also manufactured the famous kewpie dolls or “dolls on sticks”. This was the must have item at the Sydney Royal Easter Shows for many years.
Back at the shop, Carnival & Toy Wholesaler offered both wholesale product lines and retail toys from such big name brands as Mattel, Lego, Little Tikes, Fisher Price, and boasted a range that spanned from Cabbage Patch Dolls to BMX Bikes. Children walked hand in hand with their parents, often overwhelmed by the vibrant colors and fun atmosphere of the shop. At Carnival & Toy there were wall-to-wall boxes of Lego sets, and bicycles hanging from the ceilings. Even today, there are customers who come in and recall their fond memories of coming into the shop when they were children.
1970 – PRESERVING HISTORY
The family discovered that the building from their very first address at 480 Pitt Street, Sydney was scheduled for redevelopment. The building still had the original Novelty Supply Store business signage from the 1930’s on its windows.
In a mad dash to preserve this special piece of carnival history, the Faiella family paid to have the window cut out, framed and presented at their new address in Glebe, Sydney. This glass window still hangs proudly at the business’s current address.
1980 – DRESSING IT UP
The Faiellas began importing embroidered linen from China and other party items that were aimed towards companies within the Events Industry. The range was very successful and Carnival & Toy Wholesaler started showing their imports at Gift and Trade Shows in Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane.
During the 1980’s, Carnival & Toy Wholesaler started stocking costume items such as hats, masks, and hand held props to keep up with the new product trends at the carnival stalls. Over these first few years, popularity of the costume items skyrocketed and the range was expanded to include full-piece packaged costumes for children and adults, fun wigs, face paints, costume jewellery and other fun costume accessories.
To make the shop more of a family friendly environment, the then-teenage forth generation of Faiellas began a project in developing a children’s play area within the shop so that parents could browse through the shop while their children were kept safe and entertained, not to mention out of mischief!
This was a fantastic idea as not many other retailers were able to offer this service and it proved to be a huge success. Again, many customers who come in to the shop today recall spending time in Carnival & Toy’s play room while their parents walked the aisles and had all the fun!
Mind you, the play room was still a fun place to be. The walls were painted with bright colours and characters, and there were plenty of toys, a chalk board and even a small TV to keep the kids occupied.
1994 – THE NEXT GENERATION
In 1994 the third generation of the Faiella family started managing Carnival & Toy Wholesaler which had by then fully evolved into Australia’s biggest party and costume shop, importing fancy dress costumes, wigs and hats from all over the world. They also expanded their party product range to include themed tableware, themed cardboard cutouts, decorations and custom hand-made Christmas Bonbons which were very popular amongst hotels, pubs and clubs.
This was also the year that Carnival & Toy Wholesaler started selling helium balloons. The balloon station was cleverly placed close to the shop entrance so that customers were greeted by an array of colourful balloons when they arrived. Customers often excitedly wandered through a maze of balloon ribbons into the shop and the balloon station generally attracted a lot of attention.
The range spanned from loose-floating balloons to weighted table and floor decorations, and offered an array of different colours, types, shapes and sizes, from 30cm (11 inch) to massive 90cm (3 foot) balloons, and foil life-sized cartoon characters that actually stood upright and walked around the room on their own.
The themes and designs seemed endless with over 100 prints to choose from. It was also quite popular to attach things to the ribbons such as foil stars, eye masks or even photos which made the balloons even more eye catching and gave them that special pesonalised touch.
Through the years, Carnival & Toy went on to provide balloons for some exciting corporate events in Sydney such as Elizabeth Arden’s product launch of Britney Spears’s “Fantasy” and Hilary Duff’s “With Love” fragrances, regularly providing balloons for the ABC Television program, Play School, appearing in Cosmopolitan Bride magazine with custom-altered balloon colours, and providing a whopping 15,000 balloons in one day for RailCorp’s 150 Year Anniversary celebration.
2000 - IT’S PARTY TIME!
The Millennium year of 2000 was an exciting time for all Australians. Many people all across Australia held Millennium parties and celebrated with specially imported party items from Carnival & Toy Wholesaler. Some popular items included novelty glasses in the shape of “2000”, printed party horns, party hats, balloons & banners.
National pride was on a high as Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games. The Games created an excited vibe in Sydney and Carnival & Toy Wholesaler sold a huge range of Aussie themed items and also supplied many vendors at the opening and closing ceremonies with novelty flashing bangles, green and gold wigs, Australian flag masks, face paints, temporary tattoos and other accessories that were incredibly popular amongst the Sydney Olympic crowds.
2002 – OUR BASE IN GLEBE, SYDNEY
A development proposal at the current address at 4 Bridge Road, Glebe, Sydney meant that Carnival & Toy Wholesaler was to move once again. Having had established a strong presence and customer base in Glebe, the family knew that it was important to stay in the Glebe area. Luckily, there was a large warehouse on offer just one block away at 20 Bridge Road, Glebe, Sydney which is where Carnival & Toy Wholesaler moved to and spent the next eight years.
A few years after the move, it was decided that the business name “Carnival & Toy Wholesaler” no longer effectively represented the business and its product lines. The family wanted the new name to still reflect upon the business’s heritage in the carnival industry, so the business’s trading name was changed to “Carnival & Party Warehouse”.
2008 – THE GFC
Carnival & Party Warehouse began developing a website which displayed their product lines and business details online, as consumers became more and more reliant on the use of the internet to connect with businesses.
After 2008’s Global Financial Crisis, Carnival & Party was encouraged to find new, creative and cost effective ways to promote their products and services.
Due to the growing phenomenon of online shopping, Carnival & Party Warehouse moved to opening an online store and also having a presence on social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook which proved as a successful way to stay in touch with their customers Australia wide, and sell products at a low costs.
2010 – TECHNOLOGY DICTATES CHANGE
Carnival & Party Warehouse’s third and forth generation of the Faiella family started the process of creating an online shopping website that was bigger and better than the current one, that at the time only offered approximately one third of their product range for sale online.
Carnival & Party Warehouse created a fun and vibrant shopping website that didn’t leave the smallest detail or product out, and that serviced customers Australia and world wide.
Another big change for Carnival & Party Warehouse… The development of the original building at 4 Bridge Road, Glebe, Sydney (that was scheduled to take place back in 2002) never eventuated. An opportunity presented itself when the warehouse was put back on the market. Carnival & Party moved back to its previous address at 4 Bridge Road, Glebe which is where it stands today. Not only was it a rare and unusual opportunity but the showroom was over double the size of the previous showroom, now standing at 575 square meters!
2011 – PARTY PARTY PARTY!!!
Now at Carnival & Party Warehouse you can enjoy a real shopping experience within Carnival & Party’s 12 aisles of seemingly endless costumes, accessories, novelties, balloons and party product lines.
Just amongst the costumes and accessories you’ll find a world of different themes and products to choose from. There’s a great range of full-piece costumes for both children and adults, aisles of accessories including a whole aisle dedicated to themed hats and headpieces alone, and the same for wigs which you’ll find in almost every cut and colour imaginable…. 1980’s style “mullet” wigs being a particular favorite amongst customers!
You’ll find face and body paint right next to the fake tattoos and effects makeup that the professionals use for TV, film and theatre. The list goes on to include Hawaiian flower leis and grass skirts, pimp canes and other hand-held props.
There are fun items for Hens and Buck parties, fake jewellery, gloves, hosiery, themed glasses, feather boas, feather wings, wands AND fake weapons for pirates, cowboys, knights and ninjas alike! …Boy that was a mouthful!
You’ll find masquerade mask madness for both men and women that range from plain single colours to grand, ornate designs with feathers, glitter beads and lace trimmings. There are also other Halloween themed masks, a range of animal masks, and famous personalities and fictional characters.
Inside the shop there is also a Dark Room which is dedicated to Halloween themed decorations and glow/light-up products. Walk in there for a good scare!
The walls are lined with themed party piñatas and cardboard cutouts, including massive “scene setters” that wrap around your walls to transform your venue space into a specific scene such as a beach, a grave yard or even a grand ballroom.
There are also aisles for all of your general party needs such as steamers, banners, party bags and pails, party games, craft items, crepe and tissue papers, party poppers, horns and blowouts, scatters and confetti, glitter and cardboard numbers for “landmark” birthdays in a range of colours. You’ll also find a massive range of disposable tableware and accessories that’ll add a splash of colour and character to your party.
To fill your party bags and piñatas, there are stacks of fun novelties and trinkets such as balls, bubbles, putty, figurines, wind-ups, whistles, water toys and other fun knickknacks that’ll keep any kid (including big kids) occupied for days!
And finally… BALLOONS in every colour, shape, size, theme and print, for every occasion and celebration imaginable!!!
Just in our Foil-Balloon range alone, we currently stock around 120 different standard-sized foil balloons and over 150 “Super Shape” balloons that each average around 1 meter in size. We stock these in an array of themes and shapes such as farm animals, tropical birds and flowers, champagne bottles, numbers, written messages, cakes and other yummy foods, Halloween characters, pirates, casino dice, ballet slippers, teddy bears and baby booties, and a 1950’s pink Cadillac just for good measure… And that’s only to name a few!
That doesn’t even include our range of licensed Foil Balloons which currently include Sponge Bob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer, The Little Mermaid, Thomas the Tank Engine, Sesame Street characters and many more.
With our entire range of balloons you can truly create and design to your heart’s content. Balloons really have a way of brightening up any room and creating a fun and vibrant atmosphere for all parties big and small!
Now that you’ve read all about our colourful Carnival history, pay us a visit or check out our online catalogue. You’ll be blown away with our product range and our friendly Carny service.
Carnival & Party Warehouse - Party Costumes Balloons 4 Bridge Road GLEBE NSW Enquiries: 1300 772 789 www.carnivalandparty.com.au
Where the Fun Begins!