Birthday Party Clown

Birthday Party Clown

Rosie The Clown

Toronto, ON

Female, 19?

I've been a practicing Birthday Party Clown for 22 years. What other job is there where you can go to a party, have lots of fun, be the centre of attention and get well paid? I enjoy visiting with all kinds of people, experiencing many different cultures and seeing a variety of places. There's never a dull moment. Well, almost never. In addition to birthday parties, I entertain at fairs, picnics, corporate events, club parties, university parties and at any event that sounds like fun.

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39 Questions

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Last Answer on November 13, 2018

Best Rated

What's the worst party or event you ever had to work at?

Asked by big big Sal over 6 years ago

Hello, Big Sal. My assistants and l like to joke about the Party From Hell, which we were unfortunate enough to attend. The children were completely out of control, and getting help from their adult supervisors only worsened the situation. The experience serves as a good benchmark for anytime we think that our current assignment is tough. Nothing is, or ever can be, as tough as that party. It's true that some groups of people are more reserved and/or less interested in clowns than others. Bringing them into the experience and seeing them enjoy themselves is very rewarding.

Do you ever have problems with parents not paying you? Or do you get paid up front?

Asked by Gresh over 6 years ago

Hello, Gresh. For prompt and easy payment, birthday parties are a good gig. I’ve been in trades where you spend half your time working and the other half trying to get paid. It’s not like that in clowning, thank goodness. At parties, people are in great moods for the big day. They’ve long since accepted that the shindig is pricey. They usually have several envelopes prepared for on-the-spot expenses. Rosie the Clown’s written agreement stipulates payment in advance or on arrival, along with a money-back Happiness Guarantee. Some hosts hand me the envelope while I’m removing my colourful clown shoes at their door. If not, I don’t press the matter right away. It’s natural for people to want to see value first. I generally wait until the entertainment is about two-thirds over to remind them. The greatest risk in asking for payment at the end of parties is schedule-ruining delay. Sometimes, hosts can’t be found quickly, or they haven’t prepared for the moment. The cake-cutting ceremony, which usually happens right after my entertainment, makes it impossible to speak to the host for ten minutes. An advantage of being paid at the end, though, is that tips are more generous. When children and parents have had a blast, an extra $20 or $50 slips into the envelope more easily.

How would you suggest a young man like myself (I'm 20) break into the party clown scene? For those of us not fortunate enough to have a local clown shop. =oP haha

Asked by Jdoub1111 over 5 years ago

Hello, Jdoub. Congratulations on beginning the fun and rewarding adventure of clowning. The very best of luck to you. Here are some tips for you to get started and prosper. If this seems like a long list, it's the difference between being a hobby clown and having a profitable business.

Half a Dozen Steps to Clowning Success

1. Seek out colleagues
2. Hone your skills
3. Develop your persona
4. Set up your office procedures
5. Make an online storefront
6. Market your services

1. Seek Out Colleagues

Is there a local Clown Alley? If your area doesn't have a clown shop, there may not be a local association for performers, either. No worries, you can connect online. LinkedIn has several great groups where performers discuss the ins-and-outs of the business and offer mutual help.

2. Hone Your Skills

  • Develop your skills to the point that people talk to their friends about their great experience with you. Word-of-mouth will be one of your main client funnels
  • YouTube tutorials abound on every topic, providing an extreme advantage to modern-day clowns who want to develop their skills
  • Learn to communicate well with children
  • Practice, practice, practice
3. Develop Your Persona

Who are you? What's your clown name? What's your look? A memorable outfit is great branding. What's your clown personality? Develop a persona that works for both your custimer base and you. If you're unsure which direction to go on this, start by exaggerating your biggest handicaps.

4. Set Up Your Office Procedures

Good office procedures will make everything you do easier, smoother and more rewarding.
  • They will prevent disasters, such as double-booking and lost contact info
  • They'll cement your client base, because people who are planning parties really appreciate good communication
  • Pleasant office manners and effective organization will brand you as a professional
  • It's an easy way to outshine the bulk of your competition
5. Make an Online Storefront

Online is where people find most services these days. 
  • Make a website that's easy to read and navigate, that's clear about what you do, that has videos of you in action (best) or pictures, and that has your phone number in big type at the top
  • Make sure it works well on mobile; half of all local searches are mobile
  • Sign up for a free Google+ Place Page, to boost your presence in local search results
  • Pick one big social media avenue (Facebook, Google+) and one little one (Twitter, Pinterest) to start
6. Market Your Services

There are more ways to market your services than there are clowns in a minicar. Pick a couple that work for you. From pay-per-click ads to mail drops to social media to volunteering for charity events, the faster you get your message out, the sooner the clients roll in.
  • Know your target market
  • Know your competition
  • Establish a good fee
  • Look for compensation other than money, such as wide exposure at large gatherings or earned media from special events
 

Are you usually competing for business against the same other clowns, and does it bum you out when you hear back from parents and they tell you "oh yeah, sorry, we decided to go with Jester Jerry instead"?

Asked by NeliaJames over 5 years ago

Thanks for your question, Nelia. The more good clowns people see, the more they want clowns at their parties. So if Jester Jerry is a great entertainer, I'm happy to be in the same industry with him. I'll refer people to him when I turn down events due to scheduling conflicts.

The other entertainers in town that I come across most frequently also have strong referral networks, of which I'm a part. We're constantly seeking out great performers to suggest to hosts when we can't make the party. Our business thrives on happiness.

Of course, I make sure to get Rosie the Clown's message out so that people have a fair chance to hire her and have a wonderful time. I do feel sorry when I hear that a mediocre clown has made a bad impression. That's the kind of competition I could do without.

Why do some clowns have tears painted on their faces?

Asked by Solidad almost 6 years ago

Hello, Solidad, The clown with the iconic tear on his cheek traces his roots back to the 1500s, when the clown Pierrot joined the world. I don't know the meaning of the tear, exactly – I'd need an advanced degree in history to be sure – but to me, it says something about melancholy and the human comedy being all of a piece. And anything that's exaggerated is funny. Is wearing a tear on your cheek like wearing your heart on your sleeve? What are your thoughts? Find out more about the classic clown tear at the following resources: http://www.allaboutclowns.com/pierrot.html http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090621080251AAWwd1i

Is whether to be a "talking clown" vs. one who doesn't talk a big distinction? Or is it just a personal choice, and it's really all just about whether you can make a kid smile?

Asked by Rosaria over 5 years ago

Hello, Rosaria. What an interesting question. Whether to be a talking or a silent clown is mostly a matter of choice for the performer. I love conversing with people as a clown, and I wouldn't want to lose that part of it. 

On the other hand, Rosie the Clown often entertains people who don't speak English, so she has lots of routines without words. I enjoy these non-verbal amusements very much indeed. 

As you suggest, it's all about the kids' smiles. Whatever way they come is good.

I am doing a project for college and would like to know what items go into each performance and how much they would cost roughly. Any help you can offer would be GREATLY appreciated.

Asked by D. Ravenstone over 5 years ago

Hello, D,

Thank you for your question. For detailed information such as you request, please contact me for an interview. Contact details are on my website, RosieTheClown.ca. 

Props generally cost between $20 and $200 and are good for years. Some of the most fun, most imaginative interactions, though, are done without any props at all.

Good luck with your project!