Business Inspiration Series – Dean Salakas

by | Aug 23, 2017 | Business Inspiration Series, Business Role Models | 2 comments


Who inspires you to go on and do greater things in business and why? As professionals, we’re striving to go that bit further and faster, seeking role models from within and outside the business world to spark motivation. I recently took to SourceBottle to discover exactly what the magic essence is that draws us to these people and how it manages to keep us on track. I wasn’t necessarily looking for big names – just people doing great things that my respondents found pretty amazing.

I’m sharing the first in this series today.

The Party People Shop co-owner Dean Salakas heads up a business that stocks Australia’s largest range of party supplies, with over 20,000 products including themed decorations, balloons, catering supplies, confectionary, seasonal merchandise and more. When it comes to business inspiration, there’s no-one closer to home than your mother – and what she did in the 1980s was well ahead of her time! 

Who is your business role model?

Mala Salakas

Why are you drawn to this person in particular?

Thirty years ago my mum Mala Salakas was “Patches The Clown” catering for kids parties. Her passion for parties led her to start a small party venue and store with her father Peter Nikolas. She was truely visionary in that in the 80’s party venues just were not a thing and as a result the party venue side of her business failed (now party venues are very common way to have a party). The party store side of the business flourished as people inevitably were having parties at home. In 1998 she decided to launch Australia’s first online party store and again pioneered in the retail party business. Her foresight in continually innovating is inspirational for my brother and I in our current endeavors to grow the company.

What have you learnt from them?

I learned about hard wor k but most importantly not to wait for change to happen, to be the change or at least be ahead of it which involves passion for change and to go looking for it and challenge our own way of doing things.

How has this helped shape your own business?

Since my my brother and I took over the business we continued our mother’s passion for change and we turned the small business of 2 employees into nearly 40 employees today. We are the market leader for party supplies online in Australia and now have two bricks and mortar stores of which one of them is the largest bricks and mortar party store in Australia.

I took on the business strategy and we were fortunate to be Google’s first Australian Adwords customer, Microsoft Bing’s first Australian advertiser and being hand selected by Facebook to be a case study. We’ve achieved many other firsts and then last week The Party People was named 2017 Independent Retailer Of The Year by the Australian Retail Association.

How have they helped you imagine a bigger future? 

As I mentioned, we go looking for change. As such you will see some disruption in the party space which I can’t reveal too much on just yet, so ask me this again in 6 months. We are also looking at opening more stores to continue on a growth strategy to create a national party store chain.


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Lucy Bowler

Digital Content Creator, Branding Strategist and Communications Specialist

Whenever I meet people, it’s always 20 questions. I can’t help myself – I always like to know more. As a communications specialist, this insatiable curiosity means I always get the best from my clients. I work to raise profiles, create compelling content, systematise communications and seek golden opportunities for revenue raising. 

Learn more about how I work here.


  1. Phil Hayes

    Great article! So many of us fear change so interesting to hear from people actively chasing it!

    • Lucy

      Isn’t it interesting? Enjoy hearing about someone keen to make things happen!


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