Monday, December 30, 2013

Our final 2013 review - 2013 was it a good year for the balloon industry?

Wow another year almost over, and 2014 is ready to spring into action! A time to reflect on what has been and to prepare ourselves for the new year ahead!

So it gives me great pleasure to introduce our final reviewers David Mahoney, Balloons Everyday, Dallas, Texas  & Rachel Porter CBA, Balloon Splendor, Seattle.

I specifically asked David and Rachel to review their balloon businesses over the past year because they have both been huge contributors to Qualatex Facebook groups throughout 2013, offering stellar advice, support and help to fellow members and felt it appropriate that they should conclude this blog ...and I can assure you that both reviews make fantastic reading, filled with great information and advice!


David Mahoney, Balloons Everyday

THE VERY BEST BALLOON YEAR EVER

For Balloons Everyday 2013 was our VERY BEST BALLOON year ever!  Our sales came from many different balloon categories: balloon bouquets, classic balloon decor, balloon sculptures, balloon overlay signs, bulk balloon deliveries and so much more.  One thing I pride myself on is that we don't supplement our company's income with any other things - just the very best balloons. Even though we made money in all of these different categories, we made 55% of our sales in classic balloon decor (basic columns & arches).  I love classic balloon decor because it is highly profitable and simple to do.  Classic balloon decor is basic, simple to learn/teach and has a GREAT impact. Best of all it is super profitable if done right.
Very Best Balloon Blog
Decor created by David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday

This past year we saw a lot of growth in our company, however we saw our biggest growth for 2013 in our outside balloon decor.  Specifically in the area of our balloon yard numbers and sculptures. In this area we had a gain in 2013 of 6%, taking our outside balloon decor to about 17% of our total business in 2013.  Why such a gain you may ask?  Well basically because the GIANT balloon yard numbers are so freaking COOL!  Imagine waking up in the morning of your birthday and seeing a Gianormous 10ft balloon number in the yard.... It is Spectacular! 


Very Best Balloon Blog
Decor created by
David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday
Another plus to doing outside balloon decor, is that most balloon companies avoid outside work because they don't like dealing with the elements.













I may not like the elements but I LOVE putting up our balloon displays outside especially our balloon numbers for every one to see.  Think of what someone is thinking as they drive down the street and see a 10ft number in someones yard - It has been one of the greatest advertising mechanisms for our company.



Very Best Balloon Blog
Decor created by
David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday
Most of our outdoor balloon sales comes from our 10ft balloon yard numbers.  A smaller portion of those sales is made up of our balloon column style sculpting (mermaids, football players, super heroes, etc...).  Balloon column style sculpting is great way to do something different and more themed oriented in a yard plus it holds up well in the outside elements (compared to other sculpting techniques such as deco twisting, hard frame sculpting etc...).  My favorite part about column style balloon sculpting is it is EXTREMELY PROFITABLE.  









Have you figured out a trend on why we had such a great year...  I'll give you a hint - Profitable balloon designs!!!


Very Best Balloon Blog
Decor created by David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday
Even though I see growth in all areas of our company, the area I feel that I have the most possibility for growth is in our balloon gift/bouquet sales. It only made up 12% of our total sales in 2013 (which is down slightly from what we have experienced in previous years).  Consider this, there are over 6 million people within 80 miles of my shop, this means in my area there are roughly 16,000 birthdays celebrated EVERYDAY!  Just think about the possibilities for Balloons sales EVERYDAY.  And let’s not forget about all the other occasions and events that happen through out the year.  I think everyday balloons gifts/bouquets will be one of our main focuses in 2014.  Even if I can only get 1% of the people in my area to order $25.00 worth of balloons, we will increase our bottom line by $1.5 million dollars.  Now will that happen (HAHAHAHA! - oops I am sorry for laughing)....  Will it happen, probably not this year, but it’s a good goal to work towards.  Even if we only get a little of that $1.5 million in sales, we will still have another SPECTACULAR YEAR. 

What tips or advice could I give someone in 2014 who wants their balloon business to be more successful, I would say find an aspect of the industry you like and MASTER it.  One of our motto's here at Balloons Everyday is that “You will never master anything until you have learned how to mastered one thing”.  Our goal and what we strive for is to master everyday balloons!  Balloon designs that can be mass produced, done at the very best level (of course with the very best balloons - Qualatex) and to be profitable.  We give our clients excellent service along with spectacular balloons EVERY TIME (we never cut corners).  We make sure every event is perfect and then move on to the next event and the next event and the next event as quickly as we can so we can service as many clients as we can.

Building great designs and marketing everyday balloons EVERYDAY has helped us grow at a steady pace and gives us the confidence that we will be able to open our doors and do balloons EVERYDAY not only tomorrow but for many years to come.

Balloons Everyday
www.balloonseveryday.com

_______________

Rachel Porter CBA, Balloon Splendor

Rachel Porter CBA
Over the several years, especially this last year, if I were to advise myself from the future looking back, I would say:

Rachel,
·         Never make a decision out of fear
·         Be generous
·         Be kind
·         Be respectful, even when someone is mean or vicious towards you
·         Enjoy what you do and how you do it
·         Value what you do
·         Keep your eye on the Big Picture
·         Be encouraging
·         Give yourself permission to say no
·         Simplify
·         Take time to rest
·         Decide if what you create is a commodity or art, respect your decision, price accordingly
·         Be teachable
·         Be honest about your skill level and be willing to invest in growing your skills
·         Be genuine
·         Seek advice from many, but at the end of the day, the decision is yours, make it and own it
·         Decisions are pointless until they are acted upon
·         You are who you are, stop trying to be someone else
·         What you do isn’t what you are, it’s what you do

More specifically to being a business owner and balloon artist, the#1 piece of advice I have utilized that has led to my success is after a job to ask myself or employees that were with me on the job, what did I (we) do well, and what could have been done better?  Then acting on both – repeating the good, improving where needed.
Very Best Balloon Blog
Balloon Decor created by Rachel Porter CBA


In the early days, I was overly focused on acquiring more designs and should have paid more attention to the points above. I think I would not be feeling as burned out today as I do, about balloon d├ęcor.

This one exercise has led to more efficiency and profitability than any other single thing I have done.

_____________________

I have really enjoyed all our reviewers contributions and their great words of advice! I know that each year we strive to do better, grow our businesses and be more profitable, 2013 for many has been a tough year, especially with recessions and helium shortages, but it gives me hope and encouragement to read how others have overcome and even grown during these difficult times!

A huge thank you to Joette Giardina, Laura Lozano, Yves Matouvu and of course Rachel and David, who have all given their time and advice so generously to help summarise the year 2013 for the Balloon Industry!

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com


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