Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ho Ho Ho and all things Santa!

Well, it's that time of year and Christmas is coming... only 26 days away!

11" Santa & Christmas Tree 31012

I thought that this would be the perfect time to give you a little bit of Christmas inspiration! Fill your shops and stores with Santa designs READY TO GO! Let everyone know that you are taking orders for Christmas and that they need to book their Santa today to avoid disappointment! 
Sue Bowler

Here is a Santa that I made a few years ago. He pretty  tall standing about 8' high, so not really a good retail design, but perfect for decor. Make 2 of these and add a Christmas arch in between, great for an entrance or over a stage!

Sue Bowler
I have now created a new version that is shorter, standing approx.5' tall and therefore much easier for someone to get in to their car! Perfect for homes, offices, restaurants, hotels... inexpensive to make but with BIG perceived value! Click on the DVD below to get the step by step instructions.


Step-By Step recipe for 5' Santa. It can be made in about 30-45 minutes depending on what equipment you are working with!

 Here are some other ideas for Christmas...

Sue Bowler
Contemporary Santa 18" 99799

Create these 350Q Santa's, these really do add value to an 18" foil!

Remember... almost anyone can inflate a helium filled balloon and attach it to a ribbon and weight, let's face it, that's what most of our competitors do!
But making up a design like this takes skill and know-how... watch these flying out of your stores!

Don't forget to visit for some great idea's, sales tips and for QBN members a little bit more in the  Christmas Business Booster section!

Premier Balloons Manchester
How about making one of these fantastic Santa Arches made by Kevin Proctor CBA of Premier Balloons, Manchester, UK. His arch uses a very similar technique that I used in my design above, but Kevin has turned it into an arch... I love it, it's fun and it has so much personality!

I asked Kevin if he had any tips to share when making the Santa arch?
Tip 1: As the balloons decrease in size from 11” Ruby Red to 5” Ruby Red, I double stuffed the first two 5” clusters to keep the colour nice and deep for the shade to be as consistent as possible and to disguise the switch from under-inflated 11” to the fully inflated 5”.
Tip 2: The Santa hat bobble is just made from 12 x 5” white (make a mini topiary) to create a nice round bobble for where the hats meet at the top of the arch.

Other than that, I imagine the rest of the design is pretty self explanatory, obviously it can be made taller, arms and legs can be added to the Santa's as well as accessories (belt and buckle, a sack, parcels, candy canes etc etc etc) 
Merry Christmas!

Kevin - Premier Balloons

Don't forget to download all the Seasonal Bouquet Ideas from the Qualatex website to inspire your customers, make up some of the designs READY TO GO and add them  to your On-Counter Design Menu... so easy for your customers to select the arrangements that they want, and don't forget to show the price, customers like to know what they are spending!

So, it's here, the big festive countdown. I hope that you have the best Christmas trading ever!

With seasonal best wishes
22" Bubble A Visit from St. Nicholas 26979

Monday, November 21, 2011

Has attending The Qualatex Event inspired you?

Last week I wrote a blog that gave my own personal summary of  The Qualatex Event. I felt that it would be great to hear what others thought too! So I invited a few delegates and some who also took their CBA exam at the event to share their experiences and maybe a photo or too! A huge thank you to those that responded with a few personal highlights from the weekend!

Lucy Hennessy CBA

I really enjoyed the event it's just a shame I couldn’t fit every class that
I would of liked to have seen, each time you walked along the corridors you were simply stunned by the creations. It was nice to meet old and new friends that all share a passion for balloons. The parties were great fun and the decor fabulous. I can't wait for the next event!

Lucy Hennessy as Miss Piggy with Friends

I'm doing a job on Saturday using the new Minnie & Mickey mouse designs that
were sitting in the corridor ( not sure who created them) and  have also
taken an idea from Fiona Fishers class on foil numbers and adapted it for
the same job increasing the clients original order by over £150.

Lucy Hennessy CBA

Soo Wheeler CBA & Paul Webber CBA

When we heard about the Qualatex Event, we were not sure we were able to go due to costs etc, but we are so glad that we decided to go. From the moment we arrived (on the Friday), we felt like we were part of an exclusive family of like-minded balloon mad people. Our work with balloons started straight away as we were helping with creating a piece for the medium balloon sculpture competition. In a way, we are glad that it was non-stop as it gave us a bit of space to NOT think about our CBA exam that was scheduled for the Saturday morning. We were both extremely panicky and nervous about the exam as we had completed our QBN part of the CBA back in 2007 and we brought the dvds with us to enable us to have one last swot before the morning! We didn't get much sleep that Friday and were still up in the early hours of the morning! Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook
Many thanks

Sue & Paul, CBA
Sue &   Paul with Jo Uddin

Sue & Paul With Robbir Furman and Niko Fric

Sue & Paul with me :)

Vicky Wilson CBA - Missy Moo Ltd

OK here are my thoughts!

This was the first event me and mum had attended and had no real objectives except our CBA so the run up to it and first part of the weekend was all about our CBA exam.  It was a great feeling to do it at the event though and made it extra special! 

I came away from the event with a very proud feeling - its hard to describe...  I always used to listen to my husband talk about conferences etc that he had been on with his work, and he used to say that he would always leave them very buoyant and proud to be working for the company he did.  Having never been to a conference etc before, I hadn't experienced this feeling - but certainly have now.  I found the video montage at the gala dinner very moving (and I wasn't even drunk!), it just brought a few tears to my eyes, but left me feeling so excited and pleased to be a part in such a great industry, with such fab, helpful and talented people!  And the fact that really talented people are happy to teach you their tricks of the trade is amazing!

We met some great people, and picked up some good tips - just little things, but stuff that makes your day to day work better!  We learn't some brilliant new designs, which we are already selling your bubble bouncers and are trying out different varieties of them. We are also taking one of Luc's designs and playing around with that too.  However we have lots of ideas for the future, and most of these have come about in some way, shape or form because of the event.

Vicky - Missy Moo

Tony Hanscombe CBA

As someone who has been in the balloon business for some years I wondered if I would find anything of interest and use at the event. As it turned out I needn't have worried as I found several things of interest and some that I am putting into practice, in particular - the decorated numbers, Dee White's belly buddies, Colin Miles ideas for what I call 'bespoke' decor and your giraffe. The whole weekend was very enjoyable and it was nice to meet so many old friends.

All I can hope that is that this becomes a regular event alternating with the Dallas WBC.

A final note from me: 
I know from my own personal experience that attending conventions and events are so inspiring, not only do you learn from some of the best instructors in the world, but you also make friends and contacts, people who will help you when you need advice or even help you out on a job! Your confidence grows and so does your business! Conventions may seem to be costly at the time, but those costs are soon turned in to profit! It is great hearing feedback from those who attend, as an instructor it is even more rewarding when we here how our ideas are being put into practice and making money!!
Picture sent to me by Debbie O.Neill of 'Gerry the Giraffe', a design that I taught at The Qualatex Event... congratulations Debbie, he looks perfect a the Zoo!

If you have never attended a balloon event or convention, then why not make it your 2012 resolution and sign up for the World Balloon Convention, you truly will not regret it!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Qualatex Event... a few magical memories!

Wow, I cannot believe that the Qualatex Event has been and gone! Months of preparation and logistics are now a mere memory, but as with all balloon conventions, these are memories that will stay with us for a very long time!

Firstly, I would like say a huge thank you to Lia Palka and the Brazilian team for sharing all their amazing photographs with me, I have used a selection of these to create The Qualatex Event Competition and The Qualatex Event dvds which I will add to the end of this blog!

Decor by Luc Bertrand CBA

I am not sure if Heythrop Park, an 18th Century country house now hotel, has ever seen anything quite like it, balloons absolutely everywhere!
The event started with a flurry of activity, competitors from Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Slovenia, Russia, Spain, Italy, Brazil and the UK in full swing building 8 large and 5 medium balloon sculptures and instructors building event decor both inside & outside the hotel!

Decor by Sue Bowler CBA

When I first arrive at an event I love to meet up with all the friends that I have made over the years, it's like the best reunion ever! Then I like to get my bearings... I think after the 4 days I finally found my way around the hotel... "anyone know where the Enstone is"??

Along with the start of the competitions, Qualatex distributor's from across Europe were invited to the annual distributors meeting and dinner and both myself and the lovely Robbie Furman were charged with creating the evenings decor. The theme for this event was 'The Future' and I used this theme to create my 'Out of this World' decor! Robbie created a fantastic Space Rocket that greeted the guests on their arrival!

Friday evening, myself and Carol Dack - CBA Coordinator from Pioneer Europe met up with an extremely nervous group of  delegates who where bravely taking the final part of their CBA assessment on Saturday morning... I am not sure if they slept that night, but we hoped that we had managed to re-assure them a little!!!!
The hotel remained a constant hive of activity with the competitions and instructors preparations continuing throughout the night.

Saturday saw most of the event delegates arrive, in total over 370 delegates from more than 26 countries... the CBA Exam started at 9am prompt and the sculpture competitors had a few more hours to complete their designs! I would like to say a little bit about the CBA Exam. Firstly a huge thank you to Carol Dack who ensured that the day worked like clock-work, with so many candidates (29) we needed 3 teams to complete the 15 minute Panel Interviews. Carol was determined that we would have everyone's results but 5pm that evening so they could relax and enjoy the event! Our dedicated teams continued after the exam, working to mark each and every design created by the candidates. After several hours we were down to the very last few designs and it started to dawn on us that at that point everyone so far had passed, excitement grew within the room as we reached the very last candidate... and YES... they had passed too! 29 new CBA's at The Qualatex Event!

Entrance Decor created by Ian Herd
Mad Hatter Alberto Nava CBA... with his Queen of Hearts!
Saturday evening started with the official opening ceremony in the Heythorp's grand lobby, swiftly followed by the Disney Party beautifully decorated by Colin Myles, Vanessa Lever, Shirley Ray and Alex Arroyo and the many volunteer helpers! Plus I was delighted to see Ian Herd, who wowed us all with his awesome Mickey & Minnie Mouse balloon wall!
It was so great seeing all the amazing costumes, so many people had dressed up!

Both Sunday & Monday were action packed filled with classes delivered by 19 of our industries best instructors. Beautiful designs adorned every nook and cranny of the hotel and it's lecture rooms!
Dee White CBA in action

Now it only seemed like yesterday that we were dancing and having fun at the Disney Party and now it's time to get dressed up for the Final Night Gala.. once again we were absolutely wowed with the stunning decor created by Jodie Norris (White) and Dee White and their amazing team of helpers. The evening was filled with awards (I have posted all the results on the Competition DVD below) and entertainment from the great 'Rafael' and dancing into the wee small hours with music from a great live band, a perfect opportunity for John and I to put our wonderful new  dancing hobby into practice!

The 4 days passed by so very quickly, I wish like always that I had more opportunity to catch-up with everyone and seeing everything that was going on, but looking through 1600 photographs was wonderful... and it appears from the photo's that everyone had a great time and it has been great reading some of the fantastic comments posted on the Qualatex Group and The Qualatex Event Facebook page... keep them coming, we love feedback!

I think that I will allow the photographs to do the talking now, I think that every picture speaks a 1000 words! The first DVD is a complete overview of the Qualatex Event and the second DVD is all the competitions... I hope you enjoy watching these as much as I did making them.

If you missed the Qualatex Event, then do not despair as you can experience all this and more by attending The World Balloon Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA March 21-25 2012

See you there!