Thursday, May 31, 2018

Build Your Brand by Guest Blogger Jill Shortreed - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2, "How To Build Your Brand" by Jill Shortreed, CBA, of Charleston Balloon Company in Mount Pleasant, SC, USA. To read Part 1, click HERE.

How can I make my brand more appealing?

Consistency is key when you build your brand
Of course, my company is the friendliest, and we give the best customer service!

We sell to everyone! 

Okay, what's the "Magic Formula?"

A great brand isn't just known and trusted - it is loved!

Jill has a wealth of business experience. She enjoys studying business books and engaging in online education seminars and classes to keep up-to-date. Sign up to Jill's Facebook group, The Business of Balloons. This group is aimed at those who own and operate a business that sells balloon decor, retail balloons, balloon deliveries, or entertaining with balloons.

This article was first published in Qualatex® Balloon Images magazine July/August/September 2017.

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Build Your Brand by Guest Blogger Jill Shortreed - Part 1

Guest blogger Jill Shortreed, CBA, of Charleston Balloon Company in Mount Pleasant, SC, USA, shares some of her business experience and how to build your brand.

Is your brand your logo?

Are you your brand?

What is your mission statement?

Are you quirky and colourful, or refined and polished?

Coming soon - Part 2 of Build Your Brand where Jill talks about USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or Positioning, the "Ideal Client," and is there a "Magic Formula"?

Jill has a wealth of business experience. She enjoys studying business books and engaging in online education seminars and classes to keep up-to-date. Sign up to Jill's Facebook group The Business of Balloons. This group is aimed at those who own and operate a business that sells balloon decor, retail balloons, balloon deliveries, or entertaining with balloons.

This article was first published in Qualatex® Balloon Images Magazine July/August/September 2017.

Happy Ballooning! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dive into the latest trend on Instagram - #mermaids (1,331,460 posts and growing!)

Being trend-savvy is the key to success, especially in the world of balloon artistry. Knowing what's hot will give us the edge over our competitors and excite our clients.

A sea-world theme is a favourite for me. I love colour, and this theme allows me to use so many wonderful hues to create magical decor. Earlier this year I created a number of visual displays for Pioneer®  Europe at Spring Fair. Spring Fair is the UK's No.1 trade show for gift and home products, held at Birmingham's N.E.C. One of the displays I made was designed to feature the new Qualatex® Enchanting Mermaid Microfoil®  balloon. 
It was also the perfect opportunity for me to showcase the NEW Qualatex Chrome Balloons™ and their unique vibrancy and versatility, especially when double-stuffed inside Jewel- coloured balloons.

I have been asked on several occasions how I made this display, so I thought that I would share it with you on the Very Best Balloon Blog.

It's all about the base!

The base is an integral part of the design. Without it, the design would not be as eye-catching as it is. It allows me to use many of the colours that are featured in the "Enchanting Mermaid" Microfoil. 

38" "Enchanting Mermaid" #57815

To start, I made a very simple Quick Link x-pattern wall using Chris Adamo's fabulous Balloons Online Design Tool. The wall consists of six chains using 6" Caribbean Blue Quick Links inflated to approximately 5", or five pumps on a Qualatex Green hand pump.

Two - chains of 10
Four - chains of 6
Total number of 6" Quick Links - 44

The chains are locked together using 5" Caribbean Blue and or 5" Tropical Teal duplets. 
Inflate to 3" or one pump using the Qualatex Green hand pump.
Total number of 5" balloons - 62.

With this type of "wall", we have spaces between each of the "X's" - the wall above has fourteen spaces to fill. This was where I was able to introduce a range of fabulous colours.
Each of the coloured balloons used one of the balloons listed below inflated to 5", 5.5", and 6" - the variation in size creates visual movement within the design, but be careful not to make the size differences too extreme. Each balloon is made into a Duplet with a 4" Caribbean Blue as the base balloon. This holds the balloons in place and keeps the wall flat at the base.

Chrome Silver 11" #58270
Chrome Silver looks fabulous when inflated. It creates a solid shine and has a reflective surface, unlike any other latex balloon. Chrome Silver also works extremely well when inflated inside a Jewel colour balloon (double-stuffed) - I renamed these "Jewel-Chromes," and they look stunning! 

Chome Gold 11" #58271
Chrome Green 11" #58273
Chrome Purple 11" #58274

To create the Jewel-Chrome balloons, use; 

Jewel Teal 11" #43753 
Jewel Quartz Purple 11" #43789
Jewel Sapphire Blue 11" #43793

18" "Happy Birthday Mermaid" - #57799 

To complete the display, you can add a selection of balloons that complement the "Enchanting Mermaid" special shape. Deco Bubbles are perfect for this display. They create a "bubble" look and allows to feature 11" latex balloons, making the display longer lasting. 

Qualatex has just released a fabulous new Chrome Balloon Custom Colour Chart, to download it click HERE or visit

Happy Ballooning!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Can You Imagine Winning An All-Expense-Paid Trip To The World Balloon Convention?

Ruti Grodkinsky, CBA.

That's exactly what happened to Ruti Grodkinsky, CBA, of Designed by Ruti - Balloon Decor Israel who attended the World Balloon Convention in San Diego earlier this year.

"Since I started doing balloon decor five years ago, l always dreamed of going to the World Balloon Convention. I would follow all the pictures of classes, competitions, and the parties on Facebook. For me, it seemed like a far-away dream.... Thank goodness for the Qualatex®  WBC Treb Heining Scholarship. I won and my dream came true! 
WBC was way better in real life. My highlights were volunteering for all the decor opportunities. It's amazing to see how everyone helps each other! I helped Lily Tan with her entrance decor, Federico Onida with his beach party and Olga Baranova with the final night Grand Gala! 

Ruti at the Final Night Grand Gala

Ruti helping Lily Tan with the entrance decor.
What truly amazed me was that all the instructors helped each other (where do you see that in any other industry?). I worked with Dante Longhi on Lily's entrance decor, then worked with Federico and Lily while they helped Olga for the gala — really amazing! The WBC parties are breathtaking, with the most amazing decor you have ever seen.

My only regret was not being able to attend all the classes. There were so many awesome classes to choose from.  I would have loved to be able to attend them all! I loved viewing the competitions, it was amazing to see all the small details that go into each piece. I helped the Canadian team with their large sculpture, I think everyone who comes to WBC should join a team. It's an amazing experience and something you definitely wouldn't do every day! 

This time around, I didn't enter any of the competitions as it was my first time and I just wanted to enjoy the experience without any stress. Saying that, I definitely think I will compete next time I attend. 

For someone who has never been to WBC, it's a MUST! Try to start saving for 2020 (I definitely am!). For any first-timer, do as much homework beforehand on which classes you would like to attend so you don't miss anything!"

So what is the Pioneer Visionary Scholarship?

Since its start, Pioneer®  Balloon Company has been the industry’s educational leader, helping balloon professionals obtain and cultivate creative skills and business expertise. In 2006, PBC continued this mission and established two scholarships to recognize talented artists interested in furthering their careers. These educational awards honor the stellar contributions of two industry legends, Treb Heining and Marvin Hardy, by passing the torch to emerging leaders. To be considered, recipients must be able to answer questions about: the deliberate growth of their business, specific ways they plan to apply education gained from their chosen professional event to help implement that growth, other investment plans to make their business grow, and specific skills they want to learn.

Scholarships are awarded throughout the year and fund attendance for one entrepreneur to a well-known industry event of their choosing in the United States or Europe. Each scholarship includes transportation to and from the educational event, complete registration, and lodging expenses for the duration of the event. Travel and registration arrangements will be made by Pioneer Balloon Company. 

To find out more and how to apply, click HERE.

Marvin Hardy Scholarship 
Anthony Lena 
Dylan Rowe 

Treb Heining Scholarship 
Delora Harbin 
Roland Répászki 
Ruti Grodzinsky 
Silvia Gonzalez 
Sinem Mehterian 

Congratulations to Ruti and all the other 2018 Pioneer Visionary Scholarship recipients!

Happy Ballooning!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Do You Create Visual Images On Your Computer? Here is a Fabulous Gift From Luc Bertrand, CBA.

Luc Bertrand, CBA, of Waw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, recently taught a class at the World Balloon Convention —"Creating Magic on Paper." In this class, Luc showed delegates how to create realistic-looking visualisations of designs and decor to make stunning presentations and selling so much easier! Below is a great example of an arch Luc designed that could be easily presented to a client showing them exactly what they are getting. As Luc says, "Words can describe, but images sell. Research shows that the human brain is able to process a visual image up to 60,000 times faster than the same information in text form."

There are many ways to create your visual images. Luc uses MacDraft PE (personal edition), others use Publisher, and there are many other apps and programs that can be used. I simply use shapes in Word or Pages to create my designs. Below is an extract from a post that I wrote in 2012 - "As a Balloon Artist, how can we find our Inspiration".


We still don’t need to touch a balloon at this stage. I suppose it really depends on what you plan on making. Some designers sketch out their designs first. Others reach for their keyboards! Hopefully, if you are reading this you have access to either a PC or Mac, and therefore you should have either WORD or PAGES. Either one of these programs will give you the ability to start designing. Just use the shapes to create your balloon shapes. To find the shapes in WORD, click on VIEW and then TOOLBOX. When that opens click on DRAWING. This will give you a new toolbar that has everything that you need. Use FILL to colour your shapes. CUT and PASTE to re-create more of the same. "Hey presto," you have a very basic design package. I can assure you I still use it today when I am designing anything from room decor to a centrepiece! "Father Christmas" started life as a computer-generated design. This method saves time and materials and 99% of the time and works out just perfectly when recreated with actual balloons! I am sure there are many clever people out there who know how to work with Coral Draw and other sophisticated design programs. That is my dream one day, but I know that as with anything new it will take a while to work out how to do it, so for now I am keeping to the simple way!

Sue Bowler
I created this just by simply using round shapes and filling in the colours!

Today's post is not about how to create these super images on our computers, but for those of you who do, here is a fabulous gift from Luc!

Luc has created a fabulous latex colour chart that shows Qualatex® balloons in a round rather than a balloon shape. This will allow us to create our visual images using the actual balloon colours that we are proposing rather than the nearest colour we can generate on our computers, making our designs even more professional.

Did you notice that Luc's arch design used the Qualatex Chrome balloons?

To make it easy for you to download this chart, I will add it to the files section in both the Qualatex and QBN Facebook Groups. These files will open in either Keynote or PowerPoint. I will also add the file as a PDF.

Only yesterday, I created a visual image of decor that I was proposing for a corporate client. It took me less than 15 minutes to create the image, and I sent it to my customer with a quote. It worked; I got the job! 

I truly hope that Luc teaches his class again. I know for sure that I would definitely love to attend!

For those of you who would like to create visual images for their customers but are not able to create the designs themselves, there are a number of payable options:

Balloon Art Clip Art by Balloon Splendor - these are available on Etsy - this is a membership-based software 

There may be others that I am not aware of. Please let me know if there are so I may add them to the list.

Happy Ballooning!