Monday, December 31, 2018

It's Time to Say Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019!


On this New Year's Eve, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a superb January, a dazzling February, a peaceful March, an anxiety free April, a sensational May, and Joy that keeps going from June to November, and then round off with a fizz-popping December!





Thank you all for continuing to support the Very Best Balloon Blog, and for all the lovely messages that I received throughout the year - It is very gratifying to know the blog is helpful and inspiring many of you! I am very much looking forward to writing the Very Best Balloon Blog next year, and would welcome any ideas or suggested topics that you would like me to cover - just drop me a message at suebowlercba@gmail.com.

I would also like to say a huge thank you to some of this year's amazing contributors and guest bloggers! They have all very generously given their time to inspire and help others in the balloon industry! To check out some of their posts, just click on their name!



Connie Iden-Monds, CBA, Party Animals in Nashville, Tennesse, USA.
Samuel Stamp-Dod, CBA, VIP Balloons in Ipswich, UK.
Avital and Nir Schechter, CBA's of Baloney Nir in Katzrin, Israel.
Jackie Ochitwa, CBA, of With a Twist Balloon Creations in Alberta, Canada.
Ruti Grodkinsky, CBA, of Designed by Ruti - Balloon Decor Israel.
Luc Bertrand, CBA, of Waw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium.
Jill Shortreed, CBA, of Charleston Balloon Company in Mount Pleasant, SC, USA.
Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia.
Stuart Davies, CBA, of Beyond Balloons in South Wales, U.K.
Michelle Severino, CBA, of Party Splendour in Peakhurst, NSW.
Caity Byrne, CBA of All About balloons in Washington, D.C., USA.
Tina Giunta, CBA, of Shivoo Balloons in Melbourne, Australia.
Zoe Adams-Jones, CBA, of Jaz Trading in Queensland, Australia.
Toñy Moncada, CBA of Globofiesta, in Elche, Alicante, Spain.

And of course a huge thank you to Qualatex® who sponsor the blog! 

I believe that we will have a few challenges in 2019, but if we work together we should be able to overcome many of these and grow and prosper for many years to come! 

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and looking forward to seeing you next year! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue















Monday, December 24, 2018

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

Wow, it's Christmas Eve! Where did December go? 



Congratulations and hats off to all of you who have waded through this mammoth month of "Elf on the Shelf" balloons, and those endless hours of planning, designing and creating fabulous party and Christmas event decor! 


Naughty Elves at the Party House, Bridgend, Wales.


To be honest, I did not realise how big the "Elf on the Shelf" craze was until I saw all the posts on Facebook showing many wonderful ready-to-go balloons! One of my favourite posts was from Party House, in Bridgend, Wales showing how naughty their Elves were being dragging a Christmas tree through their party store!


Elf design by Kyrstin De Leeuw





Kyrstin De Leeuw, CBA of The Balloon Store in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, creates her very own super cute Elf on the Shelf!












A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to create some magical Christmas decor for the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) children's Christmas party with a fabulous team of BAPIA (Balloon and Party Industry Alliance) members. The GOSH Christmas parties are for their patients, giving children and their families the chance to spend time together away from the wards – and to focus on having fun!



GOSH 2018 - Children's Christmas Party Entrance Decor with the fabulous team who made it! 

Our challenge was to create something that would survive four very lively parties, and needed to be latex free! I chose to create the entrance decor and designed a "Penguin Castle" using Qualatex
® Starpoints, Tapers and lots of Precious Penguin and Popular Elfin Penguin balloons! A huge thank you to my wonderful team who worked with me, and to Qualatex for sponsoring the balloons.

Only two days later I was back up to London with a fabulous team of balloon professionals to decorate a corporate Christmas party. I have been decorating this party for quite a few years, and each year the party gets bigger! This year we made 140 centrepiece designs, of which 117 were confetti-filled 3' balloons, in addition to entrance decor!
3' centrepiece balloon decor by Sue Bowler, CBA,
working with Ali Welsh Events.





The room looked absolutely stunning with beautiful balloons sparkling above each of the tables! 


3' centrepiece balloon decor by Sue Bowler,
 working with Ali Welsh Events.
And finally, did you all see the wonderful Mele Kalikimaka - Tropical Christmas Decor that was featured on Mr Q's Facebook page? This stunning decor filled the entrance lobby at Pioneer Worldwide. It is so vibrant, and packed with so many fun and exciting details! I really love it!


It's time to take a few days off with my lovely family. So, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler


































Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 - Let's Take A Quick Look at our Ballooning Year!



2018 started with what can only be described as a revolutionary new latex balloon - Qualatex® Chrome™ Balloons!

A latex balloon unlike any other with a rich, shiny metallic finish that looks simply stunning! 

Over the past year I have seen some fabulous designs and decor created using Chrome balloons. There are so many to choose from, but here are a few of my favourites!






Natasha Nordin, CBA of the London Balloon Boutique













Natasha Nordin, CBA, of the London Balloon Boutique, London, U.K. used 11" Chrome Gold balloons to create these fabulous balloon covered pillars. I love the precision and metallic ball-bearing effect that this decor creates.






Design by Spark's in Beirut, Lebanon.









I love this "Chrome" design by Sparks, in Beirut, Lebanon. Chrome balloons turn to "glass" when double-stuffed with a Jewel Tone balloon over the top! I re-named this balloon type as a Jewel-Chrome!








Design by Zoe Adam-Jones, Jaz Trading, Queensland, Australia.








Zoe Adam-Jones, CBA, of Jaz Trading in Queensland, Australia recently shared this beautiful organic style Chrome and greenery Christmas tree, which is absolutely stunning! 

On the 24th January we saw the launch of the fabulous new on-line show Q Corner Live! Hosted by the very funny, witty, occasionally a little bit naughty but always sincere, Keith Stirman, CBA, and Dominic Cassidy, CBA. Over the past year, Keith and Dom have presented this interactive "EDU-TAINMENT" show that offers a wide variety of topics including Business and Marketing Tips, New Product Features, Question and Answer Sessions, Industry Interviews and lots more! If you have not already subscribed, click on the link to make sure that you never miss an episode! https://youtube.com/qcornershow and check back on some of their earlier shows too if you missed them the first time round! 


San Diego - World Balloon Convention 2018!


Welcome Decor by Stuart Davies, CBA




From March 14-17, 2018 the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina was filled with nearly 900 ballooning delegates! Attendees travelled from far and wide from 52 different countries to enter competitions, attend many fabulous classes, and participate with building event decor as well as attend the grand events! Words cannot truly describe how fabulous this event is. It's not just a learning experience, it's probably the most energising and exciting ballooning opportunity that you will ever experience! If you don't believe me, just check out this fabulous mini documentary that follows the WBC journey of the Canadian "Twisted Team"!






Final Night Decor by Olga Baranova, CBA, and
Olga Samoilova, CBA.

Design class with Luiz Carlos da Costa Silva, CBA.












The next World Balloon Convention will be held in Orlando, Florida - March 23-25 2021! You have plenty of time to save - try saving a small percentage from each of your 2019 balloon jobs towards the cost, you will be amazed at how quickly your savings will grow! 

Organic balloon decor still remains one of this year's top selling styles of balloon decor!


Organic Balloon and Flower Wall by Sue Bowler CBA

I had the opportunity to create this fabulous balloon and flower wall a few months ago for a corporate client. They loved it - and so did I! Not only was it organic, it featured beautiful shades of pastel coloured balloons which blended really well with the faux flowers. Pastel shades is another growing trend that I am sure that we will see much more of in 2019! 

Trending Balloons

There have been some wonderful trends this year, some new, and others continue to grow from last year! What is your favourite?


Donut
Toucan
Llama
Mermaid
Flamingo
Unicorn




Balloons and the Environment

This became one of the hottest topics in 2018 and something that all ballooning professionals need to be aware of. We have a number of different bodies fighting our corner and when I say fighting I really mean it! In Europe we have the European Balloon and Party Council (EBPC). And in the U.S. we have The Balloon Council (TBC). Both councils are represented by leading balloon and equipment manufacturers, gas companies and many other party related companies! 

Earlier this year, EBPC launched a new website - www.partysafe.eu - you will find a wealth of information related to guidance and product safety.

Many of you will have heard of PEBA - the Pro Environment Balloon Alliance. PEBA is working tirelessly to represent the balloon industry.

I really don't want to gloss by this topic, and will be writing a full up-date blog post in the new year. If you are unsure what EPBC, PEBA and The Balloon Council are doing to help support the balloon industry, I recommend that you check out each of their websites - I have added links to make it easy for you to find them.

And finally...

Images Magazine and Balloon Magic are going digital!

From the new year, both Images Magazine and Balloon Magic will be available online and will be free!

Here are a few facts!


  • The last print issue of Balloon Images is October/November/December 2018.
  • The last print issue of Balloon Magic is issue #93, which will be mailed in December 2018.
  • Starting in 2019, both publications will be hosted on qualatex.com.
  • All content will be free, but there will be exclusive content for QBN members in the Balloon Images issues.
  • The issues will feature valuable content for today’s digital age including:  video tutorials, downloadable marketing materials, links to helpful content on other sites, and much more!
  • Both publications will be translated to languages currently supported on qualatex.com.
  • People living outside of the United States will no longer have to wait weeks or months to receive their issues because it will now be delivered to your email inbox.
  • Be sure to join the Qualatex email list  and subscribe to the individual publication lists to receive an email as soon as the issues go live.
  • Qualatex will still produce a print publication that will be released annually.  The first, to be called The Very Best of 2018, is planned to be available for purchase  January 2019 for approximately $12 USD +shipping.


This is just a small collection of 2018 moments, I am sure that I have missed many! I am very excited to see what 2019 brings us! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

And the Colour Of The Year is...... Living Coral!

"Love" Balloon Wall by Sue Bowler - www.suebowler.com

"Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year is a peachy orange with a golden undertone. 'Living Coral' is set to inspire optimism, energy and social connection".

We often ask what influences a trend, and when it comes to colour there is no doubt that Pantone plays a huge part.


Since 2000, Pantone has selected a colour of the year. To determine what that colour will be Pantone combs the globe looking for colour influences. They look to the pop culture, film, popular travel destinations, socio-economic conditions, organic elements, art, fashion, and much more. The Colour of the Year has a great deal of influence on products and purchasing decisions made that year in a variety of industries from fashion, industrial design, product packaging, graphic design, and home goods.



So how does this have impact on us in the balloon industry? Our industry is very much influenced by fashion, especially when it comes to weddings, as they impact the choices for bridesmaid dresses, flowers and decor! 

Organic Balloon Decor by Sue Bowler www.suebowler.com
Organic Decor by Sue Bowler, CBA.
Coral, Rose Gold, White, Blush and Chrome Gold.









The Qualatex
® Coral latex balloon is a perfect match to the new Living Coral and coordinates perfectly with Rose Gold and Pearl Peach! 

Coral - Rose Gold - Pearl Peach


Here are a few designs that I have made using Coral as one of the feature colours.


Balloon Decor by Sue Bowler CBA www.suebowler.com
Coral with Rose Gold, White and Chrome Gold.

Balloon Decor by Sue Bowler CBA
Coral with Rose and Pearl Ivory. 


Balloon and Flower Centrepiece by Sue Bowler CBA
Coral with Rose Gold, Blush and a hint of Chrome Gold.
I think that we will all enjoy working with this fabulous colour and we will see it in much of our decor in 2019!
Happy Ballooning!

Sue


www.suebowler.com
#suebowler



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How Much Would You Charge For This Design?

Many businesses struggle when it come to pricing, and not just in the balloon industry! 
The fear of pricing too high and not getting any business versus pricing too low and never making a profit is an everyday dilemma.






In the interest of today's blog, I asked a few of my ballooning friends from around the world to tell me how much they would charge for this style of air-filled design in their country. I chose this design as it uses very few balloons and it's quick and easy to make.


Before we start, write down how much you would charge for this design and see how your price compares to others.




So how do we know how much to charge? Some of us will "guesstimate," while others will actually work out how much they need to charge to make a profit!




Whenever I am pricing a design, I always start by completing a QBN Job Cost Form (shown above). It really helps to make sure that you have covered all your costs and make a profit, too! 

For my example, I am using the prices that are listed in the 2018 Qualatex European Everyday Catalogue. All the prices in my example are in UK £., and I have included V.A.T.


The weight that we use in a design like this can vary in type and cost. Some will choose to use a purpose-made weight, whilst others might use a sand or water weight - this will have an impact on the selling price.

For my example, I have calculated that I would need to sell the design at £11.24 to cover my costs and to make a good profit. 

Here are the suggested selling prices for the same style of design from some of my ballooning friends from around the world:

  • Belgium €12.95 - £11.54 - USD $14.76
  • Australia AUD $19.00 -  £10.98 - USD $14.03
  • USA USD $15.00 - £11.77 
  • UK £9.99 - USD $12.79
  • USA UDS $12.00 - £9.42
  • Hungary HUF 2190 - £6.05 - USD $7.74

I am really pleasantly surprised at the price range. With the exception of Hungary, there is not a huge price different between these countries. But it does not surprise me that Hungary's price is much lower. If you look at how much people earn around the world, there is a huge difference in the minimum wages. For example between Belgium and Hungary, wages in Belgium are more than three times greater than in Hungary (comparing 2018 minimum wages) and therefore the labour costs in each of these countries will reflect this difference. 

2018 Minimum Wages - this is a helpful guide to compare wages around the world.

Belgium - €1562.60 per month
UK - £1462.60 per month
Hungary - €444.10 per month
USA - USD $7.25 per hour - USD $275.50 per week
Australia AUD $694.90 per week



The job cost form is a good guide to help you with pricing, but make sure that the information that you input is accurate, otherwise it can alter your pricing significantly! You also need to consider perceived value, too. Often designs can look like they are worth more than the Job Cost Form suggests, and there is no reason why you cannot charge the perceived price rather than the job cost price - this is very common in creative-based industries.

I have written a few blogs on this subject:




And finally, don't forget we can up- sell and offer personalisation! This is a great way to add value to any design! Below is an example of how Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, promotes them.




Here is another way to up-sell this style of design. By simply adding arms, we have created a more interactive design! Finally, the third version is a mini table-top sculpture - all very quick and easy to make!



Thank you to all those who helped me with this blog. For those of you who struggle with pricing, have a go at using the Job Cost Form to help you to work out your minimum selling price to ensure that you make a profit. Making a profit will keep you and your business healthy and happy!

Happy ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler