Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Toñy Moncada: Creating Magnificent & One of a Kind Balloon Decor!

When Toñy Moncada, CBA of Globofiesta, in Elche, Alicante, Spain was approached by a client to decorate their three month old son's Baptism, she never would have imagined  the amazing balloon journey she was about to undertake! 

Tony Moncada CBA Globofiesta

I interviewed Toñy last year for the Very Best Balloon Blog,  entitled Introducing Toñy Moncada. At the time Toñy was teaching at the OnArt Event in Barcelona.Whilst observing her class, I was both inspired and captivated by her style. She was using techniques that I had never seen before, and she has meticulous attention to detail. I discovered then that Toñy is very passionate about balloon art and creative dècor, a fact which is obvious to anyone who meets her. She loves to work very closely with and build solid relationships with her customers, and excite them with her creative designs and ideas! 

"What made me decide the type of decoration was undoubtedly the venue that had been chosen for the event - a room with large ceilings, which we had to transform completely! It was clear that it should be organic decoration."

Toñy at work, preparing the many 1000's of balloons that she would need for this installation.

As with all jobs, there were a few challenges. The first of these challenges was colour choice, as the invitations and posters had already been designed and it was important that the decor coordinated with it.

The combination of colours were: 

  •  White with Dark Blue inside
  •  White with Sapphire Blue inside 
  •  Grey 
  •  Gold chrome

In total, Toñy used around 10,000 Qualatex balloons, from 5" to 3'!

Toñy created this fabulous backdrop, which was so much more than the balloons: check out the curtain! 

"I wanted to create a curtain with different fabric textures and colours, so it was like an organic style curtain. After a little experimenting, the idea was born!  It fitted with the theme perfectly: nothing else would have worked as well. The venue needed the walls covered in order to create the effect we were looking for - and we got it!"
Toñy Moncada. CBA Globofiesta

With added lighting, this backdrop proved to be the perfect photo opportunity for the family and guests.

Often a photograph does not do justice the full scale and size of the decor, so I included this photo of Toñy to show you how big the organic curtain and frame was.

"The height of the room also proved to be another challenge, but I have found that the greatest challenge of all is to make sure that the client is satisfied and happy."

As someone who loves to design centrepieces, I wanted to know more about Toñy's brilliant idea, which I thought worked perfectly with the decor.

She explains her idea here:

"The idea of ​​the centerpiece was born for several reasons. Balloons were a significant part of the dècor, and therefore it was important that they should also be included on the tables. One of the latest trends is to work with acrylic and also with gold accent details. We used acrylic to make the welcome poster, and other decorative details. It was an idea that had been in my head for some time and this was the opportunity to make it come true."

Tony Moncada CBA. Globofiesta
Simple, but very. elegant centrepiece design by Toñy Moncada

I asked Toñy how long did take her to create all this fabulous decor?
"It took approximately 20 hours to have everything ready. Before going to the venue we had already pre double-stuffed all the balloons, and the wires were cut in 5m lengths which made it easier to move for placement.  We also pre-made the bases for the helium balloons for the children's table, and the crepe paper ribbon tails were ready."

"I would like to comment that it is true that working with double-stuffed balloons is harder: the air inflator inflates slower, tying is more difficult. But it has other very positive things: the balloons duration is very long and in perfect condition, they take longer to oxidise, which allows you to work several days in advance."

This is what Toñy's customer said:
"I would like thank you Toñy for your work, it was all spectacular! When you work with professionals like (Toñy), you can see the difference between the people who love their work and the rest. Many thanks for your involvement and for making that day even more special."

This is Toñy's biggest job to date, and she obviously really enjoyed every aspect of it, from conception through to the absolutely stunning end result! Did she worry that she hadn't ordered enough balloons? Of course she was - I would be too! But like a true professional, she did the math and worked it out (and checked with a few ballooning friends too).

I often hear decorators saying that they don't get the big jobs, but I say, never say never! Toñy's customer did not know what they wanted in terms of decor, but they did want something special and unique. Toñy waved her creative wand and sold them the dream - stunning, memorable decor that no other medium could have achieved! 

Congratulations Toñy and thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and experience with the Very Best Balloon Blog! 

Happy Ballooning!



Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Terrific Free Ballooning Tools

We all have a desire to grow our businesses. We try to do this through gaining knowledge, learning new skills and designs, and working on our social media activity. 

Attending training sessions, events, and conventions is a fabulous way to gain confidence, knowledge, and improve our ballooning skills. But having access to additional resources is vitally important for the growth of our balloon businesses!

Today, there are many resources available online. These are some of my favourite, and they are all FREE! 

March 2019 saw the launch of the first ever free online Balloon Magic! Until now, Balloon Magic has only been available as a paid subscription, but it's now free and packed with some amazing content! 

One of the great benefits of this publication now being available online is that it includes video tutorials.  This gives us the opportunity to watch and follow while an instructor creates one of their wonderful designs. In this first issue, you can see both Vadim Shushkanov, CBA and Nicole Greg, CBA demonstrate two amazing and very sellable designs - I know I will definitely have a go at making them both! 

To learn how to make this fabulous little balloon sculpture - click HERE 

To learn how to make this adorable Toucan click HERE

In addition to the how-to-video's, there are also some great step-by-step design recipes from Pippity Pop, Matt Falloon and Takehiro Kai - all of whom are incredible artists! 

If you are new to the world of entertaining, there is an outstanding article by guest writer Todd Neufeld of the Twisted Balloon Company, New York, USA. Todd shares the Top Ten Components of an Entertainment Contract!

Even if you are not a twister, you can really learn some great skills from Balloon Magic and maybe even incorporate some more twisted designs into your everyday designs and decor!

Balloon Images also went digital earlier this year, and is now available online. Like Balloon Magic, it has the benefit of featuring how-to-videos, which are a great way to learn new ideas and skills.

Design inspiration is something we are all looking for constantly. Lucky for us, Balloon Images is packed with ideas, tutorials and amazing high quality stock photographs that you can use for marketing and to show your clients.

Where else would you be able to find a great how-to video tutorial, like how to make a fabulous on-trend hot air balloon? Plus some great downloadable high resolution images that you can use for your marketing campaigns! If you are a QBN member, by simply logging in, you have access to even more free materials! 

Check out this great how-to video, simply click HERE
Downloading images is easy, just click on the arrow that appears on the left hand side of the image and choose the size of the file that you want to download! 
Another excellent resource is Q Corner - a twice weekly live-streaming talk show that is aired on YouTube and hosted by Dominic Cassidy, CBA, and Keith Stirman, CBA. Known for their lighthearted banter and entertaining style, Keith and Dom show features a wide variety of topics including: Business Tips, Design Inspiration, Industry News and Announcements, New Product Features and much more. 

Below is one of their earlier episodes where they show Confetti Balloons & Gumballs.

The great thing about Q Corner is if you miss an episode, you can always go back and watch it at a later date! We recommend that you subscribe to the channel, that way you will always get a notification when a show is about to air.

For Russian speaking balloon artists, there is now a Russian Qualatex TV channel. This new channel is hosted by Alexander Solomatin, CBA. Each episode covers a variety of topics and includes some great how-to videos. The show airs weekly, and you can subscribe to ensure that you get notification when a new show airs.

In addition to these excellent resources, there is of course the Very Best Balloon Blog - which of course you must know about, as you are reading this blog post! I wrote my first post in June 2011, and to date I have written 390 different posts covering a wide range of topics! It is very interesting to see which of the posts are most often read - can you guess? Whilst you would think it is a design related post, it's actually - How much should I charge for that... how to price your work! This post has been viewed over 45,000 times! Pricing is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you have never run a business before. Learning how to price to ensure that you make a profit is not always easy. I hope that my pricing related posts (I have written a few) help those who are struggling. 

I am always keen to hear what topics you would like me to write about. There may be a subject or something that you would like to know more about. My posts are often inspired by questions that I see on Facebook groups, such as how to write a Risk Assessment or Method Statement, or how to use a heat sealer. 

If you need to search for a specific blog post, just type in key words to the search bar, and you will see all the posts that relate to those words.

Each one of these amazing free resources is sponsored by Qualatex, and I truly don't believe that there is any other balloon manufacturer who gives so much support to the balloon industry! Thank you Qualatex and all those who work so hard to bring us such high quality support and freely accessible materials.

Happy Ballooning!


Thursday, March 7, 2019

International Women's Day and how to make this fabulous Number Eight Sculpture by Alexander Solomatin, CBA.

International Women’s Day in Russia was first marked on March 8, 1913, when women demanded the right to vote via a public demonstration. It became a recognized public holiday in Russia in 1918. In fact, in Russia, this holiday is not called “Women’s Day”. It’s such a big public holiday that it’s just referred to as “the 8th of March”. On this day, Russian men and women bring gifts and flowers to all the important women in their lives and tell them “C vos’mym Marta!” (Happy March 8th!).

March 8th, or Women’s Day, is roughly comparable to Mother’s Day in the rest of the world, except that it celebrates all women – mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, and so on. Mother’s Day is not celebrated in Russia, so March 8th functions as a celebration of both mothers and women in general. Women’s achievements in the personal, public and political spheres are widely acknowledged and celebrated - this excerpt was taken from "A Guide to International Women's Day in Russia" by Varia Makagonova.

Women's Day is now celebrated globally and is a national holiday in many countries. It is a day that honours women and their remarkable contribution to society.The day also commemorates the inspiring role of women around the world to secure women's rights and build more equitable societies.

To honour International Woman's Day, Alexander Solomatin, CBA of Balloondog, Moscow, Russia, created this fabulous Number Eight sculpture that incorporates both balloons and flowers that he shared on Qualatex TV - Russia, a YouTube channel that has been created for Russian speaking balloon artists. 

Alexander explained to me that while flowers are very popular in Russia and play a major role in this celebration, balloons are often not considered to be elegant or stylish. His aim was to design and make something that would change this perception. 

Alexander asked me if I would select a soft colour pastel palette - using the colour blending (double-stuffing) technique that he could use for his design. I selected five different colours that I thought would fit his goal.

Here is the video that Alexander created. I have voiced over the tutorial in English so that we could share the video and Alexander's beautiful design on the Very Best Balloon Blog.

Alexander Solomatin, CBA

Alexander Solomatin started working with balloons at the age of thirteen. As a teenager, the temptation to earn 200 dollars at one time was very appealing, and so his balloon journey began. A few years later, when Alexander was in college, he met Dmitry Novikov with whom he quickly gained a lifelong friend. The two started working together, gaining experience in different balloon companies.

In 2008, Alexander participated for the first time at the Moscow Balloon Festival. He attended Alberto Falcone's class, and this class changed both his balloon perspective and life forever.  Alexander realised that balloons could become a profession, and not just a part time income.

Alexander with his inspirer Alberto Falcone, CBA.
He met Vadim Shushkanov one year later in 2009, who also had developed a significant  interest in balloons. Together, Alexander, Vadim and Dmitry created SD Shar Company.

Dmitry Novikov, CBA, and Vadim Shushkanov, CBA, with Alexander.

In 2010, Alexander, Dmitry and Vadim participated in the Moscow balloon Festival as an independent team.
In 2012, they went on to win first place at BACI (Balloon Artists Convention Italy) as an independent team. This allowed them to expand their balloon vision and gave them inspiration for future party shops. 

Together as a team they have won:
  • Three times consecutively at the Moscow Festival 
  • WBC with a 3 head Cerberus – 1st place
  • Multiple 1st and 2nd places 12 minute and other competitions.
  • BACI large sculpture 

Currently Alexander operates three party shops, a decorating business, and as a side project in February 2019, they started Qualatex TV in Russian for the Russian speaking balloon artists.

There is no end in sight for these men, and they have big plans for the future!

Thank you Alexander for sharing with the Very Best Balloon Blog! 

Happy Woman's Day and Happy Ballooning!