Thursday, August 29, 2019

Countdown to Halloween 2019

Spooky Sweet!

Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA
Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA
With Halloween fast approaching, it's time to start planning your sales and marketing strategy!

Halloween is one of the most exciting and fun days of the year filled with exciting costumes, candy, decorations, parties and trick-or-treating! It's is also one of the biggest sales events for the balloon and party industry and being ready and prepared is the key to success!


Have a Boo-tiful Day!

This design is the perfect mix of all things Halloween!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA.
For some consumers, Halloween shopping starts early, especially if they are planning a party or to spook up their homes, office or businesses. Halloween enthusiasts will want to make sure they get all their supplies early for fear of being too late, so marketing Halloween early is never a bad thing! If you don't believe me, check out your local supermarkets - I am sure that you will see Halloween candies and other products are already on sale.

For this reason, you too should decorate your store and social media profile with Halloween themes - a well-decorated store can be just enough of a nudge to encourage your customers to make a purchase! plus you can make cover and profile photo changes for all social media platforms you are active on. Have you ever tried www.Canva.com? Canva is a free, online design tool which includes a fabulous selection of design templates. You can create almost anything and it's really simple! Here's a Facebook cover that took me around 5 minutes to make using Canva - just remember to take them off when the season ends! 



If you would like to learn more about how to use Canva, check out my blog post which gives more details about the tool.

"Good Design Matters for your Business" - Zoe Adams-Jones Shows You How to Create Fabulous Social Media Posts Using CANVA.


Though making changes to your social media branding is incredibly important, the need to adjust your social media marketing strategy to include a themed campaign for Halloween should also be a priority - here are a few ideas!


https://www.fg-a.com/halloween.shtml

  • Share mini-tutorials on how to make Halloween decorations - try to incorporate some of the items that you sell! 
  • Get creative with "spellbinding" images. Visual content like images, GIFs and videos grab the attention of social media audiences. Special occasions like Halloween allow businesses to loosen up a little bit and have some fun!
  • Take photos of your team in their Halloween costumes to add a personal touch.
  • Download Halloween SVG cut files and create some unique and exciting balloon designs that you can add to Bubbles and other balloons - show off your fabulous new balloon slogans on social media!

  • Have Fun with Hashtags - especially when it comes to Halloween marketing campaigns, never underestimate the power of hashtags - if you still unsure about hashtags check out this great article: Instagram Hashtags: The Ultimate Guide (2019 Update)
  • Create theme product bundles - If you have a few different products that lend themselves to a particular Halloween theme, offer them together at a discounted rate. 

Wishing You a Wickedly Wonderful Halloween!

Here’s a Halloween design that’s both classic and contemporary!
You should always know what you want to sell. If you only sell balloons and balloon decor, know what designs you want to promote, this will help you with your stock control. Remember, people buy what they see! 

If you are in need of inspiration, don't forget to check out www.qualatex.com! Simply click on the Inspiration tab to open up a sensational range of Bouquet, Decor, Air-Filled Solutions and Marketing Materials.

Hopefully this blog post will kick start your Halloween campaign. I have a few fun ideas for designs that I will be working on soon, and I promise to share! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler






Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fabulous NEW Jelli Balloons Design Inspiration - With Step-By-Step Design Instructions

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you have surely heard by now that Northstar Balloons has launched the incredibly trendy, and wonderfully colourful Jelli Balloons!


www.suebowler.com
30th Birthday Design by Sue Bowler, CBA.

These Pastel ombré numbers are available from 0-9, and each is a mix of your favourite colours! With a little bit of creativity, I believe that there are endless ways to use them, which I am sure that we will begin to see more and more over the next few months!
I love to design new ideas for decor and retail sales, so my immediate thought was, what other balloons can I use that will compliment and add value to my Jelli Balloon designs?
My eye is immediately drawn to the ombrè range, and particularly the pastels!

Rainbow Drip Cake

  • Size and shape: 39"
  • Package item #: 10506
  • Flat item #: 10494

Birthday Pastel Ombre & Stars

  • Size and shape: 18" Round
  • Package item #: 88052
  • Flat item #: 88046

Pastel Ombre

  • Size and shape: 18" Round
  • Package item #: 97430
  • Flat item #: 97429
www.suebowler.com


Recently, I've enjoyed creating a new style of air-filled displays that are just a little bit different from the norm. I loved creating this Jelli Birthday design using this technique. The colours are so fun and vibrant, and it coordinates well with the Qualatex Ombre Microfoil balloons! 















Here are a few examples that I have made using this same technique. This idea works well with 16" Numbers as well as 18" Microfoil balloons. For added impact, helium balloons can be added to the displays.


www.suebowler.com
Rose Gold 30th Birthday Design by Sue Bowler
www.suebowler.com
Mr & Mrs Wedding Design by Sue Bowler

The secret to this design is its base! I started with a sturdy cake board, and then cover it using half of a foil balloon. To learn how to recreate this view the video below.



I used the 18" Pastel Ombre to cover the base for the Jelli Balloon design as it compliments it perfectly. It gave the appearance of the Jelli balloon reflecting onto the base.






Once you have covered the base, you can add your balloons. To stick the balloons to the base you can use a variety of different adhesives. My preference is Oasis™️ Uglu Dashes, or Click-Click Balloon Bond, they are both very strong and will work well for a design like this.

Start your design with the focal balloons, and begin by inflating these with air. If they have connection tabs, secure these with tape at the back of the balloon. This helps to keep the design looking clean, tidy, and gives a professional finish.









If you are connecting two numbers together, use either Uglu Dashes or Balloon Bond to connect. 












Position the balloons onto the base so that they look visually balanced. Connect to the base using Uglu Dashes or Balloon Bond. If the room that you are working in is cold, you may find that the glue is not as effective as it would be in a warm environment. A small travel hairdryer, which you can keep in your tool box, can be used to heat up the glue a little and then add your balloons, which will make them stick very well. Having a hairdryer in your tool kits is a great asset, as not only does it warm up adhesives and make them stickier and stronger, it also makes it easier to remove any bubbles from vinyl!




The focal balloon should be able to stand up without any additional support, but we will still add in some small balloons that will offer a little extra support, and additionally will add detail and more pops of colour to the design.

These are the balloons that I used for this design. Each of the 5" balloons were double-stuffed to intensify the colours. I also used the tips of Chrome Gold 260Q's.










I started with my largest 5" balloon, which was inflated to approximately 3.5". Make sure that the balloon is nice and round. Trim off any excess balloon after the knot and add an Uglu Dash or Balloon Bond to stick it to the base.











This first balloon should be positioned behind the number and will acts as support to make sure that it is sitting in the correct position.





















Repeat at the front using a different coloured balloon.











To complete the design, add a few more balloons so they look like they are scattered on the board in a random yet appealing way! Ensure that each of the balloons are well secured and that the knots of the balloons are out of sight.






I hope you have enjoyed learning how to make this design!

Happy Ballooning!


Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wedding Balloons and the Great Outdoors - updated August 2019

A few years ago I was the decorator of a wedding in which the bride was very specific with her decor ideas, thanks to Pinterest! Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and think that it is a great source of inspiration. But I also think that many of shots that can be found on the site, especially of wedding designs, are staged and therefore are not always as practical as they appear in the picture!

So what do you do when a bride asks you to recreate beautiful but unrealistic decor that she has viewed on Pinterest? 
Unfortunately, unlike the bride, I did not see beautifully arranged sets of helium filled balloons. I saw the potential for a tangled mess of balloons!

Honesty being the best policy, I decided that it would be in both of our best interests to explain all the potential problems of creating what she wanted, in this case having helium balloons outside, while also providing better ideas and suggestions of what would work well instead.



Topiary and Greenery Column by Sue Bowler


So what factors should you look out for when decorating with balloons outside?


Here are a few great suggestions and solutions from a group of industry experts from the QBN Facebook Group.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

How to Present Your Decor Design Ideas to your Customers.

Our ability to present new ideas to clients in a professional way is vital to the success and growth of our business. 

Whilst clients find many of their ideas on Instagram and or Pinterest, their brainstorming is not exclusive to those social media sites. This makes it much more important for you to secure their business by wowing and inspiring your clients with your own creative ideas! 

There are a number of balloon related design tools available online - some are free whilst others will incur a cost. But it's my belief that if it seals the deal, then it's worth the investment! 

Many balloon artists work with design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, which allows them to create vector graphics. A vector graphic is a computer-made image which is made up of points, lines, and curves that are based upon mathematical equations, rather than a designated amount of pixels. This means that no matter how close you zoom in or out on an image, the lines, curves, and points remain smooth. 

The design proposals below were created by Chris Adamo using Adobe Illustrator. Chris explained to me that when he is proposing a design idea such as this, he will generally show three sketch options. 
"Putting in the extra work is worth it, this company has 30 to 50 stores nationally. It helps to set the client expectations and gives me a chance to get the designs via my partners uniform"
Design inspiration 1. using Adobe Illustrator by Chris Adamo, CBA.


Design inspiration 2. using Adobe Illustrator by Chris Adamo, CBA.

Design inspiration 3. using Adobe Illustrator by Chris Adamo, CBA.

I personally use a variety of ways to produce my design ideas - but nothing too technical! Not only can I use these ideas to present my ideas to my clients, I can also use them to create new designs for classes that I am teaching! Dedicating a few hours to forming a design allows your creativity to flow without the added task of physically inflating balloons.

As many of you will already know, Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online, Sydney, Australia, has very generously shared his Balloon Design Tool with the balloon industry. 

With this tool you can create Columns, Arches, Balloon Walls, both with round and QuickLink® balloons, and Gridz designs. Here is an example of decor that Chris designed that he was able to present to his client.



I love this design tool, it has helped me to create exciting and inspiring design! 

I designed this clown face balloon wall for a class that I taught a number of years ago in Israel. When I designed it then, I did not have the luxury of using a tool like this. I actually plotted each of the circles into a Pages document to create my own Duplet Square Pack Balloon Wall "graph paper." I have since replotted the design using the online design tool and it looks so much better and definitely easier to work from!




Below is the actual balloon wall made up! This was made by Nir and Avital Shechter CBA, of Balonire, Israel. After learning how to create my original walls, they recreated the same design some years later for a client! 


Balloon Wall by Nir and Avital Shechter.
So how can I take my design one step further to allow my client to see my vision for the decor that I want to create for them?


I saved the design that I created on the design tool as a PDF, and then removed the numbers around the edge by cropping it. I then inserted the wall into a Pages document, (if you use a PC you may want to save it in a Word document). To add detail, I visited Qualatex.com and clicked on Inspiration. I then selected Explore Decor. I then searched Clown/Circus in the search facility and this filtered out all the decor ideas within that category. Because I am a QBN member, I am able to download each of the images that I want to use in a high resolution as a png file with a transparent background, which means that when you add it onto your document you do not have a white background around it.

By using this method you can place several images on one document that will help the client to better visualise you ideas.
This Tropical Arch design is being taught as part of the 

Making Memories - Big Parties Course 


Did you know that you can download balloon images from the Qualatex website as png files with a transparent background, making it even easier for you to add them into your designs and proposals, or to give your customers ideas for decor. I have used this method on many occasions and I am always very excited to see how the real thing looks once it's actually built with balloons! 

Below is a video that will show you how I created the tropical arch design shown above using very basic steps that anyone can do using their computer... no special software required!




If this all seems a little too much work, then there are a few other alternatives that you can use. Rachel Porter, CBA, of Balloon Splendor, Washington, USA, has created a range of Balloon Art Clip Art that is available to purchase through her Etsy shop. There are many different styles of templates available that you can use to create good visuals to present to your clients.

And finally Virtualloon, a membership-based software that allows you to create your own designs using the Virtualloon designer software. There are many different functions available including the ability to add a background pictures of the venue and overlay your designs to show how the decor will look in the actual space. 

Whether you choose to use Chris Adamo's Online Balloon Tools or my simple method of building a design on a computer using Word or Pages, or learn how to use Adobe Illustrator or other similar software programs. Or alternatively use balloon clipart or invest in software such as Virtualloon. There are many options out there to help you to create decor ideas that can be presented to clients in a professional way! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler