Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Are you Getting Ready for Christmas and the Festive Season?

Christmas this year will be very different for many, both in our businesses and in our personal lives!

This year has certainly not been what anyone could have imagined. With parties and events cancelled in most countries around the world, the usual Christmas and New Years trade seems completely wiped out, however, that does not mean that all is lost!

This year has definitely seen a greater demand in both balloons and balloon decor for private and home events. It is very well known that during recessions there has always been a greater demand for balloons, and that has once again been proven this year with many companies, wholesalers and manufacturers reporting bumper sales.

So how do you prepare your business for Christmas 2020?

COVID has had a significant and immediate effect on consumer behaviour;

  • Consumers have started to prepare and shop earlier than usual.
  • Many consumers are turning to online shopping for the first time.
  • More people are "searching" for local businesses.
  • A large percentage of customers have no intention of spending less at Christmas than they did last year.
  • Consumers are trying out businesses they have never previously purchased from.
Much of this information was from a report in JPI Media Local - Uplifting Business Predictions for Christmas 2020

It is apparent from looking at balloon-related Facebook Groups that many balloon companies have already started their Christmas campaigns. 

The annual 'Return of the Elf' sees many balloon companies inundated with orders for their impending arrival on the 1st of December! Side note: the term 'Elf on the Shelf' is a registered trademark and if you use these words in your marketing, you are very likely to encounter problems; many businesses have had their social media accounts disabled and often completely lost because of their use of trademarked names in their marketing, and 'Elf on the Shelf' is no exception. It is always worth checking first before using official names within hashtags! I have written a post on this topic - How to Avoid having your Instagram Account Disabled, or worse, Lost Forever!

Balloon & Party Stores

I am sure that many have already started to install their seasonal displays, NEVER underestimate the power of a great display. 

How fabulous is this display by Trish Robertson of Barossa Helium Balloons and Party Supplies in Tanunda, South Australia. Trish was inspired to re-create Luc Bertrand's beautiful QuickLinks Santa Mural  which has taken centre-stage in her window! 

Trish said; "I look at my window as real estate, just like shelving in stores is real estate. But the window is the most important real estate because it can decide if someone comes in or not. The other thing I don't do is fill it. I keep it simple so it jumps out. 

Trish also leaves her lights on in her store allowing her window displays to keep on working even when the store is closed!  

Design Ideas

Offering new and appealing designs will help you to attract customers and also set you apart from your competition, so taking the time to do a little research and learning will definitely help! 

Have you been joining Cam Woody and Eve Antonello for Happy Hour every Tuesday? This weekly Facebook live show covers different themes each week and has some truly fabulous ideas! Just in case you missed their Christmas session, I have added a link below! If you want to catch up on past classes, simply visit Mr Q's Facebook Page and select a video, they are all available to watch! 

Santa’s Little Helper - This delightful elf brings magic and cheer to any holiday gathering. Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.

The Joy of Christmas - Share the sentiments of the season with this beautiful display.
Designer name: Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.

Christmas is in the Air

Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Social Media Marketing

There has never been a more important time to reach and inspire your customers with your social media posts.

As I have already mentioned, many more people are buying online - the convenience of online shopping has always been a huge benefit, but more importantly, the ability to order any product from the safety of your own home is highly valued during these tumultuous times. People are also trying out companies that they have never bought from before, and also seeking to buy from local and small businesses. 

Being creative and consistent with your posts will pay off greatly, and maybe just a little paid (local) advertising would be a benefit too - have you ever tried Facebook or Instagram advertising? For very little cost you can promote one of your posts - this can help you to reach more customers. It is very easy to do, you set your own parameters and budget, I would strongly recommend that you try it out. Be sure to check out your insights to see the effectiveness your posts, and hopefully you will also see a growth in new followers, as well as more enquires and sales too! 

Firstly, decide on what you want to promote and sell. This is dependent on what type of balloon business you have. There are those with stores, others who work purely with mail order, and balloon companies that can offer both collection or delivery services. Be careful not to overwhelm your customers with too many items, be selective and creative - anything and everything personalised is extremely popular, so maybe show a range of balloons and products that you have personalised. Leading on from the Elf in a balloon craze, has anyone ever thought to do a 'Letter from Santa' balloon? Just search 'Letter from Santa' and you will see some lovely ideas that could easily be adapted to balloons or could be sold along with a beautifully personalised balloon!

Qualatex have a fabulous range of ready-made social media posts that are freely available for anyone to use as part of their marketing campaign. These are available in a range of languages, or kept blank to allow you to tailor them specifically to your own business. Here are a few examples; some of the posts are animated, which is great as videos often attract more attention. If you start to ramp up your posting schedule, you might be very grateful to have some additional ready-to-go posts.

Our social media posts should get people into the Christmas and holiday spirit, they should be engaging and should create the desire to place orders. Make sure that you use stories as well as posts as stories have many easy-to-use features that encourage audience engagement — from one click polls to instant emoji slider stickers. Stories are also an opportunity to keep your business in front of your followers. 

Have you thought about running a competition? Competitions help to build community. When a contest is run effectively it is a great way to build a strong following, and it can incentivise people to follow you. It helps to build brand awareness. It will help you to increase your subscribers, increase engagement and of course increase sales too! 

I hope that this has given you some food for thought, a few ideas and maybe a little inspiration!

Happy ballooning! 


Follow me @suebowler


Thursday, November 12, 2020

We all get a Little Bit Excited when we see a New Balloon Colour - Magical Custom Colours

I will always remember seeing someone's first reaction to a display of Jewel Tone double-stuffed with Chrome Balloons - the colours created by this combo are rich and vibrant, with an almost glass-like appearance! The most exciting thing about creating custom coloured balloons via double-stuffing is that the options are endless!

I suppose that we have been doing this for as long as I can remember, however before it was only used as a last resort - the extra cost and time factor was a determining factor. 

 Today, that is definitely not the case!

Balloons and balloon décor have become increasingly trendy over the past few years and with this, consumers have become more discerning and often demanding of their requirements.

I love colour and love creating custom colours. Probably one of my favourite custom combination is the Jewel Tone balloons double-stuffed with Chrome balloon colours. I'm also a little infatuated with all the stunning pastel colours that you can create.

Shimmering Emerald Stars by Eve Antonello

Shimmering Emerald Stars

Be the envy of party decorators everywhere with this "star-studded," gorgeously green Column!

Designer name: Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.

To create these fabulous colours, Eve used Jewel Lime and Jewel Teal with Chrome Silver inside.

Pastel colours are extremely popular and I loved having the opportunity to design and make a beautiful balloon and flower wall for a client. 

Pastel Balloon & Flower Wall by Sue Bowler
To create these colours I used "Chalky" & "Warm" pastels.

Chalky pastels are created by stuffing vibrant colours inside Qualatex White latex. Using the double-stuffing method, these balloons take on a matte appearance that creates a unique look, similar to chalk on a blackboard.

For warmer pastel shades, stuff balloons into colours with warm tones like Ivory Silk, Pink, and Blush. The double-stuffing provides an extra dimension that simply cannot be achieved with a single balloon.

These Instagram posts from Mañeca Balloons, in New York, USA are simply fabulous!  Not only are they showing their beautiful decor, they are also showing that they are using custom coloured balloons.

Boho Safari Theme Baby Shower 🦒
Boho Safari Theme Baby Shower 🦒
Mañeca Balloons, in New York, USA. 

Mañeca Balloons, in New York, USA.
Beautiful Organic Garland by
Mañeca Balloons, in New York, USA. 

For quick reference, Qualatex has created a range of custom colour charts which feature common colour combos that we can share with our clients when searching for the right colours. To see all the charts and in full size click HERE
Did you know that there is now a Facebook Group that is dedicated to Custom Balloon Colours - "A group to share and discuss balloon colours - this is existing, or custom colours. A group for any skill level or enthusiast. Share your amazing designs with the colour combos you used!" 

Below is a great video with Zoe Adam-Jones of Jaz Trading in Queensland, Australia. Zoe recorded it for Q Corner, and in it she explains how she created a fabulous range of pastel custom coloured balloons for a Hot Air Balloon design that she taught in one of her classes... How beautiful it was! I also recommend that you check out Zoe's business - Jaz Trading's Pinterest account too, as it too is packed with inspiring ideas and inspiration! 

And finally, don't forget to check out the great article on the Qualatex website - Hot Trend: Custom Pastel Colors that features beautiful custom colour decor by Sarah Courtney of Belle Balloons in Melbourne, Australia, Tina Giunta, CBA, of Shivoo Balloons in Melbourne, Australia and Jenny Wang of Bingo Party Studio in China.

This Colour chart was created by Zoe showing one of the hottest colour combinations - Dusk Dreams from a design created by Elari Events.

Flamingo Hat Box Design By Sue Bowler -
Flamingo Hat Box Design
By Sue Bowler

As much as it's more work and of course more expensive to do, I really love the effect of double-stuffing, not purely based colour but also because it can make the balloons look more solid, often glass-like, and it also makes the balloons last so much longer in a design, which is an absolute bonus when creating long lasting displays.

Thank you to Mañeca Balloons, and Zoe Adam-Jones for sharing their fabulous designs and creativity with the Very Best Balloon Blog! 

Happy Ballooning!

Follow me @suebowler

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Chris Adamo shares his "Top Tips" and Advice on Selling Balloon Walls to Customers

As contribution to my recent series of posts on Balloon Walls, Chris Adamo has very kindly offered his thoughts, tips and advice.

Chris Adamo, CBA
Chris Adamo, CBA
Balloons Online
The Balloon Crew, Sydney, Australia

"Balloon walls are as diverse as the balloon industry itself! Whether self-supporting, rigged or floating, we as professional balloon decorators have a huge range of products, techniques, tones and textures to choose from. 

If you look at it from your customers perspective, I can guarantee that they do not know of this malleable product type, or that we can offer a huge range of styles versus the one's that they have seen before. 

It is up to us to suggest the most appropriate wall style based on the variables, and it is our responsibility to establish what those variables are. Customer service is just that: serving your customers. Selling product is not service, take the time to ask questions and understand everything about your customer's event, then you can suggest the right product. 

Some questions are:

  • Indoors
    • Helium is possible
    • Rigged is possible
  • Outdoors
    • Most probably framed
    • Longevity will be an issue
    • Wind / sunlight / rain?
  • Size / Purpose / Budget
    • Low budget or large size = hollow quick link wall? 
    • High budget / premium finish = foils or organic 
  • Theme / Message
    • This is the fun part! If creating a logo or colour theme, we need to think of what construction method will offer the most useful lines or texture to best emulate that design.
    • Vertical & horizontal lines = QuickLinks or alternate size pack
    • Diagonal lines = duplet square pack
    • No lines OR abstract colour = organic

Pro tips:

  1. Balloon walls can be BOTH beautiful décor AND functional, perhaps your client wants to block a door / view / room partition? Perhaps the wall can help direct the flow of thoroughfare? Solving problems with décor is a win win = your customer can justify a better allocation of budget.
  2. Don’t forget the golden ratio (1:1.6 or simplified to 2:3), when designing a wall to fit a specific space, your wall will sit with more of a natural disposition using 1/3 white space and 2/3 wall. 

Now we have decided on the style of wall (construction method) and size we need to create a design. Designing your wall at this stage gives you the benefit of formulating an accurate quote, and it gives you a sketch or digital render to help converting your sale.

The online design tool at was created to help streamline this very problem. One can create multiple designs in minutes with a colour matched digital render using Qualatex balloon colour swatches, a stock order list and a production break down."

If the online design tool is new to you, and you would like to know a little more, I recommend that you check out the short video below to see many of the different design functions available.

Chris shares one of his fun wall builds. Here is a bit of behind the scenes from the design and construction of his "Avengers" - Alternate Size Pack balloon wall.

Avengers Balloon Wall by Chris Adamo
Avengers Balloon Wall by Chris Adamo

In preparation for Christmas, Chris has shared two fabulous design templates that he created on Balloonpro - Balloon Design Tool, you are very welcome to use these.

Santa Face Balloon Wall Mural using QuickLink X-Pattern technique

Christmas Tree Balloon Wall Mural using Duplet Square Pack technique

I am a regular user of Balloon Design Tools! I love how I can work on my designs on my laptop, create a few different options and then send them over to my clients for approval... without even touching a balloon!  

You can try out this fabulous tool for 7 days for free. After that, you can sign up with either a monthly (cancel anytime) or annual subscription. Plus, there are many other fabulous free resources as part of your membership!

If you missed my earlier Balloon Wall Posts, simply click on the links below: 

Part 2 Fabulous Balloon Walls - created with QuickLinks™️

Once again, a huge thank you to Chris, who has to be one of the most sharing people in the balloon world! I know I truly appreciate everything that he does for our ballooning community! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler