Friday, January 29, 2021

Top Tips for a Successful Lockdown Valentine's Day

Many of you may have realised that the odds are stacked against balloon companies around the world. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, many of us are in lockdown or are restricted to the types of business that we can operate during this time! To top it all, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday this year! Some might say "let's forget Valentine's Day this year" however, if recent balloon sales are anything to go by, it could be a bumper year!

Being prepared is the key to success:

1. What will you sell?

It is very easy to get carried away and offer many options, but to be honest, it is much better to keep it simple and offer a limited range with varying price ranges. How you deliver your balloons will determine what size of arrangements you will offer; there is little point offering bouquets of twelve Red Hearts, if you don't have a large delivery van!  Check to see what you have left over from last year, and be sure to feature some current trends too - check out all the new and exciting Valentine's balloons in the Qualatex Valentine's catalogue

Think Pink! Is a top tip from Tope Abulude, CBA, of Balloon Inspirations, in Essex U.K. "I use as much pink as I do red, and air-filled Qualatex® Deco Bubbles... Simply so I can immediately convert my designs to Mother's Day as soon as Valentine's Day is done. I guess for me it's being able to create arrangements that I can still sell after Valentine's."

Designed By Kerry Ferguson - Pioneer Europe

2. Use exciting and descriptive words

Make your design sound exciting! Give each design a name, as it's much easier for customers to select by name rather than description. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

- Amore

- Pink Romance

- Love you More! 

- Love is in the Air

- Me to You

For those of you who offering designs with added value, such as putting balloons inside balloons or adding personalisation or little details like bows, remember that these are all "Lovingly Made by Hand or Hand-Crafted with Love by Us!" 

3. Adding Extra's

4", 9" and all the lovely air-filled mini shape Microfoil balloons are a great add-on to any design or delivery! They can be prepared now, because once they're inflated and heat-sealed they will last forever! Make sure that you take a good picture of your design with the add-on included so that you customers can see what they are getting... a picture is better than words! 

4. Things to be aware of...

Helium does not like the cold weather, so be aware that when you take helium balloons outside they will start to deflate! This is nothing to be worried about, they will re-inflate when they are reintroduced into the warm, but it's always good to know and maybe to make your customers aware of 💕

5. Marketing is key!

Is your Facebook Business Page Valentine's ready? Start by changing your cover banner! If you are not confident enough to make your own, why not use a ready-made cover from Qualatex! I love both of these, and you can find them by visiting or simply click HERE. If you prefer to make your own, try, it's very easy to use and you can get great results! 

I love this animated version too... very eye-catching! 

Do you have good photographs of the designs that you are selling? It is truly important to have good visual images, as they are the factor that will help you capture the sale! 

If possible try and take a photo of your design with a plain background, but again, you can use CANVA to change the background if you want it to be completely white or if you want to include your own background added! 

This is a before and after shot of one of my designs that I have used
CANVA background remover... it takes seconds!

Another option for those feeling a little more adventurous, is to turn your images into little animated videos!

If you have never used CANVA before and would like to know more, check out this blog post that will hopefully give you all the help that you need;

How to Create Inspiring Instagram and Facebook Posts for the Non-Designer - Part 2

If you have never used Facebook paid advertising, I strongly recommend that you give it a try. You can make it specifically targeted to your local area, as well as your audience and you can choose exactly how much you want to spend... it's inexpensive, and very effective!  

Don't forget those all-important #hashtags 

Here are a selection of popular Valentines hashtags that can be used on your Instagram and Facebook posts

#valentines #valentine #love #handmade #valentinesgift #valentinesgiftforher #valentinesgiftforhim #valentinesgift #valentinesday #valentines2021 #valentinesathome #valentinesballoon #valentineballoon #balloondelivery #supportlocal #supportlocalbusinesses 

And don't forget to hashtag your town or any of the places that you can deliver to! 

For those of you who struggle to find the right hashtags to use, check out

These are their most popular Instagram Valentine's hashtags: 

#valentine #love #valentinesday #valentines #gift #birthday #valentineday #valentinegift #handmade #gifts #like #art #anniversary #fashion #flowers #kadovalentine #kadoultah #bouquet #giftideas #instagood #valentinesgift #buketbunga #chocolate #florist #valentinesdaygift #photography #wedding #heart #follow 

I hope these tips are helpful! Valentine's Day this year is a little bit unknown, but as I mentioned at the start of this post, if general balloon orders are anything to go by, it should be a good one! People are not going out to buy cards, flowers or other Valentine's gifts, so if you get your marketing right, there is no reason why the orders should not come through!

Wishing you a very successful Valentine's Day! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

How Can I Find Training Courses as someone who is new to the Balloon Industry?

If you were to ask any seasoned professional what they would do differently if they started their balloon business again, you would find that most of them would have taken up training sooner. Balloon artistry is a creative skill, and there is so much more to it than you many think... but maybe you have already started to find that out?

Training Instructor TY Wong of Colour Life, Hong Kong

I know of a number of very successful balloon businesses who started their ballooning journeys in recent years offering only organic décor. They in their own words were 'self-taught'; however, as their businesses grew, so did their clients requests and it became evident that they needed to learn the true foundations of balloon artistry: Classic Balloon Decor. 

Rainbow Arch and Decor by Sue Bowler

Classic Balloon Decor is the foundation of balloon decorating. Foundations can be found in the early defining work of a discipline, and balloon decorating started with balloon garland arches, swags, columns and 'string of pearl' (SOP) arches.
Classic Balloon Decor is the starting blocks for ballooning, and almost all balloon artists/decorators start here! It's as basic as learning how to inflate balloons to a specific size, tying a duplet, twisting balloons into clusters as well as the art of adding balloons to line or framework! Once a decorator has these mastered, they can move onto more challenging projects! 

Decor by Sue Bowler

Classic Balloon Decor can be used in so many ways and for so many different types of events, including weddings, corporate decor or shopping malls; think large spaces where balloons can be used on large scale!
 It's not just about learning Class Balloon Decor techniques, it's also having a good understand of the elements and principles of design.

Creating the 'perfect' design is not something that just happens automatically, at least not for most of us anyway! There are a number of factors that make a 'perfect design', so let's take a look at what those factors are!

Elements of Design:

These are parts that make up the design, and you can either touch or see the elements of design. These include colour, line, shape and texture.

Principles of Design: 

The basic principles of design include unity, scale and proportion, balance, rhythm and harmony.

Applying these principles to the elements of a design brings them together into one cohesive idea. How you apply these principles determines how successful a design may be!

So you may be wondering ,how can you learn about these and where can you find training courses, especially during the pandemic?

It is true to say that the pandemic has definitely thrown a spanner into the works when it comes to face-to-face training courses! However, finding good training in many countries has always been difficult even during normal times. 

During the past few months, when many countries have been in lockdown, Qualatex has worked hard to bring training to the world-wide community in the form of webinars. To-date, there has been 10 webinars covering a wide variety of topics.

For anyone new to the balloon business, I would like to recommend: 

"Cooking with Cam & Eve - Ingredients for Success Part 1 - Qualatex Latex" as well as "Cooking with Cam & Eve - Ingredients for Success Part 2 - Qualatex Microfoil and Bubble Balloons."

I can even offer you a coupon code that will give you $5.00 off each of these courses!


Both of these videos in addition to other fabulous online classes from industry leading instructors are available to purchase and download from Qualatex Online Education at Vimeo - Click HERE for a direct link or go to

Can you learn from YouTube?

There are so many great tutorials available on YouTube, but for every quality video there is one that gives bad or ill-informed information You can easily learn really poor skills and techniques which is not a great way to start your ballooning career. I have used YouTube myself to learn how to make different styles of bows, and other non-balloon related techniques, so it's definitely not all bad. Just use discretion when browsing YouTube!

My advice to you would be to seek balloon artists whose styles and designs you like, and follow them on their Facebook and Instagram pages. If they have videos, which many do, then those are the ones that you want to watch.

Qualatex has their own YouTube channel - Q Corner, and I would certainly recommend that you check it out, as it is packed with many great tutorials and training videos - click HERE for a direct link or visit

If you would like to learn more about the elements and principles of design, and how it will help you with your balloon designs, I have written a number of blog posts that will help you greatly:

Part 4: Beginners Guide to the Elements & Principles of Design - Rhythm

And of course, don't forget to tune in to Happy Hour with Cam & Eve, you can find that on Mr Q's Facebook page LIVE every alternate Tuesday at 1pm CST. You will need to check your international clocks if you want to watch it live, or you can catch-up afterwards as they are all available to watch, all you have to do is visit Mr. Q Facebook Page and click on videos! 

I hope that this is helpful to you, and keep checking The Very Best Balloon Blog as it too is packed with great information and so many helpful resources! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Say it with Love... Who Remembers Love Hearts Sweets?

This is a little bit of a throwback to my youth! I designed these little balloon characters holding the 6" Qualatex®  "Love Expression" Hearts as a homage to the Love Heart sweets (candy) that we had when I was a child!  As soon as I saw these lovely printed heart shaped, latex balloons, I was reminded of the sherbet sweets that we used to love - calling out the little message that each sweet shared as we ate them!

Be Mine Valentine's Guys by Sue Bowler

Love Hearts sweets were initially launched back in 1954. Since then they’ve been used to send romantic messages and been used for art, clothes, weddings and tonnes of other idea's including these little balloon guys for Valentine's Day! 
Swizzles Love Hearts

Recently I taught a Valentine's webinar where I demonstrated a little character similar to the designs shown in this post. Characters like this are quick and easy to make and are very sellable too! Someone asked if we could add sweets/candy into the body of the character, and yes, this design would be absolutely perfect for that! Instead of using a coloured QuickLink™️ for the body, simply replace this with a Diamond Clear QuickLink. If you want to add sweets, then I recommend that you make the design a little bigger than the ones that I have made here, and use 11" QuickLinks and 11" Printed Faces, that will give you more space within the 'body' of the design to add additional rolls of sweets.

Tip: The easiest way to open up an 11" balloon to allow you to add confetti or small items is to use a stretching device such as a Castration Tool/ Pliers like the one shown below. Some balloon wholesales now sell these but if you struggle to find one, try Amazon or a farming store as the tools original purpose is to castrate small farm animals 🤓

Note: Regulations around the storage and handling of food items, including sweets (candy) vary depending on where you are in the world, but most countries have stringent regulations to prevent outbreaks of food poisoning. I recommend that you read this post by Sonia Payne of Balloon Biz Academy who covers this topic extremely well. 

Thinking of Adding Sweets, and Drinks To Your Balloon Designs – Make Sure You Read This First!

Castration Tool perfect for stretching open the necks of a 5", 11" and 16" Balloons

Love Expression Assortment
Size and shape: 06" Heart 
Colour: Assortment of Pink, White, Rose Package item #: 97275 
Package Count: 100
These Qualatex balloons are not available in all territories.

If you missed my recent Valentine's webinar - Expressions of Love- it is now available to view at Vimeo On-Demand - Click HERE for a direct link.

If would like to learn how to make this adorable design check out my post Valentine's "Love You" Guy - that has step-by-step instructions! Click HERE for a direct link! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Creative Air-Filled Valentine's Day Inspiration

It is never too early to start working on your Valentine's marketing, and planning the designs that you are going to sell!  Valentine's has always been one of the balloon industries biggest selling opportunities for balloon gifts and deliveries, so it is important that you are ready! What we need to remember is that Valentine's means different things to different people; maybe a person has been in a long-term relationship and the word 'love' is a familiar saying, however, there are those whose relationships are nowhere near using that word (LOVE) and they certainly don't want to send or give anything that is remotely soppy!

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a few Valentine's posts packed with ideas and inspiration! 

Last year I filmed a class where I demonstrate a selection of air-filled Valentine's Designs - the class is called Expressions of Love and is part of the Qualatex Online Education on Vimeo on demand. In this class, I demonstrate a wide-range of designs from fun and appealing characters to trendy creative air-filled balloon gifts. All these designs will highlight your love and affection for your loved ones! Using Qualatex® The Very Best™ balloons, these air-filled creations are designed for easy delivery or pickup!

Don't miss out on this great class, you may learn some great new ideas for this years Valentine's Day! Click HERE for a direct link! The class runs for over 2 hours and 40 minutes! 

Here is a sneaky peak at some of the designs that I will be teaching during the class! 

Valentine's - Expressions of Love Designs by Sue Bowler
Valentine's - Expressions of Love Designs by Sue Bowler 

Let me remind you that the Qualatex website is packed with so many great design ideas and inspiration. Here are a few air-filled designs that I have selected for this post! 

"Pop the cork and celebrate your loved one with this fun decor!"

If you are a QBN Member, you can download the instruction sheet to make this design - Click HERE

Designer name: Federico Onida, CBA, Balloon Express Shop - Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy

Some Hearts Just Belong Together
"Here’s a piece chock full of love!"

This is a great way to create a simple Mosaic style frame. You could use a large box lid or make a simple box frame using foam board! 

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

Be My Love Now and Always

"An elegant gift to say I love you on any occasion."

I love this design by Cam Woody! Containers are a great way to make a beautiful balloon gift! Cam has combined the 22" Red Hearts & Filigree Bubble, with the 14" Red Kissey Lips shape and 11" Red & White SuperAgates that have been under-inflated to sit neatly into this design.

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

Will You BEE My Valentine?
"Not just today, but always!"       
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

I Knew You'd Be Impressed!

Here’s a statement piece full of cuteness and love.

Designer name: Kerry Ferguson, CBA, Pioneer® Europe Ltd., UK

To see the full selection of Valentine's balloons available for 2021, click HERE to view the Valentines and Early Spring catalogue.

Keep safe and happy ballooning!

Follow me @suebowler