Tuesday, July 12, 2022

What Inspired You To Start Your Balloon Business?

Why does anyone start their own business, let alone choose to build a business around balloons!?

I recently asked followers on my Instagram and Facebook page "What Inspired You To Start Your Balloons Business?" and had such a great response that I thought that I would share some of them with you today. Maybe you can relate to some of them! 

I think that my ballooning journey is probably quite similar to many others. My path into the big wide ballooning world started after I had my first daughter (who is now 33!!) After being a stay at home mum for a few months, I found myself looking for "something" to do. My criteria was to find an opportunity that would allow me to work from home, work around family time and with a product that would not perish, unlike flowers or food. I did not have a huge amount of money to invest in my venture, so 'finding' balloons was perfect as it ticked so many boxes, and being a little bit artistic helped too! 

It took me a number of years before my ballooning career truly took off (excuse the pun.) There was little or no training available at that time, no Youtube or internet for that matter! For four years I merely ambled along, not really knowing how to run a business or how to cost my designs, I was in fact losing money! My turning point was the QBN program (Qualatex Balloon Network) which truly helped me to really get my business off the ground. Without that, I think that I would have quit, which I see happening a lot in this industry! 

Here are more inspiring stories:

Rhonda Young - The STL Balloon Lady" I hired a balloon company to deliver a String of Pearls Arch for a wedding reception.
Those guys put that arch up so fast! It was beautiful! The guests enjoyed dancing and taking pictures under it! It wasn’t too expensive and I got all the credit for thinking of it.
I later found this floral/balloon wholesale store in my neighborhood and a lady named Sue would give me pointers on what to do. One day Sue gave me a duffel bag FULL OF the Images publications. I mean a whole lot! She had them chronologically organized and said she was waiting on the right person to give them to.
I stopped at the store, bought me some chips and a Pepsi came home and laid on the couch and went through each and every one of those Images books. That was over 20 years ago!" 

I could not agree more with Rhonda's comments regarding Balloon IMAGES! These where such an important resource for me, especially in my earlier days and continued to inspire me throughout my career! I still have every copy and refer back to them today! 

One of the perks of a QBN membership is access to "members only" content in Balloon Images, the number one balloon decor magazine in the industry.

While Balloon Images is now available digitally, you will find PDF copies of print versions from Jan/Feb/Mar 2015 to Oct/Nov/Dec 2018 below.

Kristina Owen, Kristina's Party Pieces in Runcorn, UK.
"I was planning my wedding and went to look for room d├ęcor walked in to a balloon shop and fell in love. That was in May 2000. I signed up for a 10 week course in the September 2000 at my local college and never looked back 22 years later I still get just as excited; I love my happy place."

"In 1976 I was a journalist for a local newspaper when I fell ill and had to recoup for a few weeks. I helped turn the showroom of our family owned paper bag manufacturing and disposable paper goods wholesale business into a retail 'party shop' selling novelties, steamers, serviettes, and limited partyware to schools, restaurants and the public. At that time, we had to purchase our limited range (10 colours) of balloons in 2,000 lots, and count them down into bags of 10 & 25. In the early 80s we started buying from the local manufacturer Sanbrook and then came Qualatex with their amazing range and education.
With the introduction of instruction sheets, conventions and the Australian association BASA, the sharing of creative ideas was running rampant and I found myself hooked on the creative possibilities of balloon art.
In 1993, we closed our shop and my wife Edelgard and I began a home based business. After 42 years in the Celebration industry. I still love the smell of latex in the morning." Sean O'Kelly of Balloon Decor Australia


Column design by Sean O'Kelly of Balloon Decor, Australia

"After finishing our business management degree and being employed back then, we (my sister and I) thought that it’s high time to open our own business. We thought of many ideas, and balloons business was one of them (as I worked a part-time job for a few months back when I was at college and loved it). Our country had so much trouble going on so it was a bad timing to open any business. I thought to just quit my job for the time being and look for a better one. What happened is that due to the bad situation I couldn’t find a job that fit my requirements SO it was a PUSH factor to open the business and start despite all the troubles. We picked balloons because it was a NEW and ORIGINAL idea in our area, didn't need a big capital to start nor a staff it can only be YOU, and most importantly it’s a PROFITABLE business !!! And here we are … There’s always a positive outcome of any negative situation it just needs courage and never be afraid to take the risk… eventually that’s what defines an entrepreneur." Zahraa Jawad, CBA, of Forever Balloons Boutique in Beirut, Lebanon.

Zahraa with one of her amazing balloon displays! 

Pam Pearce, CBA of Balloons and Tunes in Tamworth, UK. "Ours is quite a well known story these days; We went to a market and met a stallholder wearing a balloon hat with a six- petal flower on it! My 'hubby' Paul said "I always loved those balloons," me "it's not round, what you on about?"
Paul bought some of those non-round balloons and a Jerry Luffs 'All Wind and Twists' book (there were no professional balloon pumps then, so we found a cheap pump in a small store.)  Paul returned to the same market for 6 weeks, then sadly the guy disappeared, never to be seen again. Everyone says he was a guardian angel sent to change our path.
That was over 30 years ago, and balloons completely took over our lives! Twisting, decorating, sculptures and teaching the art. It is a lifestyle we have enjoyed so much.
It would have been nice to say thank you to the man that kick started our career, but even after many attempts to find him through news reports, radio interviews, TV interviews (even a chapter in a local personalities book) he has never come forward.
There has been so many others that we have met on this journey who inspired us in different ways, enhancing what we do, but he was the first!"  


Lynda Webb from Bloon Away Boston says that she started her balloon business after being made redundant at the beginning of the pandemic, and was encouraged to start her business by people that she had already done one-off balloon decoration for. 

"I dressed the room for my own wedding, including balloons. I new nothing about them then did all my balloons the night before (didn’t know about hi-float) so as you can imagine they were all deflated in the day. Luckily we had time to do them before the reception
So I got sooo many compliments on the room dressing I helped family and friends to do their parties in the next few months and the rest is history 12yrs later we love it.
It's the best thing we ever did lots of blood sweat and tears along the way though." -Lindsey Bradbury

I think that you would agree that there are many reasons why someone would start running their own business. I know that many businesses set up during the pandemic due to the numbers of companies laying off staff. In the UK alone, more than 400,000 start-ups were formed in 2020 and the increase has also been seen in the US, France, Germany and Japan. Some will survive whist others will fall by the wayside and I am not talking only about balloon businesses! It is suggested that approximately 20% of new businesses fail in the first year.

Last week I posted a blog - 'Can You Create a Full-time Income From Balloons?' by Guest Blogger Sonia Payne. If you are new to running your balloon business and want to ensure that your business survives, I recommend that you read this great post!

Happy ballooning!



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