Balloon Shorts

An Appropriate Day to Give Thanks

On a day that we all reflect on what we love and are thankful the most for, I thought it was perfect timing to sit down and pen a quick thanks to some important factors in my everyday:

To my hubs – without you in my life, things would be a lot less sane, and let’s be honest here, life is crazy insane already, so thanks for bringing it down to a tolerable level. Love you and will forever.

To my wild boys – thanks for keeping my on my toes fellas. I have this feeling that without you two, I would get a lot less done in life. You two (without knowing this yet, based on your tender ages) drive me to be better, at everything, so that our lives together will be everything we hope for. Muah!

To my family – although most days you all think I’m crazy, I rest assured that deep down you see the bigger picture when it comes to me and my ways. Understanding ones differences is a personal goal I’ve been trying to work on, and I hope that crosses over to your understanding of me. I’m lucky to have everyone of you in my life. To those that are not here today, those experiences have shown all of us that although terrible things can and will sometimes happen, it leads us to something promising, and we learn from it, if we allow ourselves too.

To my friends – there are many reasons to give thanks to friends. Aside from the obvious, I have to let everyone of you know that it means a lot to hear, see and feel your support over the last 9 months. Starting off this biz as a side project, and watching it grow into a business because of the support of all of you has been extremely rewarding.

To my clients – we know each other in difference ways, some not at all, but each and every client I have had to date has provided me with a rewarding interaction. It’s not always the case in business when the feedback is so excited and positive, and for that I consider myself to be the luckiest. Giving credit where credit is due is important to me and where my business is today is mostly in part to do with some major repeat clients and business counterparts. If I had to list names (and please pardon if I miss someone) I would point out the ladies at Ernst & Young, Roxanne and her use of my creations for her big moments in business at Tonic, the gorgeous due of Carrie & Kelly at Little Black Dress photography, who graciously exchanged services and I now enjoy professional shots for business and career enjoyment. There have obviously been many more encounters with local businesses, photographers, beautiful brides, new mommas and plenty of little people that enjoyed a giant oversized creation on their birthday. They have all been memorable and I am thankful to have a majority of those moments documented on my Instagram feed. Thanks to each and every client!

To my suppliers – I have come to be quite aware that gestures from one business owner to the next can create windows of opportunity, far beyond the power of the marketing world. Without the kind-hearted, caring, courteous folks at Bazaar & Novelty, there is no way possible I would be able to do this on a daily basis. They are amazing and they always go the extra mile to make my life easier….even when it makes theirs harder. I make sure to give them my sincerest thanks and appreciation each time I am there (which, in no surprise, is a few times a week). I could start listing all of the large and small gestures they’ve made, but it would take forever.

To everyone else who can’t be categorized (fans, likers, followers, word of mouth spreaders, sharers), giving thanks to you today for all of the little things that help me grow, both personally and in business.

Many thanks on a thankful day, and every day…..

JK

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5 uncommon uses for a Balloonatic Balloon!

There are plenty of reasons to add a crazy giant balloon, complete with loads of paper frill, to your Birthday Party or Baby Shower. However, you may not have thought how much spark one would add to these types of events:

1. Gender Reveal Party – Say what? Ever thought of throwing a bash to let your friends and family know what color of onesies they should be buying? If you didn’t, that’s ok, but a major trend in the bash biz is that very type of soirée! How to host one, you ask? Gather up your closest friends and loved ones and organize a special delivery; a blue or pink themed giant balloon! Also a great reason to throw a couples shower, another growing trend and a thoughtful way to incorporate the new dad-to-be.

2. Storefront Window Install – Having dabbled in the art of creating a unique and eye-catching window display, both at Gap Kids and my family retail store, I know first hand it can be a challenge to come up with new ideas. Now, giant balloons with fancy frill aren’t for every establishment, but they can add the perfect amount of whimsy to a children’s store, or the right touch of trend to a Woman’s shop . Bridal dress boutiques, Bakeries & Cake Shops, along with any business celebrating a milestone, can indulge in the fun of having these giant “greeters” turning heads on the street. Balloons last 3-5 days with the option to add a coating inside the balloon, which will make each one will last at least two weeks.

3. Photographer | Stylist | Collaborator – I honestly can’t describe to you how much fun you’ll have working with these fancy “props”. But I can tell you, I’ve heard the laughs and witnessed the wow factor! Ask anyone I’ve worked with, they are way more outrageous in person.

4. Corporate Launch Bash – Go big or go home folks, we’ve all heard it before. Adding giant show-stopper Balloons should do. And the best part? You’ll be off the hook for the rest of the decor, no need for much more. Just add food, music, drinks and serve. Adding subtle hints of brand colors takes it to the next level. See my upcoming post on “Local
Brand Leaders” to read about some of the local vendors I have had the pleasure in working with; all of which have helped me share so much #balloonlove” around Saskatoon.

5. Skip the Florals – Don’t get me wrong, I could pass out at the sight of fresh florals; Peonies, Ranunculas, Poppies, and Succulents are the petals of choice. An over-the-top balloon + tail combination is just another option, a way to “shake it up” or “walk the line” 😉

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From 4 to 42

And just like that, business got BIG!

Thanks to a recommendation from colleagues at The Willows, I was approached by Ernst & Young to make their client reception stand out. Big Impact. Over the top. Not 1. Not a few. 42!!!!!!

42 custom balloons, in varying heights, spread around the sprawling clubhouse. At first, I wasn’t sure I could make that many! Let alone within the time crunch of 14 days! It was a challenge and I was most definitely up for it.

Plenty of planning and prep took place in the first few days. I needed to source the balloons from a supplier in Ontario because of the short time frame. Helium tanks needed to be reserved. Materials had to be purchased. Hang tags designed. Renderings approved. By time I got down to actually making them, about 5 a day to stay on track, only 8 days remained!

Two nights before, all the weights had to be prepared, hang tags added and all the bags of supplies packed. The evening before the big night required me to be at The Willows, filling the balloons, so everything had to be completed and ready to go a night early.

On the eve of the big event, I hid out in the ladies locker room for a good 3 hours, filling and tying my giant balloons. I couldn’t sleep that night,
worried that my floating friends would suffer a pop or two, but alas, all were unharmed the next morning.

I finally took a massive breath when all the balloons were placed and the eyes of my client were big with excitement! I did it, and the experience gained was more valuable than I could imagine.

Patiently waiting for my next big order gig! Hoping for 100. Did I mention I like a challenge?

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The Real Deal

The moment when you make your first actual sale….indescribable.

Someone actually thought my creations were worthy enough to float above the tables at a very special 60th Anniversary celebration.

I jumped right away at this chance and dove head first into the job. I immediately started quizzing my client (who happened to be the Granddaughter that was spearheading the planning) what the guest of honors’ wedding colors were, anything special that could be incorporated and any other hints that would help me develop the initial colors and materials.

The actual wedding day of Josephine & Lorne was very modest and the bride chose the non-traditional route of wearing a navy blue women’s dress suit. Any ideas I had before knowing this were instantly wiped out, instead I was now on a new color train, sparked by the blue in Jo’s wedding day wardrobe, and the blue and cream decor of the Wedgewood Room at The Willows.

Later on, that very same day I received a heartwarming video from Jo (as most people know her by) stating that her favorite colors are blue and yellow. That left me with an obvious and fitting accent choice of silver Mylar and sparkly silver ribbon to play into the “diamond” anniversary year and a small touch of white lace just to add a little hint of wedding to the pieces.

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My original plan, since there were four of them, was to have all four tails topped with white balloons.

That didn’t exactly go the way I wanted it to! That day before the party, I brought home four, giant white balloons, filled to the brim with helium. I took them down to my “balloon room” for overnight storage and instantly one popped. It was the loudest balloon pop I’ve ever witnessed. And it popped my plan, bigtime!

You might be wondering why? Well I knew I had just bought the party store out of their supply of white balloons.

Time for plan b. I called my client and ran the plan by her. Two blue balloons and two white ones. With an extra white one on hand just in case of another popping incident! She loved it, especially when I sent her this….

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I had arrived at the party store shortly after just leaving there, and they graciously filled both giant blue balloons with helium, free of charge! What a relief! Helium isn’t cheap…but I’ll dig into that topic another day.

That night, I finished up the tail assembly and had everything ready to go. It felt amazing to only have one small little snag in the process, and be pleased with the product I was to deliver the next day.

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The next morning, I loaded five balloons into my wagon, four tails, and a bag of “just in case” supplies. I headed out to The Willows with excitement in my veins and hope that everyone would be pleased with what I had tediously prepared.

Arriving at the front door, I was greeted with shrieks and jumps of joy! Nothing better than that! I placed and weighted the balloons and sure enough…no camera on me! Something I never even leave my bedroom without, was sitting at home, in my bedroom! I snagged a camera from a staff member and was so relieved to have captured the moment.

Until the next post….

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Surprise!

From the very start, I had been brainstorming ways to get exposure. Among many ideas, was the surprise idea. Show up to a party with a giant balloon complete with fancy, flowing tassels and someone is sure to take notice!

My sister Sara is a Manager at on of Saskatoon’s many Wendy’s restaurants and I was invited to tag along to their recent manager party at the Sheraton Cavalier . An afternoon spent with families of the managers at the watersides. Since I knew there would be plenty of kids in attendance, I decided this would be a perfect time to bring along a surprise balloon.

I used Wendy’s colors; Yellow for the balloon, Red, Light Blue and accents of Gold Mylar and sparkly gold ribbon for the tassel tail. I decided not to tell Sara but made sure to drop plenty of hints via the Balloonatic Twitter & Facebook accounts.

We met at the hotel on Saturday. After I unloaded the kids from the car, out came the giant Yellow surprise! She was so excited! Everywhere that this yellow balloon trailed us, so did excited looks, lots of “oh wow’s” and plenty of smiles. We tied the balloon to our table at the pool and had plenty of comments and questions. It was the perfect mix of gift and garnering exposure. Not to mention my favorite creation so far….

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Gifting Gets Going

I guess you could consider the next Balloonatic creation a test piece, with the most perfect little tester as the receiver. If a one and a half year old little gal doesn’t love my balloons, nobody will!

Miss T, as she is affectionately referred to by her super cool parents, has a very neat theme to her bedroom. This sweet little girl will proudly boast that her parents gave her the hippest, vintage throwback baby room in town! A slightly girly twist to the rarely used, Yellow Submarine motif. Awesome, right?

That led me to pick the obvious for her balloon. I decided to re-use the white balloon from my first creation. It had just been filled the day before and would work well as the topper to another Balloonatic frill tail.

Yellow and Blue frill, highlighted by a few pink clusters and voila! A successful attempt at working towards bettering each balloon effort. Making balloons for friends and family to me, was the easiest route to hear supportive and constructive feedback, along with enjoying the moment when you walk into a room of them, and there is instant wow. I was definitely in for this ride…..

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