Updated: 3 days ago
In a world where creativity knows no bounds, the art of balloon decorating, out of nowhere emerged as a fun and lucrative avenue for me and took me from being a single struggling mother to financial freedom. This blog post delves into my journey, exploring how my passion for balloons not only led me to balloon decorating school but also paved the way for financial independence and grew a lucrative business I never saw coming.
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Discovering My Passion for the Balloon Business
It all began with another side of the event world; I was a promoter, community activist, autism mom & advocate, and spoken word artist (thus the name Jess Flo). I had been awarded a proclamation for a day from the City of Las Vegas, performed on the stage in front of thousands at the 2018 women's march, along with countless other locations, and won many other awards, my work published in three books, but something was missing. I wanted to Start a Balloon Business. I came across a YouTube video that showed how to create balloon décor from the 99 Cent store,
and one summer, I happened to be at the store and grabbed the items. I completed my first balloon column (pictured to the left), and my love for balloons began; by the end of that week, I had accumulated a tote full of practice balloons. Now, like with everything I decide to get into, I get into it. I started researching the industry to know who the players were, the history, and new trends. I taught myself how to do balloon arches, walls and dabbled in twisting. I thought to myself, it has to be a school or class or something to master this skill, and what did you know, I came across the Balloon Training Institute located in Sherville, Tennessee.
I thought a balloon school was wacky, so as a joke, I posted on my social media that I was starting a Go Fund Me to raise money to attend the school. A few days later, I received a call from one of the instructors at the school saying someone had called and paid my tuition in-full to the attend. It took me a while to figure out who my guardian angel was, and even today, she doesn't like me to speak about what she's done for me, but she said I had done so much for others through my community work and it was time for somebody to do for me. Talk about one passion/talent leading the way for another.
Enrolling in Balloon Decorating School
On the day I was to go to balloon school, I was scared; I thought for sure that these people had to be Carney people, who were going to kidnap me, and it didn't help that the school was in the middle of nowhere in the Rocky Mountains. I tried to come up with every excuse, and as my friend was driving me to the airport, my car caught a flat, and I thought that was a sign that I shouldn't be going. However, fate had different plans, and highway patrol showed up and got me to the airport. Darn it
When I walked into the class, I was surprised to see normal-looking people and even met one person who had also traveled from Las Vegas. The course was taught by two witty characters who kept it honest and told the truth about the balloon industry, which they had a love-hate relationship with. We learned a lot about classic décor, pricing, the business of balloons, and balloon drops, and I got them to cover some traditional décor. All in all, balloon school honed my skills and taught me the artistry, techniques, and business acumen required to succeed in the competitive world of event decoration. Check out my next blog as I indulge more in balloon school and my thoughts on going 100% into starting a balloon business.
Starting my Balloon Decorating Business:
Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired from balloon school, I took the plunge and launched my own balloon decorating business. Unfortunately for me, Covid hit, and boom, I was like, what the hell. I had just purchased a $700 balloon stuffing machine, which was a significant investment for me as a single mother of a teenager and an Autistic child; times were already hard, and now what am I supposed to do with a seven hundred dollar machine that by the way I couldn't figure out how to use at the time. During that time I had to pivot and started no-contact deliveries, Yard surprises and I figured out how to us that expensive machine and also discovered that balloons were Pandemic proof, which doubled down on my love for this new crazy world I stepped into.