It is very easy to get into the balloon business, but the trick is staying in business! That takes dedication, talent, commitment to constant education and professionalism.
You talk about the desire to get into the balloon business as a “retailer”, a “distributor”, and finally, as a balloon “decorator”. All 3 are quite different. Not often do all 3 operate successfully under the one roof. It is quite common to see an individual or partnership operate as retailers and decorators.
These 2 fields in the balloon business demand separate and special attention to each discipline. One can be a talented balloon artist and decorator, yet fall way short of cutting it as a clever retailer. Retailing demands much more than just putting stock on shelves and standing behind a cash register! Likewise, being a success at balloon decorating is much, much more than creating terrific garland designs and gorgeous centerpieces.
All of the old hands at the balloon business were once in the same predicament as you find yourself now. Where do I start? How much money will I need? Who are the Suppliers? Where can I get trade information? Who can be trusted? What a mine field!
Start by asking yourself.” How much can I afford to invest?” Remember, you are not spending, you are investing in a business. You “spend” on hobbies. You “invest” in a business. Balloon decor has gone way beyond something you can do “part time”. Customers demand service to suit their time schedule, not yours.
Obviously, you will need a minimum level of stock and equipment. Electric inflator, helium, regulators, glue, board, latex, foils, heat sealers, and other balloon-related materials. Are you planning on being home based? In retail / commercial premises? You will need a fax machine, accounting software, dedicated business phone lines, work benches, shelving, ladder, framing rod, etc.
Please don’t be put off by this. The point I’m trying to make is that regardless of your “entry level” to the balloon industry, you need to do a lot of homework first. You don’t want to jump in too soon, only to find it will cost you a considerable amount more, simply to stay in and survive.
It’s easy to get excited about a business opportunity, but as with any business, research your market carefully. Drive around your town and notice how many stores/shops offer balloons. It’s like buying a car. You never realized how many of that brand were on the road until you had a specific interest, ya’ know? Suddenly they’re everywhere.
How Should I Advertise/ Promote Myself?
- Balloon Care Cards
- Business Cards
- Photographing and Filming Your Work
- Newspaper Ads
- Yellow Pages
- Reputation (others call it word of mouth)
- brochures, posters and flyers
- Parties and occasions
- Web Site
Workplaces for balloon twisters
- Shopping Malls
- Wedding Receptions
- Company Events
- Movie Theatres
- Festivals, Fairs, and Flea Markets
- Sporting Events
- Car Washes
- Theme Parks
- Your Own Front Yard
This site is a great resources for ballon business – www.balloonhq.com/index.html
Balloon Twisting and Sculpture – www.balloonhq.com/faq/BHQ_Sculpture_Instructions.pdf
photo from awesomeoccasion.com