Friday, March 30, 2012

CBA @ the WBC!

Taking your CBA final assessment is a big step for many people. So how about taking it at the World Balloon Convention... that is exactly what 50 delegates from all over the World elected to do!

The day started very early with a hive of activity to prepare the room for the impending assessments. Candidates started to arrive bright and early... loaded up with 'goodies' in preparation to create their own personal centerpiece and expression bouquet designs.

After a short introduction and a briefing as to how the 4 hour assessment process would run from Chelsea Gaspard CBA, Pioneer Balloon Companies, Marketing Communications Director, it was finally time to start...

So what's involved in taking this final assessment?

Each candidate is required to complete the following:

1. One social expression bouquet of your own design.
The CBA room  FULL of balloons! 

2. One bouquet duplicated from a photo (materials provided).

3. One table centerpiece of your own design.

Here are some of the designs that were created on the day, unfortunately I do not know who made them... if you know, please tell me so that I may credit them -

Kristen Mettlen CBA

'Ladybug Illusion' - Donna Hudson CBA

4. One Balloon Flower duplicated from a photo (materials provided). Instructions for the Balloon Flower can be found at “Instruction Sheets” on or in the “QBN Balloon Deliveries & Bouquets” Kit.

5. A 5', air-filled, 5-balloon cluster Garland, using 11" balloons inflated to 10"-11" (materials provided).

6. A temporary knot and a permanent knot per the QBN curriculum (rope provided). 

7. Answer six questions from the curriculum and either demonstrate a mock balloon delivery sales phone call
or make a mock balloon delivery presentation during an assigned, 15-minute panel interview.

After 4 incredibly quick hours (how is it that time can just fly by) ... time was up and we had a room filled with some truly amazing designs and we started the judging process.

I would like to congratulate everyone listed below who passed their CBA exam on Wednesday 21st March 2012. You will never forget this day, and you should not forget this day, be happy and be proud, and know that all those who have taken their CBA exam in the past totally understand exactly how you felt both before and after those 4 hours! And of course, welcome to the 'CBA' family!

Manal Alzayani CBA, BLOOM - FANTASY, Bahrain

Tammy Bessette CBA, Party Town, Rhode Island, USA

Mary Bragg CBA, BeYond Balloons, Oklahoma, USA

John Brew CBA, We Like To Party!, Australia

Angela Cabrera CBA, Fiesta & Bridal Shop, Massachusetts, USA

Marco Antonio Cardenas Rodriguez CBA, Globos y Figuras, Mexico

Moraima Carrasquillo CBA, Gemelas Precious Balloons, Puerto Rico,USA

Lydia Cartagena CBA, Balloons For You Corporation, Puerto Rico

Nora Cisty CBA, Ideas con Globos, Argentina

Anthony Cook CBA, Anthony's Balloons, Illinois, USA

Tampilipe Corbelin CBA, Tampilipe, Switzerland

Angeles de Mendoza CBA, Globos y Sonrisas, Mexico

Normalinda Garza CBA, The Soiree Concierge,Texas, USA

Rosa Garza CBA, TULIOOS, Mexico

Rosa Gaytan CBA, RIE, Mexico

Tracy Hawes CBA, Balloon Empire & Floral Designs, Manitoba, Canada

Elaine D.Holmes CBA, Elegance in the Air & More, Georgia, USA

Donna Hudson CBA, One Stop Costume & Party Shoppe, Missouri, USA

Glenda Ellington CBA, Lufkin, Texas, USA

Jessica Jackson CBA, Arte Globos Producciones, Venezuela

Mary James CBA, The Balloonery, New York,USA

Silvia Klock CBA, Klock Balloons, Washington, USA

Janice Martin CBA, Party Town, Rhode Island, USA

Christina Martinez-Hatfield CBA, Party On Bounce Off, Texas, USA

Taulbee McJunkin CBA, Arizona's Balloon Artist, Arizona, USA

Kristen Mettlen CBA, Jubilee Event Decor and Balloon Creations, Colorado, USA

Edward Antonio Munoz Sojo CBA, El Genio de los Globos, Caracas, Venezuela

Brandon Nowell CBA, An Occasion Station, Inc. Texas USA

Juan Paniagua CBA, GlobalPak, Costa Rica

Marlys Parra CBA

Amanda Pierce CBA, Custom Baskets & Balloons, Florida, USA

Maria Pinto CBA, Cocoglobo Balloons, British Columbia, Canada

Danielle Popovich CBA, POPO's Parties, USA

Jose Quiles CBA, JL Party Design, Puerto Rico

Luanne Richards CBA, Mickey's Balloons, New York, USA

Scott Richards CBA, Mickeys Balloons, New York, USA

Xiomara Rios CBA, Fashion Balloons , Puerto Rico

Malachi Robinson CBA, Bunch of Balloons, New York, USA

Kathryn Seguin CBA, Balloonatiks, Texas USA

Bernadette Sneyers CBA, Antwerpen, Belgium 

Shanta Speller CBA, Bunch of Balloons, Jackson Heights, New York USA

Annabelle Tan CBA, One-stop No.1 Entertainment,Singapore

Islaine Tanahashi CBA, Joy Company, Japan

Calvin Teo CBA, One-Stop No.1 Entertainment Singapore

Limary Traverzo CBA, JL Party Design, Puerto Rico

Amy Veltman CBA, It's My Party, Indiana, USA

Teresa Ward CBA, Meadowview Gardens, Missouri USA

Linda William CBA, Linda's Balloon Twisting, North Carolina, USA

Does everyone always pass? Sadly no, there are many reason's why someone my not achieve a score of 80% or more on the day. I try and relate this to a driving test, sometimes you can pass on your first attempt and for others it may take another go, and having done it once the second time seems so much easier!

For anyone who is not sure what a CBA is....

What is a Certified Balloon Artist (CBA)?

CBAs are people who work for a Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN) Business Member and have successfully completed the program's online tests, as well as the CBA Practical Examination to demonstrate their knowledge of the QBN curriculum and ability to produce quality balloon work.
Technically, a CBA is a balloon professional who has:
  • Taken and passed (with a score of 80% or above) all of the QBN tests.
  • Taken and passed (with a score of 80% or above) the CBA Practical Exam—a timed, 4-hour, hands-on exam designed to confirm knowledge of the QBN curriculum.
Professionals who earn the CBA designation have chosen to grow their businesses through networking with other balloon professionals, continuing their education, giving and receiving referrals, and taking advantage of the marketing support available to CBAs.
There are currently more than 2,500 Certified Balloon Artist professionals worldwide.

A finally a huge thank you and congratulations to Rebecca Tjarks who coordinated the whole CBA process!

If you would like to learn more about this program, please click here

If you are in the process of preparing to take your CBA final assessment, don't forget to check out one of my earlier blogs:

A few tips for those who are ready to take the CBA Practical Exam... I promise there is nothing to be nervous about!

See you soon!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

World Balloon Convention Day 1 - the build up to a great event!

Wow, what an incredible week we have just had! Delegates arrived from 47 countries around the World and joined us at the Sheraton Hotel, Dallas, with only a few delays caused by a pretty big Texas storm early on in the week! The hotel shook with thunder and the skies lit up with lightening... and then the sun came and stayed with us for the rest of the week!

There are many photographs from the World Balloon Convention,  so I thought that I would document WBC from a slightly different perspective. This is the first of my WBC blogs.

Day 1, Monday 19th March 2012 and the start of the Signature Sculpture, designed  by Azusa Ieizumi, CBA, Japan.
Azusa Signature Sculpture - her vision!

Here are a few photographs of the elements being created for Azusa's sculpture, try and relate them back to the original picture...

The Frogs with Akane

John, Luc & Ines make the sky... looks to me like they are having way too much fun!

Keith & Dom make the trees

Azusa making the bears

Robbie making the fish... yes he is using 321Q's!

Lisa making the mushrooms
Lollypop! Made by me
Other Lollypop tree's, frames made by Brenda Fink and balloons by Dom  & Keith
After 2 days of much balloon inflating and many volunteer helpers, Azusa's Signature Sculpture is ready to greet everyone!

Congratulations to Azusa and all those who helped to create the 'World of Wonder', Signature Sculpture.

Watch out for my next WBC blog tomorrow :)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What is your 'Top Selling' design versus your most 'Profitable Designs or Decor'?

Last week I asked some of our VERY BEST Industry Instructors to share their top tips and personal experiences on how to get the very best from attending a balloon convention, if you missed this blog you can simply click here - they have all given a great account of how they felt when they attended their first balloon convention and have offered some truly great tips and advice!

I thought that since I had their attention (sneaky me), I would ask them to share some more of their secrets...

Please will you tell us what your Top Selling Design or Decor is?

For long time on the top of the list was the composition, special for wedding, we called “The Magic Touch” that is the 3’ to pop with 6” Hearts inside which fly away. Now we are selling very well a composition called “Elegance Bouquet”.
It’s a bouquet which have like base a detail made using 15” Solid Colour Bubbles. - Alberto Falcone CBA
Elegance Bouquet by Alberto Falcone - This design and many others using this technique is available on Alberto's  new DVD - Bubbles Chain - The Evolution of 15" Bubbles Solid Colors

My top selling decor pieces (I hate to say it) are columns and arches.  I create them in different patterns but of course the spiral is the most popular. I think they are the most popular because it's what people see the most of, unfortunately.  Oh, also I sell alot of 10 balloon bouquets because they are reasonably priced. - Amanda Armstrong CBA

Columns & Arches by Amanda Armstrong CBA

Azusa Ieizumi CBA says that "Balloon Dolls" for gifts is her top selling design!

Azusa Ieizumi working on her Balloon Doll creations

My 'funky' designs - Funky Buddies & Funky Dancing Men! I designed them in  2008 for my Aussie National Tour. David Taylor CBA

'Mad' Dave Taylor with his 'Funky' Men.
Our top seller has to be our balloon dolls.  We make them for all sorts of occasions and usually make 1 or 2 every weekend - LIsa Swiger CBA 

Lisa Swiger's amazing Balloon Dolls

Colin Myles CBA - "Just now our bestselling design is the thistle design".

Colin's 'Thistle Design'.

For Tope Abulude CBA it's 3' Pink Heart Foil balloons
Magenta Heart #99338

My Lootles have been some of my most top selling designs I have created over the years.  These designs can be transformed to create the perfect centerpiece for almost ANY event.   - Robbie Furman CBA

'Lootles' by Robbie Furman
'Wizard of Oz' - Lootles by Robbie Furman

What is your most profitable decor or design?

Every time I consider also the visual impact as value in my compositions. I think almost all the compositions including a 3’ are for me the most profitable items. - Alberto

An Alberto Falcone 3' balloon design.

Arches of course but also Outdoor Balloon Trees (that's what I call them), which consist of a 3' with 2-3 quads with ribbon on pvc.  They are staked into the ground for stability. -Amanda.

Balloon Tree by Amanda Armstrong
Garland Arch by Amanda Armstrong CBA
For Azusa 'Photo Spots' are her most profitable decor!
Azusa in one of her 'Photo Spots'

For Colin, 646Q stand-up figures are his most profitable design!

Colin Myles 646Q Elvis

Tope's best seller "Floor standing arrangement with a 3ft pink foil (personalised) "

Classic balloon decor - to be sure! Arches and columns are the best when it comes to profitability! - Lisa

Garland Arch by Lisa Swiger CBA

Cruise Captain! By Lisa Swiger CBA

"Big Stuff. Squiggly Arches  have been very popular this year, as have 3' balloon decor"! - David

5' Balloon with fabric and lighting!
Squiggly Arch

Robbie says "My most profitable designs are my large scale pieces.  These designs are one of a kind and most of the time use one of the deco-twisting worlds most versatile balloons…the 321q.  This balloon allows me to create large scale designs very quickly with a staff with very little experience".     

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band! Robbie Furman

For Alex Arroyo CBA & Pepe Posada CBA their top selling & most profitable decor is Toparies & Centerpieces !

Centrepiece design by Alex Arroyo CBA & Pepe Posada CBA

And finally just for fun... what is your favourite Qualatex balloon?

"My favourite balloons is... Qualatex!"I like and use in my job almost all the range of balloons. I don’t have preferences for round or non round: any way are balloons. What is important is the quality of them! Maybe easy to say what I like less... I don’t use very much Geo Donuts and Blossom, for example". - Alberto
Qualatex Catalog 2012

"260Q and 5 " standard tone". - Azusa
Traditional Assortment 260Q #43956

"I have so many!  I really love the polka dots, agates and Bubbles.  I love the new foil designs but being in California I have to be careful of my design work, so I'm trying to incorporate more of the Bubbles into my designs". -Amanda
11" Rainbow SuperAgate Assortment #91544
11" Assorted Big Polka Dots  #77146

"That changes from time to time but at the moment I am partial to the tapers" - Tope
Lime Green Taper 

"The 11’’ round balloon" - Colin
11" Carnival Assortment #20915

"In latex, my favorite color is Wild Berry. I love the brightness! For foils, right now, I am in love with Tapers! They are interesting and versatile".- Lisa
Wild Berry Birthday Shining Star

"5.5' and 8' balloons. Followed  closely by the Tapers and Starpoints... having fun with big stuff this year"! - David

Cloudbuster 4ft, 5.5ft & 8' Chloroprenes

"The New Smile Face Bubble" is Alex & Pepe's favourite balloon!
 22" Bright Smile Face  #35173 Bubble

321Q  un-dipped! #13717
"Well at first I thought this was going to be an easy question, but than I kept changing my mind.  But after much thought, I have to say the new 321q undipped  balloons are my FAVORITE balloon.  I use these balloons to create many of my large designs with.  This Balloon to me is a true DECO-TWISTED balloon.  Both Twisters and Decorators alike should be using this balloon much more in the near future.  I feel it is one of the building blocks of deco-Twisting.  I also, love 6” geo blossoms.  These form the bases for many of my designs.  Then again I also love 260’s…and 350’s.  OKAY I REALLY LOVE ALL OF MY BALLOONS!!!! So I guess my favorite balloon has to be the one I am using at that moment". - Robbie

Wow... thank you! It's really great to find out what some of our great instructors love and a little bit about their business's too! 

So that just leaves me to say a huge thank you to Alberto Falcone, Amanda Armstrong, Lisa Swiger, Tope Abulude, David Taylor, Alex Arroyo & Pepe Posada, Azusa Ieizumi and of course Robbie Furman, I am looking forward to seeing you all at WBC next week! And Colin Myles who will be teaching at OnArt -Spain next week! I appreciate the time you have taken out of your busy schedule to help me with this blog!

Don't forget to check out the WBC class schedule and see what we are all teaching! 

Hope to see you at the World Balloon Convention next week! Please come and say hello and tell me what you think of 'The Very Best Balloon Blog' - only 7 days away!


Watch out for my WBC Blogs...