Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Adding value to your everyday balloon designs and make more PROFIT!

Many shops and stores sell balloons, but to be the best you need to create something that sets you apart from everyone else!

In this blog today, I want to share with you some tips, hints and suggestions on how to make your work more exciting with an emphasis on presentation, making your work stand out... this I believe is the key to leaving a lasting impression which is vital for client recommendations and repeat business.

Sue Bowler
Bug in a Bag... with 'Wiggly Eyes' , feathers for hair and a pom pom nose in a bright fun gift bag!

To make this more fun, I have created Sue's A-Z of Tips,  Hints & Idea's ... with the hope that you will help me over the coming weeks to add to these... just email me sue@suebowler.com and i'll add any pictures or suggestions that you may have that you use to add value to your every day designs!

A is for 'added value'; we can add just a few extra items or production steps to make something really special.

Sue Bowler
3 simple steps can turn a single balloon into an amazing balloon delivery arrangement!
B is for Beautiful Bows, Balloon in a Box, Bubbles and Blossoms; have you used a Geo Blossom recently? Make it into a Funny Face! Business Cards; does your 'sell you' and what you do? 'Bug in a Bag', a great design for a fun delivery! (If you would like to know how to make the 'bug', it's is in my Sue's Recipes section in this blog!)
Balloon in a beautifully decorated box!
Geo Blossom - Funny Face presented in a mug and gift wrapped in cellophane and with a bow!

C is for Cellophane; wrap up our beautiful designs, for both presentation and preservation purpose (cellophane will reduce the oxidizations process). Qualatex Coordinates are a great way to create stylish profitable deliveries and centrepiece designs. Custom colouring is one of my favourite techniques. Get your CBA certification,  let your customers know that you are a professional Balloon Artist... another great way to stand out from your competitors.
Sue Bowler
Qualatex coordinates make the very best bouquets, from latex to Microfoils!

D is for Dress it up, go beyond basics. It is easy to sell basic designs, but so does everyone else. Make your work better than everyone else's. Geo Donuts... when was the last time you used a 'Donut' in one of your designs?

Sue Bowler
Organza ribbon, silk flowers and custom coloured balloons!
E is for Extra Effort; will pay dividends time and time again. Wiggly Eyes, are great for little character designs, neat and easy to apply!

F is for Fantasy Flowers, Feathers and other 'Fancy' add-on's.
Sue Bowler

G is for Glue Dots, neat and easy to use, Glitter add's an extra sparkle to our work! Gift-Wrapped designs can look so much better than an unwrapped design. Gift Bags can be perfect for arrangements and balloon bouquets!
Sue Bowler

H is for Hi-Float, making our designs last so much longer, an essential tool for any professional balloon artist. Hearts are a great addition to bouquets and for accent detail... look at the Bottle Buddies below, I added a 4" Microfoil Heart on each occasion, and a great selling point is that these balloons last forever!

Sue Bowler
These Bottle Buddies makes truly great gifts!
Sue Bowler

I is for imaginative and irresistible designs, An of course Iridescent... shimmery glitter and fabrics that truly add that finishing touch to an elegant design or decor!

J is for Jumbo, try to think bigger! If you make a design using 260Q try using 350Q or even 646Q... and see how it looks... bigger has greater perceived value! If you usually work with 11" balloons, try 16" or even 24"!
Sue Bowler
This is the same design but using 350Q for the small version and 646Q for the large version.

K is for K.I.S.S  or Keep it Simple Stupid. Keeping a design simple and reproducible will ensure repeat sales, which is something you will need to make a design profitable. Keeping a design simple does not mean that you cannot add value to it!

L is for Love and attention; put effort and care in to all your work, it will show! Make your designs longer lasting by using Hi-Float and Balloon  Shine.

M is for Mickey & Minnie Mouse Double Bubbles! These balloons are perfect for Adding Value to!

Sue Bowler
Just by simply adding a few clusters of balloons you can transform the Mickey & Minnie Double Bubbles into a great and long lasting gift!

N is for Neat work and New ideas; keep your customer excited with the many new ideas you keep reeling out... they will be back for more!
Sue Bowler
A column... with a few original touches!

O is for Originality; when you have learnt new skills and ideas, make the design your own by changing it a little or by adding your own finishing touches!

P is for being a Perfectionist! If you are not happy with what you have made, why should your customer? And of course Polka Dots, one of the 'hottest' trends around!
Sue Bowler
Mini Mouse Double Bubble works perfectly with 5" Polka Dots!

Q is for QUALATEX. Using the best products can only lead to high quality work and fantastic end results!

R is for Reward, we should all reward ourselves from time to time and don't forget to reward staff to for extra effort and a job well done!
Treat your staff to an Ice Cream after a busy day or after a big job...  sometimes it's the small gestures that really count!
S is for Secrets, keep ideas and techniques secret from your competition. You invest time and money to learn new skills, do not be tempted to share it too quickly. This knowledge will keep you ahead for your competition. If you attend a seminar... don't post the 'how to make it' on Facebook, this will devalue the class you have just invested in! Smile... when we greet our customers and when we talk on the telephone, a smiley face is one that is always remembered!

T is for Test it out! Always test out new designs... will they float long enough or look good in different conditions? Do not be tempted to hope and pray that they will be OK on the day! This usually ends up in a very bad nights sleep and even worse a bad reputation if it goes wrong!

U is for Up-selling! Understanding your customers needs and requirements. Your customer may come in for a single balloon, but what they are actually looking for is a fun surprise for someone that they love. If you spend just a few minutes finding out who it for, what the occasion is, you will find it so much easier to sell up a whole bouquet and maybe even a small gift to compliment the design!

V is for great Value, Variety and making a design Visually exciting! Value your customers too, without them, we would not have a successful business!
Sue Bowler
Balloon Baby Column

W is for Whimsical! I love cute little balloon characters! Wow factor too... 'how did they do that' or 'I have never seen such beautiful balloons! World Balloon Convention, learn from some of the best in the industry, start saving now for WBC 2014!

Sue Bowler
'Neon Noodle Balloon' for Wow factor!

X is for Xtra special! I cannot express enough how important it is for our work to stand out in a crowd, make your customers aware that you are the best person for the job, and that no other balloon company can do what you do with balloons!

Y is for 'You're the Best', take all the knowledge that you learn from balloon courses, seminars and conventions, and see how your profits grow as well as your confidence!

Z is for Zappy! Lively and energetic... just like everyone in our amazing industry!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my A-Z of tips, hints and idea's, maybe you can take a few of these ideas at a time and add them into your business and see if they make a difference and let me know if they do!

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Graduation time is here- decor ideas!

I had to start this blog with this great poster... did you know that you can download it now, today and it's free!
What better way to start your 'Graduation' campaign!

Boost graduation and year-round sales with this new “Celebrate with Balloons!” poster from Qualatex! Save the file to your computer or flash drive, and then take it to Fed Ex Office or your local copy and print store to have it professionally printed.
Boar-round saes with this new “Celebrate with Balloons!” poster from Qualatex! Save the file to your computer or flash drive, and then take it to Fed Ex Office or your local copy and print store to have it professionally printed.
Let's make sure we remind our customers at every opportunity how we can make their special occasion even better with balloons! It only takes one picture or concept to spark a little bit of interest... and even in a recession we all still want to celebrate special occasions and great achievements!
So how can we find our inspiration, idea's and some truly great sales tips too!

Lets start with the Qualatex.com Graduation Business Booster! As with all the Business Boosters, it is packed with some great ideas!

 In the last issue of Balloon Images (APR/MAY/JUN 2012) there is a great article by Brenda Fink, CBA, with some truly inspiring idea's for the Graduation season. Brenda has created a selection of designs ranging from fun to sophisticated, these designs can also be easily adapted and use for other occasions too!

 A few years ago I taught a class and created a few very simple designs, perfect for both decor or to be given as a gift!

Sue Bowler
Design created by Sue Bowler CBA
This first design is pretty easy to re-create. You will need:
  • 4 x 11" inflated to approx. 6" for the base cluster - I used Big Polka Dots!
  • 1 x Congratulations Graduate! Caps Qualatex Bubble # 11999 or you could use Gar Hats & Balloons Qualatex Bubble # 18693
  • 4 x 5" Onyx Black inflated to approx. 4"
  • 2 x 350Q Black for the arms
  • 1 x Smiley Face - this could be latex (I would use a 16" inflated to approx.  12" and make nice and round), Microfoil (there are some great colours in the Microfoil Smiley Face range) or a Bubble Smile Face!
  • You'll need a Super Grip Tab or similar to create a fixing point at the top of the Bubble balloon to attach the collar and the Smiley Face * Conwin Grip Tabs work very well on Qualatex Bubbles balloons when the glue part of the tab has been heated to make it extra sticky - I use a hairdryer!!
  • A weight for the base
This design can be created with air-filled balloons!

Sue Bowler
Design created by Sue Bowler CBA
This second design has great visual impact at it stands so tall, I love using Qualatex Taper balloons as bodies!
You will need:
  • 4 x 11" Onyx Black - inflated to approx. 7"
  • 8 x 5" Onyx Black - inflated to approx. 4" - 1 x cluster at the base and the other at the top.
  • 1 x Taper Swirl- I used the 38" Magenta #22823  however, you could use any of the colours that appear on the Smile Face Party Grad to create Unity.
  • 1 x Smile Face Party Grad 36" #61605
  • 2 x 260Q Onyx Black
  • Weight for the base
You will need to use helium to inflate the 36" Smile Face Party Grad, all the other balloons can be filled with air.

Sue Bowler
Design created by Sue Bowler CBA
And finally here is a very simple 646Q Graduation Guy! Once again he is tall, so he has great visual impact!

  • 4 x 11" Onyx Black - inflated to approx. 7"
  • 1 x 646Q Onyx Black - almost fully inflated.
  • 4 x 5" Onyx Black - Inflated to approx. 4.5"
  • 2 x 350Q
  • 1 x Smile Face Party Grad 36" #61605
  • 1 x Weight for the base
I think that when I made this, I used helium inside the Micro Foil balloon, but I think that air-filling this should be OK?

If it's bouquets you are looking to create, there are some great ideas on the Qualatex website!

And did you know that each of these design has a product list too! Just simply click on the button at the bottom that says PRODUCT LIST... it's so easy and will save so much time!

To download the poster that I have shown at the start of this blog, simply visit the Graduation Business Booster www.Qualatex.com click on the SALES TIPS 

Balloons are perfect for ALMOST every occasion, we have to find every opportunity to promote them, and offer our customers something different, something special and something memorable!

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A little inspiration for Air-Filled Table Arrangements

Creating arrangements and centrepiece designs working with air rather than helium can appear to be a little more challenging. 

However, there are a number of different idea's that we can successfully use to create great designs every time!

Here are a few inspiring idea's that I have spotted on the Qualatex Facebook Group page!

Anne Cahill McGovern
Design by Anne Cahill McGovern

This first design is by Anne Cahill McGovern, and is absolutely beautiful. I love the use of the Birthday Elegant Damask #30986 complimented with the Black Damask 11" latex balloons #33503 (assorted), with 5" Wild Berry. Anne has used a black feather boa for visual texture and movement within the design, along with some added pink feathers and 'pearl' beads. This design for me is fun, elegant, feminine, trendy, fashionable and charming, truly perfect for a birthday celebration!

Nadia   Azar
Design by Nadia Azar
Another truly inspiring design from Nadia Azar. Nadia has very cleverly created this design with a great combinations of balloons. The focal balloon is the Princess Tiara #82027 and complimented with Rose Pink 5, Rose Pink 160Q's and 5" Zebra Prints! The visual lines and movement are very elegant, but this design also evokes a sense of fun and fashion with the use of the animal print, once again perfect for a birthday celebration!

Soo Wheeler
Design by Soo Wheeler

Topiary designs (topiary meaning - ball like shape) also make perfect air-filled centrepiece designs. Above is a beautiful example of a delicate 'Double Bubble' topiary centrepiece made by Soo Wheeler. Soo's topiary creates a feeling of romance, elegance and gentleness, perfect for a wedding or with a slight change of balloons, this same design could be used for a Christening or Baptism celebration. I love the use of the 5" Just Married Flowers-A-Round latex print #39286.

The Topiary technique can be so very versatile, and can be adapted to suit almost any occasion. I have included a few of more of my favourite idea's below.

Laura Serrano
Design by Laura Serrano
 This stunning Magenta 4" Hearts Topiary is so beautiful and elegant, the organza ribbon and cellophane 'picks' compliment this design perfectly. I can visualise this design in many different colours and being used for many different occasions! 

Linda Bruce
Design by Linda Bruce 

Here is another topiary centrepiece, this one was created by Linda Bruce. The design is simple yet elegant, the ribbon creates the perfect link between the base and the top, and the raffia ribbon add's a visual texture to the design.

Balloontime Roma
Design by Balloontime Roma.

Here is another beautiful example of a topiary design by Balloontime, Roma. Set in a flower pot, it creates the appearance of a flower or tree. The soft colours would indicate this design is for a Christening or a new baby!

Nadia Azar
Design by Nadia Azar

Nadia Azar gives us another great take on the topiary technique. Nadia has used 'puffed' Geo Blossoms... the visual texture is great along with the fresh colours of Lime & Pinks!

Below is another great air-filled design created by Anne Cahill McGovern... It's so simple but so very effective! The 6" Qualatex GEO Blossoms look great in these arrangements... just 3 on each of the tables and they look amazing!

Anne Cahill mcGovern
Design by Anne Cahill McGovern
Colin Myles
Design by Colin Myles

I had to include this fantastic design by Colin Myles! It is packed with visual movement and line!
The 6-balloon cluster base gives perfect visual stability, the 13" Taper balloons add a sense of 'spotlight' to the dancer on the platform along with the 'woven' line guiding light and movement up the column and finally the 'music' guy, dancing on his platform... such a fun and clever design Colin!

Jose Lutman
Design by Jose Lutman

Jose Lutman has a really modern artistic flair when it comes to balloons, I always love to see his ideas and inspirations. I really like his idea of the 'Queen of Hearts' 30" Playing card at the top of this elegant garland of greenery and the simple addition of carefully placed red balloons!

There is a great 'Designer Showcase' of Jose work in APR/MAY/Jun 2012 balloon Images  magazine. 
Images article featuring Jose Lutman

Finally, I cannot complete this blog without mentioning Idit & Hagai Schwartz from Israel, their business is based round centrepiece designs, there is a great article in Images APR/MAY/JUN 2011 called 'Center of Attention'. Idit and Hagai's work is creative, elegant and inspiring, all the designs featured in the article are air-filled... and very beautiful!

Images article featuring Idit & Hagai Schwartz
I have really enjoyed gathering designs for this blog, it has been wonderful re-visiting many of the photographs that have been generously posted and shared on the Qualatex Facebook Group page. I would like to say a huge thank you to all those I have featured in this blog, your continuous idea's and techniques are a great inspiration to us all!

Happy Ballooning!