Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tassel It!

It's amazing how trends arrive on the scene! For the past few years we have been seeing the growing trend of big balloons with festoons of tassels flowing from them. You only have to search Balloons with Tassels on Pinterest to see some truly amazing photographs! 

For me there is something quite retro or vintage about this look, and although many of the photographs are staged to capture that perfect shot, I certainly think that they are stunning!

Tassels can be made from a number of different materials; tissue paper, crepe paper, plastic table covers, foil, cellophane or a combination of any of these!

I love a challenge and decided that it would be great to learn how to make these very popular balloon appendages!

We usually see tassels on big balloons, so I decided that I would test out tassels on a range of other balloons!

With my daughter's birthday celebrations looming, there was the rare possibility of being able to celebrate outside in our garden (our English weather is not always very predictable). I decided to decorate our tree with tassel laden air-filled Bubble Balloons! The reason that I used Bubbles was because wanted to prevent the beautiful Big Polka Dot balloons inside from oxidising, plus I love Qualatex® Bubble Balloons!

I was absolutely delighted with the results! By simply attaching a few balloons to our tree (hanging on an invisible nylon thread), it really injected a blast of colour and a sense of fun and celebration to our garden! The tassels really made a huge impact and moved around with the breeze! The tassels on these balloons are made from crepe paper which I found really easy to work with.

Qualatex Bubbles with Tassels in Sue's Garden
U.S. Patent No. 6,782,675

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Importance of Continuing Education

I cannot believe that we are already ⅔ of the way through 2015! What an exciting year it has been for education in the balloon world and there is still more to come!
1st Place Large Sculpture
 2014 Moscow Balloon Festival
Alexander Solomatin CBA
For me, I am getting ready to head off to Russia for the 15th International Moscow Balloon Festival. The first Moscow Balloon Festival was held in 2000, and my first trip to this event was in 2002. I feel very fortunate to have seen how balloon artists in Russia have developed and grown within this relatively short time, and I am very excited to see what incredible designs and sculptures await me later this week! 

Being a talented balloon artist and running a successful balloon business does not just happen. It takes a great deal of commitment and investment to ongoing education - and not just learning new ballooning skills, but business skills as well. That was almost my downfall.  Fortunately with help from the Qualatex Balloon Network and attending my first balloon convention, I was able to profitably operate my balloon company.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Personalising Balloons Using a Die-Cutting Machine: Part 3

I often here people saying how difficult it is to compete against the "big boys." My answer to that is - don't be like the "big boys!" Be yourself and offer something exciting and unique! 

Yes, I cannot deny that there are people out there who will always go for the cheapest option, but that is not true of everyone. There are people who want something a little different, special and unique and are prepared to pay a premium for that service!

For this 3rd and final part of this series, I would like to look at a few other ways that we can use our die-cutting machines for our designs and also within our businesses.

When we talk about personalising balloons, it does not always have to be sticking letters or shapes on to a balloon. There are other things that we can do with our machines. 

Cutting Card Stock
If you like to be a little bit creative and are not adverse to making things yourself, then you will probably enjoy creating your own personalised ribbons too! This was one of the reason why I invested in my machine a few years ago!

I had a job where I needed to recreate a balloon (10 actually) that could be used as part of a promotion to celebrate Candy Crush Saga's 1st Anniversary. This is probably one of those occasions when you could easily say "I'm afraid that we don't sell Candy Crush Saga balloons," and lose a sale! 

I decided that I would offer the client the best alternative that I could, and that was to create my own Candy Crush Saga balloons along with hand-made Candy Crush Saga ribbons!

(This job was on behalf of Candy Crush Saga and therefore did not infringe any copyright laws).

Monday, September 7, 2015

Personalising Balloons Using a Die-Cutting Machine: Part 2

Following on from part 1 of this series of blogs, I asked a few of our lovely industry professionals if they would kindly share a little of their experience working with their die-cutting machines.

"Personalising balloons has become an integral part of WOW Balloons. We would not be without our 'little Silhouette'.
They have become so popular, if you show anyone a personalised 3 foot column,  9 times out of 10 they will buy it! We often find that they will buy 2 so that they can be positioned at the entrance of the venue. It's certainly added another W to our 'WOW', so from my point of view, it was money well spent."
- Debbie O'Neill, Wow Balloons, Essex, UK

Dominic Cassidy of All Things Fun, County Durham offers these thoughts:
The ability to say "yes" to our customers! Having the right balloon at the right time is pretty hard at times, however being able to customise with vinyl means we can do pretty much anything. Fast, create a simple design and cut within minutes. The up-sell, adding names and ages to balloons gives us a great opportunity to add extra value for the customer with extra profit for us. Unique Selling Point (USP) Gives your business that added extra that the large multiples do not do. Gives us another avenue to be creative. Consistency, Being able to make both eyes the same is one of life's simple pleasures! Additionally if your customer would like half a dozen of the same design… no problem!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Personalising Balloons Using a Die-Cutting Machine: Part 1

We have been personalising balloons for years now. I remember attending one of my first ever balloon shows over 20 years ago and seeing beautiful personalisation using glue pens and fine glitter, and to be honest, I still love it today... as long as the person writing the message or name has beautiful hand writing!

Jacqui Pettitt, of Tiffany's Balloons uses stencils to create an outline before she glitters her balloons, which gives a very professional finish!

A few years ago, I was introduced to the Silhouette Cameo and it certainly changed my world!

The Silhouette CAMEO is an electronic die-cutting machine designed for personal use. Like a home printer, it plugs into your PC or Mac with a simple USB cable. However, instead of printing it uses a small blade to cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric and more up to 12" wide and 10' long.