Events suppliers are masters of their craft. They’ve had to learn and adapt and overcome lots of obstacles to produce amazing events for their clients again and again. This makes them a brilliant source of knowledge if you’re looking to get into the industry, or even if you’d just like to get to know your suppliers a bit better.
We spoke to Sharon, an incredible balloon artist from Liverpool who was able to share some brilliant tips with us!

The Balloon Decorators

How Did You Get Into Balloon Decorating?

Sharon: Well, I have a degree in law but I quickly discovered that I was far more interested in the idea of a business and all of the things that go along with running a business.

After having my babies, I knew that I wanted to create a life on my own terms, I just didn’t want to miss a single moment with them. 

In the end, I followed my heart and trusted my gut, and this led me to start a creative business. It meant I could pursue my passion for balloons, something I’ve always loved. And here we are, six years later!

What’s It Like To Plan For An Event From Start To Finish?

Sharon: Organising an event can be a lengthy process, it’s not just about the balloons as some people might think – a lot goes into it.

There are logistics to think about and it is a lot of pressure to meet the customer’s expectations. We always need to make sure we’re thinking about colours, the venue, setup time, and budget. 

We often have to travel to gather the supplies, which can take several weeks depending on availability. 

On the day of setup, there are other logistics to consider too. Things like arranging childcare, travel, and taking time to pack all the kit we’ll need and prep the balloons. 

It’s time consuming and it can sometimes be stressful but it’s rewarding to see how everything comes together.

What Traits Make For A Good Events Planner?

Sharon: I think patience is important, patience and self-motivation. Organisational skills would be another one that will make your job more enjoyable and of course you do just need a good eye for it, you need that flair for making decorations that your customers will love.

What Are The Challenging Parts Of Your Job?

Sharon: Time is probably the biggest challenge.

Some venues will have very strict access times and it can make it impossible to get everything done. A balloon wall, an easel, 10 table clusters and a garland over numbers isn’t something that can be thrown together onsite if a venue can only give you an hour.

Venue rules can sometimes mean unsociable working hours too. I might have to collect decorations at 3am or first thing the next morning because they have events the next day or can’t store things. It’s not so easy when you have children to think about.

I suppose this is where planning and experience become really beneficial, you become familiar with restrictions for certain venues and find better ways to combat these issues.

How Do You Handle Unexpected Challenges?

Sharon: For me, it’s about staying organised. I have a diary and I love taking notes – I make them everywhere! 

I also order stock the minute I take an order, so I have the best chance of getting what the customer wants. This means less last minute stress and more time to get the décor right for the event.

I have plenty of tips and tricks I have picked up along the way, things can go wrong but I’ve faced many challenges and always managed to find a solution. I tend to share a lot of these tips in my online course. I feel that it’s important to teach my students so they don’t suffer the anxiety I have from working alone in the industry. My students are never facing challenges alone, I’m always there for them and so are the other students. It’s an amazing community we’ve built.

What Is Your Most Memorable Moment At An Event?

Sharon: There are a few but I’d definitely say the first masterclass I planned was memorable. I felt really quite emotional about it because it was a full circle moment. I’d had so little support for the styles I wanted to create when I first started that I was determined to teach it to other balloon artists the moment I mastered it myself. When it happened I had 3 small babies, ongoing house renovations, all of the chaos that came with the aftermath of the lockdowns and I just felt really proud of myself.

There are a couple of events that really stand out for me. There are lots of times where I’ve played a small part in significant moments for families. I helped a lady with a surprise proposal, that was a special moment. 

I also helped with a funeral for a baby girl that was very touching and it was an honour to be able to help the parents do something special in her memory. 

What Advice Would You Give To Someone New To Events Planning?

Sharon: I’d probably say invest in yourself and don’t try to do it all immediately. 

If you can afford training, it will save you money in the long run as mistakes can be expensive with balloons. 

Also, be patient with yourself – Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be helpful, kind, and choose your style and stick with that. Don’t try to be like anyone else, be you! Focus on your strengths and allow them to help you stand out.

I’m a big believer that it’s better to be individual in this industry than to try and keep up with trends. It’s really exploded in the last few years and it’s so much better to stand out than to blend in!

Tell Us A Bit About Your Balloon Classes!

Sharon: The classes I run are great for beginners or just people looking to get a new perspective on things. It’s all very hands on and students get to make the decorations that I demo for them.

The classes are a great help to people new to the industry, and most students make the investment back within a few months. With the right skills and some drive to practise what you’ve learned, you will do well.

If you need that support through the early days to help build your confidence, and you want to be able to turn to a group of supportive balloon artists to help you around the clock, then my course is perfect for you. 

Everyone has to start somewhere. We’re all designed for success, we just have to take that first step and try something new. Trust the process and enjoy it! Click here to check out Sharon’s classes!

Book The Balloon Decorators for your next event.

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