One of my goals with BalloonCoach.com is to create an Online Community for Balloon Professionals around the world to be able to easily locate training, resources and support to take YOUR Business to New Heights! No matter if you are new to the industry or have been earning money from balloons for over 25 years, one key to continued success is to stay current in the industry. The Very Best Balloon Blog is a resource I enjoy turning to often, with over 200 blog posts, and a search feature that makes it easy to find the topic you are looking for.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sue Bowler, CBA, a social media columnist for Qualatex to find out a little more about the person behind one of my favorite blogs.
What did you do before entering the “world” of balloons?
I am one of those people who does not change their jobs often. Primarily, you could say that I have always been an instructor! I got my first training instructor job at the age of 19 for a large retail store and pretty much worked for the same company until I left to have my first daughter.
How were you introduced to the balloon world?
After my first daughter was born, I was looking to find something that I could do that would fit in with being a mother and working from home. I saw an advert for ‘talking balloons’, these were plastic strips that you attached to balloons that made them talk… and that was it, I was hooked, although the plastic strips were pretty useless!
How long have you been working as a freelance instructor for Qualatex?
On and off for about 18 years! I have always worked closely with Qualatex. I worked for Conwin for 7 years from 2002-2009 and continued to teach at events, but since leaving Conwin, I resumed working for Qualatex as a freelance instructor.
What do you feel is the most important aspect to having a successful business?
To run a business as a business. That’s where I pretty much failed when I first started. I did not know how to run a business, how to charge for my work, or how to write a contract. The creative side comes naturally to most of us, but the business side is harder, but so so important!
What is the craziest situation you have ever encountered while on a balloon installation?
Not sure if this is crazy or stupid. I was working on a wedding many years ago when the bride and wedding party arrived early at the venue. Instead of keeping my cool and just clearing up quickly and leaving, I hid in a cupboard. It then dawned on me that it would be ages yet, and I slipped away without them ever knowing that we were still there!
What resources does SueBowler.com offer for Balloon professionals?
My website is work in progress, I sell educational videos including my own, plus I show people what I am capable of making with balloons, which occasionally does attract an enquiry and has lead to some great corporate jobs! I am very excited as I have a new DVD, Balloon Decor 2, that will be on sale from September 1st. There is a lot of additional information that I did not manage to get on the DVD as I over-ran (it’s over 4 hours long)! So, there will be a big resources area on my website for those who have bought the DVD.
Do you ship your DVD’s outside of the UK?
I ship my video’s worldwide, but I also have some distributors around the world, so I am happy to refer people to a local distributor if possible.
Most memorable or special moment for you in the world of balloons.
At the 2010 WBC, I was awarded The Golden Light Award in honour of the late Linda Bruce. Linda and I were very close friends, we enjoyed spending time together whenever possible, bearing in mind we lived 1000’s of miles apart! When we lost Linda to cancer, I felt that I had lost a big part of my life. Being awarded this honour was so very special!
What professional organizations are you a part of in the UK?
I am a member of an organisation called BAPIA – Balloon and Party Industry Alliance. It was actually founded and is owned and run by my husband John Bowler. John has also worked in the balloon industry for almost 25 years and is extremely passionate about the industry.
John started BAPIA as it was felt that there was a need for an independent organisation that could support the balloon and party industry.
BAPIA’s membership is a healthy mix of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and decorators. It also has members from others industries such as face painters, candy cart suppliers and other party based businesses.
BAPIA works hard to support the party industry and the professionals within it by promoting a best practices policy to create positive and sustainable growth. BAPIA promotes its members and the industry to the public and encourages the use of professionals for all balloon and party needs.
BAPIA aims to act as a unified voice for balloon and party professionals and will represent its members on industry related matters and bring benefits and information to assist in the growth and security of their business.
With a group of members, BAPIA supports one of the biggest children’s charities every year by decorating their Christmas party. This is a very high profile event and gets huge media coverage. The decor helps to transform a hotel ballroom into a magical Christmas wonderland each year! Blog from 2014 Children’s event
What are some of your favorite countries traveled to teaching about balloons?
I love the culture in Japan, and traveling to remote places. In Israel, I loved the history of the country, the people and food are lovely.
What is the TOPIC or blog post that seems to have the MOST interest – or that you refer people to most often.
This is a very interesting question, as so many of the blogs that I have written over the years get read and re-read all the time! The top topic appears to be ‘how to make balloon walls’, which is closely followed by “How much should I charge for that”? I think there is a good split between design lead blogs verses business related blogs.
What words of wisdom do you have for those who are struggling in building and growing their business to the level of revenue they dream about, but have not yet obtained?
Invest in your future! There is no better way to grow your business than to grow your knowledge and confidence. I think that many people start a balloon business because they feel they don’t have to invest a great deal to get started. But to succeed, you need to treat your business as a business and not a hobby. Invest in good education, good equipment and good marketing.
Anything else you would like for people to know about you?
Apart that I am very passionate about the balloon industry! I recently became a grandma… or nanny as I am known as. My granddaughter, in only a few short months, has become such a very special part of my life. I also have an adorable dog called Mylo, who keeps me very fit and happy too. I love to travel when I am teaching and meeting such wonderfully talented balloon artists, but going home to my husband and family is so very special.
If you are working on your CBA exam – Sue has several blogs to help you with that
When you go to her blog Search CBA
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Sue and the resources she creates that are available to you.
Do you find yourself:
- Wondering how you can get more clients contacting you
- Unsure if your brand is projecting what you want it to for potential clients
- Love creating balloon decor, but unsure how to maximize your sales
- Unsure how to price your decor to be profitable
- Feeling alone in running your business
- Frustrated that you are not reaching the goals you have set
- Ready to increase your sales to a new level
GREAT NEWS! I have turned my passion for helping people succeed into a full time job with Balloon Coach. I’ve taken my proven best practices and am sharing them with the balloon industry. I grew my home based business to $150,000 a year in sales and now serve as a part of the team of Party People Events with the owner Johnathon Gerber who purchased several companies and put them together we now do over $600,000 a year in sales in Central Florida. In my group coaching program I share our tips for marketing and growth to support you in your business journey and stepping out of fear into taking action to make your goals reality.
Balloon Boss Mastermind is our group coaching program that allows you accesses to a private group for our Balloon Boss Members to ask me a question that I answer within 24 hours online from business building to balloon building.
24/7 access to over $2,500 of online training and support including our monthly Passport to success replays from Sept 2015 to now learning from some of the top leaders in the balloon industry on how to put systems into your business for growth. No need wasting time you can learn from our mistakes and successes for a faster road to success!
I look forward to working with you!
Your Partner in Success!
Joette Giardina, CBA
Grow Your Thriving Balloon Business