Jill and Scott Shortreed
Charleston, South Carolina
From 1997 to 2004, Jill and Scott Shortreed owned a successful retail party store in New Jersey where they did rentals of costume character and party equipment. In 1998, their Qualatex rep brought Linda Bruce to their store and she showed the possibilities of what could be done with balloons. They instantly hooked.
In 2004, Scott was relocated to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and they decided to close their business and take a break. Their new friends and neighbors learned about their old business and sought their help, thus a new store was opened with balloon creations topping the charts. In 2010, they renamed the company to better reflect what they do and Charleston Balloon Co. was born. Charleston Balloon Co. is now a home-based studio where they decorate everything from Fortune 500 companies and non-profits to private events and parties for clients like Google, MTV and more.
1) What is the best retail advice you’ve received?
Jill: You never know who will see your work or who will be at an event, so always do your best. My dad always said do tasks that touch money first.
Scott: You have to spend money to make money.
2) What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Jill: Right now we’re working on a branding campaign. Most of our clients are corporate, so we are trying to appeal to the private and social clients. One of our biggest challenges is streamlining back office tasks and creating systems so we can hire staff.
Scott: Gain more monthly accounts, like car dealerships, to create steady revenue.
3. What are your biggest frustrations?
Jill: The vague phone calls with, “How much are balloons?” We try to educate clients about balloons, the possibilities and the true value in professional décor.
Scott: Having a full time job outside of CBC, it’s hard to stay in the day-to-day operations. We are looking to hire to help with the workload.
4. How do you stay passionate about what you do?
Jill: I am constantly looking at websites for high-end planners, along with BizBash and wedding sites. I will look at an event and see what I can make out of balloons or if balloons would look really good there. We also attend conventions and trade shows as often as possible; if we can’t both attend, at least one of us does. We are constantly “playing and creating” new ideas in our studio.
Scott: Reading all the positive feedback from our clients and peers
5. If you had $10,000 to do whatever you wanted to your store/business, what renovations would you make?
Jill: I want to add more Conwin equipment so we can setup a workstation in our trailer and never have to pack equipment. We also need a cargo delivery van to add to our vehicles.
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