August 2009

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Airigami Balloon Creations

Sometimes a party just calls for giant balloon spiders looming over the crowd — and then exploding — or a stuffed balloon with a deluxe Swiss Army knife suspended inside with its blades and tools opened up. For Michael Keeney, C.B.A. and owner of Airigami Balloon Creations in Middleton, Wis., that’s not a problem to create, seeing as he’s “one of those guys” and all. “Airigami Balloon Creations exists because I’m apparently 'one of those guys,’” Keeney said. “Many years ago a girlfriend gave me one of those $5 kits on how to make balloon animals as a gift, saying, 'you’re one of those guys who can probably do something like this.’” It wasn’t until a few years later when Keeney was attending a local food festival that he found his calling. He was in a different, stressful career at the time, and decided to get…  » Read more

Elevate to Escalate

A lthough the value of education in any industry cannot be understated, the highly competitive nature of party retail all but makes having that “extra something” a necessary tool of the trade. So how can you rise above the competition and offer customers that little something extra? By increasing your knowledge, you can increase your sales. But with so many resources out there — the Internet alone can boggle the mind — how can you go about finding the best resource for you and your needs? To get an unbiased perspective, I talked to a handful of manufacturers and professional balloon decorators. My conclusion is that ... well, I love balloons. But I also learned that it’s important to figure out what you want to learn, as the needs of a beginner will obviously be different than those of someone who already has an extensive portfolio…  » Read more

Trending Up for 2010

I believe it was the immortal Winnie the Pooh who so sagely said, “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” With a history dating back to the early 1800s, balloons are still an accessible and affordable way to symbolize fun, celebration and cheer. And while the basic premise remains the same, each year brings new trends, new colors and new innovations. Betty Vlamis, executive vice president of Pioneer Balloon Co., believes that consumers will continue to celebrate with home parties and planned events that specialize in comfortable settings to mingle more with close friends and family, despite the economy. “While fiesta and luau settings are still popular themes, others will include nature-inspired and earth-friendly elements for large events,” Vlamis said. “Colors for this include earth tones and those inspired by trees, flowers, sunsets and other elements of nature. “Home gatherings that are colorful, festive and inviting will continue…  » Read more