We recently connected with Francine Kades and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Francine, thanks for joining us today. What’s something crazy on unexpected that’s happened to you or your business
We were hired by a company to create balloon drops to fill the ballroom, but each balloon in each balloon drop had to have cash in it! We had $100,000 that we had to stuff into the 5,000 balloons in the balloon drops. We ended up with 12 balloon drop bags and had to do this over 2 evenings without being seen as they were using the front of the ballroom for events. we had a security guard watching over us to make sure we did not run off with the $100,000 (a safety deposit box arrived with bills from $1 to $100 and we had to get a pile of money, use it and get another. He had to be there when we were not there in case anybody made off with the balloons! Each night, we had one team stuffing money into uninflated balloons and another team inflating balloons and filling drop bags. After all the bags were done, we had to hang the bags and have them ready for the next day. The guests at the event were told that there were keys to Teslas in the balloons and they went crazy popping balloons looking for the keys when the drops opened. The true story of the Teslas was that 40 of them were given away to sales people who reached certain targets but the keys were not in the balloons. This was done by the company as a small consolation for the people who did not make Tesla. That was pretty cool! I only recently got to see a small video of the balloon drop and the people going crazy! it is on my Facebook page and on my Instagram – balloonpeopleaz! That truly was the craziest story. there are more, but this is the best!
Francine, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I have been creating balloon decor for 28 years! I started by going to a franchise show to see about a new biz. There was a company selling balloon franchises which I did not buy, but I did buy an afternoon’s training and that is how I started.
I truly love what I do and treat every customer equally, whether they are spending $100 or $10,000. I think that is really important to make your customer feel important. I am not the least expensive balloon business, in fact I believe I may be the most expensive and I do not shy away from that fact. One is paying for experience, customer service, and that fact that I know what i am doing and will bend over backwards to make your event perfect – no matter what it takes. I believe my clients know and appreciate that fact and that is why I have some of the most loyal clients in the world, which I am eternally grateful for.
I have an amazing team and we have been together for 10 and 20 years respectively. We have great synergy and often do not even have to talk while we are working and yet we know what the others need!
There is a big trend now for organic decor, which we do offer, but we also offer every other type of decor from sculptures of 80′ snakes winding around a hotel lobby to roller coasters and ferris wheels, and everything else under the sun.
I love getting new clients, but I treasure repeat clients the most!
Have you ever had to pivot?
Covid! One day I had a full calendar of events coming up and the next, all gone, cancelled, life in general cancelled until further notice.
So, we came up with the idea of delivering balloons to people, staking these fun celebration poles in their front yards. After never having done a balloon delivery in my life, this became the focus. One of the local TV stations did a story on us and we did not stop delivering these celebration poles until it got too hot to deliver! then it was time to move indoors as people got more comfortable with letting us run in the door masked and gloved, to deliver – and run out. We had a huge surge in business during Covid. Our delivery pieces got bigger and bigger and they took hours to put together. We recently had to stop doing them as the decor part got super busy again. Those deliveries saved the day for sure. While everybody had a 9 month vacation, we worked day in and day out, bringing what we hope was joy to people stuck at home and separated from loved ones. The whole thing was both uplifting and depressing all at the same time. Outdoor graduations nearly killed me. Each time we did one, i was in tears for what the kids were not going to get that year, after 12 years working towards that one goal.
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
Giving the best customer service, putting the client’s needs first and making them feel their event is the most important event you are working on (and it should be at that moment in time) has always been my strategy for happy clients. Developing trust, being reliable, providing a great service and most importantly producing a quality beautiful product inspires loyal customers – who in turn often become great friends!
- Website: www.theballoonpeople.net
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/balloonpeopleaz/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theballoonpeopleaz
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/the-balloon-people-francine-kades-628827b/
- Twitter: @balloonpal