Vendor Spotlight- The Balloon People of Scottsdale, Arizona
Being a kid I remember going to church every Sunday and my mom would buy me a balloon afterwards. This was back in the Philippines where there are all types of street vendors selling toys, food, beverages, vegetables, balloons to all the church goers. Who doesn’t love having a balloon? Balloons just immediately brings a smile out of people and makes everything so festive! Back in the day, scattering balloons would do the trick (oh the simple days), but now, there is an art to it. Balloons later on progressed to arches and columns, and now, balloon artists have taken it to the next level. It now comes in different sizes put together asymmetrically to create a wow factor at all types of events like Quinceneras, weddings, debuts, baby showers and corporate events and this is what The Balloon People of Scottsdale Arizona does. Balloons are just not for birthdays any more.
The Balloon People, an Arizona balloon artist
Being part of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events), I have gotten a chance to meet fabulous people. One of them is Ms. Francine Kades. She has such a big heart and always so giving with NACE and other non-profit organizations and let’s talk about her skills! This girl can make balloons be anything you want! Please take a moment on getting to know Francine and The Balloon People.
Tell us about your company…
The Balloon People of Scottsdale, Arizona, have been decorating Phoenix events since 1994. When you call, you get me, Francine Kades the owner, on the phone as I think it’s really important to be accessible to my clients! I love what I do and have 4 people that work with me who feel the same about what we do. Each event and each client is special to us – it’s not just another balloon job! Our goal is to provide lasting memories and create lifelong relationships with our clients.
How did you get started with your business?
I had a boyfriend who used to send me balloons and I loved them! I was a paralegal and lived in Los Angeles; when the 1994 earthquake hit, we moved to Phoenix. When I looked into jobs, I saw that the Phoenix market did not pay as well as LA and I decided to find something else to do. Went to a franchise show, saw a balloon franchise, did not buy it but did buy a half day’s training and that’s how The Balloon People of Scottsdale, Arizona all began!
What makes your different from other businesses in the field?
I can’t talk for other businesses as I don’t know how they work but for my business, as I said above, we really do care about our clients and how things look. We will revise a plan if we think a change is necessary, we tell the truth about all risks (weather, etc.) and will not sell you something to make money, when we know the job will not work out. You would be surprised how many companies will not tell the truth about certain risks just to get your money.
Why do you like working with weddings?
Weddings are always so beautiful and romantic and the colors are always gorgeous to work with. Being a part of such a huge day in a couple’s lives is priceless! Balloons are really trending in weddings all over the country right now, and it’s finally starting to take off here in Arizona. There is so much the Balloon People of Scottsdale Arizona can do and it’s great that people are seeing the value in a balloon and are letting us provide some stunning décor at the prices they are quoted at. The balloon business does not function on the $1 Party City balloon anymore and that is the challenge having people understand that!
What was the most difficult situation you have faced with a client and how did you resolve it?
Hot weather does not cooperate with balloons. I always advise a client on the risks and let them know that The Balloon People of Scottsdale Arizona does not and cannot guarantee outdoor décor. But sometimes you cannot see ahead how weather can impact the indoors!
We had an indoor event, hanging 3’ clear confetti balloons on the ceiling of a beautiful venue. We had to do it the day before due to the venue’s time constraints. What we did not realize was that this beautiful venue was actually a warehouse with “garage” like doors which were opened and closed at various times during the day. Our beautiful clear balloons with confetti oxidized (got cloudy) in the change of temperature when the doors were opened and closed so the clear balloons were ruined. Next morning, we got the call from the venue that it looked terrible… we went back and redid them. That luxury of time and product is not always available so we were lucky in that instance.
Lesson learned, we now ask a ton of questions if it’s a new venue we have not worked in before. At the end the client was happy and that is what is most important.
From a vendor’s perspective, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to engaged couples?
Don’t be in a hurry to hire all your vendors quickly. Unless you have received glowing recommendations from friends who have used those vendors, do your homework. There are so many fly by nighters out there and you can get hurt. There is also wedding insurance now available. I would highly recommend getting that in place, to protect against certain vendors, and especially for your venue.
What or who motivates you?
I aspire to be the best that I can be. I have been in business for 24 years and do not know it all! When you are green, you grow! I attend workshops, conventions around the country, I have a network of balloon friends and we bounce ideas off of each other. All of this motivates me. On another level of motivation, I am a single mom to 2 great kids and I have to provide! I work hard and they see it. I hope it motivates them to be hard working and successful in their lives!
What do you do when you are not working?
I work all the time! But the ocean is my salvation. I work sometimes weeks on end without a break; then I plan a little vacation away for a few days by the beach and that invigorates me and refreshes me so I can start fresh. I really do work most of the time but fun things would be concerts, out to dinner, movies and occasionally a great book!
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
On the business side, I’ve been an instructor at a balloon convention and my balloon work has won several awards for parade décor – which I am really proud of and which is not widely known.
On the personal side, I’d love to buy ugly homes and fix them up and sell them! I’m a mommy, a chocoholic and a workaholic.
Thank you Francine of The Balloon People of Scottsdale Arizona for taking the time to be our “In the Limelight… Vendor Spotlight” of the month!
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