Monday, 7 November 2011

Start a Flower Arrangements and Balloon Art Business

(193)Start a Flower Arrangements and Balloon  Art Business
Cody's ballloons add colour to Broncos and Lions matches.

Two great home based business ideas that seem to growing in popularity these days are the flower decoration business and the balloon bouquets business. Because both these ventures are easy to start, need very little investment and offer a great outlet for creativity; they are great business ideas if you like working from home.

People love floral decorations in all forms and sizes. Whether it is a small hand bouquet tastefully put together or a grand floral decoration that covers a section of a room, flowers command awe and admiration.

Not to be left behind, balloons these days are increasingly finding a market as decorative items. Again just as flowers, balloons can be put together as bouquets or they can be twisted into different kinds of shapes and designs. And just like flowers, you can use twisted balloons to line an arch or a column or a pillar. The effect is equally dazzling and vibrant.

Since both flowers and balloons come in different colors, and can be assembled in so many different ways they are perfect for decoration and gifts. And also because they are used extensively for all kinds of functions and at events, both these businesses offer unlimited potential for growth and expansion.

So if you have been on the lookout for a home business venture that is both fun and easy to start you should consider starting a flower decoration business or a balloon bouquets business.

Startup costs of setting up a business

Start up costs and initial investment in both businesses is subject to the following:

· Supplies/equipment,
· transportation,
· licensing/permits,
· Area of operation (home or retail unit)
· working capital/operational costs
· Marketing and advertising costs.

A home business will obviously work out cheaper since you don't have to worry about high rents or lease investment.

Plan your business

Once you have made up your mind about starting a business there are a few things that you should consider.

Create a business plan for your business - a business without a business plan is a like a rudderless ship. If you want to succeed, some amount of basic planning is required. A business plan offers you the following advantages:

· Helps you in identifying your audience/ target market


Flower Arrangements | Business



           

Millions of flowers are purchased each year for every kind of occasion imaginable, and all of these occasions have one thing in common, the flowers have to be arranged once they arrive at the event. The opportunity for making money by creating and selling flower arrangements are endless--everything from creating small bouquets to large centerpieces to establishing joint ventures with interior decorators and event planners. Or you can even simply supply real estate agents with thank-you flower bouquets delivered to their clients who've recently purchased a home. Gaining new clients for the business can be as easy as preparing samples of your work and hand delivering them to potential clients with a full marketing presentation outlining the value and benefits of your service. This is a great part-time, home based business opportunity to set in motion, and the spin-off opportunities to earn a substantial yearly income are almost unlimited.
Floristry is the general term used to describe production, commerce and trade in flowers. It encompasses flower care and handling, floral design or flower arranging, merchandising, and display and flower delivery. Wholesale florists sell bulk flowers and related supplies to professionals in the trade. Retail florists offer fresh flowers and related products and services to consumers.

Floristry as a term can refer to the cultivation of flowers as well as their arrangement, and to the business of selling them. Much of the raw material supplied for the floristry trade comes from the cut flower industry. Florist shops, along with online stores are the main flower-only outlets, but supermarkets, garden supply stores and filling stations also sell flowers.



          

Floral Design or floral arts is the art of creating flower arrangements in vases, bowls, baskets or other containers, or making bouquets and compositions from cut flowers, foliages, herbs, ornamental grasses and other plant materials. Often the terms "floral design" and "floristry" are considered synonymous. Florists are people who work with flowers and plants, generally at the retail level. The term is not to be confused with floristics (the study of distribution and relationships of plant species over geographic areas.). Floristry is also not to be confused with horticulture which more broadly relates to the cultivation of flowers and plants.rs and plants so they will remain fresh as long as possible, and would be desirable for purchase, which also involves knowledge of customers' requirements and expectations. Ability to create a variety of floral designs such as wreaths, bouquets, corsages, boutonnières/'buttonholes', permanent arrangements and other more complicated arrangements is also important.
Salix discolor used in a decorative arrangement outside a hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.
Painting of a Chinese flower basket, by Southern Song artist Li Song. Ink and color on silk, late 12th-early 13th century.

The flowers sold in florist shops typically represent the varieties abundantly available in the season but also include blossoms flown in from around the world. Basic varieties in temperate latitudes include roses, tulips, irises, orchids and lilies. Fashion sometimes plays a role in floristry; what is considered the flower that everyone needs to have today can change very quickly.

Some shops also stock gift baskets, fruits, and chocolates as well as flowers, whereas some shops will purchase these things only when needed for an order. Floral business is seasonal and is heavily influenced by the following holidays and events: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Administrative Professionals' Day, Mothers' Day, All Souls Day, Advent, Easter, weddings and funerals.[1] These occasions make up the largest part of the business, with the sale of house plants and home decor being a smaller, but more constant, part. Flowers for personal enjoyment as well as those selected to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, thank-you's and get well wishes are also a significant portion of a florist's business.

Education, both formal and informal, is another significant segment of the floristry industry. Established floristry designers and artists impart their craft to students interested in floral design as hobby or career. Courses are generally available in through community colleges, via private post-secondary vocational schools and through professional florist trade associations.

The floristry business has a significant market in the corporate and social event world as flowers play a large part in the decor of special events and meetings. Centerpieces, entryways, reception tables, bridal bouquets, wedding chuppahs and stage sets and only a few examples of how flowers are used in the business and social event settings.




Twisted Designs balloons


              


You might think balloons are just for kids. Big Mistake!! Nowadays, people are using balloons for all kinds of events. You wouldn't believe how spectacular balloons have become! They can be very elegant -- and even be made into a wedding dress!
If you love to entertain people and you want to work from home, a balloon artist could be the right job for you. Balloon artists often combine their work with other services like juggling, clowns, and face painting. These individuals will come to parties of all types and blow up balloons and make them into unique shapes for their customers. Many of them can quickly make animals using balloons, but others can get more elaborate with their artistry. 

To become a balloon artist, you must understand how to twist balloons into different shapes. You can purchase some DVDs and books on how to twist balloons and they will really help you start your new profession. Check the internet for helpful tips on balloon art so you can learn different animals and other things like swords and crowns. The industry standard balloon is called Qualatex balloons. 


Since a balloon artists works at shows and events, you won't need a home office. The only reason you would need to dedicate some room in your home to your balloon art job is to hold the balloons and the pump. You will need a computer to keep track of your customers and invoices.
Most balloon artists only work part-time, about 20 hours a week. Some only work 10 hours and they are able to pull off a decent income from this amount of work. The amount of hours you put in will depend on how many events you have for the week and if you are able to get in with some big events like carnivals.
The amount of money you make might surprise you. A balloon artist actually makes about $100 an hour. If they are able to combine their job as a balloon artist with that of a clown and a face painter, they can easily make $100,000 a year. This puts the job of a balloon artist at a 4 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest at-home revenue you can make.
The key to being a good balloon artist not only lies in your ability to twist balloons but in your people-skills. Think about the time it takes you to twist the balloon, this is the time you need to spend talking to your customers and entertaining them. A few witty jokes would really help to break the silence and convince people to bring you back for another party in the future. Advertising will help you get recognized in the industry and it will draw in some new clients for your company. Take advantage of the internet and create your own web site that lists the services you offer, the prices, and hours you are willing to work. If people see you are willing to work for them on their last-minute Christmas Eve party, you will build a solid reputation.

Entrepreneur Interview: Irina Patterson, Balloon Art Entertainer


It’s not every day that you get to interview someone who:
  • started out as an Emergency Medicine doctor in her native country of Russia,
  • went on to be a body double for Cindy Crawford,
  • is a former public relations executive,
  • has been reading my blog for nearly a year ;) ,
  • … and now spends her time twisting latex balloons.
Irina Patterson is a balloon artist, usually working at upscale events like cocktail hours, galas, art dinners, or yacht events. She is a great example of how following your passions and having an open mind can lead to a fun and flexible self-employed business. Although she admits that it is not passive income, she has managed to build what she terms a “money printing press” since she has all the work she can handle.
I wanted to learn more, so below is an e-mail interview that I recently conducted with Irina:
How did you get started as the “Balloon Lady”?
Believe it or not, I have never seen balloon animals until about 4 years ago. I don’t have kids and I don’t go to the malls. I saw balloon animals for the first
time at a private party and totally fell in love with the process. I love bright colors. It just made me happy. I guess it makes happy many other people too. Otherwise, how can you explain the demand for balloon art entertainment even now, when people cut down on everything.

How long did you practice making balloons before you started to earn money doing it? Did you worry about not making enough money at it?
I practiced at home for about a week. Then I went to a strip mall. Paid them $75. That was their monthly fee for allowing me to make balloon art
for tips. I made that $75 in tips right back on the first day. At the time, I didn’t know better at the time. I only paid fees like that for about 2 months.

You can find places where you can make balloon animals without rental fees. You can find restaurants that will PAY you to entertain their customers. In Miami restaurants usually pay $50-100 per 3-4 hours on a weekend + most customers will usually give a tip. You can expect to make about $ 150 for about 4 hours as a restaurant balloon artist.
But the best part is this. While you are entertaining at a restaurant, you are also marketing your private party entertainment. Private parties will always give you better return on your time. In Miami, on average, a balloon artist can earn $100-200 per hour at a private event. And you are usually booked for more than one hour.
I didn’t have to worry about making money as a balloon artist. At the time I was full time employed as a PR executive. But I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make money as a balloon artist.

How much time do you spend working on average as an artist? Do you work elsewhere as well?
Right now, I work only as a self-employed balloon artist. I don’t have any other job. I mostly work on weekends, about 10 hours a week, on average. I can hold a full time job, if I want to.
How do you advertise your services? Newspapers, online, flyers, radio? Word of mouth?
Word of mouth, period. Once in a while, craigs list. But, word of mouth really keeps me busy. As a solo artist, I can only do so much. Once I am booked.
I am booked and can’t be booked some place else. Over the years, I forged relationships with event entertainment agencies. They also send me business. I no longer work restaurants. But people who got my business card from those days, still call me for private events.

How much to do your charge (approximately) per hour for an event?
I charge from $100-300 per hour. A beginner can expect to charge from $50 to $100 for a private event.
What is the most elaborate piece you’ve ever made? How much did it cost?
I made balloon sculptures of Darth Veida, Shaquille O’Neil, Borat (all full size). Big sculptures cost about $100-200. When I made Borat (at the time of Borat movie release), I tried to sell the sculpture on eBay for $20,000. I didn’t sell it, but it brought a lot of publicity. LOL The news got picked up on many blogs and I was profiled in The Miami Herald. t was 4th time The Miami Herald interviewed me. One thing about balloon art, you can get a lot of media coverage out of it. It is always an attention getter.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of this job is I get paid to do what I enjoy doing. I also get my what I called “color fix”. I just need some color in my
life. It is just how I am. An artist would understand. Colors for an artist like breathing.. LOL..

I also can stop and start at any time I want. I don’t have to be any specific place at 9 am every day. If I don’t want to work this week, I don’t have
to. I can work more next week to catch up. If I would travel to different countries, I could work there too, if necessary. I also feel very confident about
my retirement years. I always can make money with little effort if I have to.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a side job or career as a event entertainer?
First, find out if you like it. It makes all the difference. Volunteer at events with entertainment. Take a class, if there is one in your area.
If not, make friends with someone who is already established entertainer. They are usually very friendly. You can find an entertainer in your area here (Do search by your zip code).

Any other tips?
The key secret is this. Most people think that to be an event entertainer you need to go to a circus school or have some other elaborate training.
Then you need to have a business plan, operating and marketing budget and establish a company.

But I can tell you this. All you have to do is want to do it. That’s all. The cost of minimum supplies is $15 or so. You can learn the basics in 2 hours.
Most people don’t know the different between basic and advanced balloon art. And you can make them happy either way.

If you want to learn advanced art, all the power to you. But if you have bills to pay and need money now, grab a bag of balloons and a pump and call a local restaurant to offer your entertainment for tips now.
– end of interview –
Recap
I want to thank Irina for the enlightening interview. Here are some quick take-aways for me:

  1. Had an idea come out of the blue, but went for it. I believe that most people, even if they had the idea, would still not have showed up at the park that day.
  2. The start-up costs were minimal – and she made a profit on the first day!
  3. Was working full-time in PR at the time, so in reality the risk was low.
  4. Steadily built up a business of recurring clients gradually through word-of-mouth.
  5. Now works when she wants, where she wants, at $100 per hour!




















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