Up, Up and Away, Y’all!

 

 

Lisa Patrick

The Ashland Beacon

 

   Before COVID happened, Leah Dixon’s son, Henry, turned one. Her best friend, Samantha Royalty, said that they “wanted a little extra fun at his birthday party” so they came up with the idea to do a “balloon garland.” The two friends, who are teachers by day, didn’t realize at the time that the “little extra fun” would soon turn into their new business, “Balloons Y’All.”

   When making that first balloon garland, they ordered all the supplies and “recruited some of our former students to blow up balloons because we didn’t know the tricks of the trade at that point,” said Royalty. “We just kind of got bored during COVID and during quarantine [because school was out] so we decided to just start doing this.” Royalty continued, “We started playing, and during our research, we fell in love with all the cool things that you can do with balloons.”

   She said that “we’re kind of crazy; we thought, we can do that.” They also realized that no one else in the area was really working with balloons so there seemed to be a hole in the market here. “We started playing and then it snowballed and now we have Helium tanks in our garage.” Dixon added in “we cut out confetti at all hours of the night.”

   Royalty said that for the confetti balloons, it took some trial and error to find “a good combination of paper and the weight of the paper” to make the balloons perfect. They hand cut the confetti in the specific color combinations ordered by their customers, then insert the confetti into the balloon as they are filling it with Helium. They can also add vinyl lettering to the side of the balloon and tie bows, extra ribbon, or handmade tassels to the bottom of the balloons before delivering “some happy,” says Royalty.

   Dixon said that the largest balloon that they are selling right now is 36 inches and “it is legitimately three feet wide” but they are looking at wholesale companies online that carry even bigger options. They also offer a smaller 24 inch balloon option but Dixon says that “the really fun ones are the ginormous round 36 inch balloons.”

   Royalty shared that delivering the balloons is “kind of a juggling act” because they are so big that they do not fit into a car or a small SUV. They have to get a large SUV to be able to deliver the balloons. T”hat has been the fun of it, trying to figure out how big we can actually blow it up without over-popping it” and still be able to get it in the truck. “We are still learning as we go,” revealed Dixon.

   Balloons Y’all has taken over the dining room, part of the playroom, and the garage at the Dixon household. One-year old Henry likes to see the “bubbles” being blown up. Royalty said that the confetti balloons have really taken off but that the garland has also “become more popular” because it really makes a “visual impact.” The friends say that the balloons make a great alternative to having flowers delivered. They have made balloons for retirements, birthdays, bridal showers, and graduations. Leah Dixon made one for Samantha Royalty to celebrate her recent engagement. They are really hoping that they get called to make one for a gender reveal soon.

   Right now, single color balloon garlands start at $50 and multi-color garlands start at $60. A 36 inch confetti balloon, called the “jumbo,” with a fabric ribbon is $40 with extra costs for embellishments. The handmade tassels are $3 each. Lettering is $3 per word, although there is a limit to how many letters can be put onto a balloon “before the balloon will not float.” The ladies are “willing to try different things based on what [a customer] wants.” They even made a balloon to look like a golf ball on a tee complete with fake grass. “We are not giving a cookie cutter product and are willing to go as crazy as [the customer] wants us to. Doing this together has been one of the most fun things,” Royalty said. “We have been friends since middle school. Being together and being creative and seeing people’s faces when we deliver them is just so much fun.” Royalty shared that the duo is “just really appreciative for our community and the support that they’ve shown. This is just an idea that we had after a birthday party and now we have 15-plus orders ready to go out the door.” As teachers, they “like to bring a little bit of extra cheer and happiness to people and this is just a fun way for us to do that.”

   The friends can do contactless delivery of confetti balloons in good weather while wearing masks and gloves. In bad weather, they will have to actually put the balloons inside of a building or house. However, garlands cannot be left outside and have to actually be brought in and put into place. The balloons are also cleaned completely and they put booties on their shoes before going into a place. All payments are made digitally through PayPal and Venmo.

   Balloons Y’All can be found on Facebook or reached at 1.859.414.6598.


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