Episode #159 – Rubber Air With Lots of Flair – Animated Art Baton Rouge Balloon Decor

The Patty-G Show
The Patty-G Show
Episode #159 - Rubber Air With Lots of Flair - Animated Art Baton Rouge Balloon Decor

Tabitha Miller left her career in Instrumentation to follow her passion for spreading joy to those in her community through face painting and balloon decor! In the beginning, she performed at restaurants and events, showcasing her art in the medium of face painting. With the emergence of Covid, her face painting took an abrupt halt; however, the pandemic did bring a silver lining. Many people at the time celebrated birthdays and anniversaries with roadside celebrations accompanied by big, beautiful balloons! From there, her love for the art of balloon decor took off, even leading her to compete on Team USA at the World Balloon Convention in Atlanta, GA. Since then, she has been creating extravagant, over-the-top balloon decor that demands to be the center of attention with its bright colors and unique configurations. In this episode, Tabitha talks about the decision to leave her career in STEM for one in the Arts, the lesser-known Rubber Tree, and her wildest design which includes a 12-foot moose.

Thank y’all again for another great week! Please continue to share us with your friends, family, and colleagues so we can continue showcasing the amazing entrepreneurs that make up Baton Rouge. Don’t forget to follow us on all of our socials, and we’ll catch everyone back here next week!

Sponsors: Fayala Real Estate, Gov’t Taco, Horizon Financial Group, Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge, & Lake Men’s Health Clinic

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The Patty-G Show Website: https://thepattygshow.com

Animated Art Baton Rouge Balloon Decor’s Website: https://www.animatedart.us/ 


Hey everybody, Welcome to the Patty G show. I’m your host, Patty G. If you are watching us you will quickly realize our studio has taken a total transformation. And I’ve got to say it’s pretty darn elegant, it’s pretty legit. It’s pretty sweet. We’ve got Tabitha of Animated Art Baton Rouge Balloon Decor. Yeah, it’s a it’s a statement piece like when you’ll see when we bring her in a windscreen that it is just it’s all-encompassing and it’s absolutely amazing and you two can have this back.

Um, no, I’m just kidding. We are honored and pleased to have Tabitha Miller of Animated Art Baton Rouge Balloon Decor here with us today before we get to her and learn about her journey as an entrepreneur and how she got started and everything. All within that nature, we’re going to give a big shout out and thank you to our amazing sponsors that make the show possible each. And every week government Taco falaya Real Estate Lake Men’s Health Center Horizon Financial Group Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge. And you know, we’ve got this bombing Easter ish Style. Coming to you from a clay, be limited. Without further Ado, Tabitha, Miss Baton Rouge balloon to core herself. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have you, you have, you have quite a backdrop right now. It is, it’s it’s a 3D backdrop. It is amazing. So who are you and what the heck? Do you do? A Tabitha Miller and we specialize in event decoration, particularly balloon to go.



I mean, how in the world did we get here to all this stuff? What’s your? What’s your bet? Let’s take it back. I mean, what are you gonna do this in college? You have a career before then.

I actually have my degree in instrumentation. I worked the plants as processing analyzer, specialization and running pneumatic loops. And I liked to see things work and I’m very mechanically minded. Um. But in twenty two thousand and nine, we were at the zoo in New Orleans, and there was a bunch of laughter. And I went around the corner and it was face painting. And the kids were so happy. And I was like, that’s what I wanna do for the rest of my life. I want to make kids happy. I want to be a face painter. My husband’s like I don’t think that’s a job. I don’t. I don’t think you can quit. You know, do an instrumentation.

To go be a face painter. I was like well let me go see, so I set up a booth at a parade. It was very popular and so I went to the face and body art International Convention. Got the correct training came back, got a couple of restaurants and through the years, I was able to be Baton Rouge, has Parents Magazine public voted number one Entertainer, three years in a row for face, painting for face painting and balloons.

Okay, Otis was with balloons included.

So there’s two types of balloons. Ali. There’s the core. Like what? I brought to you today and there’s twisting balloons or entertainment so I can go table to table and create things with skinny balloons, like a Pikachu, or a Spider-Man, those kind of things.

Wow. So

Let’s back up to the interim instrumentation part, where you just bored with it, tired of it didn’t want to do it anymore. I mean, what made you want to take that leap and just hang up your hat on it.

Spreading Joy was a lot more fun.

Well, I can’t I can’t deny that or disagree there. I mean yeah it’s a lot more fun to spread joy and see people smiling. But I mean what that’s like a big risk though to become an entrepreneur from instrumentation with in a plant facility.

It was and my husband was very supportive and we had our son. N at the time. And so I was able to stay home with him some to be able to go and do face painting on the weekend. And so it really worked for our family at the time. I think he was about 2 or 3 and now he’s 16.

So it’s been a hot minute few years. So mean, was there any entrepreneurship within your family or were you the are you the first one?

No, I’m the first one. And not, I like I remember working the grandma Springs, arts-and-crafts, Fair one,

Early on in my career and I came home and I was counting hundred dollars. And it was like six hundred dollars that I’d earned that weekend. I remember. Just crying like, oh my God, this is a thing. It can be a possibility. And so, um, then I local clown needed more twisters. So I learned that and found that that spread more joy and is really good. Great. I’m a d H d. So to be able to talk to somebody and keep eye contact and create something really made my bringing happy. You can keep your hands doing something. Yeah. In your mind, focus. So it worked really well. I love to be creative. And um, then in twenty sixteen, the world balloon convention came to New Orleans, and I had never seen balloon decor before that. So I told my husband, oh, it’s balloons. I’ve got goats. It’s for work. And I went in the amazing works of art that these.

The world willing convention is a qualatex Pioneer convention and there’s artists from all around the world that come and they have large sculpture competitions, and I got to be on Team USA, and we created a swamp scene, and then the gala was just it touched my heart. And I said, I can spread more joy to more people doing balloon decor.

And I came back home and I already had a birthday following normal. People would have been like High birthday, family, that I could come and face paint for I can do balloons for your birthday. Now, I came back and I was like, I want to do big events, who has big budgets?

And I went and knocked on every car, dealerships door in a car dealership mr.

Johnny, at price LeBlanc, gave me a chance and I made his whole showroom, a winter wonderland, and we had big 10 foot candy, canes hanging from the ceiling.

And we did a Santa’s sleigh and we just created the most beautiful things.

I learned a lot from that experience. I underpriced and I overpaid labor.


I learned about pricing and I learned about product cost and because my, why is to spread Joy, but also need to continue to spread Joy with the money. So that was a learning curve. And then Community Coffee would hire me for their face paint and airbrushing, and all that. And she seen, I was doing balloon decor and she called me in her office and they said, hey, we’re celebrating 100 years. We’re going to go to Atlanta, Georgia, celebrate their fly back. Go to Dallas celebrate, their Fly back. And then we’re running out the River Center, top, and bottom floor. I need you to decorate all that with all those events. All those events. I was brand new to balloon decor and I was like

Yeah. Yeah. I’d love to do that. So they’re like, okay, put together a proposal. So I was scoured the Internet for anything. Any design that made me excited. I was like, ooh, I want this. And this is cool. And oh, this eighty foot coffee poor into this coffee cup from this graph. Yeah. I want to do those in the river center and I want to do just an and I prefer rented it. And she said, yes, I’d like, let’s go ahead. I was like, oh, which ones would you like? She’s like, I like them all. Let’s do them all. So you were given like an untouched budget. Like yeah. Do whatever you need to do. Yes. And so that helped me learn how to do logistics and getting my equipment from one place to the other. And I’m working on designs and how long things still can, um. So I quickly made a spreadsheet of all the stuff that I needed. And it was a great OB opportunity. Wonderful learning experience. And it quickly gave me the hands-on experience. I needed to come back and be able to handle any event here in memory.

So, I’m pretty sure you weren’t expecting to have to budget in a flight to all these places within your initial proposal. So um, the event had already started before I even gave her a price. I was so nervous, I grew up in Pride like what? Yeah, I thought you’d already started working and do they give me a deposit and they were like, well, how much is it? And I’m like, I don’t know how to price things, I don’t know.

I did a lot and they’re like, nah, I need to pay you and I’m like It’s a lot it’s going to be like, buying grin and she’s like, all right, here’s my card and I was like no it’s why. She’s like, it’s fine, it’s fine.

That’s I really expected more. So this is a deal. You did amazing. I was like.

Okay, run the car, run the car and so it was, it was exciting. I couldn’t have asked for a better first large client. They were phenomenal, they asked for tweaks on designs after each event, and I listened with open ears, we made, you know, some some slight differences. I also learned about branding, so every centerpiece we were able to put their logo on. And from there, I realize how important branding is for company, So that’s one of the things that we offer, like for the chamber event, you went to on stage, I did their branding on the column. On the top that logo was I made sure to put their branding first and foremost and you went along with all their colors too. Absolutely. So I kind of want to dissect this community coffee thing. A little bit more first. So this your first Big Gig what was the timeline from the start of the first event to the conclusion of the River Center?

Let’s see. We had three days and then we come back for one or two three days. Come back for one or two. And then the river sinner. We we had two days to set that up. So I don’t know. Eleven. Twelve days. Like under twelve days. It was a it was a very it was. Ah yeah. When then you had hotel fee to book in there too. Well they. They provided the room. So I didn’t have to worry about that well that they were providing it with their employees and stuff. So it was nothing for them to add a couple more rooms. Here you go. And so, um, I got really good friends with Tommy was at the river center whenever I was decorating. And so we went up in the main lift forty foot up in the air because in the atrium, when you first walk in those ceilings are really high. Yeah. They’re huge. Yeah. I’ve been up there. Thank hang balloons. Yes.

And even my husband’s a Baton Rouge fireman. And so, we rented, the big eight-foot PBC orbs cause that’s a large space to fill. And so, we rented those and I wasn’t strong enough to lift them in rig them. So, I had to get my husband to come from the fire department was like, can you lift and drag this for me? So he’s been an amazing supporter for his. His theme is our, his Mantra is, he makes them sturdy and I make them pretty. So during covid be had to pit decor. And so, he welds all my frames and when we did Fred’s Fred’s bar Barstool Sports came and Mark 10 to 12-foot moose and I really tried to talk him out of it. But Mark, wouldn’t listen. So we made him a 12-foot. Sounds like Mark. Yes. And I so we are able to do some really phenomenal things to get the attention for for

So, Within These designs because like we’ve done balloon arch, has by no stretch of the imagination. I would never want to do it for a living. It is late nights. Lots of just scarred up fingers, and I don’t have near the equipment that you have. So it’s a lot of just are exhaling for me to do it, or if I’m using an air compressor. It’s, they’re not allowed, they’re not floating, it’s loud. And, you know, and I got a 15 month olds, it’s a whole big thing, but all that. To say, within like the arch is in the normal stuff, people may buy and like a DIY kit. They sell the whole kit, but you probably can’t buy a 12-foot moose on Amazon. So now, I mean, how are you even beginning to find stuff?

So first of all, we have to design to scale. And so we have to have his logo stretched out that far so that I can

Make sure the proportions are correct. So learning those techniques for fun. And um, my husband’s really good at at framing and making sure the bases and everything is very sturdy, and he’s a carpenter by trade. So the mousse was wood base. So he was really excellent engineering that to where it’s really, really sturdy at withstood a lot of wins and college kids, which is impressive to say the least.

So I mean, are you using CAD or using like pen and paper to design?


How many balloons to I mean? What do you even begin to know? I’m sure, you know, like the square footage of one sized balloon versus another. But assume it’s a lot of math.

Oh yes, yes. Lots of math. And I love it. I love scaling stuff. I love mapping. Um we we are currently doing like for LSU. Um. Basketball team they wanted. Ah. Twelve foot Christmas tree. Well I had structure in there. So I had to.

I had to engineer the height and the diameter of different levels so that I could create the structure or the balloons for the Christmas tree. And then we put a light inside of it. And it was lit. It was so fun, but it’s those projects get me excited. I love the wild and crazy.

Yeah, the beyond the normal Senna, I mean, you’ve got a, you’ve, you have a 5, a 3, you have, like a visual effect wall, like a gif wall behind you right now. I mean, that’s just it’s like next-level.

Most thanks, we are working with Heather with red cake events for the fur ball. And we’re going to be bringing out some stuff that nobody seen in Baton Rouge. So I’m really excited about that.

For Lamar’s Christmas party. We just did a 28-foot rocket ship that was exterior. You could see that it was a rocket but it was also Archway so you can walk through it like a tunnel and then we had astronauts all inside and moon rocks and all kinds of, we had a 10-foot Lamar’s playing it, it’s fun, I mean, I don’t even know how do you even know I guess where to start with a design?

Like that. I mean what a 20-ton foot rocket ship astronauts on the in. How do you even start?

Um so I measure the space and I create like, for Heather’s event with the rocket ship. I created a prototype length. I measured it and said, okay, this is what

This is how long it needs to be to fit the space. And then I brought it out to the space and nature. But yep, I was correct. And so then I can just go from there. I can measure the how wide that one piece was. And how long do I need it? And then they also have templates where I can design into the template to create. Make sure my windows are placed properly. Make sure the lines of the rocket was correct. And um, I was fortunate enough to meet Gary. Ledbetter who had me as one of the rigging teams at balloon diversity. Burton and Burton is I mean as a distributor of the balloon or city. And so every five years, they have a balloon diversity. It’s kind of a university for balloons. And so I got to be on staff this year when I first started balloon decor, they had just had one. So I’d never got to attend. And so this past year, I got to be on staff and it was, um, a space theme. And so I was in charge of doing. Ah. I think it was a.

It was a smaller rocket but they also Glenn designed one of a life-size space shuttle like it was amazing and so there’s a lot of math involved, but it’s a really exciting design and it’s just math and almost Legos after that. Yeah, there’s building blocks and putting everything together. So going back, you said something earlier in the beginning about being on Teen USA for some balloon competition. Yeah, I was able to be a member of Team USA. Pay for World balloon, 2016. And it was led by Sean. And his name is escaping me, another gentleman.

And I was just a team member.

So we had an we did a swamp seen, their design was a swamp scene and so the water was elevated about waist height and you could see the alligator jumping from under the water. Through the plane of the water up into the swamp. There was a big cypress tree with magnolia flowers. There was underneath I think Sam created an imminently with a bass and then he put it on a Rotating motor and so the bass rotated in the in the grass under there, there was so many amazing elements, there was air boat with a propeller there was getting.

I’m assuming I think that one did spend there was pelicans and there was possums, a little family of possums, a mama possum and a couple little baby possums. There was a raccoon and it just encapsulated everything that

You know, you think of when you think of Louisiana swamps and stuff like that. And what was this competition for? Ah. To be the winner of the large competition. Like who are you competing? You’re on team Usa’s or you said there was. Ah Italy, okay. There was Russia there is. Um China. Oh. They did this Alison Wonderland can display. That was been unbelievable. Um. And the there next to us was a two scale like one ten thousandth of a B, it was giant, and they had all the little beepers on it. And it was made out of framing. And it was so awesome to see all that go together. And so you’re creating your sculpture while watching all these others. There was a three-headed lion on a bed of rocks that had uplighting like it’s it goes wild.

So what’s the prize? If you win this. I mean, it sounds like basically the balloon Olympics.

Yeah. The Berlin Olympics. And so you have the, I’m sure there’s cash prizes, but basically you are the best of the best for that year of world balloon. Yeah. So this upcoming year in 2024 and March is going to be float, cam float, balloon convention and I’m going to go there and compete.

So I’m accelerate hiring somebody, obviously from like New Orleans, Louisiana area, you know, that knows floats, the best float is the name of the Isshin, it’s not necessarily appellate parade float.

And I’m also an instructor at the balloon boss Summit in November in Orlando, and so that convention, completely helped my business.

A lot of balloon conventions focus on techniques where this one focused on the business end of things and I shared with you, that’s where I struggle, right? I love to make people happy but the business end of things, I didn’t have a CRM. I was keeping track of everything in a notebook and so when I went there, they shared, you know, here’s a CRM. What’s that, how do you implement it? How do you have your contact page? How do you, how does your client fill out your contact page? Then it goes to your CRM and you can keep up with With all your invoicing and stuff like that in there. I didn’t have any of that prior to 2019 2020 and then covid hit and we pivoted and once we moved our family to 10 acres and Walker my business, grew by like 200%, we will have it.

We were able to do no. Um. So when covert hit, we lost sixteen events that one day. Yeah one. And it was so sad because we had a glow in the dark Easter Bunny arch with ears. Going out for brick. They were gonna have a Easter icon and Glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt. And then, um, St James downtown had a fair. And we did this awesome. St Patrick’s Day Arch with the pot of gold in a little pot of gold costume with a rainbow backpack that she could walk around in that was interactive. And so we ended up putting that outside. So everybody can enjoy it after that. But um, so we pivoted and instead of indoor, we pivoted into outdoor decor with my husband building those eight foot number frames. And that’s all people could really do is, is decorate outside now. And so everybody really enjoyed.

When you drive down the road and you see these eight foot numbers, you know, that Johnny is turning eight, you know, it’s 50th, birthday celebrations, we did gold and red and they would rent a red carpet and they would have her on a throne and they would have the birthday parades and so we just visited birthday birthday parade about that and then micro weddings were the thing. Oh, that was so much fun. Because that was my favorite part of covid because you can only invite so many people. And that was your most Enter family. And it was very intimate and it was really special. And so we did a lot of really nice weddings during covid and so instead of being able to decorate, everybody’s indoors, I learned what he does, the balloons Outdoors.

Balloons on like outdoor. I was so I was about to ask. How does outdoor Street the balloons? They don’t love it. And so then I was able to practice encouraging clients to use lighter colors and I was able to say, okay, this area is not going to be the best but over here in the shade the last longer or you know just trying to educate everybody on what happens in 100-degree weather. Well you you would sweat and so your balloon is 2 and then it’ll stick together and then when the wind blows they pop and And so we we learned a lot of the behavior of balloons so that we could educate our client on the best way to decorate their event if it’s outdoors.

Yeah. I mean, imagine my consulting has got to be part of your budget at this point. I’m for sure. How long are you going to take going to do site visits scan out what the scenes gonna be? And then checking the weather conditions determining can’t even do it outside is a balloon going to be impacted by heat, Cole. Whatever it may be. I mean, that’s how do you even begin to start budgeting for something like that and including proposal.

Well we um, we we actually are blessed to have a full time event designer on my staff now. Um. And she’s at the computer Monday through Friday. Taking all incoming events and helping you decide what’s best for your event and placement. But the beauty of technology is high client. Send me a picture of your area. Where’s your space? Or we can face time a sidewalk. So I don’t have to spend thirty minutes driving to Baton Rouge age. Yeah. So there’s ways that we don’t have to do that. But like, um.

For larger events where there’s multiple vendors, like, the best stress ball or, you know, stuff like that. I do like to go on those sidewalks because I love to work with vendors like my friend vendors, okay? You’re going to put your stuff here. So what if I did this here and so the sidewalks are really important in that situation. Yeah. I mean they have to be so I’m very curious about like the world like in the general sense but the world balloon event got me thinking, About it. What do you do with this stuff? Once it’s done. So the exciting part is if this was Paper. If this was floral florals like fake flowers, like this is a lot going into the environment into landfill, right, right. I pop this and it fills up. Maybe a Walmart bag and the latex is biodegradable.


Yeah, did you have to seek out biodegradable latex or was it like a comment? It’s a common practice know.

It is a common practice. They’re made from the rubber tree and so they have to agree.

They tap the rubber tree, the rubber comes out, educate me on this, it’s it sounds like money. Like money grows on trees to me. Okay. So what what’s a rubber tree?

They have a particular tree and they, I guess get a core of it out and the sap comes through the bark. And they have a little funnel and it goes into a bucket and they use that to make all the balloons.

It’s kind of like, maple syrup. Yeah. Okay. But Teresa oh, Patrice. My balloon syrup. Yeah, I did not know like I knew like a cork trees and all that, but I do know. There was rubber trees. This is intriguing.

Sometimes when there’s indoor events and we come back to pick up if the client doesn’t want to keep the balloons, I’ll bless other businesses with it.

We have really good relationships but a lot of the boutiques around town. So I’ll go and repurpose them there. Um. Or sometimes they just go back to the shop and get popped. But we do offer. We’re full service. So like here where I arrived and just set up, I don’t arrive on site and inflate and build all that. When I get to the job site, everything is already built. I install it and you have a great time at your event. And then I can even come back and take everything down for you. So it makes decorating super easy for my client. I have a design specialist. If people don’t know what they like, then she can send some examples. Say okay, like that like that. Here’s colors balloons come in so many different colors. Now we have a whole whole inventory room. And so it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of possibilities. So how long was something like this last indoors? This can last a month or two. And especially here there’s no UV rays maybe longer.

Balloons, love air-conditioned are sewn on humidity. So you have lots of ventilation in years. So that’s great. And the UV rays. Do break them down and you don’t have any windows. So you’re safe good to go. So Barrett, you might have a balloon arch in the studio for about 2 or 3 months. So, going back to those first days whenever you were making that decision to transition from face painting and what was the initial type of balloon? Design, thing twisting balloon, twisting to doing, decorative balloons. That’s kind of a pretty big pivot because you’re ultimately, you’re changing from one type of product to a whole nother type of product. What was that? Like with your customers? Whenever you said, hey I’m no longer in face pain like I know,

I can tell from the type of nice person that you are, you were still face painting well, into the years of doing quit, and if it wanted to move it, I didn’t.

I have to covid the face painting. Like I liked it a lot and I like making people happy. So I would I would get up early and work and work and work and then I’d have to stop and change and then go entertain at restaurants. I had at one point, I had four restaurants a week so that’s why.

So, wait for restaurants a week doing face painting and balloons. Yeah.

And then which reference I’ve never been to a restaurant and see these pain. So I had both Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A off of Siegen and Airline for five years and then the poppies, Fajita Factory and Watson, and Denim. And so we did them for a long, long time at Chick-fil-A.

I’m sure you probably.

Money? Yeah. Well they’re really, really nice people. Great. Great client tale. And it’s a lot of fun. They had little plays on, and my kids were little then. So they come with me and it worked really well.

Your kids were the billboards they walked around or come back. I mean, wash it off and repaint a different designer.

And I tell everybody that daughter loves to get her face painted. My son, who’s older is really good. Did he actually? Ah he’s on payroll family. This is a family a family affair. Um he will go and take down and he can install organics. And um, he’s a really great pickup crew. He just got his official driver’s license and a better driver than I am, which I’ve heard the driver’s license situation has changed and I’ve gotten mine.

It’s no longer. Just go. Take a class. Go to the DMG, sir. For the test. Do a driving portion and boom. Your license? It’s a lot more complicated. Over what?

I’ve heard it is. He had to have a permit for six months and then.

It’s a lot and he can only eat you. He can’t drive past 11:00 at night so I don’t have an event and it has to be picked up.

After that, I have to find another crew member, son, you can’t go, you gotta be back by 11:00. Yeah, so okay so recycling then is probably I mean it’s super simple process of just a fleeting them. Do y’all like wearing earplugs for this type of stuff?

I mean, we can’t, we don’t, it’s not that, it’s not that loud, it’s not that bad, but when we’re inflating and they pop it, still scares me.

Yeah, I can imagine. So, I mean, see all you’ve done it at home, do they pop? Yeah, please then I’ll be time and they’ll pop. Yeah. So how do you okay, that’s what I’m genuinely curious about tying these balloons. Mmm, is there some trick or some method? There is a lot like some Secret Sauce that we can figure out how to tie a balloon, so we don’t. But I too am rather at one time. All right, hold up. Hold up.

Back up.


So I’m sure when you build your balloon, aren’t you tired them? One at a time?

Uh-huh. And then I stuck with a little plastic thing that I came with, and then I taped it balloon. And then, and then I taped it. Yeah. And it was like kept falling. Yes, yes, so fun. It’s where we like our we did what we did. Like double sticky like adhesive and we’ll put it on glass. Yeah, it’s delightful by 11:30 at night, all four times to always at night when you have to do that type of stuff. So anyways. Yeah the day before? Yeah the date. Yes. The night of you have to because It’s no good by the next day which I am shocked that you’re saying this stuff would last.

So there’s also a Professional balloons and Amazon kits.

I’m sorry they don’t sell us the good stuff they sell us, the cheap stuff.

Yeah I spend probably three to four thousand dollars a month on balloons. That’s I guess that’s a lot of bull. I’m thinking about it like you could buy a whole arch for like 20th.

Yeah. That’s like a couple hundred bullets. Yeah. And so we have inventory in each color that we carry. We carried the five inch of that color. The eleven inch the eighteen inch twenty four inch and three foot. So did you know balloons come in so many different sizes? I’ve. No. I’m I’m very the lacking some balloons. Seven. Seven inch, though. In there. So that’s a lot of inventory to keep. Why would you fight a fire between a seven? They make it okay. This Chrome here. Did you know there was a world balloon shortage? And it was really, really difficult to get Chrome gold. This cold here is very difficult. Um I can to educate hours to order. And I have an image. And so when you’re our client, um, we take your order and then it goes to inventory in our inventory will pull a color palette inflate the colors that we plan on using for you and send you a photo of it label.

This is the colors that we’re going to use, so we can make sure that the right blue. I mean, you may order McClay V blue. And I may send you a Navy. That has slightly more purple and you will say, you know, this this Navy here is bore blue. Do you have one with less purple? Because navies have three different shades. Any of the carry? All the shades? Yes. All the shades so much fun. Episcopal has a specific blue and they orbit Alec blue. Not qualatex blue, so like and that’s one of the piss. School’s main color so we do a lot with them. Yeah bikini blue is blue. No no sir no sir and so on when you’re our client you get a inventory will send you a color palette and you will approve it and then we’ll pull all the balloons needed for your design. And so we’ll have buckets of balloons already pulled so that we’re not going to run out of McClay V blue. You’ve already had that because your client, you paid your invoice and we have pulled your product.

So, I mean, I know and we have an inventory system, okay? It’s an app and I can tell you, how many of what particular balloon I have in stock, and then when I run my low, low inventory report, then I have a categorized by manufacturer that helps it. Eat me easier, easily order.

So, you deal with multiple manufacturers, not just one.

Mmm, and I have to order from so many different wholesalers because not each wholesaler carries every brand that We need.

So let’s educate the population.

Listening about the balloon shortage in the world, talk about that, this past weekend, I had a keen Miller had an event at the Estuary and they wanted a solid strand of gold beads balloon beads and the particular balloon that’s used to make those as called a quick link. It has an attachment point on each end to make a balloon bead and we balloons have attachment points on both ends.

Some of them.

So much education, okay? And um they didn’t? They I could not order them. They’re completely out at everybody that I tried to purchase from like they just the manufacturers can’t keep up with demand, and they are not replenishing us as well as they could or should or I’d like them to. And so we had to create that attack attachment point to create the look that Kean Miller wanted. And we did because I have that knowledge, but it is it can be challenging, okay. So there’s balloon shores going on, and you can hand a helium shortage. There’s also a helium shortage. We have no problem getting it because we have a really good helium supplier. But helium costs have doubled balloon cost of doubled in my shortly. When I print my low inventory, I have a bag of balloons and used to be fourteen dollars. They’re now nineteen dollars.

So, I have to analyze that as the business owner and saying, how much can I absorb into my profits before? I’m not being profitable anymore. All right. So are you fifo or lifo, first-in, first-out inventory, or last in first out inventory? Mmm, I don’t know, I don’t know what that is. Educate me. So, fifo is first an inventory. So, your balloon is $14, it’s coming in, right? You’re going to sell that book, particular balloon, but they’re like Goods, right? You can’t really tell between one package of the other. Yeah, but from a costing standpoint, you’re going to say I just sold this pack this packet of balloons. I’m going to save my cost of goods was 14 because I was the first one in first one out that that way. Okay, so then you’ll get you up to the $19 balloons, right? So then you’ve got to figure out how to increase your pricing slowly enough. So it doesn’t hit everybody at once or what they did pay X dollars now. They’re paying 2x, mmm.

And we haven’t had it cost increase. I’ve held off because there’s so many fluctuations when you’re looking at pricing. How, how long does it take my staff member? Because labor is a huge cost Factor like last week, last pay period, two weeks. It was seven thousand dollars for payroll. Like I feel like that’s a lot. How many employees do you have? I have seven. Yeah, it’s pretty good bit. Yeah. And so I’m now an employee because I’m an S corp, right? Um, and so all that was different, but we have payroll taxes. And there’s just I have rent because we built out of Of my garage and to rent space in Baton Rouge is highly expensive and so if we moved my entire family to 10 acres, the cost difference between the old house note and new house note was less than renting a space in Baton Rouge.

And so animated art rents for a smaller amount to pay the difference in our house note. So we have our own space. It’s a forty forty five, sixty shop. And my husband has a forty by twenty part of that. And now we are building him his own shop next to the house. It is a thirty by fifty, and it’s a red iron still building. And we’re manually building it because I really enjoy tools and building. And one of the purlins fell on my finger and busted it open. It’s fine. I can still twist. It’s good. You’re good. Good. So now you gotta schedule yet. You gotta pick up when your personal return because your rental property.

A CPA stuff. Yeah. So anyways so yeah there’s a helium shortage. There’s a balloon shortage of particular colors. Yeah, so I’m curious on your labor side. What are you doing to combat that? How are you finding people? Where are you finding? We’re working with efficiency. And we are, I have a balloon coach and will replay the footage from that days, whatever we built and chill critique. And be like, look, your your staff was inflating here. But the number three was over there with that camera is and that’s, you know, a couple of unneeded steps, but the amount of times you get a have to go to that, number three, ends up being a lot. So just have your staff member move that closer and use your time to create that. Number 3, yd number dramatically decreases because the amount of space they have to move just working on being more efficient and working with a purpose. That’s what I tell my crew all the time. What are you doing? Work with a purpose. We’re not just standing around.

Halfway doing something. We’re doing this, we’re doing it quickly and we also clock in and out of each client. So I can run a labor report against what they built and make sure that I’m pricing correctly. That’s genius. So you’re like, straight up watching film of your Warehouse to become more efficient. Yes, it’s a it’s, it’s so important to we talk about every Monday. Hey, how is this weekend’s installs? What problems did you run into? How did you solve it? It and what could we have done to prevent it? We discuss when we fail because that’s where you grow, and that’s how you don’t repeat it. So on Mondays we have a big company meeting and we love to we love helping people celebrate life’s best moments but sometimes things don’t go as planned like

I got there and she had, you know, the whatever it was didn’t fit their putting attach there. She asked me to move it over here. And this is how we did that. And so like a lot of times like, ah, in the summer, we offer pulled decor. So a lot of a popular thing is balloons coming up out of your pool. Well if it’s too windy, it’s not really advisable. I don’t want to have a balloon floating in the wind. Come and take Grandma down. Like I’m not sure you’re three foot balloons. That’s knocking Grandma down for sure. So we do advise the client. So the weather’s a little Roth. You know we can either loner lower. I’m really close to the water level so that it doesn’t have as far that it can swing or we can repurpose and bring them inside. Add some fringe and it’s nice in your indoor area. And so we just kind of worked with the client on making sure that we offer the best suggestions for their event. So.

Have you seen the movie? The founder know. So it’s about the McDonald’s Brothers. Hmm. And they go through something very similar to what you’re doing where they went on, like a tennis court and they chalk, Drew their restaurant. And they would basically pretend like they were working at each station and they would shape everything in until they had a system of what their kitchen was going to look like. Take a quickly spit out all their food that they’re going to be serving. It sounds like you’re doing the same thing. Yeah. And you’re like, so you’ve got two cameras up in your Warehouse of you’re All doing all that and is it like a Daily Review? Is it weekly? What’s your frequency? Or every two weeks, every two weeks. Okay, so you’re watching all the footage.

No, I mean how do you pick and choose because of the labor reposed labor reports will show you. So, this, this particular healing bouquet took longer, I sold it at this, the cost of helium costs. A product cost the labor. I didn’t make money. I lost money help.

Well, your your staff member is inflating and then tying where you can inflate inflate and use your Ribbon to tie the balloon closed.

That would eliminate that step or, you know, have you practiced this particular inflation method which our staff or the way your staff is doing this, they could more efficiently, do it this way. And confetti balloons explode. So fuckin Petty, we have a love-hate, they’re so pretty but her voice. So I just have I said hey hey.

Here has all kinds of sparkles. I was like, who is the guest?

The format is that is from

Oh. I’m can’t believe I’m blanking on her name. She she came in here. Yes. It was a physical therapist. She came in Anna Couture, right. I think so. I think that’s right. Anik Anika tour. She came in and had a sparkly dress because she was like you. We gotta stand out. You know, extra extra. And I’m all about it. I love it. So yes. That chair is very glittery sparkly.

I love it. I was like, oh, I wanna sit in this one.

Yeah. So okay, litter balloons are the worst. They pop, they always paw.

They don’t always pop in. Here are cheap Amazon today. Always bought, we pre inflate to test the balloon to make reassure pre inflate like a balloon. I preach played it. Make sure there’s no holes. It’s not gonna pop and then deflate it and then add the high float and confetti. And then it’s safe. Dan play.

So you add your own confetti.

Okay. There’s a special tool that we use to open the balloon to allow it to go in. And we have all kinds of needs.

Being this is incredible. I didn’t think we need to think like a facility. Tore something. Absolutely. So, okay backing up though. You still never told me the secret to time balloons. Um get two balloons and tie the nozzles together so you’re making one tie for two balloons. Now I just made you more efficient. You did I’m not running cost reports on my balloon time because I don’t want to know how much time I spend making balloon arches, but okay, so you just time together. I mean, tie two together and then it works that way. Okay, so for a structure, like what you got behind us? What’s the skeleton in it? The Shimmer wall has a plywood bagging. A lot of

A lot of Shimmer companies will come and you put them together on site one panel at a time. And I mentioned, I’m eighty HD. I can’t do that. I am bored by then I’m not, I’m moving along. And so in the wet, the reason we have our Shimmer panel like this is so that we can get to your event setup and we’re done, I put some sand weight sandbags on the back, we’re good to go and so the lecture is what’s holding up the balloons, that’s attached to it. In our vans, we keep Nails, hammers drills, screws 3m’s attachments. Like we keep a ton of tools in our van that can help us safely attached to whatever surface is at our clients event. So,

What is like a nightmare event that has happened in the past? Have you had a nightmare event where? Everything just went totally wrong. Yeah. No. Not really. We we do a lot of problems shooting at the shop. So once we get onsite, everything usually goes really smooth. Um actually, yes, there is. But it was. Ah ah, ah, difficulty with the venue. My crew went out but some balloons out for a political event, and the venue kept turning lights off on my crew, and the venue moved my balloons after my crew installed them. My crew went back because they had a feeling that would happen. And um, so it was, ah, it was an interesting event, but it wasn’t because my balloons just the logistics of it. Yes.

And, but most venues in town, we have great relationships with a lot of vendors. We have great relationships with and we love when you book with a vendor that we get along with our, we can communicate. Well with because it makes the clients life easier on the back end, I’ll talk to my vendor and be like hi there event is this time I need to set up here. When are you getting there to set up and the vendor? And I talk together versus asking the client going through the client causing that many more questions. So my mom used to do weddings at their house. Are you? Do you have an approved vendor list of vendors, you work of like, you only work with so many vendors or what does that vendor process? Reliable. Excellent workmanship. Like I refer vendors that I admire their work in their. You know, if they say they’re going to be here at such and such a time and they are fabulous because that’s

That’s really what it’s about is getting the clients, even going at the correct time with the right vendors. And so just there, he’s the work with their, their understanding, of the, how the flow of the venue and the flow of the event. And we look we have several vendors in town that we just absolutely get excited to work with.

So what is the landscape of the balloon industry? And the balloon seen in Baton Rouge compared to when you started?

It I think it’s there’s so many more competent. There’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of balloon companies out there. Now, I’ve been true to say, I was one of the first in Baton Rouge. Now there’s a lot of companies and that just means that people have options. We are by far the most experienced than advanced than our designs.

Um. But we do have overhead where a new company may. Not now. A new company may come to your house with a bag of balloons and inflator and be in your house. Three hours. Creating something for you where we don’t do that. We show up. Everything’s already built. We install have a great day. And the new company will eventually learn better ways to do things. We’ve already been there. We’ve been through our growing phase. Yeah. I say we we have been, but we’ve been growing the last two years, and sanely this year maintaining his historical. Have you had to like turn away work because they all absolutely? Yeah. Next weekend were definitely turning away work.

So, oh, I for st.

Patrick’s Day. No, this this weekend, this weekend. I think we’re booked, but definitely next weekend. And we’ve had to implement last-minute, these because I have so many people’s lives that they’re like, okay, I’m doing this. This and this on Saturday and if we introduce a new event then that changes their schedule and so they need to be compensated. So we’ve done last minute fees to give them a bonus and it messes with our production schedule, I may have to Keep people over time. Like there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure that all the events happen. But we are able to handle a large number of events.

So what’s kind of been your biggest hurdle to Turning Away work?

Repeat clients. Clients that I absolutely adore like, it’s like uh like I have a client. I’m going to Lafayette this. Saturday to go, twist an event for a friend and a client had an event this past weekend, but it had to be rescheduled due to rain and I’m like okay I can make it out there and make it happen for you. If I come at 6:40 in the morning and I’m willing to do it for you. And how come and I’ll set it up and we’ll be good to go for nine because I’ll get there. Set it up. Be able to I’m back, get my car, leave the van and go twist, so it’s a lot of logistics and a lot of moving pieces but it’s a lot of fun and especially with the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade because I have two or three events downtown but they closed off the road. So I’m like, okay I’m going to bring you the stuff, you have a room to store it on Friday, because we have to be able to get in and get out like stealthy.

It’s a lot of fun.

When I think that your level of customer service and the links you go to for the existing customer for new customers is ultimately it’s probably gotten you where you are because it’s like you recognize the value of working with someone well. And if they work well with you, like, I’m sure if like community coffee cause you’re like anybody you need.

Yeah. Absolutely absolutely. And there’s a lot of event planners in town that I’d love to work with, as they love out of the box. Big wild, never seen before. And if I pitched that to him, I know they’re gonna go forward. So when they call I’m like, hey, what you got. What are we doing? What kind of crazy stuff can we do so outside of the worlds championship?

What’s been one of the CR laziest designs you’ve had to do?

Um. Oh that moves for Fred. We didn’t sleep. Fred’s Mark Whitten here of not doing a twelve foot, moose.

And I was like, no, I’m just going to print your logo and put balloons around. It’ll be 12, but it’s great. And he’s like, no, I want to 12-foot balloon moose. So we use the really tiny balloons for that. And you can’t do balloons, lose are over time, but if it’s something this large and the whole thing shrinks you won’t be able to tell, right? But if we use the same size balloons for like that little Leprechaun won’t last quite as long, the smart and everything. Yeah, his little beard will get smaller quicker. Than the larger balloons. And so we couldn’t do it way ahead of time and none of us slept that night we started on on the Moose. It’s like I think we started at, I don’t know.

11 that day with painting the backdrop and then we did each balloon and there is over 1200 balloons on there and so we finished it 6:30 in the morning and then we loaded the U-Haul with all the events because that’s the day we did LSU 100 as well and so and that’s well, put parcel. I was so fun. Logistics is a big part of my job.

Yeah, I mean Logistics efficiency and Manpower like that’s just ridiculous to work all those elements in together especially with three massive events.

It was fine and we did 4×6 Eye of the Tiger out of balloons. It was so fine.

They all she 100 or Fair.

So how were you able to find employees like? Where are you finding them? Huh? So when we moved to the ten acres, our shop was a man shop. It had to undergo major constructions. That was the first funniest interview. Hi? Would you like to come work for Berlin company? We’re an events company. We’re also under construction, and it’s February and it’s cold. So we’re out here while we’re gonna be on this out of the shop while they frame up an office and a bathroom of here. Um. Are you okay with popping a squat? If not, you can drive to my house. Um. So we have we have pivoted and grown so much. We I had to put in a MO Dad. We have a restroom now. We have an office now. Um. And so now. When I I interviewed people are you creative. Are you good at problem solving? Do you enjoy monotony or do you enjoy different things every day?

What drives you how? How do you feel? You know, those questions are on my. I now have an HR packet. I never thought I’d have that. So, my interview questions is, what is your favorite design, our Instagram. If they haven’t looked at her Instagram, you probably don’t want to work for me because design is a big part of what we do. And so the interview process is very lengthy, to make sure that the right, the right type of person is working with Us eventually one of my employees coined it. As what would you do for a Klondike bar? We want that level of crazy. Would you go just one more just a little bit further to make sure that event, works out fine.

I think there’s some value in that. So I heard I don’t know who said it or what the entrepreneurs name was

But they almost he said that he tries to basically pre-fire the employee in the interview process and if they get like he preached rise to make them want to quit before they even get hired. Yeah. And if they surpassed his challenges, his difficulties with an interview process, he goes, great. Go talk to my team. They’ll get your pack and everything else. So it’s like, that’s the interview as he and his wife, they sit you down, and they just throw all these different crazy wild examples. That’s because like, you’re inevitably inevitably going to run into this. This, how are you going to react? If I call you and say, we got to build 12 foot moves at 11:00 at night, like, what are you gonna do?

Are you going to say I can’t carrying heavy basis, because outdoor decor requires really heavy stuff. So, like, like did you bring in this wall by yourself and he helped like twist it and turn it. But basically, yeah, I have two handles on the back, so I can pick it up. You have to be able to carry things. You have to not be afraid of heights. I’m on top of a 10, 12 foot ladder all the time. Like

We do a lot of rigging. There’s a lot of different ways to rig things different ways to make sure things are secure. And I need to make sure that your brain has that mechanical ability to understand that gravity pull stuff down. So you install my command hooks to where the hook is up and not down. Like there’s a lot of um, too technical things that go on to make sure all events work out smoothly. Yeah. I mean, it’s just we do balloon drops. We do all kinds of cool stuff. Ah. You set it to quickly drops. I know how fun is that. Yeah. It’s part of the design. It’s now the sideways as part of the decor. And it’s perfect timing, because we’re starting to wrap up the show. Fabulous. So and as we do that, we have a set list of questions to ask everybody the first one being. What is something you did as a kid? You wish you could still do today?

Pay bills, not worried about S, Corp and taxes. Oh my gosh, HR. It’s a very, very good answer.

Just be able to go out like my daughter lives, go to the back yard and getting a swing and just swing for hours with no responsibilities nothing pushing just that freeness. Yeah, the ability to just relax and understand that when you go back it’s not like there’s a list that’s Building while you’ve been gone, it’s just as you left it, you know, that would be nice. I think we all want that.

So what are three lessons? You’ve learned along the way.

Everybody’s going to mess up. It’s how you react to your mess-ups? It’s how you handle it. That’s a good one. Because making mistakes is going to happen. It’s owning it apologizing and making it right.

That’s a big lesson.

Treat others. How you want to be treated?

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.

like, When it’s graduation season or we’re just in that busy season, it’s difficult to take that minute and go. Okay. This is not gonna make or break us calm down. It’s not the end of the rule world.

Um. Just try not to take things too serious. Yeah. I’d like to like to stop and smell the roses and five-year increments. So it’s like, put your head down, grind it out for five years and pick your head up? Right. Where am I? What have I gotten done? Okay. Right. Right back down to it. But yes, stopping and appreciating how far you’ve come. Right is crucial is how you’re gonna end up working yourself to death and you’re gonna forget why you started in the first place. So what is something you love about? Baton Rouge. Um. I love the people. We have some really kind-hearted people that I’ve gotten to meet. Um. We I love the people in the industry am in that I get to serve that has a heart for others. We just got to help the Holi festival. Celebrate and their festival is about connecting and unity. And it’s just the people in our.

City that have a heart to do good for others that I had the pleasure to interact with is, is a blessing.

Yeah. And they’re great group people in the festival is doing wonders for my city. Yeah. I’ve seen it, I’ve yet to be able to go. There’s always right in the middle attack season, but it looks like it’s a blast. Yeah.

So, one day, right, the next thing that’s going on is the flower Fest, and that is another great group of people who are raising funds for st. Jude’s, it’s going to be on April.

1st April 1st. Okay, perfect. So, with a final question, what can I do to help you having me on has been phenomenal.

Thank you. It helped me. Stop and appreciate where I’ve come from, right?

Absolutely about. From the beginning.

Just if you know of anybody who having some events that would like some extra pizzazz,

Send them away. I’m definitely not. Creating another balloon arch after this. I’m not doing it. I’m say, nope, we’re gonna, we’re gonna, we’re gonna call. Yeah, how about that? We’re going to call my, here’s type of this number. Call her, and you, and just have her handle it. I’m not doing it. I don’t want the blistery fingers after that. So what’s an easy way for people to get a hold of you?

And where can they find you social media animated aren’t balloon or our website animated art dot u s dot U. S– Clever. It’s different. It’s taking people’s brain.

Yeah, like it I’m sure the animated art.com was pretty pricey.

It’s it’s not even available and it was some kind of weird. Something and I was like, yeah, that us is fine, rock and roll United States. I’m proud of my country love.

It’s different and stands out, just like everything else we’ve got here. It’s perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate your time, appreciate you just breaking up this place. I mean it looks phenomenal.

What you got back here? That wall is just like it’s a whole long like, oh yeah. There it is. The wall is just incredible like a living organism. Almost so I don’t know. You bring that to every single event that you do. You bring out to have a style that type of living style within the balloon. I loved it. I love a good theme. Hey we’re about. And we got St Patty’s day coming up and around the corner. That’s right. So thank you so much for coming on top with. I appreciate your time and I appreciate everybody else whether you’re listening or you’re watching the show. I know the guest. Enjoy you consuming what they’ve got to offer. And if you’re in the market for a balloon design or some balloon decor next event, whether it’s big or small, make sure you reach out to animate an art balloon decor in Baton Rouge. And tell him the Paddy G show sends you and they’re going to take great care of you. No matter what. And a big, wonderful. Thank you to the amazing folks that bring you this show each and every week here, a little bit more about them right now.

So your home for $399 flat fee with falaya no seriously. Falaya will list your home on the MLS and help you get all the way to the closing table for as little as a 399 flat feet. Our online platform is insanely easy to use and will save you thousands. If you’re thinking about selling your home in 2022 and want to keep more of your hard-earned equity in your pocket, you need to check out falaya falaya real estate reimagined, thank you all.

So very much for listening to this. This episode of The Patty G show brought to you by government Taco, they’re located on the corner of Government Street and Jefferson Highway J is always slinging up a new Taco of the month. So if you’re a frequent or to government taco, let us know in the comments what you thought about this month’s Taco of the month. If you’re not a frequenter, maybe trying out this month’s Taco might just convert. You big thanks over to them a government Taco, for making the Patty G show possible.

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