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Daily Inspiration: Meet Eriqa Gatlin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eriqa Gatlin.

Hi Eriqa, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Golden Thrills began as a hobby, a love for creativity and design. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first time and found myself still wanting to make an income while being able to manage my time with my son. As his first birthday approached, I instantly dove into making all types of DIYs and trying to create a special day for his big year one. This was the first event I ever hosted and had full creative control so of course, I went all out with the decor. It definitely was a success and proved my skills.

I realized rather quickly how much I enjoyed using my creativity beyond my doodles in my sketchbook and shortly after his birthday, I had an itch to do more. I didn’t know exactly what quite yet, but friends and family were looking to use my newfound skills for their upcoming events. I started doing small gatherings for free to practice, I realized I wanted my nitch to be more focused specifically for a photo op moment. This is when I changed gears from doing full-service events to learning how to create backdrops and balloon installations.

I will say in the beginning, it was rough, I had no clue what I was doing and I definitely had a lot to learn, but I loved it. After about a year of practicing not charging much of anything at all, I created Golden Thrills Events. I decided to take it seriously, invest some money and make it happen for myself. Today Golden Thrills believes that anything made with style IS GOLDEN as we strive to create a moment to remember for any occasion.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has not been smooth, anyone who says it’s so easy to start a business are LYING! Learning how to invest in your business in the beginning with no financial help will have you wanting to quit. Learning how to charge your worthwhile also being competitive is one of the biggest struggles for me personally. The guilt of not being able to accommodate everyone was a hard pill to swallow.

On a more personal note, the struggle that most do not talk about is the mental rollercoaster that running a business will bring. Having to be okay with taking a loss, income being up and down all while being a full-time mom and running a home. The lack of sleep you may endure from thinking of ideas, plans and being scared to fail all at once. It is a constant cycle of telling yourself, “You got this!”

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I would like to consider myself an event decorator who specializes in balloon installation and backdrop set ups. I am most proud of my growth as a balloon artist. The way I have learned new techniques, practiced rigorously and have pushed myself, even when I have doubted my skill set. When I think about of what sets me apart from others, It is my will to always learn and push myself creatively for my clients. I always go above and beyond for my clients, even when they dont ask. I always add special touches to my designs. I show up with good intentions and won’t leave until the client is satisfied. Creating connections with clientele is deeper than just creating moments for them to capture.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Something surprising that most people don’t know about me is that I played the violin for 8 years and quit because my sister broke my violin and as a dramatic teen does I wanted to rub it in her face that she ruined my career instead of getting a new one. Also on my free time, I love to cook and binge-watch murder mysteries.

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