Today we’d like to introduce you to Allie Messineo.
Hi Allie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’m a 32-year-old mom to two dynamic gals, Maddie Skye (9) and Abbie Luna (5). They inspired me to start my business. I have been employed by The Maggy Haves School, a local preschool, for approximately six years. I consider myself to be both creative and artsy and frequently peruse Pinterest to enjoy the beautiful photos of party decor and elaborate balloon designs. Each time I scrolled through the photos II thought to myself, “I wish I could do that!” A close friend organized a Grand Opening for her hair salon in February 2020 and I offered to design a balloon garland for the event. What better way to practice and get started? I assembled a simple garland which felt complicated back then. After numerous popped glitter-filled balloons, I eventually created a perfect garland and tied it across a large window with a TON of duct tape. Despite high winds that day, the garland survived! I felt accomplished and proud of myself. This experience made me realize that I possessed the skills and aptitude to start my own business and became excited about how much more I could learn.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, my youngest daughter was still a student at Maggy Haves, and my older daughter was enrolled in elementary school. When their schools closed down abruptly, being confined at home became a reality. Uncertainty about the future created an uneasiness about my career. As lockdown continued and our lives revolved around Zoom, it became more challenging to make time with my daughters special and exciting. Saint Patrick’s Day inspired me to order some green balloons and create a more complex balloon garland for an at-home celebration for my family. That led to another colorful balloon design for Cinco de Mayo. My balloons created endless giggles and smiles. At that moment, I discovered my passion. I was certain that I wanted to spread those smiles to others during such a dark time and was motivated to enhance my creative talents and further develop my business skills. Luna Skye Balloons was born.
My enthusiasm to develop a private business prompted me to make an Instagram post featuring photos of my designs. Initially, I only shared my work with my close friends and family. Drive-by birthday celebrations were gaining popularity so I made custom garlands for a few of my daughter’s friend’s events. Before long, additional friends were inquiring about my unique balloon designs for adult birthdays, baby and bridal showers. The balloons essentially brought back the joy of celebration throughout quarantine. The colorful arrangements offered a bit of “normalcy” for many people. I was thrilled to bring magic their way!
After many hours of trial and error, mock set-ups at home, and watching countless video tutorials, I expanded my offerings and began to provide contactless outdoor installs, surprise balloon bouquet drop-offs, and graduation set-ups for my clients. After a few months, friends began to consistently refer me to their friends, and I was able to book orders almost every weekend, sometimes multiple orders per day. My business expanded to the point where I received orders from out-of-state customers who wanted to surprise their family members in Los Angeles with one of my balloon designs. My efforts never felt like “work” because I enjoyed the challenge and creative outlet. I’ve met amazing people, have learned about their lives through stories, and have positively impacted people in my community. My evolution has allowed me to accept larger install orders more recently, including a school event. My journey as a balloon stylist to date has been meaningful and exciting. I am even considering taking a few marketing and business courses to increase my knowledge about how to manage a successful small business.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Initially, my primary challenges were learning how to manage the rapid growth of my business and staying ahead of the learning curve. It was crucial that I developed the ability to provide excellent customer service while educating myself about balloon design, territory management, and pricing. I accepted the fact that struggles would transpire along the way and decided to focus my energy on tangible solutions. The bumps challenged me to become a better person, mother, and business owner. I now laugh at myself as I reminisce about the many times I popped balloons on-site and didn’t have replacements in my possession. A missing number or letter in a balloon arrangement produced an anxiety I prefer not to endure again, if possible! Currently, I keep plenty of extra materials on hand in case of emergencies.
The pricing of my work is a task that I have needed to modify over time due to the variety, volume, and diversity of balloon requests and installs that I have received. Successful projects involve detailed planning with my clients. Important decisions are made about design, colors and themes, and where to source the materials and custom colors. Examination of the celebration location and space in-person or through photos is a vital step to ensure a successful balloon install. A significant amount of time is spent blowing up the balloons, completing assembly, then delivering the creations for set-up! I have encountered a few individuals who have challenged my pricing and attempted to offer payments that were far below market value. I no longer take offense to these offers and make it a priority to accept orders from people who value my efforts, artistry, professionalism and who accept fair pricing for my products and services.
As a new entrepreneur, I sometimes struggle with time management. Learning how to effectively balance time spent between family, work, friends, fitness, and self-care can be a daunting endeavor. I currently work full-time as an administrative assistant, parent my energetic and sweet daughters, and work evenings, weekends, and school break to grow Luna Skye Balloons. To be candid, I have sacrificed time with my girls in order to focus on my business. My intention is to help make our family more financially stable in the future. My daughters inspire, encourage, and help me with my business. I am thankful for their assistance with blowing up balloons, putting them together and loading them into our car. The life skills and lessons I am teaching them through my business are invaluable. I am confident that they appreciate my tenacity and hard work which lessons my feelings of guilt for spending time away from them.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a balloon stylist based in Sherman Oaks and I specialize in customized, organic balloon garlands, arches, and bouquets. My balloon bouquets business really took shape and grew throughout the pandemic. The customizable and personalized products are portable, making delivery manageable and efficient, making the element of surprise inevitable for customers! My creations, including surprise doorstep deliveries to complete bedroom balloon takeovers brought joy to so many people. This creative pursuit allows me to form intimate relationships with people and children. I especially enjoy listening to their stories, especially the children! My heart is warmed when they assist me with set-up and clap and jump for joy as I begin the decoration process. I approach my business with professionalism, humor and kindness. I am thankful for the opportunity to promote my products and services in my community. My ability to network has progressively expanded my business and has enabled me to meet thoughtful individuals who often forward photos of their friends and family members with their arrangements sometimes weeks after installment to let me know how much I positively impacted their worlds! This kindness motivates me to continue to learn, create, and enjoy my incredible journey on a daily basis. When I am engaged in the design phase, I feel like a kid in a candy store and imagine the options that I have at my disposal to create meaningful arrangements for my clients based on their personalities and interests.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
I’ve learned to enjoy the “under construction” phase of my business and to accept that the “process” of generating success and contentment are the most important elements of my journey. Challenges and difficulties no longer stunt me. They inspire me to keep learning and evolving. My tenacity and passion to create a successful balloon design business keep me satisfied and underscores my desire to become the best version of myself, even on the hard days. I do not compare myself to other balloon stylists because we are all special and provide unique services. I am honored to have been recruited by local professionals in my industry who are impressed by my designs and want me to become a part of their companies and teams. I will continue to accept referrals from these individuals and will reciprocate when I can. The decision to pursue and develop my own private business right now was the right choice for me. I am proud of my personal and professional growth over the past several years. I’m proud to be pursuing my goals and dreams.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @lunaskyeballoons
- Facebook: facebook.com/lunaskyeballoons
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/luna-skye-balloons-los-angeles