On the up · 17 February 2017

Bubblegum Balloons: The family business styling catwalks at London Fashion Week

Bubblegum Balloons
Bubblegum Balloons founders Laura, Sally and Megan

As the first venture to capture the UK market for bespoke balloons, used to decorate events of all description, Bubblegum Balloons has come a long way since its launch in 2013.

Run by sister duo Laura and Sally Hodge, alongside their school friend Megan, the brand has recently secured a retail partnership agreement with Notonthehighstreet.com. Business Advice spoke to the girls about where they plan to go next.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

We are Bubblegum Balloons – we create and sell party décor and gifts online, and style corporate events.

The business was started by sisters Laura and Sally, and our school friend Megan. We are working mums with six children under the age of eight between us, so life is busy!

(2) How long have you been around for?

It will be four years this April since we started the business.

(3) How do you make money?

We sell products via our website and partner with Notonthehighstreet.com. The events side of the business creates balloon installations and branded products and décor for private and corporate clients.

We’ve worked with everyone from large international corporations to fashion brands and celebrities, and travelled as far as the Middle East and Europe for our clients.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

Bubblegum Balloons was the first company in the UK to dominate the marketplace for giant and bespoke balloons for special event décor, gifts and greetings.

The craze initially started with weddings and has since grown – we have a balloon design for every occasion – graduation, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Easter, Christmas or Halloween, you name it.

The nature and breadth of the event and styling work really makes us stand out. We’ve created enormous balloon structures for TV commercials and high-profile events like London Fashion Week.

The humble balloon has taken us further than we ever imagined, thanks largely to our very strong team, boundless creativity, fantastic customer service and ‘can do’ attitude. We pride ourselves on offering a bespoke service and can make clients’ ideas come to life.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

The power of three – new ideas and lots and lots of research. We also have a great support network, both at home and work, which has helped us to continue to grow.

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

So many to choose from – we have created some incredible installations like The Carousel of Dreams (a commercial for Europcar and Mercedes Benz) and featured in numerous TV shows.

Seeing our products in national newspapers and magazines is always exciting but it’s just how far we’ve come in four years.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

Growing out of the office we are currently in. We need a bigger space!

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Still blowing up balloons.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Keep going. Take an idea and run with it. Always remind yourself why you are doing it and keep your end goal in sight. S good idea would be to create a vision board.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Meringue Girls, Maids to Measure, and Dazzle and Fizz – they’re exceptionally creative with great business sense and customer service.

However, the Bubblegum Balloon team are our biggest heroes. We wouldn’t be the company we are without them.

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.