On the up · 31 May 2018

Bubblegum Balloons: The British business inflating their customers with joy

Founders of Bubblegum Balloons – Megan Robertson, Laura Slater and Sally Clackett.

Since starting out the business has become the go-to supplier for bespoke balloon designs, from buildings to bathtubs Bubblegum balloons are decorating any and every occasion.

They supply for events including corporate events, press launches, weddings and parties, and can be filled with anything including feathers, confetti or even a lucky lottery ticket.

Business Advice caught up with the three founders to find out more about how their designs can be used to transform events.

Who are you and what is your business?

Founded by two sisters and their best friend, Laura Slater, Sally Clackett and Megan Robertson began the Bubblegum Balloon business in the Clackett Family Home. Surrounded by endless amounts of glitter, feathers, helium and ribbon, the Bubblegum dream was born. With a vision to create a beautifully personalised gift for every special occasion, the business has grown into a team of 26 Balloon Ninjas.

How did you come up with the concept?

Having explored the gifting market previously, Laura, Sally and Megan found a gap for impressive, deliverable and personalised gifts. Having wanted to send a friend a balloon to celebrate the birth of her first child, it was obvious there wasn’t anyone out there making high-end balloons easily purchasable. Five years later, Bubblegum Balloons is delivering over 120 balloons daily.

What was key in terms of getting started?

We truly believe the power of three was the key for us; we were each other’s confidence when the other wavered, we were each others determination when the other felt deflated (excuse the pun) and we were a formidable force ready to take over the world one balloon at a time from day one.

What makes the business unique?

Having delivered over 150 proposals, 400 bridesmaid requests, helped welcome over 1,000 new babies and signed over 250 NDA’s it’s safe to say the Bubblegum girls have been a part of some incredibly special occasions. It’s difficult to find a product that surprises and delights all ages and works for all celebrations the way the Bubble Balloon does.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?

Time and Space. The business grew out of the home office in under a year and it didn’t take long for the next property to no longer be functional. Bubblegum HQ now includes two workshops, one large office, a giant warehouse and a photo studio.  In a world which is 24/7, and as three women juggling families and work, time has always been a challenge and still is on a busy week.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

It’s always the little moments that make everyone really smile. Of course we’ve worked internationally with the best of the best, but when the team are sending out 120 balloons a day without breaking a sweat, it’s fun to remember when we thought 10 would be exciting.

Describe your marketing – what strategies have you used?

PR and Marketing has always been a big focus for the brand and as a result has helped the business grow at the speed it has. From trade shows, press events and endlessly harassing journalists, it’s paid off. Social Media has always been our friend too.

In five years’ time, we will be…

Everywhere! We have big ambitions. The retail side of the business has grown considerable amounts over the past 12 months and it’s only set to get bigger and better. Expect to see Bubblegum Balloon’s products in all of your favourite stores soon.

Who are your business heroes and why?

Our heroes are, hands down, our incredible team who are as much a part of the Bubblegum brand as we are, and consistently go the extra mile to ensure every job is perfect.  We are constantly in awe of them and all they achieve.  And of course we couldn’t do it without the exceptionally talented suppliers we get to work alongside on a daily basis. We’ve built our network with care and attention and are reaping the benefits. We have amazing relationships and love working with our friendly, kind and caring extended teams.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Choose your team wisely – one of our favourite sayings is “your vibe attracts your tribe” and to have people you enjoy spending time with, working with you daily, is one of the best feelings. Don’t get distracted by what everyone else is doing, just do the best job you can do. There will always be copycats but there is only one you! Lastly, stop and smell the roses. We know it is hard, time is always the hardest thing to take, but marking the milestones and appreciating what you have achieved makes it worthwhile. Life is a journey not a destination, same with running a business, enjoy the journey, nothing beats it.  

 

Conker Spirit: Dorset’s dry gin recommended by Marco Pierre White

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

Finance