Sara Meyer is a balloon business owner and host of the highly informative podcast, The Bright Balloon. Pro Tapes began working with Sara in 2023 by sponsoring the UGlu Hotline, a segment that invites listeners to ask and get answers on all kinds of sticky business & balloon situations. Let’s get to know more about Sara in this interview!
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Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get into the balloon business?
My first career was working as an art teacher. I had weekends and summers totally free – which wasn’t actually that fun as a 22 year old. I was bored out of my mind! So I started a side hustle as a face painter.
One day, I went to a face painting convention and discovered there were also beginner balloon classes there. I had no idea that was a thing!
The second I saw the instructor tie two balloons together into a duplet to make a quad, I was hooked. From there I quickly stopped taking face painting clients and started going after corporate balloon events instead.
What inspired you to start The Bright Balloon podcast?
The podcast launched during the pandemic, a little bit out of boredom. I was in my car waiting at a stop sign and I just had a moment of clarity. I said, “I’m going to start a podcast and it’s going to be called The Bright Balloon”. It was weird- like a lighting bolt idea.
But from the beginning it’s been a really good fit for me. It feels easy and fun and I’ve learned so much from it! It really is a labor of love. I think I produced the podcast for more than a year without ever making a dollar from it.
Now I’m so happy it’s grown into a mini brand and has helped out a lot of balloon professionals. We all – balloon professionals- are out on the road so much, and I like to think I keep people company as they deliver and listen 🙂
What is your favorite aspect of working in the world of balloons?
I think it’s the most sharing and fun industry I’ve ever worked in. Going back to that very first convention I attended, I didn’t know anything and wanted to just sit in the back of the class and watch. But the balloon twisters wouldn’t let me! They literally gave me their own supplies and made me twist along.
It’s a group of people who want to see their friends succeed and can’t help but share breakthroughs and ideas that they have discovered.
I also love the conventions. Some of my best friends are balloon artists all around the world. Getting to see them in person and learn together or work on huge creative projects is always a highlight.
How did you discover Pro Tapes products, like UGlu?
I sound like a broken record, but at my very first balloon class, the instructor was showing a twisted embellishment. She said, “You could make it more complicated than it needs to be, or you could just stick it on with a UGlu dash.”
So from the very beginning, UGlu was something I’ve always had in my kit. I started with the best and whenever I tried cheap substitutes, I realized nothing was as reliable.
How does UGlu enhance your work as a balloon artist?
I like that it’s a reliable shortcut. The easiest way to put a balloon exactly where you want it to go in an arrangement is to add a UGlu dash and stick it exactly where you want it to go.
I am also constantly lending them out. Florists and party planners are always asking if I have any of those “sticky squares” (the famous “dashes”) because they inevitably have a sign that won’t stay up or tape that won’t stick.
Since launching the UGlu Hotline, what has been your favorite tip or question?
I love answering advice and giving tips, but I really love when people call in with their own advice; because for me it’s always those tiny hacks that totally change how I do things and save me time.
Just like UGlu is such a simple solution, I love any time people share simple, obvious suggestions that I would have never thought of. For example:
- keeping UGlu dashes in your pocket to warm them up in the Winter
- putting a piece of tape on a tape measure so you can write your measurements directly on it
- or using a floral tape to cover the cap of your hi-float container
What is a key business strategy or tips that you have uncovered during your podcast interviews?
I think it’s the idea that customer service and the business side of balloons is the most important thing. We have hundreds of hours of podcast content, and none of it is about how to do balloons. Skill is important, but there are a lot of very talented, but broke, artists out there.
On the other hand, there are a lot of profitable businesses that rely on the same foundational work over and over again.
I have yet to interview an artist who is making money purely based on skill. It’s all about the networking, great communication, interesting partnerships, growing a team, and continuing to pivot and try new things.
What advice would you share with someone who is just getting started in the balloon business?
I mentioned that I stumbled on UGlu early, only to learn later that it was the best and that cheap substitutes weren’t an option.
I would say the same was true in many areas of my business. Because I learned at a convention, I started with good quality balloons. I purchased a high end inflator. I learned how to make sturdy and long lasting frameworks. I spent money to attend expensive workshops and learned from artists making tons of money. And after my first year, I was where a lot of people are after five years. Yes, you can learn on YouTube or use dollar store balloons with a $15 pump- but it will take so much longer to get to the place you want to be.
My advice is don’t cut corners and learn the right way to do things from the beginning and upgrade your tools as soon as you are able.