Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

Bling Bling Jam Balloon in Las Vegas

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

The Bling Bling Jam
July 24-27, 2017
The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Old Downtown Las Vegas

Twisting classes, Balloon Decoration Classes, Magic and maybe some Face Painting and more!

2017 bling bling jam

2017 bling bling jam

Airigami Balloon Adventure: Journey on the Genesee

Friday, January 29th, 2016

This year, the five story piece will explore the flora and fauna of New York’s Genesee River valley. A giant waterfall and river will flow through the atrium of Rochester’s Sibley Building, surrounded by examples of life found in the region

Balloon Manor 2015

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

It is time for Balloon Manor 2015

Balloon Manor the Amazing Air-Filled Under-Sea Adventure
Dive five stories down and journey through the briny deep world of Atlantis! Discover a mighty pirate ship and its hapless crew battling the giant octopus! Will they be rescued by the Mermaid Queen? You won’t believe your eyes as this tale unfolds in a 5-story balloon sculpture.

This feature sculpture at the Sibley Building (250 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604) will be free for the public to view and enjoy.


Watch Balloon Manor being built!
February 23-26, 10am-6pm

Visit Balloon Manor!
Feb. 27 – March 7, 10 am – 7 pm
March 8, 10am-3pm

Fifties First Friday: Enchantment under the Sea
March 6, 6 – 9 p.m.

Balloon Manor: Popping Party!
March 8, 3 – 6 p.m.

Buyers Beware

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Attending a convention is a great way to meet other entertainers and learn new skills. However, you should review the cancellation policy before paying to register for a convention. A recent debate on a balloon group on FaceBook revealed that some convention organizers do NOT allow people to sell or transfer their registration if they cannot attend. I understand that organizers may not be able to offer a refund, but they should allow people to give their registration away so that someone else can take advantage of the money that was already paid to attend the convention.

Animal Jokes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Looks like I haven’t posted new jokes for a while… These are NOT my jokes, they are jokes I collected from the Internet and other sources over the years. It is fun to have a few jokes to tell related to the designs the kids request, current weather, upcoming holidays, or the back to school season. The following jokes are all about animals.

Collection of Balloons

Collection of Balloons

Q: What do you get from a pampered cow?
A: Spoiled milk!

Q: What do you call a sleeping dinosaur?
A: A dinoSNORE.

Q: Why did the spider go on the internet?
A: To make a Webpage.

Q: What is a balloon snake’s favourite subject?
A: Hissss-tory!

Q: What happened when two frogs went after the same fly?
A: They became tongue-tied!

Q: What did the frog do when his car broke down?
A: He got toad.

Balloon Manor 2014

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

I read this on BalloonHQ yesterday… Balloon Manor will be back before Twist & Shout, in Rochester, NY.

They want to continue the exploration of fairy tales and create a full scale installation of Jack & the Beanstalk, entirely out of balloons! They are planning a four-story beanstalk complete with a Giant’s Castle in the clouds.

From their website…
Q. So what is Balloon Manor?

A. In the past, Balloon Manor was a giant 10-room, 10,000 square foot haunted house made entirely out of balloons! Over 100,000 balloons were used to create each haunted castle, and all of the amazing creations inside including: marvelous monsters and giant ghosts, creaking castle walls and freaky furniture, gruesome greenery and much much more.

This year, Balloon Manor will be a single giant-scale balloon installation spanning five stories of the Sibley Building. While you won’t be able to walk through the castle at the top of the bean stalk, you will be able to view this unique air-filled sculpture from the open balconies. And best of all, it’s free to see! And you’ve really got to see it in person to appreciate the artistry and hard work that goes into this incredible, ephemeral project.

Q. When will the next Balloon Manor take place?

A. We are currently scheduled to build the new Balloon Manor February 1-4, 2014 and have it open for public viewing Feb 5-9.

Face And Body Art International Convention aka Fabaic 2013

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Overhead Costs

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Sometimes, I feel that other balloon twisters and face painters are too concerned about what the other entertainers are charging for their services. Some fear they will never become good enough to charge as much as the best entertainers while others complain that there are too many new entertainers giving away their services and lowering the amount of money their customers are willing to pay.

I have come to the conclusion that the only person that I really need to worry about is myself. Am I making enough money to cover my costs? Since I have a day job, I don’t need to earn as much as those who are trying to live off of their income as an entertainer. But, I think that both full time and part time entertainers should understand their costs.

When doing an event, there are two costs. There are the physical costs of the goods used during the event. For a balloon twister, that may be $10 worth of balloons that were used. There are also the overhead costs associated with running a business. These are more hidden and aren’t tied to any one event.

What are the overhead costs? Since I am running a business, I have a website, business cards, liability insurance, and attend conventions (training). I also have to have various supplies related to being able to setup at a variety of events. I have a tent, tables, chairs, banners, and other such items. Let’s assume that in a given year, I am spending $1000 on overhead items. Thoses expenses need to be covered by what I am paid for the events that I work.

If my overhead costs are $1000/year and I am doing only 50 events (about one per week) each year, that means that each event must contribute $20 towards paying off my overhead costs. Add in the $10 worth of balloons, it costs me $30 every time I do an event.

If I get busy and start doing 100 events per year (about two events per week) my overhead costs don’t increase, so I still only need to cover the same $1000/year in overhead or $10/event. Now, every time I go out, it only costs me $20. Following this trend, the more events I do, the less the overhead costs are per event. Sure, at some point, I may decide that I am going to enough events that I can justify going to a second convention or buying a more expensive tool.

Someone who is working full time as an entertainer and doing 4-5 parties on the weekend along with a few kids nights on weekeday evenings along with a few events at nursing homes, day care centers, farmer’s markets, or libraries during the work week, their overhead costs may be just a few dollars per event because they are spread out between more events. Being able to lower overhead costs from $20/event to just $5/event is like giving yourself a $15/event raise without having to adjust rates.

How Much to Charge?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

I hear a lot of entertainers talking about prices. They complain that their customers are always asking for a discount or even a free event. They complain that someone new is doing events for free or not charging enough money. They complain that entertainers are able to be hired directly by their customers without needing an agent.

If one entertainer in the area wants to make $150 per event, does that mean that all other entertainers in that area need to start charging at least that much? Does one or two entertainers who charge significantly less than the rest drive down the rates that everyone can get? Will doing one event for free really open the door for all of your customers to ask for a free event?

I think it is perfectly acceptable for an entertainer to decide how much they want or need to charge without having to worry about what the other entertainers in the area think.

When I was first getting started, I wasn’t very good. There weren’t a lot of designs that I could make and those that I did make didn’t always look that great. I knew many entertainers in the area who were much better. I didn’t feel that it would be right to charge as much as they did. I even volunteered my services for free a few times just to get the experience and confidence. Doing the event for free took away the pressure. I knew that whatever I managed to create was more than they would have had if I wasn’t there.

It helped that I had a fulltime job that payed the bills and provided me with insurance. When I did an event, I really only had to cover the cost of my supplies. If I was doing one event every few weeks, it wasn’t a major investment of my time and I didn’t need to reorder supplies that often. Getting $10-15 in tips easily covered my costs.

But, as I got better and started getting busier with events, my time became more valuable. If I was going to work 40 hours during the week at my main job and then spend several hours on the weekend at festivals or birthday parties, I lost the time I once had to do laundry, groceries, and other chores around the house. At this point, I decided, I needed to find out what my time was really worth.

I knew the ballpark range of prices the other experienced entertainers in the area were charging. I had an idea of how much I was spending on supplies, business cards, website, and conferences. I also knew what I was making per hour at my day job. I decided that if I was going to continue working as an entertainer, I wanted to make as much, if not more, per hour as my day job.

When a client hires me to come to a birthday party for one hour, I know that I am spending more than just one hour of my time. I would estimate that I am spending 3-4 hours of my time for a one hour birthday party. It starts with the time discussing the event with the client, creating an invoice, making sure I have the directions to the party, and packing my supplies before the party. I have a goal of being in the neighborhood of the party at least 15 minutes early, which often means leaving home one hour before the party starts. I rarely manage to get out the door exactly at the end of one hour. I have to pack up, find the host, bring my supplies out to the car. I might get home one hour after the party ended. And even once I am home, I may need to restock or clean up before I can go to another party. Doing a bunch of 1 hour parties takes more time than doing one three hour event because for that event, I only need to travel to one place, setup my supplies once, and clean up once.

Let’s say that in my day job, I am paid $25/hour. To do a one hour birthday party, I am spending on average 4 hours of my time, so I want to make $100/hour. But, that is before I begin to figure out the cost of my supplies. Let’s assume that I use $10 worth of supplies at the party. So, now I need to charge a minimum of $110/hour to cover my costs and make the same amount of money per hour as my day job. If I want to attend conventions, buy better quality tools, have costumes, banners, tents, etc. I need to be able to pay for all of that as well, so that may raise my rates to $125/hour or more.

In reality, I should value my day job at more than $25/hour because it is a fixed, guaranteed income source. My employer provides benefits and insurance above my hourly rate. If I was to quit my day job, I would need to make more money too cover the loss of those benefits.

If I find out that the average entertainer in my area is only charging $80/hour, I either need to find ways to lower my costs or prove the value of hiring me over my competition. I can also decide to have a two hour minimum so I am getting paid for more hours while doing fewer events. If the after age entertainer in my area is charging $150 or more per hour, I can either raise my rates or hope to be busier because I am charging less.

The only thing that we can really control is how much we charge. People are sometimes forces out of business because their costs are too high compared with what the competition charges. With the right marketing pitch, you can get a person to pay a little more if they think it will be a better product or service. Look at the parking lot, not everyone is driving the cheapest, used car they can find.

I know how much I charge and can justify that amount based on my income goals and expenses. If someone wants to charge more or less than me, that is fine. I do sometimes wonder if they can explain how they came up with the number for the prices they charge or if it just “sounded good”.

The Balloon Workshop

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I was sent an email telling me about a new convention for balloon twisters, the Balloon Workshop in Sacramento, California.

The Balloon Workshop
October 10-13, 2013
Hilton Sacramento Arden West
2200 Harvard Street
Sacramento, CA 95815

  • 72 Classes to choose from
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Thursday Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Thursday evening Glow Party by the pool
  • A goodie bag with some really great stuff
  • 24 Hour Jam Room with special surprises
  • Access to the Vendor Room
  • Door Prizes
  • Raffles
  • FUN & Excitement