Created and owned by Marsha McGillivary, who operates and covers West London and Luton, the UK business specialises in balloons for all different types of occasions.
Marsha describes MMs Balloons in her own words as-
We provide stunning balloon decorations for parties, baby showers, corporate events and many more celebrations. We offer a professional friendly service from the initial enquiry to the in depth consultation, right through to your event.
Clients satisfaction is very important to Marsha, therefore she goes above and beyond to fulfill their requirements and provides the highest level of service. Along with being passionate with her ideas, experience and inspiration, she can transform a venue and bring your vision to life within your budget.
How it started…
The idea came about to start MMs Balloons was when one of Marsha’s colleagues in a previous job kept mentioning she wanted to go on a course. After showing Marsha some of the pictures of the designs and being inspired, she thought to herself ‘You can do this’. So after a lot of persuading, Marsha decided to go on the course with her. ‘It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.’
A lot of air
When Marsha first started out, the process for MMs Balloons involved mainly creating designs which consisted of air. This was fantastic as the designs would ‘literally last FOREVER’ in that she’d come back to designs which were two months old and they were still in good condition.
In the past she also used different types of materials to find out what works best to create the actual structure. For instance, 260” modelling balloons, curling ribbon and string, though the material of choice for her is fishing line. She explains further that, ‘Fishing line is a very strong material which will hold together your design really well as long as you have tied your first set of cluster a good few times.’ A useful tip to know.
Now, her designs consist of helium which she loves. The current development when creating arches, balloon columns, balloon frames, topiary trees and Christmas trees see Marsha use a NOT stand from IKEA. As they are perfect equipment for keeping your designs still and making sure they do not move around and as a weight/base.
You may have come across some balloon deigns which have the word ‘organic’ in front of them. These designs are created by smaller balloons (5”, 7” and 9” balloons) which usually create clusters of 3 or 4 using these sized balloons, once they are all created, a 260” modelling balloon is used and tied a set to each end. These are then wrapped around the base, which could be a balloon column, arch, pretty much anything you are designing. These smaller balloons give that organic/fuller look to the design. This design is what most customers are looking for.
Due to the current circumstances which are now taking place in the world, she’s noticed most customers want designs which can be left on their doorstep. For example, number balloon bouquets and balloon topiary trees, which she loves doing.
Apart from all of the balloon fun, Marsha does like to add a bit of artificial flowers to some of her designs. With this she has been thinking to go on a florist course as she knows flower arrangements are the ‘in’ thing at the moment. Flowers and balloons from MMs? We could see that in the future.
About to pop
Creating beautiful designs are very rewarding and seeing the end results always gives Marsha butterflies. However, shes’s not sure if all her clients understand how long and how much balloons are actually put in, to making their vision come alight. To her, this can be a challenge.
She was always taught to never underprice her work, but felt no one would order products from her if she said how much it actually cost. So she started underpricing and giving her clients a heavy discount. There were times she didn’t even charge them as she saw it as ‘I am starting out and I need to build up my portfolio, plus build up my clientele.’ Looking back, Marsha states that as her biggest mistake, because she didn’t value her work and was only punishing herself.
By speaking to a few people who have their own business, they told her she’s not looking at her business as a business, but looking at it as a hobby and something on the side. That’s when she realised she needed to step up and take her business more seriously. You live and you learn.
While the most pleasing situation so far with MMs Balloons for Marsha, has been watching her clients faces light up when they see their vision come alive. ‘I absolutely love making people smile no matter how small or big it is and seeing that smile and joy makes my job so much easier.’ 🎈❤️️ 🙂
Busy blowing balloons
A typical working day for Marsha running MMs Balloons contains her six year old and eight month old baby. So that requires her to prep balloons at least three days before the actual event to ensure no panicking on the actual day. ‘I usually group the balloons and place them in separate bags so I know which bag is for what design.’
Working during the evening ensures that by the next day, once the children have fallen asleep she can blow up as many balloons with a hand held balloon pump (to not wake the children up). The day before the event, the designs are created and delivered to the client. Depending on what the design is, she likes to deliver the products the evening before so it is all there for the client when they wake up in the morning. Preparation is key.
Doing all of this, the advice Marsha would give her past self when starting MMs Balloons would be-
Do not be scared and go for it. The path you choose will never be an easy run, you will come across a few dead ends, but do not let that hold you back. You have the ability to achieve what you want to do.
With this, a lot can happen in the next few years and for Marsha, there are currently no plans on expanding the team further. ‘I have an amazing support system behind me who enable me to fulfill all my orders on time and who also guide me in the right direction.’
2020 – a crazy year indeed
In regards to 2020, ‘It has been a crazy year, my heart goes out to all the families who have sadly lost a loved one and all the businesses who have unfortunately had to close their doors due to this pandemic.’ Fortunately for MMs Balloons, 2020 was a blessing. The past months the orders were flowing in nicely, which Marsha is so grateful and appreciative for all the orders received. Along with focusing right now on making MMs Balloons the best it could be, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them, so I want to say thank you to all my clients.’
With Valentines and Easter coming up soon, this is the perfect opportunity to reach out to 𝓜𝓜𝓼 𝓑𝓪𝓵𝓵𝓸𝓸𝓷𝓼 to complete the celebrations. Set the scene, setting, or mood of your occasion with personalised balloons. You can DM for enquiries via Instagram, while also becoming a fan on the Facebook page. Don’t forget to check back on the 10 ways indies have handled 2020 during COVID or 10 words of advice from indies while continuing to check IndieBloom in 2021 for all the latest independent content.