We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?

Since my husband and I got married almost ten years ago, we have had a dream of one day opening an event venue where I would coordinate and curate events. We, however, both also like our current jobs as an engineer and lawyer and are still working on that dream.

Fast forward to March 2020 and the world shuts down. We spent the next few months quarantined at home with our three kids. It became a swift reality that we would not be able to celebrate our birthdays big as our custom. But I still wanted to make my kids’ birthdays special.

My oldest loves balloons, has since he was 1. So I grabbed my computer and started watching Youtube videos on making balloon decor, I mean how else do you learn anything these days? I watched countless hours of videos on how to make balloon columns, garlands, bouquets, etc. When my son’s birthday rolled around in July, he woke up to two balloon columns in his favorite colors at the bottom of the stairs. The excitement on his face made it all worth it. The next few months of family members and neighbors birthdays included a balloon display created by me. And each time the birthday person was elated to have the balloons. Not only was it fun to use my creative side, it warmed my heart to see the joy it put on their face when they saw their balloon displays.

From those experiences, I made the decision that I wanted to create balloon displays that would bring a smile to everyone’s face. I wanted to continue to see the joy on others faces as a result of something I could make. I subsequently took the steps to start Big Events Poppin. My goal was to provide balloon decor to make any event POP! I invested in a few online courses from other balloon artists to learn more about starting a balloon business and different techniques for building balloon garland and arches. In a short time frame we have been to grow our clientele exponentially.  That is in large part to the family, friends, and clients that have trusted us to be apart of their events. We cannot thank them enough!

What should our readers know about your business?

Big Events Poppin creates and provides custom balloon installations. We provide balloons and backdrops for kid and adult birthday parties, anniversary parties, weddings, showers, and other special events.

We like to provide our clients with options and guidance in creating an event that will POP within their budget. We create balloon garland, balloon columns, balloon walls, balloon mosaics and balloon bouquets. We also offer backdrop options. We want to be the one stop shop for our clients when it comes to setting up a backdrop for their event.

I am proud that we have been able to expand our offerings within a short amount of time. We started with balloons only. We have grown our offerings to include a grass wall backdrop, shimmer walls, and other party essentials.

How we got to where we aretoday business-wise, has not always been easy. There are late nights and long weekends, but I will say the people in this industry are pretty helpful. Most have been willing to share there techniques or balloon vendors, or offer a hand when you are in need. There have been some growing pains with determining the best process for invoicing and tracking projects. But after I signed up for a software that offers business management tools, it has become seamless. I will say that the start up cost for the business is relatively low, which in some ways made it easier to take the plunge and get started. Some days there was some anxiety of “will people hire me?” But I focused on honing my craft and getting better so that when others saw my work they would be running to hire me!

Some lessons I have learned along the way are what to offer before and after a client has paid a retainer for our services. For instance, we prepare mock-ups of our designs. Early on we provided them before a retainer was paid, but we quickly learned that does not always lead to the client booking with us. And some never responded after receiving the mock-up. Mock-ups can be time consuming and wasn’t always effective in closing. So we modified our model to provide mock-ups only after a retainer is paid.

Another lesson is making sure you get all the details before quoting every setup. For example, whether a setup is inside or outside makes a difference in the installation process. Also, knowing the time you can get in a venue or you have to be out of a venue effects how we plan out our installation schedule.

When the world sees Big Events Poppin, I want them to see a company that enjoys what they do and strive to put a small on others faces. I want us to be known for our timeliness and our clients stress fee and amazing experience. And of course beautiful and unique balloon displays!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Due to the pandemic, I feel like I have missed out on going to places and I do not know the hots spots anymore. But some places that I loved pre-pandemic and I think are still great are Killeens Steakhouse in Pearland. We have celebrated many birthdays and anniversaries there over the past few years. For a rooftop drink, I would check out La Grange. Our museums are also amazing. Especially the museum of natural science. Some other great places I would suggest visiting is Kemah boardwalk. And if you are this close to the gulf you have to go to Galveston or Surfside for some beach time or fishing.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my husband. He has supported and encouraged me through every step of this journey. He is also an inspiration to me. He, along with his partners, have started the first black and minority owned brewery in Houston, TX–For The Culture Brewing Company. His drive to pursue his passion and do something he loves has inspired me to do the same. Also, he is happy to wrangle our 3 kids all day on Saturdays while I setup for events. He is my MVP and deserves our shoutout!

In addition, my family has stepped in to help with installations or contributed to designs. Without them I would not be able to continue putting smiles on our client’s faces.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bigeventspoppin/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigeventspoppin/

Image Credits
Melissa Jolivette

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