Today we get to meet Elaine Frei, founder of the Luft Balloon Store. She fills us in on what it’s been like to start her own business creating beautiful decorations for birthday parties, baby showers, and more!
Q. How did you come up with the idea for Luft Balloons?
A. LUFT was a brainchild after working at SOIRTAY, a blog about the sass and science for hosting dinner parties. We had designed a birthday dinner party using nostalgic birthday party materials in creative new ways. One of the elements was a balloon centerpiece in lieu of flowers. We bought over $200 worth of balloons and couldn’t put together a single clean, sophisticated palette. One turquoise didn’t match the other, one balloon was glossy, the other matte, one bag had only one beautiful purple, etc etc. It was then that I realized there was a void in the market.
Q. What inspires you be an entrepreneur?
A. I love to chase an idea and see it come to life. It’s like this little bug that’s inside of me. I recently bought an incredible book for my son titled What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada. The book gave me chills.
Q. What social media do you like to use and how do you use it?
A. Instagram is my favorite because it’s accessible, quick but powerful.
Q. What makes your product unique?
A. Pretty much everything. 1) COLOR: We create all our colors by hand through a technique called “double stuffing.” Essentially, putting one balloon into another to create intoxicating, amazing colors. 2) AIR: By using air, you can put together your balloons at any time and not worry about that annoying trip to the party store just hours before party start time. 3) LONGEVITY: Our balloons last up to a month so you can decorate a couple of days in advance of your party, unlike with helium balloons. 4) ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY: Our balloons are made from 100% biodegradable latex and organic.
Q. What is your favorite part of your business?
A. I love conceptualizing, styling and designing our photo shoots. I love seeing what I have in my head come to life.
Q. What success tips can you give to someone wanting to start their own online store?
- Start small, don’t invest a lot of money, and get your products up on Etsy. Only your consumers will tell you if you have a good idea.
- Curate. I’m talking photography here. Make everything look irresistible. Whether it’s your social media, your product shots, your website. It’s a consumer’s first impression.
- Don’t get business cards right away. They always seem to jinx.
Q. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far about running a business?
A. It never ends. Just when you think you’ve “launched,” it’s only just begun.
Q. What’s next for Luft Balloons? Any new products for spring parties?
A. We just launched our new website this week and have a dozen or so new delicious palettes that are perfect for that bridal or baby shower, bachelorette party, wedding, and dinner or birthday soiree.
Q. Any tips for following your dreams?
A. First, many entrepreneurs are trying to “make it” or “hit the big bucks.” To be successful, you need passion and a love for the journey because it’s a long, long journey. I would also suggest not being afraid to fight for what makes you happy. Sometimes you have to go out on a ledge and make less money or work more jobs to give your dreams a go. You never know until you try.