5 Questions for balloon artist Misti Kauffman
For 5 Questions this week the Herald speaks to Misti Kauffman, owner of Balloons By Misti, located in Columbia Mall at the No. 8 door.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a balloon artist.
A: I'm a mother of six, so I obviously have a lot of birthdays every year for my own children. I've always thought that balloons were a great way to decorate for their birthdays. Eleven years ago we lived in Alaska. At Halloween time, I went into this party store, and they had a balloon column with a giant spider on top. Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I decided I needed to make that spider. I went home and figured out how to make this giant balloon spider, and I thought it was really fun. I started volunteering to do things like decorating before a sporting event. I decorated for my kids’ end-of-the-year gymnastics banquet. Some of the moms said I should really do this as a business, and I said nobody is going to buy balloons and they said: “Oh, everybody will buy balloons from you, I guarantee it.”
Q: What kind of services do you offer at your shop?
A: So I do a lot of birthday arrangements, where a customer would call and say, “I am having a party for my son. He is turning 8, and he loves hockey,” or “My daughter loves dogs, and the color purple, what do you have?” So I would make something up that kind of incorporates that. I just kind of create personalized arrangements for birthdays and stuff. I do columns and arches for events.
Q: How has business been going with the pandemic?
A: It was worrisome at first, but I think people still want to celebrate and still want normalcy for their children, and birthdays are a big part of that. Even though they're not having parties, they still want a big balloon arrangement for their child, so that their child feels normal at their birthday. We've also done several (arrangements) for drive-by birthdays. Balloons are something that bring joy, and, in this time of uncertainty, people still want the happiness and brightness that they bring.
Q: What are some of your recent projects?
A: A lot of my big events have been canceled because of the no-gathering stuff. I've been mostly doing birthday parties, just smaller arrangements. I do have a lot of graduations actually that are still kind of on the books. Those people will probably still do balloons because they want that normalcy.
Q: What are you looking forward to in your business?
A: My daughter is 15, so I've been teaching her how to do some of the twisting things for flowers, and some of those simple arrangements. I was really excited; she did a display piece that we put out. I'm trying to teach someone else because I'm just one person. I think once things pick up, I'm going to be busier than what I could do by myself.