A rainbow of emotions washed across Giselle's face as she welcomed the unexpected delivery into her home. Surprise, delight, gratitude, happiness…she was clearly moved. It was even fun to witness the receipt of this gift. I was struck by the simplicity of it. I clearly remember thinking ‘even I could do that’! I couldn’t stop thinking about the novel bouquet all weekend. I imagined an array of items, arrangements and uses for helium balloon bouquets. I could see not end to the opportunities.
I was still thinking about helium balloons when I returned to work at the Saan Store in Moose Jaw Monday morning. I wondered how much balloons cost to buy wholesale? Where on earth do you buy helium? Who would buy these bouquets in Moose Jaw? When I got home I searched the phone book. I called all the local flower shows to see who carried them. No one did.
I called the retailer in Regina to find out how much helium bouquets sold for. I don’t recall the price but I do remember being surprised by the price tag. My mind was reeling with questions and creative ideas. Like a catchy jingle you hear on the radio, I couldn’t shake the visions of balloons out of my head. I was compelled to keep going.
As my balloon obsession grew I started calling wholesalers in Ontario about prices, sizes, colors, minimum order quantities, closures, and ribbon cutters. I discovered a compressed gas distributor in Moose Jaw. That’s when I learned I needed a permit to buy compressed gas…and insurance to bring the canister into my apartment building….and a business license to sell helium balloon bouquets…and a corporation to get a business license. I hadn’t been this engaged in learning since before entering kindergarden.
I pruned all the non-essentials from my modest living expenses to begin checking items off my to do list. The last item on the list was choosing a name. My boyfriend suggested I name the company “THC” claiming with an innocent smirk that it stood for “Tana’s helium company”. I decided to name it Flyaway Greetings. I hand sketched a bouquet of balloons and had a printer produce business card on coloured stock. At 18 years of age, I’d officially started a business - long before youth entrepreneurship became a ‘thing’ and entrepreneurship was a subject in schools.
Like everything else to this point, I knew nothing about sales and marketing. But that’s another story…(to be continued).