Entrepreneur seeks a green path for her balloon business - The Business Journal

Uplift Balloon Events was founded in 2020 when events were being canceled due to the pandemic. The owner says her environmental consciousness sets her apart in the industry. Photo contributed

In the last few years on social media and social gatherings, one might have noticed more helium-filled mirth. Led Balloon

Entrepreneur seeks a green path for her balloon business - The Business Journal

Leading up to the pandemic, more local balloon installation and backdrop businesses were starting up.

Because of Covid-19 mandates, more family events were thrown outside or canceled altogether, fueling demand for ways to make outdoor spaces more festive.

There are big numbers involved. The global party balloons market was worth $647.3 million in 2020, according to estimates. That figure is projected to grow 34% by 2026, reaching $865 million.

A Google search of “balloon decorators near me” will bring up several businesses including Rainbow Party, Center of Elegance Balloon Service, Prism and Palm Balloon Décor and California Balloon Décor.

Marianela Borbon, founder of Uplift Balloon Events, started her business in 2020 during the pandemic to uplift people’s spirits in those stressful times, she said.

Before starting her business, she worked in the nonprofit sector. But she grew up working in event and balloon rentals, going to courses and conferences and gaining experience.

“Balloons have been around for a long time, and I feel at any event, it completely transforms the environment,” Borbon said.

Uplift Balloon Events is California Green Business certified — the first balloon event business in the state to hold that distinction, Borbon said.

The certification comes from the California Green Business Network, a group comprised of cities and counties that assists more than 4,000 Golden State businesses in conserving energy and water, minimizing waste and shrinking their carbon footprints.

Borbon specializes in decorating events for corporate clients, nonprofits and schools. She does private events as well.

She has decorated events for the Workforce Connection, the Fresno Women’s Network, Clinica Sierra Vista and United Health Center.

Noticing the public discourse around the environmental impact of balloons, and with the priority of being an eco-friendly business, she started by purchasing only high-quality, biodegradable latex balloons.

In her research, Borbon discovered there are no eco-friendly, non-electrically conductive mylar balloons available on the market. Mylar is made from nylon balloons with a metallic coating.

This piqued her interest in developing a sustainable mylar balloon.

According to Southern California Edison, mylar balloons caused 1,128 balloon related explosions and power outages in the SoCal region in 2018 alone.

Mylar balloons are also not biodegradable.

Borbon is searching for a manufacturer that has chemists available to create a new type of shiny balloon.

Back in 1990, the California Legislature passed SB 1990, a law prohibiting the sale or distribution of mylar (foil) balloons filled with helium unless they are properly weighted.

Borbon wants to educate people on how to dispose of used balloons properly, encouraging them to pop their balloons and put them in the trash. In certain counties, latex balloons can be put in the compost bin, but not in Fresno County.

While business is good, Borbon said she must be proactive in marketing her services — and showing what makes her stand apart.

In June, Borbon won a $6,000 award from the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation pitch competition at its annual The Power of Women Conference. She put that money back into the business.

Borbon said balloons are guaranteed to brighten up events, but people don’t think of what happens to them after the party.

“Everything that goes up, must come down. We are closes to beaches and oceans and we don’t know where they’ll land or how it’s going to affect our environment,” she said.

Uplift Balloon Events is a member of the Pro Environment Balloon Alliance (PEBA), a group dedicated to eliminating the release of balloons and educating the public on their responsible use.

Borbon is currently looking for an electric cargo vehicle for the business and is open to buying one from any business that might be selling a used one.

In the meantime, between developing a new balloon and attaining a vehicle, Borbon will continue to uplift her business — and the moods of others.

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Entrepreneur seeks a green path for her balloon business - The Business Journal

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