Michelle Shipman, Balloon Stylist at Balloons by Michelle Shipman
Specialising in beautiful balloon displays which bring any venue, event or party to life
The first business I ever ran was a pub. It was in a beautiful rural location outside of Ayr in Scotland and we used to host all sorts of events.
We were big believers in giving people a reason to come out and have fun, so our themed nights, live bands and Beer Festival were always popular with the locals.
After the pub – and brewery I’d also set up – was sold in 2010, I moved down to Cheshire and started a new brewery in Crewe. Again, I enjoyed hosting and decorating our events for St Patrick’s Day, St Valentine’s Day, Star Wars Day (held on May the 4th!), Halloween and Christmas.
I sold the brewery in mid-June last year and got really serious about balloon displays in the December. I’d been helping people with their own events after I’d called time on the brewery and was loving the creative aspect. I made a Mickey and Minnie balloon display for a travel agent who was promoting first-time trips to Florida and the ambition to develop a new skillset was ignited almost immediately.
Undertaking all sorts of courses – progressing from the basic stuff such as tying balloons to recognising the latest trends, decorating eye-catching shop windows and creating large-scale displays – I’ve been as far afield as Southampton and Glasgow to learn my new trade. The travelling and studying has definitely paid off, as I’ve already had some amazing commissions – including creating an organic, free-flowing display in the style of an entrance archway to mark the opening of a finance company’s brand-new head office. They absolutely loved it, and the archway lasted a whole two months until they gave in and asked me to come back and cut it down!
This weekend I’m working at a huge charity event, so my décor is going to be extra-special: beautiful, quirky and modern…
I’m an impulsive person by nature, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned after 16 years’ self-employment, it’s never be afraid to take a chance.
A personal mantra of mine is that you only live once and all of us can learn anything, so if the thought of doing something new is irresistibly appealing, what’s stopping you?