Balloons are so much a part of our celebratory culture – we have them at baby showers, birthdays, weddings – you name it! But concern has been growing about the environmental impact of balloons – which is why we’re excited to introduce you to Pretty Little Package. All of their latex balloons are 100% natural latex and 100% sustainable. When composted they break down as fast as an oak leaf. We spoke to Jo Hough, Creative Director, to learn more about how she got started with her business.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I was on maternity leave with my second daughter and I naturally wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. I dreaded the time I would have to go back to work and put both of my young children into childcare. I dreamed of one day being able to stay at home with them while fulfilling my own needs and earning a bit of money while doing it. I thought a start up business where I could work from home would be ideal, I just needed the idea…
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Being a mother of two young daughters who love parties and anything pretty, I put a fair bit of effort into organising their early birthday parties. I decided to research how to make an organic balloon garland for above the cake table. I had seen these on my Instagram feed on occasion and loved the idea of them. Thinking back, my first attempt went better than expected. It was a conversation piece at my eldest daughters second birthday party, with all of my friends loving it and most of them suggesting I start up a business – as there was definitely a market for it. My first few clients were friends and neighbours and I decided I needed to set it up properly with a website and invest in an accountant, as I had no idea where to start in that respect.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I feel I had two big breakthroughs. The first was talking to an accountant early on, and getting set up with Xero for business. This was, to my surprise, an easy way of keeping track of business income and expenditure. I decided on a business name and registered Pretty Little Package as a Ltd company.
The second breakthrough was when I enrolled in a balloon garland course put on by the NZ Qualatex Distributor of NZ and hosted by the extremely talented owner and director of Belle Balloons Melbourne. This was not only an excellent networking opportunity for me, but as I was pretty much self-taught up until then, I was able to get significant tips and tricks into the balloon industry, in particular how to create, price and install organic balloon garlands.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
As a new business I wanted to accept all orders that came my way, so I could grow my business and get my product out there. I was actively promoting my Facebook and Instagram pages with giveaways every month. This took its toll initially, as most weekends were full and as I was operating alone I was insanely busy. I remember back to one weekend where I had eleven parties booked from Friday-Sunday, all across Auckland. At the six month mark, and a significant social media following, I made a decision to limit my bookings to three per weekend so I had a better balance of work and family. I had to remember what my goals were when I started this journey and it was to be able to spend as much time with my daughters as possible in their first five years. One year in business now and I feel I have definitely got the balance right.