Balloon designer extraordinaire, Betsy Vega, discovered her love of balloons and talent for balloon design while prepping for her daughter’s 7th birthday party–a Spongebob-themed birthday bash in her church. Since then, she’s been livening up local parties and events with fully-customizable balloon structures and characters.
Following the path of entrepreneurs before her, Betsy Vega turned a hobby into a full-blown business–Rose City Balloons. A first generation American of Argentine and Colombian ancestry, Vega first started her balloon artistry while planning for and setting up her daughter’s 7th birthday party. After lots of hard work and a couple of popped balloons, Vega’s custom SpongeBob balloon decorations were complete. What’s more, they were a crowd favorite among the other parents at the party.
Soon, Vega was receiving requests from people throughout her community to decorate for their events or their venues. And so began her business.
Run from her living room, Vega’s business was a family venture. Her kids even helped tie the balloons she’d use for her balloon sculptures. The family business continued to grow as they expanded into corporate events for big-name clients like Amazon, Hewlett Packard, T-Mobile and recently the opening of Chick-Fil-A in Keizer, Oregon.
Vega moved her business from her living room to a 300 square-foot retail store during the pandemic in September 2020, not to mention during the epic wildfires in the northwest.
Vega’s largest business expansion happened recently on July 1, 2022–she expanded her storefront from a 300 sq ft space to 1000+ sq ft in Salem, Oregon. This new Rose City Balloons storefront provides Vega and her team more space to craft her balloon creations and generate on-site sales.
With the growth of her business, Vega has leveraged technology to streamline critical processes. The Clover Mini has been a saving grace. Vega explains that the platform has made it incredibly easy for her to log, update, and keep track of all her inventory. For instance, she crafted a custom 12 ft x 15 ft Godzilla balloon sculpture–from scratch. With the help of her Clover Mini, Vega knew exactly how many green balloons she’d need for the project. Without it, that ferocious dino might have been short a few features.
What’s more, Vega enjoys using the Clover POS system, as it makes the checkout process for customers fast and easy–and integrates with other software and programs she uses for her business. That’s been especially important as she’s opened her first brick and mortar store and needs to keep track of sales on a larger scale.
“So you put in the product. And then after that, it’s like going to the grocery store–you just scan it. And you’re in and out. I love it! Before, it took forever to get a client out. I’d think: ‘I’m going to lose business.’ And so using the Clover system has really helped speed up the checkout. And that’s what I was trying to really speed up–the checkout.”
Sustainability is another focal point for Vega. Balloons and eco-friendly don’t often go hand in hand. However, Vega makes sure to source the highest quality materials for her work–with balloons that are biodegradable filled with air! Additionally, Vega limits the amount of helium she uses in projects–using it only in small, strategic areas called for floating balloons within structures. Not only does that decrease the amount of helium she uses, but it also helps her structures last longer, providing more value to her customers.
With the expansion into a physical location and a growing team, Rose City Balloons is on its way to making an even greater impact in the Willamette Valley. At the end of the day, it’s the little things in life that make it special and cheery. And while Vega’s creations are anything but little, they definitely give cheer and get smiles.
And, as Vega points out: “Now I do what I love–balloons.”
Check out our Meet The Merchant series for more small business inspiration from our merchants.