It's the age old saying, there's no 'I' in team...
However in 2020 I had to find the ME in team as along with the rest of the country, my personal little world of balloons, partyware and fancy dress got given a right old shake up.
Within the first week of the pandemic the landlord on Godalming High Street gave me the hike and I had to send my entire staff team home, not knowing when I would see them again.
Being a mum of two small girls I also quickly gained them home, this is a story we've heard across the board on so many different levels for nearly two years now.
However HOPE was found, I managed to relocate myself to Hambledon, adjust the business to a form of online ordering and delivery's and quickly became known as your local 'Balloon Fairy' as sometimes you'd have me on your doorstep 10pm at night.
I made it work, determined not to be beaten by what restrictions, tiers or simply being totally knackered! I've been pretty much working 7 days a week since it all began.
It was always joked amongst the team that I was the most part time member of staff as I was always more behind the scenes then at the for-front of it all, unfortunately I was left with no choice but to do it all, not knowing how we would survive I had to loose the team...still the hardest thing I've had to do to this date.
Thankfully everyone found jobs quickly and are still open to popping by and helping me out when I very much need it, so very grateful we had the time we had and built the foundations of the business.
2020 was about survival and 2021 was about adjusting, The Godalming Party Company has become something totally different to what it was on the High Street, no more fancy dress - Amazon took that one from us, but I've kept strong & creative on balloons and partyware.
The success of a party in a box and some incredible displays have let my imagination thrive and go places I wasn't even sure I knew I could reach.
It also made me realise I LOVE what I do, making the smiles on any birthday morning when the sky's are grey is a true privilege and one I hope to continue to do for years.
So 2022, what's ahead?
I can't tell you...I'm sure we would all like to know!
However I did put the feelers out on Instagram a while ago, I've listened and have plans to put in place over the year and beyond.
Shopping Local - Online:
If there's one thing I've learnt, everyone wants to shop local but shop online, life's got hectic again and there's such an ease to do it whilst you 'think of it' which if it's in my house is 10pm at night!
So in light of this, I will be expanding the online store with a selection of partyware, decorations and more balloon packages.
I will also endeavour to increase the seasonal shopping so you can see what's in store, all with the ability to click and collect or have items delivered locally.
Amongst all of that I will also carry on working with local companies around me and hope to have a page on the website dedicated to this, so you can organise your party of dreams from local venues and suppliers in one hit!
Quality/Quantity and Pricing:
Something I've had to battle with over the last year,
Price comparison - I will never be cheaper or be able to match a supermarket, Amazon or bigger chain prices, simply because I can't order in the quantity's they do so I will never get the cheaper price but I will always do the best I can.
What I can do is provide you with good quality products that last and even if I do say so myself, a cracking customer service should things go wayward and also being at hand to assist to the best of my ability to help you create your ideas into reality, something I pride myself in.
Opening Times and Contactability:
I have always been so used to doing the 9am - 5.30pm, owned by the High Street to be open the hours I felt I should be, but this changed with having to adapt to delivering times, tier's, bubbles being burst and the simplicity of running the business by myself.
However I have always been contactable and will get back to you as soon as I can, I will however be restricting things a little..as it worked out I was being approached from 9 different ways of communication and that makes my mind boggle!
I will also be tweaking the hours slightly, I'll still be in the shop 5 days a week to visit and have the pre arranged pick up's in place for 7 days a week.
Delivery will be changed to on request instead of set times, meaning if a day time delivery is needed this can be done.
Leaving the largest stone to be turned until last - It's a huge one and especially in the party industry, BUT things are changing, partyware ranges with plates/napkins and cups are becoming compostable, foils are being made from recycled balloons, correctly sourced latex balloons are biodegradable - with ribbon to match.
Bigger business's like the Card Factory are providing recycling points for your unwanted foil balloons.
Helium being ethically sourced and also using air fill skills to provide a variation on balloon displays.
These are all things I want to take into 2022 and beyond.
A Final Note of Thanks:
You name the emotion, I have felt it the last 18 months, but support of family, friends and every single customer has meant I've pushed through, trusted myself and truly flown with the balloon fairy wings you have graced me with.
I'm looking forward to what the future holds and hope you'll join me for the ride, here's to 2022 and sunnier skies for us all.
Your Godalming Balloon Fairy,