BMTV 88 – Retailing, Training and Vinyl Cutting

This week, we have a customer chat with our very honoured guests Mike and Jane Hurst from Reds. Mike has been in the industry for 3 years and even learned his Qualatex fundamentals in the very room where we shoot BMTV! He tells us that Jane started out as a face painter and they were looking at extra things to add value to her creations. They saw that a fancy dress retailer was closing down in their local area and bought all his old balloon stock, and the rest was history! Reds are retailers, but they also do decorations. Check out their Facebook page to see what they can do!


Mike has brought in a few of his creations, which include a Halloween latex column with foil topper and some wearable displays for trick-or-treaters. These designs include a simple devil, and some more complicated designs such as Stewie from Family Guy and Slimer from Ghostbusters. These are incredibly cheap to make and Mike is going to show us exactly how! These wearables are given features made of vinyl, which can be cut using a machine and stuck to the balloons. Reds have used this method to print all sorts of designs, including names and odd birthday numbers such as 37. They will charge an extra £5 for an 18 inch balloon with vinyl and £10 for larger foils, making it a lucrative addition.


Make your own cheeky devil!

To make the devil design, you will need a headband, a single 5 inch red balloon, a red 160Q modelling balloon, 2 card horns and the vinyl features. The first step is to unstick the vinyl from the backing and create the devil’s face. Next, apply some double sided tape to the horns and stick them to the top of the ‘head’. To apply the balloon to the headband, you will need to create a ‘5 petal flower out of the 160Q which the 5 inch can be attached to. This requires using a pinch twist, which is demonstrated in a previous BMTV show. You can then wrap the tail of the balloon around the 160Q to secure it onto the headband. Lastly, you can make a tail out of a scrap of 160Q, which can be tied around the main balloon to secure. These should be immensely popular with kids this Halloween!


In addition to the headbands, Mike also shows us the LED wands he has been making, which contain little lights so that children can be seen when trick-or-treating. This design features an orange polka dot 5 inch but will also work really well with 5 inch skull face balloons.

A bit about Mike

We go on to ask Mike about his inspirations and he tells us that his favourite aspect of the balloon industry, is all the awesome people making their own creations that he can get inspiration from. He also stresses that training courses are very important and can even lead to events such as the world balloon convention (which he was lucky enough to attend this year!). These kinds of opportunities can lead to meeting all sorts of people and learning all sorts of new tricks.

Mike’s advice for somebody starting out in retail is not to overthink it, sell a good product and find a good property. He says that to be a successful retailer, make sure you get out there. He and Jane used to jump on events and offer free services to get their company known but are now in a position to charge a higher rate. They market their company through printed flyers and their own website which they had made custom-made by a web designer. Mike warns against using a free template for a website, as the face of your own business should be unique and stand out. He also advises to use a Google+ account to give you a great deal of free SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Greg gets his face painted

With that, we swap Mike for Jane! Jane tells us that she started off face painting for a friend’s charity and with some encouragement from Mike, created the Reds we know today! She is going to paint a design on Greg’s face, but he has no idea what it will be yet. Stay tuned for hilarity!


That’s it for this week! Mike, Jane and the newly-painted Greg have another question of the week for you all: What are you doing for Halloween this year? Leave us a comment and let us know!


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