Today’s article is going to be one of those that might get me in trouble. I have been a balloon artist for over six years now and in the balloon community for about five years. I love the community. Some of my best friends are in this community, but we have one major problem in the industry: our egos!
This is not unusual for a performance based community. When I was in theatre the egos barely fit through the door. Some people’s heads were so big they would fill up the entire stage. So I understand this is natural in our industry. The challenge comes when we let our egos overlap into our business mindset.
There has been a great back and forth recently on some balloon forums about artistry versus craftsman. I’ve enjoyed the conversation quite a bit. I’ve never really considered myself a balloon artist. I use the term because it is an industry term and public term that has come to mean anyone working with balloons, but I create very few of my own designs. I’m a performing artist. My art is in my shows and stories.
The problem is considering yourself an artist means you automatically think of yourself in a different way than your customers do. They view you as a commodity and service and not an artist. Now your options are to either get mad and blame them for their “ignorance” or educate the client.
Most people I know aren’t willing to educate their clients. They just pout and rant and throw a temper tantrum like a three year old. But if you do want to change perception then you need to develop new skill sets. You need to learn to educate, to persuade, to sell yourself to your clients.
Interesting isn’t it? In order to truly be known as an artist you must first become better at business.
Make sure you read my other articles to learn more about selling.
5 thoughts on “Balloon Artists or Art?”
Jason I saw the Ego Waffles and I had to use it in this article. These wacky pack cards brought be back to my childhood. Balloons do too.
Love the article, and agree wholeheartedly.
I use balloons as a tool to entertain as I do magic and juggling.
I have been doing ballooons for 17 years, I have created original balloons and can keep up with the best but my goal is to make people smile and laugh.
I am amazed by the large schulptures, balloon dresses and decorating. All of that is fine…just not me.
Thanks for your time.
I’m still proud to say “I’ve never made a balloon dress.” Should dress making be a weaving class, and why aren’t they making quilts. Now, that would interesting. Each entertainer does a panel, then they all get linked together. But thinking about that… balloon twisting would be come craft project.
I think I was the “craftsman” who was the target of that particular rant. The recession has taught some of the local “artists” that they can’t charge whatever they want anymore and still expect to be busy. That can be tough when you have a super-sized ego. Unless you’re targeting the high end of the market, your prices need to reflect the public’s new perception of value.
Targeting a market is what most business do… Ferrari only wants to deal with high-rollers who have money to spend. If your an artist in a community of millionaires then yes… sky is the limit. If you live in a major city that has money… than you can be way over price and still make a living. The one nice part of being an entertainer or even an artist your not locked into a price. You just have to show why your worth the money. It may be in “awards”, PR material, business practice, testimonials, or personal reference that convinces a customer to open up their wallets and give you all their money. Each event is unique and requires it own price tag.
If your a “craftsmen” then you may be one of many in a community. Price becomes an issue and you need to be aware of your competitors pricing.