Business Profile – Duff Balloons

Name: Ryan Tracey
Business Name: Duff Balloons
M: 07718931779

Business Profile - Duff Balloons

Can you describe your business?

My business is a children’s entertainment business that specialises in balloon modelling/sculpting. I provide balloon modelling and entertainment at a wide range of events such as birthday parties, weddings, festivals, christenings, community events, or any event that requires a burst of energy, fun and excitement. I have made balloons for over 150,000 children in the last four years. I have spent over 3,500 hours practice and I can make over 500 unique balloon models – and I am only getting started. In 2017, I made the semi-finals of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, breaking one Guinness World Record and equalling another.

I was on Blue Peter Live where I broke the record that I had equalled on BGT. I am featured in the Guinness Book of Records 2018. I competed in Ninja Warrior UK, which will be aired in January 2018. I also filmed for CBBC kids TV show ‘Officially Amazing’, which will be on TV in the Spring of 2018. My business was a finalist in the Ni4kids Family Friendly Awards in the category ‘Family Friendly Business’. I have recently completed a Business Plan with Omagh Enterprise Centre and will be taking my business to the next level in 2018, with plans for a YouTube channel for ‘Duff the Balloon Ninja’.

Why did you start your own business? 

I have always wanted to have my own business and never had the confidence to do so. I have great entrepreneurial spirit and a dogged work ethic, but always played it safe in relation to my academia and career. I decided to start my balloon modelling business for two  reasons: Passion and necessity. Balloon modelling was a hobby that I started to provide entertainment for my five kids, I loved the reaction that they had when I made balloons and engaged them in the experience. I wanted to become one of the best balloon modellers in the world and provide a sense of fun and excitement to children everywhere. There is no better feeling than that of a child who’s eyes light up with excitement. I have always had a full-time job and part time jobs to support my family, so balloon modelling needed to become a business for me so I would continue to invest the time and effort needed to grow the business.

What are the best things about running your own business?

One of the best aspects is the control that you have, you get out what you put in. I have worked really hard on making my business successful, I know that if I don’t continue to drive forward the business will not develop how I want it to.

Developing my business gave me the motivation to achieve a lot in a short space of time. I was adamant that my business would be the best in the world and so I set about ensuring that it was.

What are the main challenges facing the business? 

Opportunities for growth. I need to figure out how to take something that is working well i.e. my character, personality and passion, and translate this into a bigger business as I can only be in one place at any given time. I could happily be a balloon modeller for the next 10-30 years but I believe that I need to continue to push the boundaries and explore where I can take my business, the thought of it fills me with excitement and anticipation.

What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

Hold on tight! It’s a roller coaster that can leave you hanging on for dear life one day and putting your hands in the air like you just don’t care the next day. The more prepared you are the easier it will be. Don’t be afraid to work harder than you ever have, it’s YOUR business, put your best foot forward and treat everyone you work with the same respect as you would expect for yourself. Care about what you are doing, care about the people you are doing it for, don’t be taken for fool and be prepared to stand up tall on your own two feet and accept the challenges that present themselves. Remember that there will always be problems, but as long as you have solutions you will be fine.

Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less?

Dedication equals success.