LOCKDOWN birthdays have helped a balloon business stay afloat during the pandemic.

The Little Balloon Company in Copmanthorpe previously provided balloon arches for new store launches, centrepieces for balls as well as printed balloons for corporate events, weddings and parties.

Owner Karen Buckley who has been in the balloon business for 24 years said 2020 had been shaping up to be 'an amazing year' until the Covid-19 crisis struck.

The restrictions and lockdowns forced a rethink.

“As there are no events taking place at the moment we have had to adapt to be more of a retail and online store,” said Karen who works with her husband Mike.

“We now supply and deliver all types of balloon displays to help celebrate birthdays, new babies, engagements and special occasions at home. We also specialised on personalising balloons with the customer’s own message.

“The first part of the pandemic was devastating as all events - weddings, conferences, university open days, graduation ceremonies - were cancelled and we refunded all deposits.

“After the initial shock and realising that events weren’t going to come back any time soon, we realised our business needed to adapt and change our target market.

“Birthdays weren’t cancelled so our mission was to help people celebrate as parties couldn’t happen and the focus was celebrating at home.

“Lots of university students celebrated milestone birthdays like their 21st, and parents couldn’t be with them but still wanted to give them something to make the day special."

Karen added: “Some people wanted a personal message sending to a loved one who they couldn’t see for the foreseeable future. Children’s parties were no longer allowed so fun displays marking their birthday bringing a bit of joy their day became a lovely area of our work.”

The trend for people to post photographs of celebrations on social media has helped drive orders for The Little Balloon Company.

"For the young ones, getting that shot for Instagram is very important."

Karen added: "We are fortunate we have a product we can turn around. A lot of companies haven't been able to do that. It is seven days a week, and people message at all hours. You can't turn anything down. Customer service is very important.

"Being a small business we can offer competitive pricing, flexibility to have a display in different colours/themes and real person to speak to."