Kate Hardisty of Balloon Girl SLO in San Luis Obispo

A passion for balloons and customized creation led journalism junior Kate Hardisty to start a business that tied both together.

Balloon Girl SLO is a student-founded business specializing in custom vinyl applications on balloons for any occasion.

Hardisty launched the company on Halloween of this year with the intention of creating personalized balloons parents could send to their students who attend Cal Poly.

“I deliver it personally to their dorm, house or apartment,” Hardisty said. “I get in contact with the customer once the order is placed and I plan out everything with them, especially if it’s a surprise.”

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Video by Lauren Arendt

After working at an event planning firm in San Luis Obispo, Hardisty found that she gravitated towards custom balloon creations. She decided to purchase a machine that cuts vinyl stickers and realized she could turn it into a business.

“I knew I could do well in this because you have to be artsy, know the fonts and work well with people, which are all things I am passionate about,” Hardisty said.

Hardisty wanted to offer something not already on the market. Customers can order 36-inch customized giant balloons, four times the size of regular balloons, and balloon garlands. Prices range from $15 to $100.

“It was my friend’s 50th birthday party and I really wanted something elegant that made a statement and [Hardisty] really impressed me,” Balloon Girl SLO client Gigi Burnette said. “You can go to many balloon places, but the Balloon Girl concept is really different and exciting.”

Hardisty said it usually takes her 24 hours or less to complete orders.

“I really wanted to create something that was personal and customized specifically for my client,” Hardisty said.

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