New balloon decorating business takes off in downtown Albany

Nina Young’s first ball structure was done on a whim. A bride had rented her photo booth business, set up in a vintage 1963 Airstream Overlander, for a wedding, but had a unique request: she wanted a backdrop of inflated balloons.

Young had already seen the unconventional air-filled builds on social media and felt like the trend would take off in the near future, so she agreed to the request on the condition that she practice more creating as well. a balloon arch outside the RV.

After hours of creating the installments with chicken wire and hot glue, Young posted the finished balloons on social media and his idea exploded, so to speak. Now, years later, Young is co-owner of Balloonary, a balloon decorating business that opened in downtown Albany earlier this month.

The company, located at 449 Madison Ave., allows customers to purchase customizable size, color, shape and style balloon clusters to display at bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, weddings and other events – catering to what the owner considers to be guests’ childhood dreams in a modern and tasteful way.

“I think people don’t always associate balloons with elegance, but they can be really beautiful and very artistic, with some being more playful and some being more elegant,” Young, 37, said.

The native of Rosendale, County Ulster, developed her balloon sculpting skills throughout the onset of the pandemic, when all the weddings for which her photo booth company, Rose & Dale Photo Co., were hired have been cancelled. With the new free time, she practiced erecting the balloon structures and gifting them to friends and family as a pick-me-up during quarantine.

Things accelerated for Young the following winter, when she temporarily left the Capital Region and told co-owner Stephanie Turcotte of Rochester that if she could grow the business over the next six months, so they would tackle it full time when she returned.

“Stephanie has grown the business while I’ve been away, she’s just super innovative and loves fun design and has done some really awesome things that people have really loved and it showed me when I came back that we really could do it “, said Young.

The pair began to attract more customers, as well as odd looks from neighbors as they continually carried loads of balloons out of their small apartments to ferry them to events. “We were like, ‘we have to start looking for a space because it’s getting crazy.’ ”

When the space that was once the Mad Lark Laundromat near the corner of Lark Street opened up in Albany, the duo jumped on it, creating what is now the colorful company’s base of operations. The location also sells party supplies and items from women- and LGBTQ-owned businesses.

“We really focus on as many eco-friendly products as possible because the event industry is super wasteful,” Young said. To minimize waste, the company primarily uses 100% biodegradable latex balloons and fills its balloons with air instead of helium.

When purchasing a group of balloons, customers can choose from three different sizes on the website: small, which is three to four feet from $65; medium, which is four to five feet from $85; and tall, which is six to seven feet from $100. A mini version, which is one to two foot balloons in mixed sizes, is also available for $45.

Customers can then choose from the wide variety of selected color combinations, from Motown Boogie and Cream de la cream to Unicorn Magic and Golden Hour. Finally, complements can be selected, including chrome balloons, marble balloons, greenery, letters, numbers and words.

Delivery and installation are not included in the price of the balloons which, if kept outside, last between one and four days depending on the weather. When stored indoors, structures can last much longer.

“Our goal is to be accessible to everyone. We want anyone to be able to come in and order a structure or just buy regular balloons and take them home to fill up or get one of our mini rigs. …. You don’t need a big chunk for it to have an impact,” Young said.

Having built hundreds of structures, from huge arcades at car dealerships to entire ceilings on wedding dance floors, Young has become a master of the craft. What used to take her hours, she reduced to just 15 minutes of work.

“We’re really focused on getting this place to where we envisioned it, which takes a bit of time with inventory, but we really want to fill it to the brim with fun stuff for people to come in. and shop,” Young said. . “I think it’s really about reaching every neighborhood in the capital district and connecting with different businesses, but it’s a slow and steady build.”

The hot air balloon is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.