Follow my blog with Bloglovin

All about balloons and their production

In sisterMAG No. 63, we talk to some experts in the field of balloons and event decoration. Where do they get their inspiration and passion from, what’s new in balloons and how do they focus on sustainability in their business? Learn more about Gemar, Magari Events and The Creative Heart Studio here.

All about balloons

with Gemar Balloons, Magari Events & The Creative Heart Studio

The fascination with balloons begins in childhood and today it is hard to imagine event decorations without balloons. And by no means as an old-fashioned installation, but in modern forms, pastel colors and all shapes. We found some experts in the field of balloon decoration and asked them: where does inspiration come from and how do they actually keep it with sustainability in their field?

Gemar Balloons

How long has the company Gemar been in existence and what is its history?

Angelo Rocca, the founder of the first Italian balloon manufacturer was born in 1884. At just 4 years old his passion was ignited when he emigrated to France with his family to help his brother-in- law, a successful balloon artisan. As a young man he started off as a street vendor, but he was soon promoted to production assistant. By 15 he was managing the balloon workshop that supplied the most exclusive shops in Marseille. At the tender age of 18, Angelo returned to his homeland, a small village called Casalvieri in Italy. Here he founded the first Italian company to manufacture latex balloons.

A flying start to the 20th Century
Angelo expanded the business by selling balloons across Italy, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He could only grow so far though, at this time production was long and complex, all balloons were strictly “handmade” by expert artisans.

Technological Revolution
Genesio, one of Angelo’s sons, founded his own company in 1953 called “Ditta Genesio Rocca”. He successfully transformed balloon production by growing it to an industrial scale. In 1970, Genesio built the first factory covering a surface of 1000m2 and purchased the first automatic dipping line to manufacture latex balloons.

Gemar is born
In 1977, following the premature death of Genesio in a tragic car accident, Angelo, Genesio’s eldest son, took the reins of the company. In 1990, he officially founds GEMAR. Under Angelo’s solid leadership, the company conquered a prime position in the global marketplace. Now, he is running Gemar® with his son Genesio.

Printing Innovation
At the turn of the millennium, Gemar® expanded its production to incorporate a printing facility and began to specialize in printing latex balloons. Tapping into a new and prosperous market, Gemar® developed a reputation as innovators in the industry, recognising up and coming trends and providing their customers with designs that let them fly above their competitors.

The Rocca family is still at the heart of Gemar® and has the support of a dedicated team. They continue to manufacture the world famous “Italian balloon” in over 100 different shapes, sizes and brilliant colours. Today GEMAR is among the world’s largest manufacturers of natural latex balloons and have positioned themselves as the undisputed industry leaders in Europe.

How is your team comprised?

Gemar is a family business with over 140 employees.

Who are your costumers? What is your target group?

Our target market is professional balloon artists and decorators. They can purchase Gemar balloons through national distributors, and in some areas smaller local distributors. We also work with balloon shops and party shops.

What is your favorite product of your shop offer?

We love our Shiny family range which extends from tiny shiny, a 5“ balloon, to giant shiny, a huge 31“ balloon. The range also includes hearts & modelling balloons! Gemar Shiny balloons have a unique soft glow and luminous sheen that everyone loves!

What role does sustainability play for you and your business?

It’s central! Since 2018 we have been audited every year by the international & independent organization GRI . Their most recent certified sustainability report highlighted 10 main ways that Gemar are working towards sustainability:

  • We are an Industry Leader
    Gemar is the first company in the balloon and party industry to produce a certified sustainability report. Not only that, we always seek to promote best practice through campaigns such as “don’t let go”.
  • Natural Products
    All our balloons are made from 100% biobased carbon. Natural latex is combined with organic pigments, no factory produced chemicals, to give a product that biodegrades at the same rate as an oak leaf.
  • Renewable and Recyclable
    Our balloon manufacturing process uses 93% renewable materials. All of our packaging is reusable, recyclable or FSC certified
  • FSC® certified balloon range
    We are developing a brand new line. The same top quality balloons but now certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) with a new range of Gemar balloons as 100% FSC®-certified (FSC™ C155424) and packaged with an FSC certified inlay.
  • Carbon Neutral
    We have not only reduced our carbon footprint, we have created a negative CO2 balance! From the rubber plantation to finished balloons leaving the factory, we save 29.09 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of balloons.
  • Gemar Family
    It is important to us that everyone involved with Gemar is treated well. That’s why 95% of our staff have a permanent contract, and all are able to work full time.
  • Community
    Gemar’s influence reaches far beyond our staff in Italy. In the rubber plantations we seek to help communities grow by always prioritising and hiring local residents. We also sponsor many cultural, sporting and entertainment events here in Italy.
  • Education
    Not only does Gemar offer financial support to the local school in Casalvieri, we also take a hands-on approach to education with our unique Balloonista channel. We take part in events such as G come Giocare which allow our balloon experts to inspire children, through practical classes and a lot of fun.
  • Code of Ethics
    Gemar is creating a Code of Ethics, and will ask everyone involved with the company to follow this code, from the furthest reaches of the supply chain to employees in Casalvieri. Gemar is also frequently audited by a third party body, following SMETA principles, and is a member of both the SEDEX collaborative platform for ethical businesses, European Balloon & Party Council and the UN Global Compact.
  • Tradition and Innovation
    We look back on four generations of balloon manufacturers with an unshakable passion and pride, but we are not stuck in the past. With a long tradition of innovation, we aim to lead the way into the future and in 2019 dedicated 5488 hours to research and development. We are very proud to be considered industry leaders in such an important area, and we know that you feel the same way. Keep an eye out for more “Go Green” blog posts over the next few months. Together we can lift the moment and protect the planet.

What is your vision for the future of the company? What are your next plans?

We have big ambitions to build a more sustainable future by making our business even greener. And of course we plan to bring you a range of products that meet the needs of all our customers around the world, while being even more creative.

What new products can we look forward to?

We can‘t say too much, but 2022 will be a year of stunning new colours.

Can you tell us more about your educational channel Balloonista?

We are passionate about balloon art and in 2018 we created the Balloonista program as a way to share that passion with the world. After all, everyone should be able to experience the creativity and fun of this unique art form. The balloonista library is filled with tutorials and we add more every month. Each one has a step-by-step video as well as a pdf to download. They are all available in 8 languages, soon to be 9 as we are currently working to add Hebrew versions.

Which balloon tutorial from Balloonista would you recommend for beginners?

The tutorials on this page are suitable for beginners and are particularly relevant to the coming season.

How has the pandemic impacted Gemar?

Gemar always works to “lift the moment“ and during the pandemic the world certainly needed a little extra joy. We leapt into action with live balloon art tutorials, social media challenges, virtual road trips and even a virtual balloon conference held on our own unique platform. We wanted to bring the magic of balloons to people‘s livingrooms and I think we succeeded.

Throughout that time we also had to manage our supply train, from plantations to finished balloons, and while production may have slowed slightly it never stopped. Now that the pandemic is easing demand for our products is higher than it has ever been before!

Magari Events

How long has the company Magari Events been in existence and what is its history?

We launched on 9/14/2020. We are one year old and I feel like décor has eternally been a part of my life. Far as long as I remember I’ve always considered every form of art home my happy place Over time designing and decorating parties, events, and milestone celebrations naturally became something I really enjoyed and discovered people like it!

How is your team comprised?

This is a one woman show at the time. We are still small but growing slowly!

Who are your costumers? What is your target group?

My customers are the ones who want to celebrate life in a simplistic yet very chic way! I would say small private events.

What is your favorite product of your shop offer?

Our balloon art. I love balloon styling and in love with the Magari way of getting it done!

What role does sustainability play for you and your business?

We strive to use sustainable and ethical products when curating items for events.

What is your vision for the future of the company? What are your next plans?

My plan at the moment is to invest in building/train the dream team. I can’t do it al alone, so I’m investing my energy in building the best team to service our clients.

What new products can we look forward to?

Working I’m with Alexa Anglin and been an absolutely wonderful! Her trust in my work is something I have never experienced before so it has been an amazing honorable and humbling experience!

The Creative Heart Studio

How long has the company The Creative Heart Studio been in existence and what is its history?

The Creative Heart Studio was established in 2017. After 10 years of being a kids event stylist, I opened the Creative Heart Studio with not much of a direction in mind. However, I knew it would be a way to do something creative and establish my next business. At first, it wash little bit of everything and over time has evolved into a content creation business.

Tell us about your balloon invention J! How did you come up with this unique installation idea?

Around early 2017, while trying to figure out the direction of the business, I was writing a blog post about Unicorn Party ideas. I created a styled shoot and wanted to incorporate something festive with balloons. I had just learned from Pinterest that I could hot glue balloons together, which sparked the whole idea. I figured I could draw a unicorn and make a shadow box structure and fill it with balloons! It was a very happy accident! The image went viral and I was flooded with emails and requests for a tutorial. My husband (and now business partner) suggested he could convert my drawing into a template to facilitate the process for the consumer, and Balloon Mosaic™️was born.

Who are your costumers? What is your target group?

We have such a wide range of customers. From balloon makers, DIYers, photographers, parents, and more! My target group is everyone! Everyone has something to celebrate and I want to help them achieve memorable moments.

What role does sustainability play for you and your business?

Sustainability is key in running a business. I’m most focused on always evolving and keeping up or setting a trend to help others achieve impactful DIYs for celebrations.

What is your vision for the future of the company? What are your next plans?

There’s so much to unload here! For the near future, however, lifestyle product development and live classes are in the works.

Tell us about one event that was really special for you and why?

My most special event would probably be a Beauty and the Beast inspired event I did when I was an event stylist. It was the event that pushed me the hardest and also allowed me to be the MOST creative. It was THE moment where I knew I could do more!!

You’ve been a contestant of “Making it” – how was that experience and what has come out of it for you? Would you take part in a competition show again?

The experience of Making It was like no other. I created friendships and pushed myself creatively like I’ve never done before. It also gave me the validation and confidence to believe in myself and get out of my comfort zone. I would definitely consider taking part in another competition show, but in another capacity. I’m thinking judge!