Strat Chat | Abbott Road Designs
A wise person once said, you are the company you keep. At Strat House, we believe you are the companies you keep.
As a newly-formed agency, we love nothing more than connecting with other businesses born during the pandemic. It's truly inspiring to witness the strategies, services and products that have emerged as a result. As such, we're devoting our next few Strat Chats to fellow professionals who dared to dream big whilst masked.
Today, we sat down with Jillian Reyes & Shannon Sardone, Co-Creators of Abbott Road Designs.
Road To Ready
What is Abbott Road?
Abbott Road Designs began with us wanting to help neighbors and friends celebrate their loved ones during this difficult time. It wasn’t long until word spread and people from other towns were looking to do something as well. It was at that point we decided to make it official and provide our balloon designs to anyone interested. Since then, we’ve done our absolute best to accommodate all those looking to celebrate.
Why did you decide to start your own company?
We decided to make it official as soon as we realized there was a true demand for what we were doing. We attribute our initial success to the unfortunate public health crisis as many people’s celebrations were forced to cancel. Most people didn’t know how to celebrate and over the top balloons were a great way to create some excitement during an oppressive time.
How did you know you were ready for such a move?
The truth is we didn’t! But we knew we wanted to help people celebrate their special moments without risking their personal health! We’ve learned a lot since we started, and we strive weekly to improve in all aspects of owning and running a business. It’s a real learn as you go situation.
For us balloons were an obvious choice to help people celebrate. They create a fantastic impact and there’s a lot that can be done in terms of shape and theme. The creative license is really enjoyable as well, to make an idea come to life is very satisfying.
What’s the significance of your name? And how do you define your brand?
Abbott Road is the street we group up on in Wayne, a town in Northern New Jersey. This whole endeavor was one based on family. We’re sisters for starters, but moreover our love of design and quite frankly, parties, was instilled in us from a very young age. Our mother put a lot of emphasis on hosting holiday parties and decking the house out. Birthdays in particular were always a big deal as well, what she could do with some streamers and balloons would impress anyone. We wanted to name the business after something that reflected those memories, and it all took place on Abbott Road.
Have you adapted or grown your services since launch?
Our services remain generally balloon focused, but we’ve worked hard to provide new and unique installs and themes to anyone interested. We are also just about prepared to launch our first website!
Which opportunities excite you the most?
They’re all special in their own way. Although the ones where we’re given some flexibility in terms of theme and design are probably the most exciting to do, but in that same vein also the most stressful. The creative freedom is fantastic, but in turn we always want it to meet expectations.
Do you have an all time favorite install that you’ve done?
We’re certainly proud of everything we’ve done and always make sure to go above and beyond. That being said, it typically feels like the last one we’ve done it always our favorite because it’s the freshest. For instance, most recently we did a Winter ONEderland theme for a first birthday that we feel came together beautifully. The really unique ones, like balloons across the ceiling, are super fun to create and look at.
Gallery | Creations by Abbot Road Designs
Delivering That Pop
Where do you draw inspiration from?
We have always looked to our peers for inspiration and guidance. There are a lot of wonderful businesses doing gorgeous work and we’re grateful for their transparency. Accordingly, we offer any and all guidance to those looking for it. The themes we’re given are also a big source of inspiration – the theme points us in a direction, and we love to build off those ideas.
Over the past year, how have consumer tastes evolved?
It’s tough to remark on consumer tastes as we’re still in the first year of business but there are certainly trends coming to light. It’s typically the bigger the better in terms of type of install. Then, kids in particular fuel a lot of our business and themes – so the big toy, show or video game will always be popular and likely change with the times. For that reason we ensure to have certain themed balloons on hand as we expect they will come up.
What challenges have you endured?
Initially, we worked hard to figure out scheduling as we are a two-man band and both balancing personal and other work with this business. Then recently the balloon manufacturing business has experienced long delays on balloon production and delivery due to COVID-19. This has forced us to rework some of our offerings and themes. If a specific color or style of balloons is backordered, we do our best to provide clients with suitable alternatives.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about balloon décor?
People often underestimate how much time goes into it. Between communicating the designs with our customers, ordering inventory, prepping the installs and setting up it can turn into a bit of a scheduling nightmare. It is certainly a labor of love though.
Up, Up & Away
How do you define success for Abbott Road - and yourself?
We feel the most successful when we receive repeat customers. We love to see people come back who’ve enjoyed our work in the past. This began as a way to help people celebrate their loved ones during a difficult time and that’s how we measure our success. Do our clients love their designs? Do their loved ones feel special? If the answer to those questions is “Yes” than we’ve been successful, and we will continue to accommodate all those looking to provide those feelings for others.
What guidance can you offer other entrepreneurs looking to start a company right now?
Follow your heart, folks! Do the job, create the business, because you enjoy it and you’re passionate about it. The money doesn’t typically arrive in buckets, especially when you’re first starting out, so be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
2021 is almost here! What’s next for Abbott Road?
More balloons! We’re hopeful that this health crisis will resolve itself soon and more and more people will be able to celebrate their loved ones. We can only hope for a healthy future where we can continue to celebrate each other. We’ll be here - ready to bring the fun!
And after that?
We can’t predict the future, but we do know we enjoy every aspect of planning a party. We suspect once the pandemic is resolved we might dip into the event design/planning aspect of the business. But we don’t expect to shy away from our balloons roots, it’s too fun!
Follow Abbott Road Designs on Instagram @abbottroaddesigns. To connect, reach out at AbbottRoadDesigns@gmail.com
Strat House is an experience company. We specialize in strategy, design and content, delivering b2b results that change, engage and enrage (when necessary).
Strat Chat is our weekly Q&A series with marketing & event professionals. We discuss business and pleasure with the industry's best - plus get a little personal.