Have you seen pictures all over the internet of these giant balloons with beautiful magic fringe hanging off them? Geronimo! Balloon Company was started earlier this year and sells balloon kits from their website in addition to a “Balloon Trooper” coming in person to deliver the balloons for special events or birthdays in the Los Angeles area. Geronimo! will also provide the whole decor for your upcoming fete with balloon installations! The woman behind the gorgeous balloons is Jihan Zencirli. We tracked Jihan down last week to get the back story about Geronimo! Balloons.
RS: How did you become a “Certified Balloonatic and Master Balloon-Trooper ?”
JZ: A year ago, in a pinch for a birthday surprise for a friend I was meeting for dinner, I reached into my stash of random internet finds and came out with a 36″ round balloon. I ran to have it filled with helium at a party store– not realizing the enormity of the balloon and quite overwhelmed with this big mass! When I arrived back home, I thought it just looked lost and sad on curling ribbon so I whipped together all my favorite ribbon and made a long dramatic tassel of orange and purple. I arrived a few minutes early to the restaurant and I’ll tell you– every single person turned to look at me as I wrangled the balloon through the door. There was dead silence. After a few seconds, a man from across the room yelled, “Now that’s a balloon!” and started to clap, with the entire restaurant laughing and clapping with him. It was a really magical night- and in addition to my friend feeling very special, the mood and tone of the evening was very joyful and happy. People smiled big as we left- and I certainly don’t recall a more lovely evening with smiles and more social interaction between tables. After this electrifying social interaction, I decided to bring balloons to all my dinner dates, celebrations, gallery openings,etc. After a month of perfecting my balloons to hold more frill, and expanding my balloon colors, I was asked more times than I can count “Where did you find this balloon?”. After explaining that I made them myself, people started requesting to order balloons for their own parties and events. I would come home from my day job as a creative marketing director and go straight to my basement to make balloons all evening. After moving to LA in late April and falling into a perfect studio space, I’ve been lucky to be able to devote myself full-time as Master Balloon Trooper for Geronimo!
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RS: What’s the craziest story you have of delivering a Geronimo Balloon?
JZ: I feel fortunate to be involved with really creative and fabulous people and the amazing parties they throw– but sometimes there are requests I accept without thinking through. I never say “no” and I always love a new challenge! On a recent installation for a grove of gorgeous white and gold balloons, I agreed to put the balloons in the pool. It was an especially windy day and simply dropping the balloons in the pool with weights wasn’t keeping them in place. My only option was to walk into the pool– fully clothed, in yellow patent leather heels to attach to a more secure weight at the bottom of the pool. I walked out out of the pool (completely wet) like it was “just another day at work”, with the catering staff standing still and staring at me in disbelief. Every project people involve me with is exciting, but I do enjoy the more obscure– like a woman wanting to lift her newborn with my balloons for a photo shoot. (Which we accomplished with some creativity. Don’t worry the baby was absolutely safe!) Soon, I’m I’m working on a music video with aliens and I expect to have some interesting stories after that!
RS: What’s your favorite color of balloon?
JZ: Truth be told– although I really love every color for different occasions and reasons, my favorite color of balloon is black. I think they are just soo dramatic and gorgeous– and perhaps a little surprising for most formal events. I want to do a wedding with all black balloons, but I need to find a special bride to catch my vision on this. My first experimenting with balloons was with a clear balloon which I coated the interior with silver glitter. Illuminated with lights from within, it looks very “magic crystal ball” and I’ve always imagined a beautiful dinner party with these as the light source instead of string lights and candles which are my normal standby for parties.
RS: Do you have any favorite party tips?
JZ: Costumes! (Not to be confused with LARPing ;) I’ve always liked a costume element to a party, which can be simple and subtle, without the stress of months of preparation for over the top clever Halloween garb. Just don’t allow it to take over your entire night. I personally like an excuse to wear my opera wig, or don my Lil Edie (Grey Gardens) cape, so I have thrown many parties where the last line on the invitation says, “Oh, and please dress like your favorite aunt in the 1950s”, hoping that others will have fun putting on silly glasses and wearing red lipstick. For a simple 50s costume night, I don’t feel the need to do much more than play some Les Baxter and maybe make a jello creation as a joke. You while you can certainly make it a full theme night, I feel like that might be more work and less time to just enjoy the people sitting around your table, displaying a little creativity with their “80s Swatch (watch) collection night”. I’m embarrassed to admit how many “all white dinner parties” I’ve thrown, the earliest being for my 17th birthday party, and for a Martha Stewart “Good Things” Party, all my guests wearing pastel collared shirts and pearls with aprons. The fun of party costuming is that you shouldn’t ever have to purchase an item. Everyone has something silly in their house hanging around in the garage sale and donations pile, and I always feel that you get the best outcome when you have less to choose from.
So dress up. Be silly. Let your guests bond with each other over “pocket protector, high-water pants and dickey night”. It makes for really great Facebook photos, trust me.
Thanks Jihan for the wonderful interview! I love the idea of keeping a few of these on hand for when its someone’s birthday. A much more interesting present than flowers! See the Geronimo! Balloon Company website for more pictures and details.
photo credits: Hak Lohn