At the impressionable age of 7, little Katie Laibstain received a balloon twisting kit for her birthday. She took to balloons like a duck to water -- Katie even made some balloon ducks, as well as the requisite dogs and giraffes. But after running out of balloons, Katie forgot her new hobby and flitted off to other creative pursuits. It would be 15 years before she twisted another balloon, but throughout her childhood and adolescence Katie continued to sculpt with more traditional mediums. Katie had no idea that the brief balloon encounter of her youth would be the beginning of her life's work.
"I have been working in the balloon industry since 2007 when I was 22. At that time in my life, I was determined that 100% of my income be earned through entertainment. Simply put, if the gig paid a good wage and allowed me to engage peoples’ emotions, I aggressively pursued it. Dinner theater, historical reenactments, character team building, educational theater, and basic balloon twisting paid my bills. I had been making super basic balloons at restaurants once a week for a few months working for Richmond, VA Balloon Artist Mike Klee when he coerced me to attend a balloon convention called “Twist & Shout.” In order to take part in the convention I had to resign from one of my acting jobs, but Mike promised it would be worth it! I’ll never forget the moments of clarity I experienced when I walked in the lobby of the "Twist & Shout" convention. I had never seen large scale balloons sculptures and decor. No one told me that balloons had the potential to be so beautiful! It became clear in those first few minutes that professional ballooning was my calling--it combined my three greatest strengths: small business skills, visual artistry, and entertainment. My inspiration was ignited, and I knew ballooning would be an industry in which I would rapidly advance. I actually said to myself, “In 5 years or less, I shall conquer this business.” I put on my cutest skirt, my most charming attitude, and went to work.
Katie works full time as Katie Balloons and couldn't be happier. Thanks to balloons Katie has enjoyed TV stardom, world travel, great friendships, artistic expression, and the ability to contribute something special to humanity. Her gratefulness is apparent and recycled into her client relationships.