We’ve eaten a lot of things in our time, however, a balloon isn’t one of them. I wasn’t even aware this was possible until Charlie and Grace got in touch to let me know about their intriguing business concept. We were keen to find out more about their edible balloon business, here’s what we found out:
Who you are and where you’re from?
Hi there! Our names are Charlie Course and Grace Cowley, and together we created Bisous Balloons. I graduated from Guelph University in Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a specialization in Tourism Management this past spring, and Grace graduated from West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Musical Theatre. A little over a month ago, we left Canada to pursue business opportunities in the U.K, in search of possibility and adventure.
When did you start Bisous Balloons and how should we pronounce the name?
Bisous Balloons started roughly 6 months ago, however back then we didn’t even have a name. Bisous (pronounced Bee-zoo) is the French word for “kisses.” After vacationing in France this summer, we left inspired to use the word for our business.
How did you get the idea for Bisous Balloons?
Bisous Balloons was inspired by Canadian chef John Placko. Both Grace and I have had a desire to run a business in the events and entertainment industry, and edible balloons turned out to fit perfectly in that world.
How on earth do you eat a balloon?
The balloons don’t have anything in them that a regular balloon does – don’t worry, no polymers! The balloon is presented on a chocolate stick, candy cane, pretzel rod or other various edible items. You put your lips up to the balloon (it won’t pop in your face!) and it begins to dissolve slowly and eventually the balloon is left in a form similar to candy floss that you can then eat right off the candy stick.
Do the balloons look and feel like normal balloons?
They look like helium balloons in that they float and are a rounded shape, but the texture is slightly sticky and much softer than a regular balloon. We can add colours to the balloons, however, they are not totally opaque. Without any colouring, the balloons are fairly transparent and glossy.
What is an edible balloon made of?
The balloons are mainly comprised of everyone’s favourite ingredient-sugar! Rest assured that everything in them is 100% edible.
How long can the balloons stay inflated?
This completely depends on the environment in which we are making them. Temperature, humidity, etc all can have an effect. In general, the balloons last roughly 10 minutes-that is, if they don’t get eaten before then.
What flavours do you make?
The sky’s the limit in terms of flavour creativity. Our most popular flavours include strawberry, raspberry, pumpkin spice, tequila, Irish Cream, and cappuccino.
I could see the balloons going down a treat at weddings, how does it work if somebody wants edible balloons at their event e.g. who inflates them?
When someone hires Bisous Balloons for a wedding reception, birthday party, corporate event, etc two trained staff members come to inflate and distribute the balloons. Similar to a pop-up photo booth at a reception, guests can come up to the Bisous Balloon booth throughout the night and the balloons are created right there on the spot and handed out. We can also serve the balloons as the cherry-on-top so to speak for a dessert. For example, a mint flavoured balloon on a chocolate stick pairs nicely with a bowl of ice cream or piece of wedding cake.
Is there a minimum order for the balloons?
For a wedding reception or other large event, we charge by the head, with a minimum of 75 guests. For a smaller private event such as a birthday or hen party, the charge is hourly, with no minimum order.
What’s been the greatest challenge in setting up your business?
The amount of red tape that we have gone through regarding the administrative set-up of the business has definitely proved challenging. Just getting a bank account in the UK became a far more complicated and lengthy process than we had anticipated. Additionally, not having immediate access to many of the products we used in Canada created an interesting obstacle to get through in the early stages. For example, pretzel rods are a favourite way to distribute the balloons that we could buy at any local grocery store. In the U.K. however, they do not seem to be such a popular commodity. Finally, getting the word out about who we are, and especially getting people to understand that our balloons are a speciality dessert, not a regular decorative balloon. We feel confident though that once people get a taste for how much fun these balloons are, the word should travel fast!
Where can we find out more about Bisous Balloons