You’ve seen flower bouquets; you’ve seen balloon animals; now get ready for… balloon flower bouquets? Dylan Kwacz has spent his summer helping Torontonians feel extra special, one balloon flower at a time.
The 27-year-old taught himself how to make balloon art only three months ago, and now sells his creations through his Instagram business, Ballooms. The feedback Kwacz gets from his customers the most is that they feel like celebrities when they’re walking down the street with their balloon flowers in hand.
“You feel like a famous person holding these bouquets,” says Kwacz, “because people stop and stare and take pictures. They’re thinking, ‘What is this huge ass bouquet? Why do you have it? And where did you get it?’ That’s what sets them apart from your standard flower bouquet; they just have a little more (in-your-face) rizz…and as a bonus: they have a longer lifespan too.”
Kwacz, aka the balloon florist, has always been a creative person with a number of interests. He studied Fashion Communication at Toronto Metropolitan University and now works at TMU as the Acting Director of The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute, where he supports emerging fashion designers. On the side, he contributes to fashion publications like S/magazine and Sharp Magazine, and of course, ties balloons into unique floral creations.
“The past few years have been awful in the world,” says Kwacz, “and I wanted a way to reconnect with my creativity and also make something lighthearted.”
When he got the idea for Ballooms, he went to his boyfriend and asked him if it would be completely bonkers to create balloon bouquets. Obviously, he said yes, and that was exactly the answer Kwacz was looking for.
So he started watching Youtube videos until he had mastered the art of balloon floristry. At first he found it really difficult — balloons would explode loudly in his face.
“It actually helped me become a little more grounded,” Kwacz says, “and after a little patience and finesse I got used to it — things don’t explode as much.”
He started by bringing a balloon bouquet to his friend’s birthday and they loved it so much, he decided to turn his side hustle into a small business. It’s been an uphill journey ever since.
Kwacz’s summer consisted of a steady stream of orders for balloon flower bouquets, purchased as spontaneous gifts, birthday presents as well as decor for a wedding picnic, a bat mitzvah, and even the patio opening for Sunnys Chinese restaurant.
One bouquet, which consists of 15 balloon flower stems, goes for $50. Or you can buy an individual balloon flower for $6. To give you an idea of the effort involved, Kwacz says that when he first started, it took him about an hour and a half to finish one bouquet. Now he’s got it down to about forty minutes. And no, he doesn’t have any help. He does have calluses though, which he never expected would happen.
The largest order Ballooms has supplied so far has been seven bouquets (105 individual balloon flowers) and Kwacz is only getting started. His dream, “because it would be absolutely bonkers,” is to provide balloon bouquets for an entire wedding reception. “It’s definitely an acquired taste and has to be the right bride who’s willing to go the playful route,” he says, “but I think that person’s out there.”
Right now, Ballooms’ menu consists of mixed flowers, tulips, and daisies (which have been the bestseller so far) but Kwacz plans to roll out themed options, like sunflowers for fall and roses for Valentine’s Day.
“The more I introduce and the more flowers I combine, [it’s clear that] the options are limitless,” he says. The best part is that unlike real life flowers, balloons aren’t limited to a growing season. And as a gift, they stay true to original form weeks after fresh flowers have died.
Kwacz’s bouquets are made of Qualatex balloons, made from biodegradable latex (which is made from the sap of rubber trees), so you can also trust that your balloon bouquets aren’t worse for the environment.
“For now it’s a side hustle,” says Kwacz, “but I’m hoping that this could grow into something a little bit larger.” All orders are accepted through the Ballooms Instagram, and though he presently asks customers to pick up their orders from his home, he’s working on an economical solution for delivery options. At the end of the day, it’s all about sharing some love.