Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Montreal-based creative Chrissy Sgourakis, whose custom balloon creations have been adding a touch of whimsy to events all over the city. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her career and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Well, I’m known as the ‘balloon girl of Montreal.’ I’m the founder and creative director behind The Haute Balloon – Montreal’s first luxury balloon brand and design service. Our signature oversize round balloons with handcrafted tassel tails and style direction bring balloon decor to a whole new level of design sophistication.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
As a lover of all things pretty, growing up in the fashion and event industry inspired me a lot. I knew early on that I wanted to be a part of this dynamic and crazy field. As an 18-year-old fashion marketing student looking for new and innovative ideas, I identified an emerging trend in balloon decor within the European marketplace that I had to try out here locally. The venture started off as a hobby with a few designs styled just for close friends. As the word got around, the numerous reactions were overwhelming and the requests started to pour in from event planners and business professionals all over the city!
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
The most memorable milestone in my career has definitely got to be the time we got exclusively selected to decorate Kylie Jenner’s 18th birthday bash at Beachclub Montreal. Haute Balloon decked out her party venue with over 100 custom balloons – it truly looked spectacular. Not to mention, Haute Balloon was spotted on the infamous reality show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and got featured during Kylie’s interview on etalk! All this action just three months into the business – I knew there and then that Haute Balloon was here to stay in the marketplace.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I see myself building the Haute Balloon brand with additional party products designed exclusively by moi. Haute Balloon will hit the market nationally, both online and through retail stores in the near future.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
You have an idea, a dream? Go for it, don’t settle and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t – opportunity is everywhere. Be creative, be unique and be you! Stay sweet, honest and true to yourself and focus on the end result. There may be lots of obstacles along the way and lots of distractions, especially when you’re young, but who cares! Don’t compare yourself to anyone or anything else – focus on your story.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Being in the event industry as a young entrepreneur, I was approached by many charities to decorate their events in this first year in business. In building a brand, I believe it is important to chase your dream but to give back to charities, especially those that are meaningful to you. Balloons and parties bring happiness and smiles to all – I know first hand as I see the reaction of my brother who has Cerebral Palsy. As I continue to grow the brand, both the Cerebral Palsy Association of Québec and the Children’s Make a Wish Foundation are charities that are close to my heart and to whom I would give whatever I could to put smiles on children’s faces.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge to date has to be the concept of multi-tasking. It’s not easy at the age of 19 to be a full-time student, build an empire and have a life! But I’m committed, passionate and driven with huge dreams.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, “notable” means something or someone that is or who is worthy of attention and recognition – someone who is interesting, unique and innovative.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
My all time fave place to wine and dine would be La Queue de Cheval Steakhouse & Angry Lobster Seafood Lounge located in the heart of downtown Montreal.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
My most visited website would hands down be Instagram. There’s just so much inspiration out there and this is the platform to see it all, one post at a time.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Haute Balloon and moi, as I have a huge vision for the future of the brand – follow my journey on Instagram: @hauteballoon.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Of course, Greece has to be my #1 fave country to visit for various reasons. Dining options are all on point. You’re also given the opportunity to relax from the craziness back at work and party endlessly – what’s better?
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Missing out on one of my bestie’s birthdays due to work overload has got to be my greatest fear. The biz is crazy and our events are very demanding in order to satisfy all clients.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Definitely, those late-night impulsive Internet purchases. Australian clothing designers really get me!
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success is when one has attained utmost satisfaction with their work completed over a period of time. Positive and ecstatic feedback by your audience(s) and clients seals the deal on making a mark! On another note, being able to equally balance work and play showcases ultimate success in my opinion – work hard and play harder right?