We had the good fortune of connecting with Seth & Theresa Harding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Seth & Theresa, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Seth: That’s a great question and it would be tough to narrow it down to just one thing… rather I think it’s a combination of 3 things. Persistence is key, I’ve seen many folks come into this industry and not have the long term vision to truly build a foundation upon which to grow their business. Often I see individuals thinking in terms of gig to gig, rather than what comes next, what seeds are you sowing today and relationships are being built that will ultimately flourish in the future. This applies to customers, families, other business, distributors and wholesalers… the whole gambit. Persistence in the face of adversity and in simply putting in the time to know your craft is a must. Second is personality. When I was originally learning balloons from my mentor, she told me something that sticks with me to this day… she said to focus on what you have got. In this case she was talking about someone who excelled in their balloon craft VS someone who simply had a great and gregarious personality. Ideally you have both, but often the scales are tipped… so that perhaps your craft is adequate, but your personality is magnetic or perhaps the balloons are astounding, but you are a bit of an introvert. I tend to believe that personality is paramount. Your personality is what keeps you in long lasting relationships with clients that continue to use your services year after year, not just your craft. And certainly your ability to bond with kids is key. I often refer to it as a “contagious enthusiasm”… it absolutely applies to our business and brand, but could apply to anything else as well. Lastly, being able to pivot is a MUST. What a year we have had!! The world for the foreseeable future has fundamentally changed post-Covid. Many of our events and gigs were based on a lot of person to person interaction. Obviously we had to pivot in a world that minimized human contact as much as possible in order to stay safe. During this time, we have pivoted heavily from balloon twisting and into balloon decor (Arches, Garlands, Columns, Bouquets, Deliveries etc). It’s been a life saver. The best part is, by the time everything fully opens back up – we will have another tool in our tool belt and we will be able to offer the customer even more services that we previously could. I think that will lead to a tremendous amount of success in the future for our company and our brand. Theresa and I couldn’t be more excited. Theresa: Seth, do you realize your three points all began with the letter P? Persistence, Personality and Pivoting? Oh and that was the longest answer ever LOL…
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Theresa: I believe that what sets us apart from others is that we have a genuine priority to make others smile. We continuously strive to make the process and experiences memorable for all parties involved whether it is providing Balloon Animals, Balloon Bouquet Deliveries, or building Décor. We treat each job as if they were our very own event. We are so honored to be a part of so many celebrations and have a peek of happiness and joy that is displayed at different events. Balloons may be our product, but our ultimate result is smiles…The thing I am most proud of is the brand that we have started and see how it has evolved over the years. It has been an amazing journey to discover, build, and continue to grow together as a couple, artists, and entrepreneurs. I am way excited to see how much more we learn and advance in the next decade! It has most certainly not been the easiest journey…but our persistence and faith in one another has been the core foundation for our success. Seth: What sets us apart? It’s something I eluded to it in his previous statement that we believe a large part of the customer’s experience is based on their experience with us as a company. Not only doing the best work that we can do in the creations we make and décor we provide, but also in the ease of process… from that first phone call to final event. Theresa: What about some of the challenges along the way? Seth: Very early in our business, probably from day one, we had in very quick succession some health issues, personal, financial and family issues… all of which made starting a business challenging. In hindsight though, that’s what made it that much more rewarding. Sometimes when folks ask us about Madcap’s origins, we focus on some of the challenges, but the single best thing to come out of that time was that I got to marry my spectacular wife! At the time we started Madcap Balloons, Theresa and I were still only engaged, and within a few months of opening up – we had our wedding!! Imagine trying to start a business and plan a wedding practically simultaneously! That’s something very special and something I’m so grateful for is that having the opportunity to be in business with your spouse, from pretty much day one, is very special. There’s a language and a short hand that you learn in regards to the business side of things, but also in how we communicate in regards to our relationship with one another. In many ways Madcap Balloons is an extension of our relationship.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Theresa: Well, I have to start with live entertainment, so we would plan trip to the either the Pantages Theater or Hollywood Bowl. Before we venture over, we would have to get some food! Trejos’s Tacos in Hollywood sounds pretty yummy! The next day, we can grab some coffee and other delicious food at Porto’s in Burbank. Then we can stroll down Magnolia Park and shop all the local vendors. It will take us all day to hit each unique shop. Then, I would pick up some fresh Pan Dulces from Los Angelitos Bakery and plan out our next adventure. Nothing quite says California more than the beach! We would make our way to Malibu and just enjoy the sun and waves. Seth is more of a foodie than I am… I’m sure he has some more suggestions. Seth: One of my favorite places to go to eat and just walk around in Downtown LA is Grand Central Station. I love the variety of foods and the people watching… and since my tastes run all over the place, there’s always something I’m in the mood for. There’s a ton options and variety. We can grab drinks, have breakfast or dinner… perhaps just a cup of coffee and desert. It’s such an experience! Theresa isn’t much into seafood, but when we get a chance to go to one of the beaches in Malibu, one my favorite places to stop is the Reel Inn just off the PCH. It has patio dinning, it’s very low key and informal… and the seafood is always super fresh. It’s a perfect end to a fun day at the beach! Theresa: Don’t forget Dinah’s!! Seth: How could I forget Dinah’s Chicken in Glendale!? Theresa: Their fried chicken is to DIE FOR! Family-owned business and you taste the love with every single bite. Highly recommend them! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Theresa: The first shoutout I would like to give is to Patty Rodriguez, Ryan Seacrest and the whole morning team at KIIS FM who featured our company on the radio last year a month before covid. Being able to briefly tell our story, we were able to reach a new audience who assisted us to stay in business despite a pandemic. We made a plethora of new balloon friends from around the world through a project called One Million Bubbles. This group of balloon professionals took their time and expertise to cheer up communities globally! Their collective designs featured themes of Hope, Joy, and Love. It’s been a tremendous support during covid and these artists have provided us with additional education, insight, and moral support. I am beyond grateful to have this new set of folks in our lives and would call them adopted family. Seth: Also a big thanks and shout out all the customers that reached out to us over the last year be it by phone or text or social media… just to check on us and our business. It was humbling to hear how many people were thinking of us during their own challenges during the pandemic and who kept us in their thoughts during this difficult time. Some ordered balloons for their celebrations whether it was a drive-by party, a family event, or a delivery to a special loved one… and others simply wanted to know that we were safe and still going strong. Both Theresa and I were truly touched by the outreach. Theresa: And last but not least, family. Seth: We wouldn’t be here without family! My parents always fostered an entrepreneurial spirit growing up, even as I chose a very different career path than what they chose for themselves. Their support has always been unwavering and I’m forever in their debt. And to the massive family I married into… Theresa’s family has been GREAT! When we first started out, they would promote us to their friends and extended family. Some of Theresa’s siblings have worked with us too and it’s so much fun being able to teach a new generation of potential balloon people. Theresa: Agreed!