What a Year! I must admit the year had unexpected changes, it was rewarding and I experienced unbelievable memories. Little me, Jacqueline Smith from Selma, Alabama, relocated with my parents here in Detroit, where I was introduced to those colorful latex balloons at the age of five. Now, I’m an international balloon artist.

As previously mentioned, My captivation of balloons started as a child. Those gigantic polka dot balloons on a stick, or five foot elongated striped yellow latex balloons with those multiple squiggly colorful lines always caught my big brown eyes which expanded and got brighter from excitement. Especially, when balloons were involved. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the balloons being five feet, but when you five everything seems bigger.

The entrepreneurship bug hit me hard after returning to ballooning. My zealousness and ambitiousness accelerated my desire to change this hobby into a career. I prayed to God to provide a pathway and open the door to my dreams. I prayed that when, or if it was meant, I would know without a doubt this is God’s directive and not just me hoping. So in 2019, I began praying for a way to retire to aim for this dream. Literally crickets! Then on top of silence from God, the pandemic hit, definitely not the right time. Therefore, I kept working full-time and worked balloons into my schedule as it presented itself.

Well, fast-forward to September, 2023! My nutrition career doors of 37 years closed. I can’t lied, I had mixed emotion of excitement and being scared of the unknown. I doubted my ability for success but I told myself that God had not brought me this far to leave me. Along with hard work, keeping the faith, and reading my favorite scriptures: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” and Luke 1:47 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” I prevail and keep pushing even when by sight things seem dimmed despite laboring hard. Then doors open that has left me amazed. My professional ballooning has elevated to levels unimaginable.

2023 Reflection

I had the privilege of being hired to decorate for the Vice President, Kamala Harris’ holding area at Southfield High School prior to her speech. Although the project did not go ahead due to security concerns, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will always cherish.

I created some eye-popping balloon décor for none other than Ronald Isley, one of legendary members of the R&B group the Isley Brothers, during his visit to the Meijer Rivertown Market in Detroit. He was here promoting his latest spirit line, “Liquid Gold,” and I was lucky enough to be part of the fun!

I was chosen twice to be among other professional balloon artist to build balloon towns constructed from over 125,000 biodegradable balloons in both Lake Geneva and Guildford, U.K. for the Big Balloon Build, producer Stuart Davies from Whales. We worked about 32 hours in total for four consecutive days that raised monies for local charity organizations. Despite all the hard work, there was only joy at the end as we walked through the venue witnessing the transformation from the hands of over 80 balloonist using their artistry to raise thousands of dollars for 501C organizations which are making a difference in this world.