Walking out of my managers office on a Tuesday afternoon in August 2022 I could not stop thinking about how i’d got to that moment, having just handed in my notice to a job I swore I would always do in some capacity even if I won the lottery.
I’ve been asked this so many times (by people who I think, thought I had lost my mind a little), how did I go from training GP’s about domestic abuse to running a balloon decor business.
For the last 10 years my life has revolved around supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse, and having worked in various roles at various Women’s Aid organisations, I never believed I would do anything other than this work. I am incredibly passionate about it, it's a huge part of who I am.
It all begins not too long ago in 2020.
I was due to return to work at the end of my maternity leave, the world was in chaos with the first wave of Covid 19 restrictions, our wedding had been postponed, and my little boy was about to turn One.
I threw myself into planning his birthday, even though no-one would be able to attend and repurposed our garden shed into a play space for him, like many mums I ordered lots of balloons from amazon to decorate it and was insanely proud of myself.
I went back to work, from home, which was new. It was bittersweet, I was so happy to get back that part of me that had something to talk about other than weaning, walking and nappies and to finally speak to my colleagues and have adult conversations again, but that wasn’t the case. It was such a strange time; the women I was supporting needed help more than ever as violence had escalated with the isolation of the lockdown, their stories became harder to hear, and the support of my colleagues was harder to come across as we were all working remotely, and to add to this I was listening to everything within my home, and had to just snap back to being a mum when I was finished.
I found this incredibly difficult and I needed an escape, I could no longer imagine doing this job forever, and hearing such awful stories every day. I needed to hear happy things and believe there was good and happiness in the world.
I threw myself into planning my wedding, of course there would need to be balloons now that I’m such a pro! I got a little carried away with my ideas, and of course, I was going to do it all myself because that’s what I always do.
Then came the day that should have been my friends hen party- she too had to postpone. We threw a small party in the back garden. I of course, offered to do the balloon arch, everyone was impressed and I was so proud of my new skill.
A few months later my sister in law talked casually about hiring out soft play and I jumped on it, I could do the balloons, we could do it together. Then before anyone knew what was going on I had become obsessed with the idea, I began to test out my new skills on my friends and family, started an instagram account and all of a sudden my house was being overrun with new props/ frames, more balloons. I spent every minute escaping to my spare room to practice, try new things and learn. I inhaled every piece of information about balloons on the internet, and decided I was going to do this, I was going to surround myself with people planning happy moments and I was going to create beautiful displays that would transform their events.
2 years on and I’m walking out of my managers office, notice handed in, living my little dream, Pretty Fly Co. is well known for decorating corporate events, weddings, and of course lots of beautiful first birthdays across Coventry & Warwickshire.