It began with a birthday gift. Jihan of Geronimo Balloon-Troopers had always been a crafty gal, working on little side projects in her basement while living in Seattle, so naturally she wanted to present her friend with something sweet and handmade.
She ordered a balloon online, and after being filled with helium it hung sadly in her living room. For a balloon, it was huge—a three foot wide orb. “It needed more depth,” Jihan said, so she got to work to spice it up.
“Frill” is what she calls the added spice, a mixture of handcut paper, fine ribbon and metallic fringe. She arrived at the restaurant for her friend’s party and everyone was in awe of the balloon! It was a slightly offbeat alternative to a bouquet of flowers, and a much more thoughtful version of the mylar type you’d purchase at a grocery store. Plus, it automatically became party decor.
While out at another restaurant with a balloon not too long after, a woman approach Jihan. “She handed me a wad of cash and said to come to her husband’s birthday party,” Jihan told us.
Although off to a rocky start (she only had two days to get her supplies and create the balloons, and didn’t have a portable helium tank so took numerous trips to transport the balloons by car), the party allowed her to think of balloon-making as a business.
Now, splitting time between her Arts District and home studio spaces, Jihan fills numerous custom orders each day. It’s about more than just parties and celebrations; Jihan wants people to see how they can actually live with balloons. In her apartment alone, we spotted one hanging in her sitting room, another two in the kitchen and frill alone dangling from trees outside—no real celebration necessary.
And luckily for us, that meant Jihan was able to craft a Warby Parker colored balloon for us, just because! “Because it’s Thursday, happy Thursday!” she said to a passerby as she left her home with the balloon in hand.
She delivered it right to the bus in Venice where it was tied to our rearview mirror before becoming part of the decor at our launch party.
Photos by Collin Hughes