Ken Shute is a semi-retired hobby entrepreneur who is currently based on the big island in Hawaii. He has been part of the balloon entertainment industry for 15 years; but, now that he has moved his business from California to Hawaii, he exclusively focuses on designing, sewing, and customizing specialty gear used by balloon artists around the world. In this interview, we talk about how the Covid-19 pandemic has “grounded” many of his entertainer colleagues which has, in turn, affected the demand for Ken’s products. During his busy times prior to the shutdown, Ken was often in his spare-bedroom workshop, putting 60 to 80 hours a week into creating and shipping his balloon aprons, bags, and other gear. However, he’s had a lot more down time recently and has changed his focus toward raising chickens and adding even more tropical plants to his one-acre Hawaiian farm in paradise.
In the past, Ken worked on some large scale and high-profile projects at places such as Universal Studios Hollywood and was able to connect with some big names in the balloon world over the years. We talk about how a lot of those in the “business of fun” are generally good at collaborating and are currently engaging in more virtual balloon jams in order to continue to practice their skills and discuss business strategies. During the pandemic, many are temporarily switching gears from parties and festivals to work-from-home alternatives such as lawn decor and deliveries or focusing more on developing and learning new designs in order to retain their skills during this slow season. Ken has been invited to speak with entertainers at conventions, and he currently runs a Facebook group specifically for those in the balloon industry who are working on their business and marketing strategies.
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Ken Shute of Air Born Creations, can be found in the following ways:
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