STATEN ISLAND, NY — Growing up at Park Hill Apartments in Clifton was tough for Francesca Navarro. But it became even more difficult when her father, superintendent of the public housing estate, died when she was just 13 years old.
“Because my father was the building superintendent, we were allowed to live in Park Hill for free. He had to be there in case of an emergency. My home was a sanctuary, but growing up in the area was difficult,” said the current owner of West Brighton.
But life changed dramatically for Navarro when the breadwinner passed away.
“I started working when I was 14. There was a time when I had this restless mentality. And for me, at that time, it wasn’t about following a dream. It was all about going out,’ she said, noting that she became interested in the party business, working for several years at the former Bubbles Playhouse, based in Grasmere, a popular party venue for children.
The ticket out of social housing began with Navarro enrolling in college.
“I was able to leave this environment to become an owner, but I know that I want more for my children. As I started to learn more about financial literacy and what an inheritance looks like, it pushed me to own my own business,” said Navarro, of her family, which consists of her husband, Felix Reyes and her children, Amaya, 3, and Lucas Reyes, 5.
“After graduating from the College of Staten Island, I started my career in retail management. In 2017, while working as a human resources manager, I took my first steps into the world of retail. balloon when I created two columns to create a festive environment for an in-store event – and they were a hit,” she added.
But it wasn’t until the pandemic shut down the world that Navarro took the time to develop her balloon decorating skills, which she first learned at Bubbles Playhouse.
“In April of this year, I decided to take a leap of faith in entrepreneurship, and I’m fortunate to say that with each passing day, we are growing and thriving,” she said. about his business, Balloon N’ Color.
CREATE A UNIQUE DECOR
His large, colorful and elaborate balloon backdrops stem from the visions of his clients and the unique themes they offer.
“When a customer isn’t too sure what they want, I take inspiration from the balloon communities I follow on Instagram and Facebook. As I continued to learn and grow, I was able to embrace my own style and design aesthetic, which is what you see today in the work that I do,” Navarro said.
And she creates balloon decorations for a whole range of events, from grand store openings to baby showers.
“I created decorative balloons for private and corporate events. Whether it’s celebrating a Dunkin Donuts grand opening or a new office celebration in town, Sweet Sixteen, baby showers, bachelorette parties, engagement parties and so much more. Big or small, I probably have something a customer can order to make their day memorable,” Navarro said.
And each piece of balloon can be delivered to customers.
“While I have take-out options for clients looking for low-budget decor, all of my backdrop setups are delivered and installed by me. We also arrive after your event to pick you up, which makes the much easier overall process for the customer. It really is a stress-free service,” Navarro said.
PASSION AND MOVEMENT
Already enjoying great success through word of mouth referrals, Navarro says she is driven by passion.
“I am an extremely passionate and creative person who enjoys providing excellent customer service. I really take on projects and execute them as if I were celebrating my own event. An event of any size is an investment in your happiness,” she said.
Going forward, Navarro said she hopes to add more components to the business, including balloon styling, balloon structures, rental add-ons, centerpieces, and balloon gifts.
“I would like to continue to expand my rental options to keep up to date with design trends, as well as provide full event style. Stay tuned as I continue to expand my services,” she said.
BALL AND COLOR AT A GLANCE
New Businesses in Focus is a weekly column that chronicles the stories of new Staten Island business owners.
If you have a new business in Staten Island, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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