Jme and Moi Andrade, the L.A.-based founders of the party design company Balloon and Paper, have been floating pretty high lately. Some celebrity social media love they received for their out-of-this-world balloon installments continues to give them an opportunity to leave their day jobs behind to start a business as full-time party planning entrepreneurs.
“In 2011, Moi and I were barely making ends meet,” Jme told LAMag about the origins of the celebrity-loved company. “Moi was at UCLA and I was making minimum wage with a seven-month-old at home. I realized I was wasting time and undervalued at my job, so with Moi’s support, I gave myself three months to put 100 percent towards starting a business”
Jme says that she found herself inspired while flipping through a magazine and seeing a woman holding beautiful, giant balloons. She was immediately struck with visions of incredible balloon-filled displays.
“I wanted to start with balloons, but create opportunity for more, and the common ingredient in great party design was paper, so that’s when Balloon and Paper was born,” she adds.
The couple started the company by selling creative twists on the classic piñata. It was when they turned the classic donkey piñata into a unicorn and their creation went viral that stars like Jessica Biel, Martha Stewart, and Too Faced owner Jerrod Blandino, started to give the company its first taste of celebrity love. Little did the Andrades know, that a few years later in 2019, the E! Network would enlist their company to create a balloon installation for an event with the Kardashian family that would change their lives forever.
“Moi and I almost gave up three months before we did the Kardashian event, but we made a promise to each other that we would give Balloon and Paper our 100 percent for six more months, and if we still struggled financially, we would reconsider a new career path,” Jme said. “Well, the career-launching opportunity came and our company continues to thrive.”
The event in question was Malika Haqq’s baby shower and Khloé Kardashian surprised her with the Andrades’ unique displays.
“No one was using brown shades of balloons [at the time] and people hadn’t seen balloon installs like ours—so the rest is history,” Jme adds. “We went from 5000 to over 50,000 Instagram followers in one hour and the messages didn’t stop coming. Years of blood sweat and tears finally paid off. The door was finally open for us, and we ran in and propped it open for the rest of the visionaries who dreamed of starting a business.”
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Since that event, Balloon and Paper has created stunning displays for megastars like Doja Cat, The Schwarzeneggers, Drake, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, The Jonas Brothers, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox, and Jennifer Lopez, among others. But when the Andrade’s were on a career-high, the global COVID-19 pandemic emerged and restrictions shut down parties and events in Los Angeles; however, this just forced the couple to get creative in new ways to expand their business.
“We were very scared at first because we couldn’t go back to struggling financially again,” Jme said. “So Moi and I came up with a plan that we would do contactless balloon deliveries and birthday drive-bys. Because of these ideas and our efforts, we never stopped working, and we even ended up bonding with more clients and making some friendships because of that.”
One of those clients was Jessica Simpson, who created the space for Jme to make a dream-worthy balloon installment vision come to life at the singer’s three-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
“I’ve been dreaming about creating a balloon rainbow tunnel for months and when I got the call that her daughter wanted a Barbie theme birthday party, I asked for permission to create my idea of a rainbow tunnel. I wanted it to come to life before the idea in my head faded away, so I was very happy and lucky that they agreed to my design and it turned out to be more beautiful than I imagined,” Jme said.
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Balloon and Paper currently offer exclusive, complimentary styling of one-of-a-kind designs for any event in Los Angeles. They have a white glove, same-day delivery, and advisors who can suggest the perfect option for gift-giving as well. The company is dedicated to eco-friendly practices and uses latex balloons made of 100 percent biodegradable natural material.
“Los Angeles is what we know, it has opened its arms to us and embraced us. Los Angeles is the place where people come from all around the world to chase their dreams,” Jme said of why they cater to this market. “Our parents both came from El Salvador after the war and wanted a better life for their children. They could have chosen anywhere to settle down in the United States but they chose Los Angeles.”
Now, the Andrade’s are watching as their company only continues to grow.
“We both love creating and making memories for us, and everyone else, so we are starting to expand our business with the most natural extension of what we do—full-service event planning, which Moi has taken the lead on,” Jme said. “In our first few months, we’ve seen some very positive results and we are excited for the many great opportunities to come.”
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