Welcome to episode 45! In this podcast Ashley and Meagan sit down with Nancy Mantei of Nancy Mantei Events. She has planned parties for GoDaddy, Kendra Scott, and families all over the valley. She is known for bringing the biggest and best balloon arrangements to the valley.
Nancy is originally from Mexico and has been in the states for 16 years. She met her husband when he was on vacation in Cabo. Now they have three children who brag about their mom and the extravagant parties she throws for them. She has been in the event planning business for a year and a half now.
She started by going above and beyond with her own children’s birthday parties. Her friends were impressed by the parties she pulled off all by herself and they encouraged her to make a business out of what she thought was just a hobby. She saw this new business venture as a way “to get out of the house” and do something for herself, so why not!
Her daughter’s third birthday was her big debut where she would prove what she was really made of. She had professional photos taken of her “three-nager’s” Barbie-themed birthday and started posting on Pinterest.
People often find her balloon arrangements on Instagram and find out later all the other aspects of event design and planning she is capable of. Nancy and her team are currently working on getting together a website to really showcase her talents.
At this point, she is convinced she’s seen everything there is to see on Pinterest and is focusing on dreaming up her own designs. She first saw balloon arrangements on Pinterest and practically begged her first client to let her try them out. She faked it until she made it and watched tutorials on “YouTube University” to teach herself. Her first balloon arrangement took her about four hours, but now she can typically put one together in under an hour.
She first takes a picture of the spot where the balloon arrangement is going to be set up and will roughly sketch ideas to show her clients. She doesn’t overthink, “I work where the balloons want to go.” Party City is her balloon go-to, but she does have to search the internet from time to time to find extra special balloons. Something she has learned along the way is to make sure to give herself plenty of time when setting up in case things don’t go according to plan. She also likes being able to give her clients that extra time to take photos before their guests arrive.
For Nancy, some of the most fun and special events are baby showers that later turn into first birthdays. She loves knowing her clients were so happy with her work they wanted to have her back. Getting to see the baby she’s now planned two parties for at this point is another adorable plus. Planning her own children’s events will always be her absolute favorite to plan because she can let her imagination run wild!
One thing she has noticed while working on all these birthday parties is “mom’s with girls spend more money than mom’s with boys, even with their baby showers.” She thinks of it as mom’s trying to give their daughter better than what they had. (Awhh so sweet).
Nancy’s biggest challenge when she was getting started with her business was convincing people she can do the job and do it well. Nancy feels proud when she gets to see the finished product. She is consistently pleased with her work, but when other people tell her they love her work she feels truly accomplished.
All of her parties are completely custom. Even if a client wants a theme she has done previously, she will do it in a completely different way. Her well-known balloon installations start at $275. She will also travel for a fee if a client is not in the Scottsdale area.
Today, Nancy is planning and making balloon arrangements for birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, corporate events and weddings. Nancy has really enjoyed getting into corporate events recently. At first, she was scared to try something so different from what she is used to. She thought moms and kids were probably easier to please than serious business men and women. Now, she sees herself focusing more on planning corporate events in the future.
Nancy used to be a florist and always wanted to do weddings. She resisted other opportunities for a time, but kids parties, bridal showers, and baby showers kept coming to her. She decided to go for it back then and since been able to be apart of multiple weddings. She has recently been asked to go as far as Los Angeles to create a balloon installation for a wedding. Balloons are coming back into style when it comes to weddings. They are great for brides with a limited budget who want to make a statement. The cost of balloon arrangements is low in comparison to flower arrangements.
The holiday season is already huge for her. Last year, she did 28 Christmas installations complete with Christmas trees, garlands, and more to transform her client’s homes and offices into winter wonderlands.
One project she has been dreaming of is a two-story balloon arrangement. She has a vision of a massive balloon waterfall, but she’s waiting on the right client.
NANCY’S CELEBRATED LIFE
“I celebrate everybody’s birthdays,” Nancy said. “For my birthday I want to just be at home or go out for dinner with my kids and my husband. I don’t really celebrate my birthday.” Instead, her way of celebrating each is to enjoy time with her kids and her husband. She will throw in a manicure for herself every once in a while too.