Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms Meet a Mom series where we feature our local mamas – what they’re up to personally and professionally. To date, we’ve feature over 100 local moms! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely mother of two young children, Megan Raysby. Megan is a locally and internationally recognized balloon artist who loves helping the people of Chicago’s North Shore celebrate! Welcome, Megan!
Hi Megan! Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Megan Raysby. I’m from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and we live in a Northwest suburb of Chicago. I met my husband when I was in high school and we moved to Chicago together.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
Braden, age 9, my little scientist and Avery, age 5, my little gymnast.
Do you have any mom tips that make life during COVID 19 a little easier?
Are there any? Kidding! They spend a lot of time on the trampoline, and my husband is one of the owners of Crossfit RPE so they have plenty of time to run around. They do a great job entertaining each other. Also, so many movie nights!
Any ‘plans’ for the rest of summer 2020?
Working, grilling, playing in the yard, and doing home improvements.
You are a mompreneur! Please introduce NorthShore Balloon Decor.
NorthShore Balloon Decor is a custom balloon decor company, from arches to sculptures, helium bouquets to organic garland installs, we can make anything out of balloons!
Such a niche! How did you get started in balloon decor/artistry?
My career focus has always been client relations and now that I have been able to incorporate the arts, I’ve found my dream job. After having my daughter, I started an entertainment company that offers face and body art, and expanded into balloon making.
Does your education background correspond to your career?
Sure does! I attended art school at Columbia College; I earned a BA in Management from UIC; and I have a 200-hour state certification for makeup artistry from Makeup First in Chicago. I’ve always been a creative soul!
What has business been like for you during the pandemic?
We miss larger indoor weddings, corporate events, and big celebrations, etc, but we’re having a great time doing yard decorations and no contact porch deliveries for hundreds of birthdays and anniversaries. We were a part of a special engagement surprise, and we’ve helped celebrate a lot of graduations, including a very creative social distancing graduation hosted at Soldier Field by Star Events, one of Chicago’s biggest event companies.
It looks like most of your installations are outdoors due to the current pandemic. Can you continue to do installations in yucky Chicago weather?
Absolutely! Balloons actually do better in the cold, like fresh flowers. We can still do grass installations in freezing temps using a drill. But we can also offer porch installations, create no contact delivery pieces that we put in large bags for people to bring inside, deliver stunning helium bouquets, or wear a protective mask for indoor decor. I have lived in the Midwest my entire life. Weather doesn’t stop me, haha!
Would you like to offer our moms a special discount?
Sure! Mention seeing this interview for a special surprise with a $100 minimum order.
If you have any podcasts, apps, Instagram feeds that help inspire you, calm you, help you run your business or organize your life, what are your faves?
I follow a lot of industry specific social media accounts, but I love MealLime, the meal planning app, and Down Dog, the Yoga app.
Do you have any business mentors? Feel free to give a shout out.
My queen bee is Jamie Martin, AKA Miss Jamie From The Farm, who always inspires and encourages me, and lets me bounce ideas off of her. And Melissa Klein Lagowski, who runs Big Buzz Idea Group. Watching her company help non profits and seeing her personally support other women in business, including myself, is what community is all about. And, my husband, one of the owners and coaching mentors for Rally Point Endeavors, a gym with 3 locations in the North Shore. He’s always pushing me to be my best, telling me I can do anything, and always willing to help show me what I can achieve.
What advice can you give other moms out there who are looking to re-enter the workforce or change directions?
Be open. Be flexible. The right thing will find you.
How important is it for you to have a career outside of being a mother?
I love my kids. To the moon and back. But there is a sense of accomplishment from executing an installation perfectly that you don’t get from doing that third load of laundry for the day. My kids watch me express my creativity, bring joy to others, and work hard. Those are the things I want them to learn.
Well said, Megan! Any future plans for NorthShore Balloon Decor and beyond?
I would love to be able to grow NorthShore Balloon Decor and help employ more creative people. We’re in the process of moving into a larger workspace so we don’t have to fill our bedrooms with balloons, haha. We hope to help families of the North Shore celebrate milestones for many years to come!
Enquire and book your very special balloon installation for any special occasion! View installation ideas: visit Megan’s website, and follow her installations on Facebook and Instagram. “Your big day is my big day.”
CNSM Special: Mention seeing this interview for a special surprise with a $100 minimum order.