Photo credit: Lee Ross Photography & Design
Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week, time for CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law*. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Glencoe mama of three ages seven to 14 and owner of the online store Craftophologie and the brand new Winnetka-based brick mortar store Balloons and Paper, Lilia Barba! Get to know more about Lilia’s entrepreneurial spirit – how she turned an idea and her creativity into an online business and her business into a storefront! We just love these stories! Suffice it say, Lilia has grit. Enjoy this feature and then head over to her store in Winnetka for all things party and gifting!
Hi Lilia! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from, where do you live now and what brought you to your current town?
Hi! My name is Lilia Barba. I was born and raised in Mexico.
We have been living in Glencoe for three years. I love love love the people. I love my neighbors, my friends.
After six years in the city… I needed to move. We started our search in Hinsdale and move our way up. Until one day my best friend told me about this little town close to the Chicago botanic gardens. I was sold as soon as I passed the Glencoe sign.
How many kids do you have and how old are they? Feel free to brag here.
I have three kids. My oldest is Sofy who is 14. She is an amazing artist and helps me a lot with my work.
My middle one is Carlos. We called him Calloui, and he is 10. He is an excellent soccer player.
My youngest is Amalia, and we called her Ami. She just turned seven. She’s turning out to be a very good soccer player too, and she has a phenomenal personality.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I have been living here for more than 20 years and yet, I still have the thickest accent.
Oh, and that I wanted to be a coroner.
What are your favorite local places to spend with the family?
Napolita in Wilmette is our favorite family restaurant.
For date night we liked Pomeroy in Winnetka and Miramar in Highwood.
You run two businesses, Craftophologie and Balloons and Paper – woah mama! When did these begin?
Yes! I am the owner and creator for both! For Craftophologie my online doors have been open since 2012.
We are still online, but took a turn into wholesale mini piñatas. We focus on creating custom content for other party boutiques, corporate events or individual orders of 20+ mini piñatas.
And Balloons & Paper opened its door two weeks ago! Still pinching myself that I did it!
Tell us more about Balloons and Paper, from concept to starting your business, to opening your doors…
The idea of Balloons & Paper was created last year. The idea came about from a bunch of circumstances: Covid, a New York Times article, “Smash a Coronavirus Piñata. You’ll Feel Better,” my husband’s motivation and so much positive feedback from my clients pushed me to get working on a business plan! Eventually, I came up with a very viable idea that I could present to the bank…
The dream of owning a boutique related to what I do with Craftophologie had always been there, but it took me nine years to be able to wrap my hands around the question of “how” I could transform the idea into reality.
Who would you like to thank for the success of both of these endeavors?
100% my husband and my mom.
My husband for telling me that IT IS OKAY if this doesn’t work, but you have to try. It took a lot of anxiety away from me.
My mom for believing so much in me.
What can people expect when shopping at Balloons and Paper?
Your shopping at experience at Balloons and Paper will be unique, unique, unique!
I know a lot of female artists that I 100% would want and need to have in my store. Alas, I can’t have them all at the same time. To solve this, what I’m doing is purchasing small batches. I love to support women entrepreneurs, like me. So, when you see something at my store that you like, get it because they are all one of a kind! My goal is to continue to host unique items at Balloons and Paper.
Right now we have seasonal mini piñatas for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years, balloon kits, holiday-themed party decor, specialized gift packaging and so much more.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Balloons and Paper that they typically do not know about?
We can do a small helium bouquet and a massive balloon installation. We are having pre-orders of piñatas, so follow us in social media to know what is going on. We are not a kid party store only, we are every event party shop! We deliver everyday of the week, even Sundays! And we rent chairs, tables(soon) and cake stands.
What’s next for Balloons and Paper and Craftophologie? Any events coming up? Any specials? Any new products?
I am involved in a lot of events with the Winnetaka-Northfield-Glencoe Chamber of Commerce. Stay tuned!
New products are coming every day!
My next big dream is to open more stores in the near future.
How do our readers find you?
About CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor:
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm. Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here!