Shop Local: Party Crashers in Willesden Green closes a month after opening due to lockdown, but sales continue
PUBLISHED: 14:56 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:34 17 November 2020
A Willesden Green entrepreneur has had to close her helium balloon shop a month after opening to the public due to new Covid lockdown regulations.
Vanessa Ojapa’s Party Crashers in Queen’s Parade has been a hit with customers since it opened on September 29.
But on November 5, along with all other non-essential traders around the country, she was forced to shut the shop.
“I’m quite scared about it even though it’s just a month,” she said. “I’m not confident that in a month things will be back to what it was when I opened. It’s unsettling.”
However, Vanessa has experience in deliveries, as until she took over the Queen’s Parade site in September she was running the business from home.
She can also fulfil click and collect orders, so customers can purchase her vast array of colourful balloons online.
“I was really busy even in the first lockdown, but I will miss the traffic of people passing by,” said Vanessa.
“A man came in wanting a Peppa Pig balloon for his daughter as her mood was low having to go back to school. He wanted to brighten her up a bit.”
One of Vanessa’s Peppa Pig balloons retails at £6 but her creations can go for up to £900 for an elaborate bespoke balloon wall.
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The 31-year-old sells a lot of children’s balloons, has a latex pick ‘n’ mix, and does “confetti bubbles”, “bell tassels” and giant “garlands of flowers”.
Her palette of colour blends is limitless; she created a champagne tone by mixing chrome gold inside a peach balloon.
“I do personal messages and those are really popular,” she added.
She moved to London seven years ago from Liverpool to study journalism, but struggled with working as a freelance.
“When my daughter was born, I got really creative with balloons, people took notice, so I launched an Instagram page and went from there.”
She takes requests, including for birthdays, christenings, weddings and anniversaries.
She also does free tribute balloons: “I had a woman come in and tell me her brother was murdered and she wanted balloons for his grave.
“Things like that I don’t charge, it doesn’t fit well for me to charge.
“Balloons can lift the mood during the most challenging of times.”
View Party Crashers on Instagram at @partycrasherslondon
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