A north-east woman who lost her job last year decided to put a positive spin on the difficult period by launching her own business.
Julie Donald, from Kincorth, was initially furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but later lost her job, said she was “desperate” to occupy her mind in the meantime.
This resulted in the 34-year-old launching her business, which provides balloons and personalised gifts, in June.
Julie was keen to share her story on the North East Now website in order to inspire others to support local businesses in these unprecedented times.
She said: “I launched under a different name alongside a friend, which sadly didn’t work out.
“Since early September I’ve changed the business’ name and branding but kept the quality and standards of my work – and have been flying solo.”
Now Julie operates as ‘Aberdeen Balloon Lady’. The mum-of-two has used social media as a means of advertising her offering, which has proved highly successful.
She added: “I’ve worked hard and continue to do to in order to build up a name for myself in Aberdeen.
“It’s not just a job for me, it’s a passion and a love that brought me out of a very dark place when I was dismissed from my last job as a manager at another local business.
“We originally started to provide “cheer me up” doorstep delivery balloons, which I know cheered those up that couldn’t see their loved ones.
“They were usually sent as a surprise. This was such a nice experience to be apart of.
“Fast forward to today, I think my business provides a good range of products for the north-east.
“I go out of my way to help people – some very last minute – as my customers and Facebook reviews will justify. And I aim to help out those struggling more than others due to the ongoing pandemic.”
Julie launched a delivery service during the lockdown period which is still ongoing.
Speaking on the future of Aberdeen Balloon Lady, the business owner is now aiming to rent a space when the time is right. She added: “I provided a delivery service when the country was put in lockdown to help out.
“It was successful and, therefore, I always offer delivery when I can – especially with bigger orders because I like to ensure they get to their destination safely.
“I would love to eventually rent somewhere that can be used for events. For example baby showers, small intimate birthday gatherings, and so on.
“I would, of course, be able to plan and decorate this space to suit the customers requirements.”
Julie hopes to inspire others to support local businesses in these unprecedented times and has backed the North East Now campaign.
The website, driven by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and backed by creative agency Hampton and Aberdeen Journals, is encouraging people to do what they can to support the local economies in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Julie said: “I would like to see more small businesses, like myself, featured on it as we rely on customer support to keep us going and a lot of us – like myself – work from home.
“All in all, I love the North East now website and think it supports regional businesses really well.”
Visit the Aberdeen Balloon Lady Facebook page to place an order or find out more information.
To find out more about North-East Now, visit northeastnow.scot
To share your positive business story, email firstname.lastname@example.org