Aga flies high in balloon awards

Greetings and gift indie Highworth Emporium tops out as retailer of the year

 

Award-winning greeting card indie Aga Marsden has added another string to her bow – or that should be to her balloon as she’s been crowned balloon retailer of the year.

Aga, who owns Highworth Emporium greetings and gift retailer near Swindon with husband Richard, was picked from all the entries in the Balloon Artist Awards organised by Pro Balloon Shop, with the winners revealed at the ceremony at Birmingham’s The Grand Hotel a few days ago.

Above: Aga Marsden with her trophy and one of the displays that helped win it
Above: Aga Marsden with her trophy and one of the displays that helped win it

“We’re still in disbelief that we actually are the winners of this prestigious award,” Aga said. “Balloons are such a huge part of what we do and we’re extremely passionate about our balloon service, this award means a lot! We’re totally over the moon.”

Judges for the second annual Balloon Artist Awards were John and Sue Bowler, who run BAPIA (Balloon And Party Industry Association) and Annie Harutoonian and Jessica Nerses of the Event Collective, while the sponsors were Amscan International, Gemar and Tuftex.

Sue is an award-winning balloon artist in her own right, been creating incredible designs all over the world since 1990, and industry veteran John worked directly for manufacturers and owned his own wholesale business before starting BAPIA.

Above & top: Another great Highworth display and Aga with shop manager Vicki
Above & top: Another great Highworth display and Aga with shop manager Vicki

Amelia Adkins, founder and director of Amersham-based awards organisers Pro Balloon Shop, explained: “The Event Collective is the biggest social page in the party industry, it’s based in Australia and they have about a million followers. Annie and Jess flew over for the awards.

“John and Sue have seen lots of different styles of design over almost 30 years, while the Event Collective looked at the finishes, aesthetic and at the business’ social media as well as looking at the business itself.”

And the judges’ discussions and scoring system declared Highworth Emporium Balloon Retailer Of The Year after considering the types of balloon décor and design offered, images of work undertaken and a picture of the shop with a relevant window display, plus details of what they considered their greatest achievement, and the most challenging part of running their balloon business.

Above: Balloon Artist Of The Year Debbie Boxhall with judges Annie and Jess, and one of her creations
Above: Balloon Artist Of The Year Debbie Boxhall with judges Annie and Jess, and one of her creations

Now the trophy is on display alongside this year’s Muddy Stillettos gong as Best Lifestyle Store in Wiltshire, and Greats awards from 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 – plus the shop was a Greats finalists this year as well as in 2022 and 2017, and a Retas finalist in 2021.

The full list of Balloon Artist Award 2023 winners is:

Balloon Retailer Or Party Store Of The Year

Winner: Highworth Emporium
Runner up: For Any Occasion Events

Best Organic Balloon Display

Winner: Loony Blunes
Runner up: The Sisters Collab

Best Deliverable Balloon Display

Winner: Forever Events
Runner up: Loony Blunes

Best Classic Balloon Display

Winner: Confetti Party
Runner up: Balloonista

Best Balloon Display Incorporating Props And/Or Flowers

Winner: Fig + Form
Runner up: House Of Monroe

Best Themed Balloon Display

Winner: Luna Moon Balloons
Runner up: Darling Dove Balloon Co

People’s Choice Award

Winner: Luxe Events Lincolnshire

Best Newcomer

Winner: Peach Balloon Co
Runner up: Sassy Moments

Balloon Artist of the Year

Winner: Debbie Boxhall, Dream Higher Events
Runner up: Balloon Bloom UK

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