Balloon Artist Designs Elaborate Creations from Dresses to Arches

Santana Holbert

Tia Munoz and Ehllee Buckholtz

While most kids in high school don’t know what their passion is until later on in life, sophomore Santana Holbert has known since the age of four.

“My grandma got a balloon kit at a garage sale and it had a booklet and it had pictures and I just followed them,” Holbert said.

As the years passed, her love for balloons grew. At just 11 years old, Holbert attended her first balloon convention in Las Vegas. She’s been back to Las Vegas three more times, and following that, she’s been to Athens, Georgia, and Kissimmee, and Florida for conventions.

This past summer, Holbert earned a scholarship to go to a balloon convention in St. Louis for a week. Traveling to these places has given Santana friends all over the world, from as far as London and Australia to as close as Kansas City.

“I honestly want to travel around undeveloped countries and give balloons to little kids,” Holbert said when asked if she’d consider doing this all her life. “My goal is to go to Africa or the Dominican Republic this summer and make balloons all summer long.”

Holbert balances her business while also being a full time student athlete. Not only does she participate in cheer, she is also a member of the swim team. Her weekends are filled with making various balloon creations.

Making something as complicated as an arch only takes about an hour of her time, whereas four years ago, it would have taken her four hours. Holbert recently spent two days making a cow costume for Chick-fil-A’s 14th annual Cow Appreciation Day. Her mom is a big reason she is able to do so many things.

“My mom really pushed me to start making balloons…we started at $25 an hour and I was only 10 or 11 years old,” Holbert said.

Holbert would travel to birthday parties and make balloons for her clients, which they would pay her by the hour for. She originally started making balloons on her own, but later convinced her mom to join her. She has made all types of creations, including giant cupcakes, gingerbread houses, hot air balloons, and even outfits.

Cost for her products vary based on what she makes. For one dollar you can purchase simple things such as a rose, and prices rise from there. Something as intricate as an arch will cost about 125 dollars.

“They contact me and then they tell me what their event is and I try to make something creative. If their theme is a unicorn, I’ll make a unicorn arch or a giant rideable unicorn,” Holbert said.

Holbert can be reached on Facebook with the username @santanaballoons and Instagram with the handle @santana_balloons.