There's a better way to give friends cash in Toronto now and it involves balloons
Money balloons have been trending on social media, and Toronto’s Vithusha Jayakumaran believes she’s the OG.
Hoping to surprise her brother for his birthday, Jayakumaran came up with the idea to create handcrafted money balloons this past January.
These helium balloons sit in a small box with a ribbon tied around the balloon. When the giftee unties the ribbon, the balloon rises out of the box, trailing cheddar.
“It’s funny because when people open it, they don’t know what’s under it,” Jayakumaran tells blogTO about the first time she deployed her idea, “so my brother thought it was a bomb or something.”
“We kept joking with him to be careful and to not rush it or open it calmly so he got really scared, but he was so happy and surprised when he opened it.”
The 27-year-old was not expecting the balloons to take off quite as much as they have though.
Though it’s something you could probably figure out how to do at home, Jayakumaran says she’s been inundated with orders from people who want her to do it for them, and have entrusted her with the bills to do it.
She stated Fly With Us Balloons last June as a more traditional event-balloon home business, but since she started gramming her money balloons, things have really taken off for this mostly one-woman operation.
She offers two money balloon options for which you pay a base fee and then decide on the sum of bills they wish to include, whether it’s a series or mixture of $5, $10, $20 or $100 bills.
The first package costs $50 — consisting of a personalized message, a box with a custom word written and three balloons with up to six or seven bills.
While the second option is $60, featuring bigger balloons with no limit on the number of bills.
Her biggest money tail so far has been $2,000 worth of $20s.
With the bill distribution, she says customers can choose between bringing in the bills a few days before since her orders are usually a week ahead. Another option is for clients to pay in advance when paying the base fee and she would get the bills herself for the balloon.
Though money is the popular option, she says you can also do it with photos, or a mixture of photos and cash.
Jayakumaran usually spends over an hour creating each piece, with occasional help from her mom.
“I have a tying problem [with the ribbons] so my mom just ties it for me,” she says. “But with each balloon, there’s trial and error as some days, your balloon will pop and you have to do it again.”
The only downside her business faces is the lack of credit she receives for her original idea.
“So many people create it now on Instagram and TikTok, but they don’t give any acknowledgement or inspirational shoutouts,” says Jayakumaran. “For the people that do, I always give tips such as advice on the number of bills, with weight being a big factor.”
Local businesses, including ballonsbybk and Balloons & Ribbons.co, have given her a shout-out.
Regardless, she’s grateful for the support from the local and international community as well.
“I get more than 20 messages daily asking if I ship worldwide with some people even offering to pay for shipping,” says Jayakumaran. “However, shipping helium balloons is just not possible with the high potential of popping but maybe somehow in the future.”
With great demand for her customized balloons, she suggests people book ahead through her Instagram or email.
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