Q2030’s Business Spotlight features local business owners from our multi-cultural business directory. We’re committed to telling their stories as we work to showcase and amplify those doing the hard work of building a better community for all.
Isa Balloon Design and More is the kind of place any kid would love. The downtown Davenport storefront is filled with balloons of every size and color, tied together and stacked high to create arches, flowery walls and holiday-themed castles. The business owner, Erika Ubeda smiles proudly as she looks around the space.
“I love to work with my hands,” she explained. “I have the artistic spirit.”
But Ubeda wasn’t always an artist. Originally from Venezuela, Ubeda moved to the U.S. in 2012 to work in university research. When the pandemic hit, she was commuting to her job at the University of Iowa and longing for a way to spend more time at home with her daughters, 7-year-old twins Isabella and Elisa. In May 2020, she took the leap and started her business – naming it Isa Balloon after her girls. The clients came slowly at first, as she worked out of her house designing balloons for family and friends. She perfected her skills by enrolling in online classes to learn everything she could about the techniques – stuffing balloons to create custom colors, using sprays for shine and texture and twisting balloons into intricate shapes.
“You can do anything with balloons,” Ubeda explained. “The possibilities are infinite.”
Her business blew up. The jobs got bigger, with some creations calling for thousands of balloons. By mid-2022, she had outgrown her workspace at home. The team at Downtown Davenport Partnership helped her find a storefront – the perfect location right next to Chocolate Manor across the street from the Radisson Hotel on Davenport’s 2nd Street.
“I always had this vision to have a storefront,” she said. “I said yes on the spot.”
With her store open, Ubeda has new goals for her business – getting the word out through social media and more networking with fellow entrepreneurs. She wants her customers to appreciate her attention to detail and her dedication to the customer’s vision.
“We don’t offer just balloons,” she said. “We offer an experience, emotion and good customer service.”
Her most recent creations range from Valentine’s Day-themed balloon bouquets with flowers to a black and gold arch for a 50th birthday party and a bright blue array for an event photo booth. National chain stores may sell balloons, but Ubeda wants people to appreciate the value of locally owned small businesses to the Quad Cities. Her other message is for her daughters – who inspired her to make a change and create a new life.
“I want to show my daughters what is possible,” Erika said. “Whatever they want to be, they can be. They need to work hard, but they can do it.”