More than 23 years ago, Loretta Spezio came to Naples from Rochester, New York, and dug into the community by volunteering to help friends plan events and fundraisers. “I love parties,” Spezio says. “If friends needed planning assistance, I had ideas tucked away that I wasn’t using personally and wanted to share. If I saw something on Instagram or Pinterest, I thought, ‘I could do that.’”
Though these projects satisfied her caring heart, her creative and business-minded brain wanted more. Last summer, while hunkered down at home during the pandemic, Spezio decided to launch Ascent by Loretta, a custom boutique balloon business. From baby gender reveals to marriage proposals and weddings, Spezio has been able to share her passion while enhancing the aesthetics of her clients’ biggest life moments.
NI: What do you love about what you do?
Spezio: There’s something magical about balloons. Young or old, you’re amazed with the colors, textures, sizes, and designs. The world always seems brighter when you’ve made something. Plus, I’m able to do this safely without contact.
What is your creative process like?
Typically, through Instagram or word of mouth, I’m contacted about an idea. I can usually start two or three days before an event because I like to have the balloons fresh at your home. They start to break down if you start any earlier, and I want to deliver the freshest product. I prioritize contactless delivery to keep the clients and myself safe.
Do you have a niche or specialty?
All of my balloons are air-filled. I really don’t use helium for environmental reasons. I might add a couple, but it’s not my thing. There is a certain design aspect I stick to: artistic and organic. I use only quality latex balloons that are biodegradable and compostable. They are not plastic, and foil balloons can be reused or shredded for confetti.
Can you describe your favorite design?
At Halloween, I did a life-size Harry Potter balloon. I’ve done 6-foot ice cream cones. At Christmas, I stuffed Elves on a Shelf inside clear balloons and customized them with the children’s names. It’s all been about making it fun and whimsical.
What are some current trends you’re seeing?
I have many orders for high school graduations in the colors of the college they’re going to. I am customizing balloons with school logos, names, and special phrases. People love the new larger balloons and organic designs because balloons sometimes have a mind of their own. I’m seeing a lot of free-flowing pastels and earth tones, along with dried flower accents. Sage green is popular. I have a color called “empower-mint” that is gorgeous. A lot of rose gold for twenty-first birthdays. Since people are spending much more time at home, colors that match their interior are in demand.
Is there a trick to creating custom colors?
I can do so by double stuffing and putting one darker colored balloon inside a lighter color. It creates just the right shade.
How is this venture rewarding?
I’ve been amazed at responses to the balloons and realized I was onto something. This has been a way of making people smile and feel happy, while being therapeutic for me.