For as long as she can remember, Kim Cerda has always been able to quickly and effortlessly fill water balloons. Some told her it was a gift.
“I would always bring balloons for family events and I was used to making them for my son and his friends,” said the 38-year-old Katy-area resident. “It came very naturally to me.”
With the help of her husband, Marco, Kim Cerda has transformed her talent into a home-based business.
After placing one ad last year announcing that pre-filled water balloons were for sale, calls came flooding in.
The Cerdas said they were shocked at the overwhelming response and realized that their new venture, FilledWaterBalloons.com, was a unique and almost necessary idea.
“People would call and ask if our business was for real,” Kim Cerda said. “I've had moms on the phone crying they were so happy to find us, saying they made 200 water balloons for a party and their fingers were bleeding. They're all just so grateful.”
While a lot of their business is for birthday parties, the Cerdas also fill balloons for church camps, school events, retreats, holiday gatherings and other activities.
Many Fourth of July festivities and other celebrations include water balloons, Marco said, so holidays tend to be a hectic time. Fridays and Saturdays are some of their busiest days.
“It's challenging sometimes,” said Marco, 37 adding that 80 percent of their business is from word-of-mouth referrals. “As we get closer to the weekend, we get flooded with calls.”
The couple works together to ensure all balloon orders are completed on time. Kim handles filling and tying the balloons and her 8-year-old son, also named Marco, helps fill large plastic bags with the colorful water bombs.
Almost everyday, Kim finds herself spending seven to eight hours filling water balloons. Most of the work is done at night and she usually finishes around 4 a.m. after making hundreds of water balloons an hour, she said.
“When we have unusually high orders, I've worked up to 15 hours, like around the Fourth of July,” said Kim, adding that her fingers are used to the grueling work and never hurt. “I've literally gotten to the point of tears where I could've fallen asleep over the sink. But normally it is very relaxing and enjoyable.”
Her husband handles the management side of the business, answering calls, setting appointments and making deliveries. The majority of deliveries are to customers in the Katy area, but Marco has traveled to Sugar Land, Pasadena and even Austin.
Edna Pollack, the program director at Westwood Gymnastics in south Katy, said she has ordered water balloons from the Cerdas several times for kids' summer camps instead of filling balloons herself.
“We were having to fill up quite a few water balloons and we tried to do it on our own but it took forever,” said Pollack, who ordered more than 4,000 balloons for this year's camp. “For us, it's definitely very helpful to order the balloons.”
Jennifer Miles, event coordinator for the Weston Lakes Country Club, needed hundreds of water balloons for the club's July 4th festival.
“We've ordered around 2,000 water balloons for the past two years and the kids absolutely love them as well as adults,” Miles said.
While this is the couple's first home-based business, they are familiar with working with customers. Marco worked in retail management as well as real estate for 13 years before quitting to focus on the water balloon business.
“What's enjoyable is being able to be home more,” he said about their new business. “My wife and I can work together and we get to spend all summer with our son,” Marco said.
For information, call 713-494-7861.