To celebrate Women’s History Month, our Co-Founder Jen Snyder sat down with a female business owner who utilizes Fluid Truck, Ellie Dhar of Minne Merriments.
In this interview, Ellie shares how Fluid Truck has helped her business operations by providing convenience, clean vehicles, and most importantly, safety. She offers valuable advice for other entrepreneurs and discusses how she overcame self-doubt through the creation of her business. Read on for business tips and inspiration! Interview has been edited for clarity.
Q: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
A: Minne Merriments is a balloon styling and luxury installation company. It’s basically a way for me to celebrate life events with other people. So I go, I talk with my clients, I figure out what kind of decor balloon-wise they want for their event or party, then we put it together and I create more art installations using balloons.
Q: When did you get started?
A: I started Minne Merriments during the pandemic. I am a project manager by profession, in my corporate career. I realized that something that was missing during that time was the ability to interface and talk with people, and I am just a people person, right? I just like to talk and socialize.
And so one thing that I found was, hey, you know, if I do this, it can be distanced, right? Which was really important at the time, and people can celebrate from afar or send these balloon garlands as a way to say, “hey, we're thinking about you.” And so I did that to just spread a little bit of joy during a difficult time for a lot of people. And it kind of grew from there, which is really cool.
Q: How does Fluid Truck help you with this? How do we support you?
A: I go to every event with the balloons already blown up. It's really important to be efficient when I'm there installing the balloons. So that means I need a lot of trunk space, and Fluid Truck is one of the key components of that. It's convenient, there's always inventory available. Your trucks are newer, they're cleaner, which is important because the last thing I want to do on a job is to bring in lint-covered balloons. It's just the convenience of it. You guys are right there with me, especially for the bigger jobs.
Q: Is there anything that Fluid Truck does that helps empower women-owned businesses that you don't get from other truck rental companies?
A: I want to underscore the safety that you guys provide. I think it's really important. A few times before with some competitors, you know, they're associated with the brand name, but they're not necessarily the best place to rent because you have to interface with people.
The one that I went to was not well lit, and so, when I look for a Fluid Truck, it's always in a heavily foot trafficked area. Often I'm there in the early mornings, or dropping off the van late at night, so it’s convenient. If I don't feel safe, I don't feel like I have to stop there and turn in the keys. I can reach out to Mike, who is my main contact with you guys, and he's been very good, very responsive. So, the customer service and the safety aspect that you guys provide is really important to me.
Q: What's a good piece of advice that you have for other women that are trying to start their business? What are some obstacles that you've encountered that you could help others navigate?
A: One of the things that I’ve found, especially going into balloons, is people are like, “what? There’s profit in balloons?” But I say just go for it! If it’s a passion of yours, no matter how crazy the idea may be, just go for it. Because if you see value in it and you have passion in it, you’ll grow.
So often I feel like as women, we're told, no. And there's expectations with society or whatever. And I found that just by tossing what's expected of me out the door, having the support of friends and family but also the support of what I feel for myself, I can say, “no, I'm gonna do it.” It's crazy, but you never grow if you're not uncomfortable.
Q: I think sometimes women struggle with self-doubt more than our male counterparts. Do you have any tricks or tactics around that? Like, I started meditating because it really helps me align my focus.
A: I know it's going to sound crazy, but I started the company after I had just given birth. We were in the pandemic, and my meditation was blowing up balloons and creating something, and not having to worry about being online for a meeting. It was just my time to decompress.
And so, in a way this company was my meditation, which helped me get through it. And it was my way of figuring out what matters to me, and transcending beyond the daily stresses. Which, now it’s its own stress, because companies are always crazy!
Q: I want to make sure that anyone that's watching this has your website so they know how to get in touch with you and learn more about your business!
A: MinneMerriments.com! I'm located in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, which is my delivery area. Especially for other balloon stylists or entrepreneurs out there who want a little bit of advice, I have people reaching out to me all the time, and I am so willing to just talk with you and say, “hey, what are the challenges you face?” Especially taxes because of all of that craziness, I can point people in the right direction for things like that!