Meet the NABAS Committee Members
Below are the profiles of the NABAS committee members.
George Oustayiannis – GO International
George was co-opted onto the committee in 2014. George Oustayiannis is a director of GO International, one of Europe’s leading importers and wholesalers of balloons and party products. After leaving the City as a successful broker in the 80’s, two paths became available to him. The first was entering on a ground floor opportunity in the mobile phone industry. And the second was the balloon and party industry. As everyone, including his bank manager told him no one would want a mobile phone, and that a mobile phone business would never be successful, George became a Party Wholesaler. The fledgling mobile phone opportunity became part of EE!! and the rest is history!
George has been at the forefront of our industry and was involved with the British Standards Institute on discussions regarding safety and Nitrosamine levels in latex as well as working with trading standards regarding packaging and CE Markings. His company was amongst the first to offer quality training in the UK, and as Chairman of NABAS he hopes that with the help of the committee we can offer support and focused relevant training to all our members.
Paula Ardron-Gemmell – Pink Tree Parties
I stumbled into balloons as a profession in September 2007 when my family returned from living in South Africa. Whilst living there, raising our two littlies, I not only got married to my lovely hubby, but also took a business course, as well as event planning diploma, with a view to doing ANYTHING except returning to an office based career. My background was accountancy and finance but I’d always loved the idea of being my own boss.
Our return to the UK coincided with my best friend taking a career break so, after a visit to the Autumn Fair at the NEC she agreed to start up Pink Tree Parties with me. Hence we found a high street property and enrolled on Mitch’s NABAS course. After 3 months of hard slog we opened the doors to our shop in January 2008.
Over the years the industry has changed and we’ve had to adapt – we regularly attend training courses, keep up to date with industry trends and developments in social media. Now Amanda has returned to full time teaching, I’ve become the partner most passionate about balloons and their possibilities, I love the creativity involved in this industry.
The balloon industry is unlike any I’ve known – it’s so supportive of fellow professionals. I’m really proud to have been asked to join this committee so I can hopefully give a little back to other members.
Cristina has joined the committee to help further develop membership support and engagement, having enjoyed several years of unrivalled support as a member. NABAS is unrivalled in its approach to education, training and member support and has always provided a great deal of encouragement and support to me and my small business. I would like to give back by supporting the committee and its members to promote and grow the association further. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cristina extended her expertise to NABAS members by hosting a series of webinars to help them develop and improve their Instagram accounts, a crucial marketing channel in the balloon and party industry.
Cristina launched Peach and Pearl Parties in May 2019 and has ten years’ experience in sales and marketing, extensive industry experience in digital content creation, promotion and events coordination and management. She is also keen to assist with blog and magazine content creation.
Joining the NABAS committee will present new challenges and opportunities but I am fully committed to the role and will be supportive of the Chair, other committee members and the association as a whole, along with its much valued members.
For many years I worked in the wonderful world of Insolvency and Corporate Recovery. It was an amazing start to where I wanted to be in life but once I had my first son I quickly realised that I needed to have a work, life balance that was more flexible. Towards the end of that career I worked part time within the industry passing exams within the field at a high standard within but after two of my children being diagnosed autistic I very quickly realised that I needed to be with them more so walked away from the legal world for a bright, colourful, energetic world.
I have now been in the industry for 12 years and a NABAS member for 10 years passing both my level 1 and 2 within the first 12 months realising very quickly that I needed quality training to succeed. I mainly worked my business around my children for several years but as they’ve got older and become dependent I’ve thrown myself into more and more training, pushed myself to be in places I never thought I would be including teaching people within my field and I’ve opened a shop, which has gone from strength to strength.
Although I’ve been a committee member previously for a short period, I truly believe that now is a better time for me to give back to an association that has got me this far, a chairman and committee members and members that have supported me throughout my career to date. Hopefully, together we can help build on what previous committee members have already instilled and take NABAS to yet another level. I’m really looking forward to working with the other committee members to bring even more colour and sparkle to NABAS and it’s members.
I’ve always worked within the entertainment industry for other companies and just fell in love with the positivity and happiness that this industry gives, not only to yourself working in it but giving that happy service to clients/customers as well.
I have come on leaps and bounds within the industry, one of which is becoming my own boss. In March 2020 I opened up my own dance company; Angel Dance Company and then sadly we got hit with COVID-19 Lockdown. Not only did I think that was enough to deal with at the time, a couple of months later I thought why not double that and open up Belle Décor; July 2020. It’s the best step I ever took opening up 2 businesses in the space of one difficult year and I will never look back.
Joining NABAS to help support Belle Décor really made me feel valued within the industry and that I was doing the right thing for myself and my family around me. I will always thank the committee for when I joined (George, Paula & Cristina) for making me feel so welcome. This helped with my confidence in running my own business as well as making me realise I could use my expertise and experiences to help other new coming members, to show what you can really do in a year of a crisis like COVID-19.
Joining the NABAS Committee will present new challenges and opportunities but I am really looking forward to using my extensive experience in the industry and an MA in Arts & Cultural Management to help support NABAS alongside all of the committee, with the valued members being the core of our community.
I am fast approaching my 16th year in the Balloon Industry.
I took my level 1 NABAS course all those years ago whilst I was working at an Estate Agents. I really enjoyed my job but I just kind of fell in love with balloon decorating so I decided to take my life in that direction and I started Artyloon. I enjoy so many aspects of what I do, I love the creativity, I love the people & the work and of course I love balloons! Over the years I have attended as many different courses & training events as I possibly can so that I can stay up to date with all the styles and because I enjoy them so much!
I have been a member of NABAS for so long and being part of the committee is personal thing to me. I want to give back & help an industry which I love.