He is known as “The Balloon Guy” in the Utah Valley. To family, friends and customers, he often is described as “Jeremy The Clown.”
But as far as this accidental entrepreneur is concerned, he’s just a normal student working his way through college who happens to twist and manipulate balloons into funny shapes and sizes.
Jeremy Telford, a former longtime Auburnite, is a smart businessman who has proven to be resourceful, creative – and yes, full of hot air.
“Even with the balloons, so often I get to do something new and meet so many different people,” said Telford, 30, a 1996 Auburn High School graduate who now lives with his wife and two kids in Provo, Utah. “Every new event, every new build has so much unique to it. It never gets boring.”
Telford and his colleagues emphasize challenging when it comes to stringing together balloons. He and his team work long and hard to build dynamic things, from creatures to personalities, however big or small.
His shop, Balloon Guy Entertainment, has grown in acceptance and clientele. They have fast become the life of a birthday party, family reunion, wedding, business gathering or parade.
There is no limit to the possibilities.
Just recently, Team Telford constructed a life-size T-Rex from 2,300 light brown balloons. The crew built the massive dinosaur one four-foot piece at a time, consuming several 8-12 hour days during the week-long project.
When it was erected, the skeletal beast stood tall as an innovative display to help celebrate a dinosaur birthday bash at the Museum of Natural History in Lehi, Utah.
Big Balloonasaurus Rex loomed impressively for the entire week on the strength of Hyfloat-filled balloons. The tired tailbones then began to droop at two weeks.
“She turned out well … we built it bone by bone,” Telford said of his most ambitious work. “It was the biggest thing we’ve done so far. It was probably the most accurate dinosaur balloon display ever built.”
Telford likes doing something new. He and his crew fashioned a 6-foot-tall Elvis for a rock ‘n’ roll convention that required 250 balloons. He made a 9-foot-long stegosaurus, 300 balloons strong, for a birthday party.
They also created a sumo wrestler, armadillo, even a bagless, no-extension-cord vacuum cleaner for a business.
All told, Telford the artist can shape balloons into 300-plus formations or designs.
“The one thing about having your business is you have an excuse to learn all kinds of new things,” he said. “Some of it is more fun than others, but it’s a chance to learn so many things. It’s all interesting.”
Telford was using his craft as a means to help pay his way through college. It soon turned into something greater. And now, the man who is scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in recreation management from Brigham Young University, is ready to dive into business full-time to support his young family.
“It’s fun and exciting to see my son excel,” said Allen Telford. “He’s a neat kid.”
Jeremy Telford, an Eagle Scout, always has been an enterprising and creative sort. His mom, Gail, was an arts graduate.
His family remains in the Auburn area. His brother, Chris, teaches art and jewelry at Auburn High.
Jeremy’s wife, Kristin, also is part of the act. They met at a juggling club and soon became adept at it, performing as volunteer entertainers for various venues at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
It was Kristin’s brother, Paco, who actually persuaded Telford to try balloon artistry. He taught him his first 14 designs.
What started out slowly has picked up ground. While Telford does an average of four shows a week, he’s looking to expand his boundaries. He contracts his work out to others.
An ambitious Telford is plotting future creations. He wants to build and donate an 8-foot-tall Christmas tree to a children’s charity this holiday season. In time, he wants his balloon battalion to break world records and become recognized as the best at their craft.
Besides, there are many skilled balloon artists floating around in the competitive world of hot air.
“I always thought it would be fun recreating the inside of the White House or something along those lines,” Telford said of a possible future project.
For all the challenges of a creative job, Telford is guaranteed one thing: bringing smiles to satisfied customers.
“It’s one of those most fun things you do in the business,” he said. “You always work with happy people and happy people are always good to work with.”
Mark Klaas can be reached
at 253-833-0218, ext. 5050, or email@example.com