We had the good fortune of connecting with Colette Naylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Colette, what role has risk played in your life or career?
By nature, I’m fairly risk adverse. In addition to co-owning Inflate San Diego, my fiancé Max is a full-time paramedic so I guess you could say he’s used to riskier situations. We’d always wanted to own a business together but never really knew what that would be. We would see people starting up and running small businesses and think “wow, that’s awesome. We should do something similar”. But I was always afraid of starting something and not liking it, or failing miserably.
One night in July 2020, we had dinner with friends visiting from Arizona. They told us they were starting a bounce house business after noticing a significant hole in the industry. For the last year we’ve watched our friends’ business explode. They’ve been featured in magazines, interviewed by the news, and hired by celebrities. In the spring of this year I texted them saying “wouldn’t it be fun to expand the Inflate brand to San Diego”…their immediate response “we’ve been meaning to talk to you about that”. We knew this could be the opportunity we’d been dreaming of. Max and I dove in head first, risk and all, ready to grow the brand in our hometown!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Starting Inflate San Diego has been a whirlwind. Even with my Bachelors in Business Management, I feel like you’re not TRULY taught how to start a business – how to create an LLC, find proper insurance coverage, whether or not you need to charge tax on a rental, setting up business bank accounts, etc. That part was hard. Thankfully, we’ve had the guidance from others to work through these steps pretty quickly.
From there, we were able to move on to the fun stuff…building a website, running the social media accounts, connecting with other local vendors, and seeing client events come to life! I’m proud of how quickly we’ve been able to immerse our brand within the San Diego vendor industry and how naturally that turns into client referrals and bookings. We offer modern bounce houses (including all white and all pink) which are perfect for bridal or baby showers, weddings, birthdays and more!
We are a team of two – my fiancé and I – running everything including deliveries (except when I can rope my dad or best friend, Paige, in to help). When you’re messaging on Instagram or emailing us, it’s really me responding! One day we’ll hire some help but for now we are loving the process, even though the bounces weigh much more than we expected. When supporting our small business, you really and truly are supporting the two of us and our future!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We love San Diego! Both Max and I were born and raised in Scripps Ranch.
My family jokes that whenever we visit a new town it becomes Colette’s food tour. If we had a friend visiting – I would definitely make it into a food tour, with some other fun activities sprinkled in! We’d spend the morning in Little Italy brunching at Queenstown Public House, head over to La Jolla Shores for a beach day with a sandwich + oatmeal cookie from The Cheese Shop. We’d want to grab a beer at Fairweather before catching a game at Petco Park (go Pads!) We’d absolutely have to go to Cesarina in Point Loma – we celebrate every milestone and accomplishment there – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, even our engagement at Cesarina. The owners and staff are incredible, and the food is even better. Obviously somewhere in there we’d have to set up a bounce house and jump around awhile too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jack and Julie Nielsen (owners of Inflate 48 in Arizona) deserve all the credit in the world. They have guided us through the entire process of expanding the Inflate business to San Diego. Julie and I went to college together at FIDM. Every time there was a group project and we were told to pick a partner, Julie and I shot a look to each other like “yep we’re partners, no question”. We worked so effortlessly together – both pulling our own weight, never taking a question or suggestion personally, and trusting one another to do things they way we’d each expect them done. I knew when this opportunity arose, it would be no different.
In addition to the Nielsen family, we’d be nowhere in this business without our parents Bob & Belinda Naylor and Greg & Mara McSparran (and my Aunt Melody!) They’ve all sat through hours of business and logistics questions, helped us with deliveries and pick ups, listened to our highs and lows, and so much more. They’ve encouraged us through the whole process and for that we couldn’t be more grateful!
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