A LOCAL EVENT DECORATOR AND BALLOON ARTIST BUILDS HER REPUTATION AS A GO-TO ENTERTAINMENT AUTHORITY ON THE ISLAND
BY ERIK SCHONING • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
For most, a party is an opportunity to kick back, relax, and celebrate. But for Claudia Forero – event decorator, master balloon artist, and proprietor of Creating Memories NY – a party is her office. Her day typically begins before the first guest arrives and ends long after everyone’s exchanged goodbyes. The work is well worth it, she pointed out: few events in life are sweeter than a celebration. Forero, who works at Staten Island University Hospital as a breastfeeding counselor to new moms, came to event manage-ment almost by accident. Motherhood planted the seed. “After I had my first kid, I went through postpartum depression,” Forero said. “To get out of that hole, I started creating things, making origami. Then for my kid’s first birthday, I handled the decorat-ing and the planning.”
What was born as an at-home passion project soon became a professional calling. She was tapped to decorate a work function at the hospital, and her coworkers began to inquire about her services, asking for her business card and website domain. Creating Memories NY began to take shape. Today Forero mostly works alone, bringing on assistants when necessary.
She’s designed all types of events, from graduations to birthday parties. (She even sponsored and helped with the décor at INDUSTRY’s Halloween Bash last October.) As one might imagine, there have been plenty of challenges along the way: outdoor events after rainstorms, technical difficulties, last-minute changes of plan, all par for the course in party planning. But in the end, for Forero, any headache or hiccup is worth it when an event finally comes together. “My favorite part of this job is seeing the client’s reaction when they come and see the decora-tions,” Forero said. “They say, ‘This has completely exceeded my expectations. I’m in awe of how great it turned out! Better than what I expected.’
That brings me a lot of positive vibes, and I feel very appreciated.” Forero’s latest project might be her most ambitious yet: to expand Creating Memories NY as an online platform, a retailer for clients looking for specialty goods in the party planning space. (As glamorous as parties might seem, the magic is possible through small details like glue, adhesive, and materials that may not be widely available.) Offering these products, Forero believes, along with her more specialty items, is a way to expand her business’ footprint while giving professionals and amateurs alike the tools and guidance to design the parties of their dreams. “Sometimes people don’t think of all the work behind this,” she said. “People might think that to decorate a party, you just need a few balloons. But even balloons, for example, require selection, inflation, styling, and transportation. There is a lot of work behind all that. When you go to buy a cake, you don’t pay only for the materials. You don’t just pay for the eggs and the flour: you pay for the entire work and the art of the baker, too.”
What Forero conceives is art: creating memories isn’t an easy feat, but as attendees laugh, snap photos, and enjoy the moment, Forero noted that feeling will live on long after the party ends.