Spotlight: Leigh-Anne Weiss

Leigh-Anne Weiss is one of those women who goes farther than the extra mile. Her dedication to beloved causes as a volunteer spans from stroke and heart attack awareness to environmental issues to social causes. An energetic mom, Leigh-Anne's children are already veteran volunteers at a very young age.

In addition to her community involvement, she is co-owner of Airheads Balloon Art, Inc.

Here is an interview with her below. We know you will be as inspired by her as we am.

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Introduce yourself and business as if you were speaking from the cockpit.
My name is Leigh-Anne Weiss and I am co-pilot of Airheads Balloon Art Inc. No, I don’t captain a hot air balloon but I am certainly full of hot air! Airheads Balloon Art is Pittsburgh’s Premier full-service balloon company. We help our customers to create the perfect atmosphere with balloons! We deliver smiles all around the Pittsburgh area with our custom balloon creations. From big to small, we do them all! When the décor looks good, you look good and at Airheads we help our clients to create memorable events.

When did you earn your wings?
My first experience as an entrepreneur was selling snow cones outside of my uncle’s store as a driven 8-year old. I have always had a desire to own my own business. Airheads Balloon Art took flight in April of 1999 offering balloon art entertainment but I had been exploring a party-oriented business for many years prior. My husband and I initially had teamed up with another couple to form Airheads but parted ways in 2002 when we decided to grow the business by offering more services. In the same year, we bought “Balloons Over Pittsburgh”, Pittsburgh’s oldest balloon company and absorbed its customers while keeping our own identity.

If you could name a nail polish color after yourself or your business, what would it be? 
The Airheads Balloon Art nail polish shade would be called “Totally Twisted” and it would be cheerful iridescent red with a 3D texture to it. Our balloon twisters have come to embrace wearing our signature red polos and red converse sneakers so I think that this nail polish would compliment the look and feel of our fun company!

Not all flights are smooth. Tell us about how you handle turbulence in your business. 
Being a business owner certainly has its ups and downs. I think that being flexible is key to handling those bumpy roads.  Being willing to adapt to changes in the market, industry trends and being willing to go out on a limb for our clients have helped us to gain customer loyalty and stay “afloat” in a turbulent economy. As a business owner you have to accept that too often “things can and will go wrong at the worst possible moment” and when that Murphy’s Law comes into play you have to have your bag of tricks ready to save the day. Being creative on the spot can help transform a disaster into a “wow, you really made things happen!” moment which can be priceless for a client!

Who is the wind beneath your wings?
I have several friends who are female entrepreneurs, writers and/or artists and it is refreshing to get their feedback and advice. It is good to have women that you respect and admire for encouragement on your goals. I was inspired to attend Propelle’s Launch Party and first networking event to meet new friends and to reconnect with women in Pittsburgh who are liked-minded and motivated!

Advice to other women as they navigate the business world?
My advice is simple…keep evolving, be flexible and don’t be afraid to ask for help (it is not a weakness)! Believe in yourself, and on those days that it seems most difficult to do so, keep plugging away at your goals. I am a firm believer that you have to love what you do and have fun too. Work is such a big part of our lives so why not be excited about it?! If you aren’t jazzed to get out of bed or stay up late working on your projects then days will drag on. I love when I am engrossed in a project or event and the days fly by! Passion kills monotony. Even on the days when I am doing inventory, data entry or other “boring” tasks it helps to know that I have something fun and fabulous to look forward to!