The last day of the trip has been marked by our visit to Airstar, a specialist of the lighting balloon, founded 20 years ago in the Grenoble Area.
Today Airstar has revenue around 15 million euros worldwide and makes the biggest part of its sales on the export market. Airstar provides balloons for events all over the globe that could illuminate up to one hectare, for instance, or balloons with battery that could easily light up difficult access areas for more than 6 hours. The last products released are a lighted dirigible ideal for communication campaign and balloon with LED that could change color according to the music played.
Partex International is in charge of Airstar’s business across Asia Pacific region. The company was incorporated in 1993 in Singapore by Pascal Petitjean (also a co-founder of Airstar) – our main speaker.
During 20 years of presence in Asia, Pascal Petitjean and the company have been awarded to light Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony and prestigious Grand Prix F1 Night race in Singapore (2008), to create the largest 14 meters helium lighting balloon for Federation Square in Melbourne during Winter Festival and two light installations for Singapore I-light Festival at Marina Bay.
Airstar was a particular experience compared to the other companies we visited. Unlike other companies’ offices, where we were greeted in a conference room separate from the real working environment, Airstar welcomed us in the very heart of their office, where we were using squared blocs as seats and had all the balloons developed by the company as decoration. It was the most intimate visit of them all, and we really felt that Petitjean was welcome us in his own personal space, and his wife taking care of us was adding to this feeling. This visit was not only about how to successfully do business in Singapore and Asia, but it was a lesson about a life in general. It was a lesson about how hard one should work and fight in order to pursue something that he truly desires, and that it is worth it. Time is a valuable asset for Petitjean, and we are grateful that he allowed us to visit his company to share hus experience with us.
His talk about one being his own boss was a very interesting point to highlight. A lot of us young students have an entrepreneurial mind, and have a desire to be our own boss on a long term basis. Petitjean discussed this topic in quite some depth, and reminded us of some aspects that we tend to forget when having this in mind. The main one is the work. Doing what you want and not having anyone giving you orders does not mean that you will live a chilled life: Being our own boss implies extra work, and not less work.
However, the most important thing that Petitjean was able to share with us is passion; but not any passion, his passion for life, and that no matter what, if you have this in you, success will come along with it.