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Tickled Teals Entertainment twists business model into new shapes with digital transformation

by Andrew Seale   |   April 11, 2024   |   Share this:  

As a kid, Tealia Carriere, owner of Tickled Teals Entertainment in North Bay, habitually fell into the role of family entertainer. “I’m the oldest of six and an army base brat so we moved around a lot,” says Carriere.

She recalls a party where the clown hired by the organizers was becoming increasingly flustered with the growing circle of kids. Carriere, who was around 10 years old, stepped in and began twisting balloon dogs. It turned out she had a natural talent for it. 

“My mom started (hiring) me out for charity events and birthday parties,” says Carriere with a laugh. “Then I got into high school and it was embarrassing, so I stopped doing it.”  

But her entertaining days weren’t over. In 2015, while in her second year of university earning a degree in human resources, Carriere started dressing up as a clown for events and doing balloons to make a little money on the side.  

Her business, Tickled Teals Entertainment, took off over the next five years.

“I ended up needing more clowns so I hired friends and family for events,” says Carriere.   

She saw 2020 as her year. She’d booked around $30,000 worth of events, hired four clowns, and built a team. Then the pandemic hit.  

“I lost $10,000 of deposits within a week,” says Carriere. “That was probably one of my lowest points in my life… to see all of it just evaporate.” 

But the Tickled Teals Entertainment owner had drive. She pivoted, creating bouquets of helium balloons and capitalizing on a growing number of clients trying to celebrate in a world where they couldn’t meet face-to-face.  

She took a balloon decor course and invested in a Cricut crafting machine. She bought a professional balloon pump and helium tank. And by 2022 she had mastered the helium business, opening an e-commerce shop.  

“I built up a whole new clientele because parents only knew me from birthday parties and festivals,” says Carriere.  

When events returned in 2023, she rebuilt her team to five and opened a storefront in North Bay. “That’s when I heard about Digital Main Street,” she says. The program combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. 

Carriere used the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to invest in a laptop for the store which would allow her to show clients exactly what she had planned for them and make changes on the fly, a major improvement from the near decade-old laptop she was using.

“It has a POS system and it's all connected so I can update my online website, do everything I need and not take three hours and hope to god it saves and it doesn't crash on me all of a sudden,” says Carriere.  

She says she’s very active on social media and has put a lot of work into building her digital presence but the new hardware helps connect the experience from digital to brick-and-mortar. Carriere used some of the grant money to invest in software that streamlines the client experience and the rest for social media marketing.  

She says the grant allowed her to make investments in the business she wouldn’t have otherwise. It was an opportunity to experiment.

“I knew it would make so much more money for me if I used this system, but I didn’t have the time (or funds) to put toward it,” she says.  

The impact has been profound, contributing to her growth and allowing her to continue to pursue her passion and turn what started as a couple of twisted balloons for an overworked clown into a flourishing entertainment enterprise.

“It's changed my business.”  


If you're interested in booking Tickled Teals for your next event you can check out their website. (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok). 

Learn more about how we can support your small business here

About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.

Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.

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