A CAERPHILLY woman has said she is amazed at the success of her budding business - and how it has helped to transform her life.

Sam Noble from Pontllanfraith has been haunted by the traumatic events of her past and felt she would never amount to anything, but thanks to the support of her husband, friends and local businesses, is running her own business and working her way off benefits.

Mrs Noble said: “I’ve always wanted to run my own business but always had low confidence as I was brought up badly by my parents.

“My childhood was horrible. I was told by my parents that I couldn’t do anything and because I am dyslexic, I was made to feel like I was stupid.

“At the age of 13, I was raped, and my parents never took it any further with the police and made it seem like it was my fault.”

South Wales Argus: Sam Noble's first balloon archSam Noble's first balloon arch

All of this had a profound effect on Mrs Noble but has also spurred her on. In 2018, she spoke out about what happened to her and went back to the police with the support of husband Stuart. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the outcome that she wanted, but it started Mrs Noble on a positive path.

“The police investigated, and it was due to go to court last year. But it never did as my parents wouldn’t testify,” she said.

Mrs Noble received support from New Pathways who provided counselling as well as general support and then she began to create her business.

“In lockdown my husband said to do cards again as I had done this previously. So, I did and set up the cards side of things in February and people asked me to do gift sets. I started to do that for cheaper to help people with less and who couldn’t afford much.

“I would do sets for £10. I did this for a while and then people were asking me to do balloon arches.”

It took a while for Mrs Noble to build up the courage due to her past. She said: “I kept putting it off because I did not have confidence, but I did some and put them on Facebook and then people were loving it.”

South Wales Argus: Cameron, one of the managers at The Otter, and Sam Noble with the Santa balloon towerCameron, one of the managers at The Otter, and Sam Noble with the Santa balloon tower

This began in June this year and quickly led to Mrs Noble setting up Air We Go Balloons. She already has seven clients who she creates balloon arches and columns for including The Otter in Newbridge – the first business to jump on board. The Bumblebee and House of Cake also regularly have decorations.

Mrs Noble won a grant from Purple Shoots to help her start the business and when celebrating at the Otter, asked them if she could do a balloon arch for them. It was successful and they asked her back.

Cameron, one of the managers at The Otter, said: “What Sam does is great. We have to support local businesses. It’s nice to have stuff like this here. We didn’t have any of this until Sam came and now, we can’t imagine the pub without it.”

Mrs Noble did her first wedding on August 14 and said she was extremely nervous. She now has a number of weddings already booked in for 2022.

South Wales Argus:

She also did the balloons for the children at the funeral of Jack Lis who was killed by a dog earlier this year.

“I still have confidence issues, but I can do this," she said. "I have been on benefits for 19 years and wanted to do something. Business Wales has been amazing. Coming off benefits and going to being a full-time business owner is scary but the Job Centre has given me loads of advice on things they can help with and stuff I did not know they could do or that I could get help with.”


Mrs Noble still receives some benefits through Universal Credit to top up her income and is expecting to be off these soon.

“It was hard coming from income support to Universal Credit and some people say I am fiddling the system but I’m not because they are providing me with assistance, and I report everything to them," she said.

“Business Wales says it usually takes two to three years to get fully up and running but with the way things are going, it could be a bit sooner than that.”

Alongside helping herself, Mrs Noble is using the business to help others.

“Many parents will see those who are better off giving their children all sorts and they want that for their own children but can’t afford it," she said.

“I lower my prices to make it fairer for those parents and families. I make a couple pound profit from each item but also work with the families to see what they want and what they can actually afford.

“I have a regular customer who’s come back to me a lot. She has five children, and each time buys them all the £15 gift boxes – that’s £75 a time. I’ve seen other businesses charge that for one child.

“Seeing the faces of the children when they open their balloon gift boxes really makes my day.”

“I appreciate all of the support from every single customer and I’m extremely grateful because without the customers and businesses I wouldn’t be doing this.”

Alongside husband Stuart, Mrs Noble credits her friends Kate, Donna and personal trainer Claire Morgan as being ‘rocks’ who have kept her going throughout her journey.

“I want people to read my story and say, ‘if she can do it, then I can do what I want to do too’,” said Mrs Noble. “I wish I’d done this ten years ago.

“What we have achieved in six months is amazing. I can’t wait to see what we can do in 12 months. I cannot believe how far I’ve come. I love being back in work and I think it is what I needed. It’s the best thing I ever did, and I am proud of myself.”

You can find out more about Air We Go Balloons on Facebook.