Go Green: Tradition & Innovation

A Long Tradition of Innovation

Gemar is a company with a long history. A history of constant innovation for well over 100 years.

It all began in 1888 when young Angelo Rocca and his family emigrated to France to help his brother-in-law, who was a successful balloon artisan. Any four year old might have been entranced by the beautiful balloons, but for Angelo they became something more. He developed a passion for balloons and as soon as he was old enough he started work selling balloons as a street vendor.

That didn’t last for long, however, as Angelo was quickly promoted to production assistant and then, at just 15 years old, was made manager. It’s hard to imagine these days, but this passionate young teenager was managing the balloon workshop that supplied the most exclusive shops in Marseille!

By 18, Angelo was ready to come home. He returned to Casalvieri and there founded the first ever company to manufacture latex balloons in Italy. This was an innovation in itself and Angelo carefully developed his workshop and trained skilled artisans. In those days each balloon was carefully made by hand, and any designs were applied with hand held stamps. A true artisan product which Angelo brought, not just to Italy, but to people across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The long and complicated process naturally limited production until Angelo’s son, Genesio, formed his own company, “Ditta Genesio Rocca”, in 1953. With his father’s spirit of entrepreneurial innovation, Genesio transformed balloon manufacture and grew it to an industrial scale. One of his important innovations was the installation of the first automatic dipping line for manufacturing latex balloons, something which transformed the scale of production.

Later on, Gemar (now run by a second Angelo, Genesio’s son) expanded its operations again, incorporating a balloon printing facility. Balloons could now be produced in a never ending array of designs, and Gemar became known for innovative ranges that stay ahead of the latest trends.

Gemar is still in the capable hands of the Rocca family, run by Angelo, his wife Emma, their children Mara and Genesio and Genesio’s wife, Gloria. This is not a family to sit back and rest on the achievements of past generations, instead they continually strive for improvement and continue that tradition of innovation, today more than ever..

In 2019, our Research and Development team spent 5488 hours exploring exciting new ideas. We always strive to bring you the best. That could mean lifting the moment with balloons in new colours, finishes, shapes, sizes and patterns, but we also innovate in other ways.

In 2020 we developed a brand new platform, which allowed us to bring GemarDay USA Live, with 29 instructors and 36 hours of workshops, to over 1000 people – no matter where they were in the world. Of course, we are also learning and developing our sustainability practices, from new products such as our 100% FSC®-certified range of balloons, through to the equipment we use behind the scenes.

With a history spanning four generations, we will never stop striving towards a better future for the generations to come.