What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
Stress, unpredictable hours, and staying within a budget are some disadvantages of being an event planner. But, there is plenty to love too! We asked event professionals what inspired them to start a business in the event industry.

I had my “Aha!” moment while working at a trade show handing out “swag” to attendees when I thought to myself, “I love being here, so why am I not doing this full time”.

I have been planning events for many years, even though my job descriptions at previous jobs may not reflect that. I have planned and executed small family gatherings to large events and trade shows with over 500 attendees. I had my “Aha!” moment while working at a trade show handing out “swag” to attendees when I thought to myself, “I love being here, so why am I not doing this full time”. It was from that moment that I pushed forward, and in 2015 I took the leap of faith and created Planit Events Inc.

I had the idea in 2013, completed my Event Management Certificate in June of 2014, and then opened my company in April of 2015. I was very fortunate that by June of 2015 I landed my first big client, and they are still a client today!

"I had my “Aha!” moment while working at a trade show handing out “swag” to attendees when I thought to myself, “I love being here, so why am I not doing this full time”." @planitevents15 Click to Tweet

Courtney Coulombe

Owner/Lead Planner

Planit Events Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

When I started the company in 2010 I had a good network of people in the industry to help support my new venture and send clients my way.

I was fortunate to have found my calling in events quickly after college. I worked at a venue for 2.5 years. I worked at Whole Foods headquarters in Austin as an Event Planner in the Catering Department for 2 years.

When I started the company in 2010 I had a good network of people in the industry to help support my new venture and send clients my way.

"When I started the company in 2010 I had a good network of people in the industry to help support my new venture and send clients my way." @pearleventsATX Click to Tweet

Becky Navarro

Founder

Pearl Events Austin, Austin, TX

I acknowledged my true passion for service to others and knew how to create an experience that extended beyond the dining table.

I became immersed in the culinary scene in Charleston at the onset of my career. I was on the opening teams for Magnolia’s (Charleston) and Atlanta’s Canoe, South City Kitchen and Food Studio. I acknowledged my true passion for service to others and knew how to create an experience that extended beyond the dining table. As all business owners say, one day I took the leap and the rest is history.

"I acknowledged my true passion for service to others and knew how to create an experience that extended beyond the dining table." Click to Tweet

Suzanne Reinhard

President and Lead Planner

Suzanne Reinhard Events, Atlanta, GA

I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home — everything that represented who I really was — added in my strong set of organizational skills and aesthetics, and harnessed them into the business of event planning.

My fate as an event planner seemed pre-determined. I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home — everything that represented who I really was — added in my strong set of organizational skills and aesthetics, and harnessed them into the business of event planning. I grew up in a household that valued proper entertaining and spent the beginning of my career at Saks Fifth Avenue. Soon after having children, a friend convinced me to work with him “here and there” in his event planning company. Eventually, I went to work with another wonderful event planner, partnering on some of New York City’s most creative and glamorous social occasions. In 2010, I went out on my own and formed NYLUX Events. Looking back, I feel as if I have found my calling.

"I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home — everything that represented who I really was — added in my strong set of organizational skills and aesthetics, and harnessed them into the business of event planning." @nyluxevents Click to Tweet

Andrea Adelstein

CEO/Event Planner

NYLUX Events, New York City, NY

Event planning is production and stage management, and we translated our many years of theatrical experience to the company.

Coming from theatre, it was an easy transition! When Amy was planning her wedding, we realized that perhaps starting a business in wedding and event planning would be fun and different from what we’d been doing, while staying in the same skill set. Event planning is production and stage management, and we translated our many years of theatrical experience to the company. We began advertising right away and immediately started booking clients — our price point then was very attractive! From there, we built up the experience and reputation and have been working steadily ever since. We have attracted the coolest people in the world because of our background and our company name. We truly love the less ordinary.

"Event planning is production and stage management, and we translated our many years of theatrical experience to the company." @aelochicago Click to Tweet

Carolyn Johnson

Owner & Co-Founder

An Event Less Ordinary, Chicago, IL

My heart gravitated to full planning, design & coordination because I most efficiently serve my client by taking over all of this.

I was already in the wedding business. Styling both wedding welcome boxes, bridal party gift baskets, and specialty tables to entertain their guests at parties, showers & receptions. I liked the challenge of bringing the pieces together in this area to be a cohesive part of the big picture of their main event. I realized after a few years, I would like to be a part of the event design from the start. I worked a large part of 2016 with other wedding planners to study the process before I launched in 2017. I had clients within a few months. A mix of day & month of coordination sprinkled with full planning & design. My heart gravitated to full planning, design & coordination because I most efficiently serve my client by taking over all of this. Although we make all decisions together, it helps me take the stress out of it for them and allow them to enjoy the planning process.

"My heart gravitated to full planning, design & coordination because I most efficiently serve my client by taking over all of this." Click to Tweet

Lisa Formaro

Owner

Willow Jaymes Events,

Once I had my second child, I decided to form my own consulting company to have more flexibility for my family.

I had worked for a large organization on their signature events. Once I had my second child, I decided to form my own consulting company to have more flexibility for my family. I was able to keep the organization I was an employee for as a client then was able to build my client base over the first year. I continue to work with not-for-profit clients and love it!

"Once I had my second child, I decided to form my own consulting company to have more flexibility for my family." @TownSqCon Click to Tweet

Stacy Felkar

Principal

Town Square Consulting, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

I created Seven14 Events with the hopes of formulating my dream job.

I created Seven14 Events with the hopes of formulating my dream job. I started Seven14 in 2009 after completing an Event and Meeting Management program at Northeastern University. Prior I had done an internship with StyleFixx Girls Night Out. I really wanted to produce one of kind unique events. I feel that the diversity of my events allows me to really develop my creative mind. Each client always brings something different to the table which makes event planning so transformative.

"I created Seven14 Events with the hopes of formulating my dream job." Click to Tweet

Meredith Bond

Founder/ Creative Director

Seven14 Events, Boston, MA

When it came down to it, I created the company and started booking business within three months but it was my twenty years of contacts and relationships that allowed me to make the jump.

I wanted to be able to do events in multiple places for multiple people. I could work for an event company, which I did at one point, but I still had to answer to someone. This latest concept started in 2010 where I wanted to provide full-service planning, Concept to Completion. Most people have never planned an event and most of the time people would come to me without any idea of how much things cost or what should be done next. Keith Willard Events would take the event starting with a conversation with the client. Who, what, when, where…. the basics and based on these simple elements start laying out three or four choices. Keep it simple and easy. With every decision from the client came a set of three or four more choices until finally a full event was created. When it came down to it, I created the company and started booking business within three months but it was my twenty years of contacts and relationships that allowed me to make the jump.

"When it came down to it, I created the company and started booking business within three months but it was my twenty years of contacts and relationships that allowed me to make the jump." @keithwillard Click to Tweet

Keith Willard

Owner/Designer

Keith Willard Events,

I stumbled upon the events world through my first venture, Confetti Kitchen, a new media company dedicated to entertaining and hosting for millennials.

While working more traditional jobs in finance and tech, I explored my interest in food through food blogging, photography, styling, and of course, cooking. Despite not having professional experience in the food world, the decision to turn my passion into a profession was actually pretty natural.

I stumbled upon the events world through my first venture, Confetti Kitchen, a new media company dedicated to entertaining and hosting for millennials. When I wasn’t recipe testing or shooting photos, I hosted pop-up dinners to promote the site and build the community offline. Little did I know at the time that I was doing experiential marketing for my own brand!

Over the next year, I found the experiential business to be more interesting and full of opportunity, not only for Confetti Kitchen but also for brands looking to build loyalty. In 2018, I pivoted my company and rebranded as Hidden Rhythm, an experiential marketing agency for food and wellness brands.

"I stumbled upon the events world through my first venture, Confetti Kitchen, a new media company dedicated to entertaining and hosting for millennials." @cynthia Click to Tweet

Cynthia Samanian

Founder and CEO

Hidden Rhythm, San Francisco, CA

I decided to build up a scalable business that allowed me to practice self-care while saving others from the stress of event planning.

I had to leave my last two full-time event planning jobs for health reasons. One landed me in the hospital and the next one resulted in a major PTSD relapse. The stress of 12 hour days, 50 hour work weeks, sleepless nights, and very few breaks certainly didn’t help my health any. So I decided to build up a scalable business that allowed me to practice self-care while saving others from the stress of event planning.

It took a full year to really get up and running. I set most of it up in the first few months but didn’t start attracting clients right away.  All the framework was complete at the beginning — website, storefront, all the backend automation systems. Then I let everything sit on the back burner while I took a break to write my book. It’s finally up and running with a solid client base.

"I decided to build up a scalable business that allowed me to practice self-care while saving others from the stress of event planning." Click to Tweet
620 Events

Samantha Bellinger

Owner/Event Planner

620 Events,

Since I already had the skillset for it and enjoyed planning my wedding, I decided to start my own business and put those skills toward the wedding industry.

I was a project manager for a few years and was planning my wedding in 2016 when I had this epiphany that project management and wedding planning were the same things.  You have multiple small deadlines you’re trying to accomplish to get to the “big” one, you’re talking to different groups of people to keep things moving, and you have to be organized and communicative during the entire process. Since I already had the skillset for it and enjoyed planning my wedding, I decided to start my own business and put those skills toward the wedding industry. It took about 8 months to go from the initial idea to attracting a client base.

"Since I already had the skillset for it and enjoyed planning my wedding, I decided to start my own business and put those skills toward the wedding industry." Click to Tweet

Maya Tarach

Owner and Certified Wedding & Event Planner

Preoccupied Bride Events, Evanston, IL

I literally worked my way through every vendor and department until I learned how it all worked.

I left reality show and cable network television production to join an existing event production company. I literally worked my way through every vendor and department until I learned how it all worked. I frequently leverage the lessons I learned over a decade ago to this day & still work with many of those companies. I wanted the production company I was then a partner in to focus on business clients, however, my then-partner was more interested in the entertainment community so we split up. Having a transparent invoicing policy absent any markups and including design services in our project administration charges allowed for rapid growth during a down economy. To this day those practices are still used at JME and we still have consistent growth year after year.

"I literally worked my way through every vendor and department until I learned how it all worked." Click to Tweet
Joe Moller Events

Joe Moller

CEO

Joe Moller Events (JME), Los Angeles, CA

The three of us sat down together in October 2017, and by February 2018, Pink Salt Cuisine was officially launched.

Our team has been in the event industry for a combined 50 years. We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work together and build a professional relationship that eventually turned into a wonderful friendship. Chef Hope has been a lifelong vegetarian, and when she became vegan, she wanted to focus her culinary efforts on plant-based cuisine. The three of us sat down together in October 2017, and by February 2018, Pink Salt Cuisine was officially launched. As one of the only luxury plant-based caterers in southern California, we quickly became the go-to caterer for event planners in the area.

"The three of us sat down together in October 2017, and by February 2018, Pink Salt Cuisine was officially launched." Click to Tweet

Joyce Malicse

Co-founder

Pink Salt Cuisine,

My dream was always to open and operate my own restaurant.

My dream was always to open and operate my own restaurant. I prepared myself for that by helping to open several restaurants, learning from their successes and failures. I also got heavily involved at each job with the Front of the House, Beverage programs, and any amount of bookkeeping that I could get my hands on. So this process took about 6 years and about 8 restaurant openings. From day one, my goal was to gradually get business with very limited staff. After we did the “Chef’s” wedding I knew at that point we had the potential to take off.

I would say about a year to really see the progress. At every step, we kept ourselves aware that we didn’t want to suffer from growing pains and slowed down our progress at times to prevent that from happening.

"My dream was always to open and operate my own restaurant." @crucatering Click to Tweet

John Zucker

Executive chef and Owner

Cru Catering, Charleston, SC

I started baking at the age of 10.

I started baking at the age of 10. It was in 2008/2009 I walked into a local Joann’s and saw that they were offering cake decorating classes. I said what the heck I know how to bake let’s learn how to decorate. I took all of their courses and excelled. My instructor offered me a role in teaching cake decorating for their kids’ cohorts and I agreed. It didn’t pay a lot but I loved doing it. The discounts were fabulous and I received new Wilton products for free to demo. I started posting on Facebook and an entrepreneur reached out to me and said let me show you how to make money. She put me in touch with a graphic designer and here I am after a few rebranding processes. I consider my early experiences as my learning stage. My rebranding phase has resulted in my professional era.

"I started baking at the age of 10." @DelorCakery Click to Tweet

Kayisha Shoshana Thompson

Cake Executive Officer

De L’or Cakery Corporation, Bronx, NY

While I enjoyed working in the corporate world, I wanted to do something more personal and meaningful.

I became an event planner in 2013 after a robust corporate career as a leader in hospitality training and organizational change management. While I enjoyed working in the corporate world, I wanted to do something more personal and meaningful. At that time, many of my friends were getting married and they entrusted me with their weddings! I quickly abandoned the corporate world with a dream of becoming a go-to event planner for couples who wanted the very best in service and design. It took about two years from launch to see consistent business, but I see my business as a living thing and I’m always helping it to grow in new ways.

"While I enjoyed working in the corporate world, I wanted to do something more personal and meaningful." @MeggieFrancisco Click to Tweet

Meggie Francisco

Wedding Planner and Designer

Meggie Francisco Events, Columbus, OH

I'm a very driven professional, so the ability to run the show and make my own business decisions was something that truly appealed to me.

Ever since I can remember I always wanted to have my own company. I’m a very driven professional, so the ability to run the show and make my own business decisions was something that truly appealed to me. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a large variety of industries, so having my own business that allowed me to work for all kinds of events year-round was also extremely appealing.

After 2 years in my first full-time position post-college working in the events department of a financial firm, I started to make the transition to contract work which allowed me to work for different clients on short team projects. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to dive headfirst into different events and get to gain a variety of experience in a short amount of time, but the constant change in work atmospheres definitely started to take its toll. After doing this for 3 years and building a base of a couple of annual retainer clients, I was able to take the leap, open my office and run my own business full-time.

"I'm a very driven professional, so the ability to run the show and make my own business decisions was something that truly appealed to me." Click to Tweet

Kelly Soule

Founder/Principal Planner

Kelly Elizabeth Events, Boston, MA

I went to school for event management and I am now 100% living what I paid to go to school for.

I grew up in a family of business owners. My grandparents owned a flower shop for 40 years, my aunt opened a flower shop upon my grandpa’s passing and my parents own an ice cream store. Being a business owner is in my blood. I went to school for event management and I am now 100% living what I paid to go to school for.

"I went to school for event management and I am now 100% living what I paid to go to school for." Click to Tweet

Ashley Radosav

Owner and Lead Planner

Ashley Nicole Events Inc., Chicago, IL

My daughters were most important to me, but I wanted to continue to produce beautiful events however, on my own time.

My daughters were most important to me, but I wanted to continue to produce beautiful events however, on my own time. It took about 3 years to get a solid client base.

"My daughters were most important to me, but I wanted to continue to produce beautiful events however, on my own time." @christinaevents Click to Tweet

Christina Currie

Owner/Event Producer

Christina Currie Events, Barrington, IL

My favorite thing is to take a theme or a concept and have it flow throughout the whole event from the moment the guests walk in the door.

I started my career as the marketing and event director for several Chicago nightlife venues in 2005, and then transitioned to serving as the Director of Events for a private country club on the North Shore, before launching Alison Ross Events. From venue opening parties with celebrity talent, corporate events, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, charitable galas—I’ve done it all. This breadth and depth of experience—especially my background in the food and beverage industry, hospitality, and custom menu creation—sets my company apart from others in the area. My favorite thing is to take a theme or a concept and have it flow throughout the whole event from the moment the guests walk in the door. From custom libations to season menus and mindfully crafted sweet tables to finish off the whole event experience. Understanding the back-of-the-house and behind-the-scenes is such an asset to the smooth execution of a one-of-a-kind event.

"My favorite thing is to take a theme or a concept and have it flow throughout the whole event from the moment the guests walk in the door." Click to Tweet

Alison Ross

Event Planner

Alison Ross Events, Chicago, IL

Many of the things I do as a planner I did when I was volunteering for a charity.

Many of the things I do as a planner I did when I was volunteering for a charity. I just had the drive to start my own event planning business. Since I had an MBA in Marketing I had the idea to approach 3 people with Mitzvahs around the bend and asked if I could be their planner for a crazy low dollar amount. When those events were done it gave me confidence and pictures to use to go from there.

"Many of the things I do as a planner I did when I was volunteering for a charity." Click to Tweet

Jamie Joffe

Owner/Planner

Jamie Joffe Events, Chicago, IL