Planning a wedding can be smooth sailing or a hair-pulling, tear-shedding, five-alarm crisis. If you are incapable of planning your perfect day you have been dreaming about since you were a little girl, there are real live super heroes that can help you. They are called EVENT PLANNERS. Though they don't wear capes, many should. When you are overwhelmed with details or thisssss close to snatching the edges off relatives and girlfriends who offer suggestions you didn't ask for - get yourself an Alicia. Alicia who? Alicia Smith, Owner, Lead Planner/Designer of Touched By Innocence.
Touched By Innocence specializes in planning, decor & design, candy/dessert bars, and concierge services for Weddings and Private Events! I met Alicia on Facebook and recognized her talent for creating memories for her clients. Today she shares how she found her way to event planning, and how hard work and working for free as a beginner in business can really pay off.
MRTV: There has been major growth in the event planning industry in the last several years, causing it to become more competitive than ever. Many reality TV shows have made the industry extremely popular as a possible career for many as well. How did you get started in this business?
AS, TBI: While I was on maternity leave I re-evaluated my life and career. I wanted to do something that I would be excited to wake up and tackle the day! I've always been the one to throw parties for family & friends (and not your average parties) parties with ice sculptures and horse & carriages. So I decided to learn more about the industry and voila I decided to begin my company!
MRTV: Is there a college degree or any specialized training/certification an aspiring event planner would/should obtain?
AS, TBI: Although it is not necessary there are courses that are available and you will receive a certification. I recommend shadowing an experienced planner to get hands on knowledge and to determine if you would want this as a permanent career.
MRTV: Describe any conferences or events you have attended that has helped you become a better business woman.
AS, TBI: I attended the 2016 Wedding MBA convention in Las Vegas. Being surrounded by thousands of wedding industry professionals taught me key tips on creating automated systems making it easier for clients to communicate during the planning process. From SEO seminars to in between breaks speaking to other planners about tricks they use was an enlightening experience!
MRTV: After you made the decision to launch your event planning business, what was your first step to make it a reality?
AS, TBI: The first thing I did was create my company's name and doing the research to make sure the name was not in use.
MRTV: Since the launch of your business, have you been able to support yourself planning events full time? Describe that transition.
AS, TBI: As of now yes! It was a process to get here though. I did a lot of research. Understanding who you are marketing to is very important. When I first began one of the biggest mistakes I made was marketing to the wrong market. Once I learned the language and needs of my market it became easier to find my ideal client.
MRTV: Did you ever work for free, and would you recommend others do as well when they are starting out?
AS, TBI: Yes! When I began I did 3 events for free. Every event that you choose to do this for has to be worth the value to better your knowledge, show your skills, and gain experience in this field.
MRTV: What would you say sets your events apart from others? What main attribute or service do you provide that you are “known” for?
AS, TBI: My accessibility for clients and to make your event speak YOU.
MRTV: Take us through an average day at work. What is your favorite part about running your own business?
AS, TBI: A lot of prepping and forms! Most people see our work the day of setup and during events but to create that beautiful event it takes a lot of prepping. From coordinating timelines, logistics, mishaps, and budgets.
MRTV: Best moment of your career so far?
AS, TBI: When an upcoming planner reached out to me and said I made a positive impact on her choice to begin planning and she admired the way I handled my company.
MRTV: What advice would you give someone interested in becoming an event planner?
AS, TBI: To keep learning through each mistake and do what is best for you to put you in a position to give your clients the ultimate experience.
MRTV: What advice would you give someone in need of an event planner?
AS, TBI: I would speak with at least 3 planners to understand their procedures and services they offer. Also the biggest thing is that you and your planner vibe positively because he/she will be your best friend for a while.
MRTV: Favorite way to relax, relate, release?
AS, TBI: Listen to motivational videos or a good comedy movie with a glass of wine.
MRTV: Fill in the Blank. Can't leave home without _________....
AS, TBI: Can't leave home without a smile on my face.
MRTV: Life motto?
AS, TBI: What you think you become.
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Was planning your wedding or most recent event a success or disaster? Tell me all about it below.