How did you get started with event planning?
In middle school, we had lots of parties—the good kind! But I was the person who coordinated where the parents should drop their kids off and what time to pick them up and which friends were bringing drinks, snacks, and cups—and all the details. So I really started as a kid. But officially I started in college when my friends asked me to coordinate their wedding because I’m a really organized person, and I have a lot of energy. So I did that in 2012.
How did you learn about CO.STARTERS?
I really found out about it through [CO.STARTERS grad Courtney Searcy and theCO’s Communications Manager Katie Howerton], and I really had a great experience with it. It was really fun getting to spend all that time with the same people and just going through the process together.
What do you think you’ve learned the most from CO.STARTERS?
It’s funny because when I was at work today—planning for next week’s classes now that I’m teaching—I realized that sometimes I can be kind of vague in my plans, and if I’m not specific then I’m not going to accomplish things. So I think some good things I took away from CO.STARTERS are be specific about what service you offer. Be specific about who your customer base is. Be intentional about how to approach different things you have to. Get down to the details. . . . It’s not just about who is your caterer and where’s your venue. It’s “Am I willing to spend five hours a week on this, or is this going to be full-time?” I need to be fair to myself and to my customers, so [CO.STARTERS] just challenged me to . . . really make myself lay it out so that there weren’t any questions in any gray areas about my business plan, about the amount of time, about how much I would charge, about specific services I was going to offer.
Would you recommend CO.STARTERS for someone else?
I think that it really helps you logistically. There were, of course, classes about finances, legal classes, classes about who your customer base really is. Because you can say, “Well, I can plan an event for literally anyone.” Okay, that doesn’t help you move forward and find clients. You have to narrow it down. We had people in our group who had an idea. They had nothing more than idea, and now it’s a business. We also had people who had been doing the business for a while like myself who just needed to fine-tune it and figure out the specific logistics. So, I think that CO.STARTERS can help literally anyone who wants to or is already doing a business.
I heard you guys had some great speakers each night.
Kevin Adelsberger was awesome, and I really hate that I missed Lee Wilson’s night. . . . [CO.STARTERS facilitator] Lisa Garner was incredible—awesome at leading the CO.STARTERS classes, and she was really good at being honest and challenging you to make your business better, especially when we were being too vague or too broad in our vision. She helped us to narrow it down and really say, “Okay, I’m going to be about this thing rather than not really know what I’m about or be about too many things.” . . . Also Pitch Night was so much fun because you all get dressed up and get to share what you’ve been putting your heart into, and you get to encourage your fellow classmates and just be really proud of how far you’ve all come and what you’ve achieved. And you get excited about what it’s going to grow into later.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about theCO?
theCO is amazing! I wish I was more artsy because there are so many great workspaces in here to create things, like woodworking and screen printing and all of that stuff. Also I really love the classes they offer.