Event 29 was founded in 2011 as, "Gabrielle Green Event Design: Shop." The "Shop," part was in reference to my Etsy shop, which was created as one component of my branding as an event designer (there was also "Gabrielle Green Event Design: Blog," which possibly still exists somewhere). My intention was to immediately begin pursuing jobs in event design, but the shop took off so quickly that I ended up doing it for exactly 3 years. At some point I realized that the name was entirely too long to be remembered for word-of-mouth marketing purposes, so I changed it to, "Event Design Shop," and legally filed as an limited liability company. To date I'm still legally operating as "Event Design Shop, LLC," and you will find that a number of my accounts still retain this name, but I have plans to dissolve the LLC, and operate under one company that encapsulates all of my business including, Showerbelle, my successful bridal shower blog.
I actually designed my very first wedding in 2010 for a friend, and did a couple of other gigs in the 3 years that I ran my Etsy shop. In early 2011, I also did an internship with the Kentucky Derby Festival in which I assisted event managers on over 60 events in a 3 week period. Later in 2011, I did an internship with the events team at the Frazier History Musuem. I assisted them with weddings every weekend, did some in-office hours during the week, and did several wedding shows with them. Julie Kruer, the head event manager at the museum owned a candy buffet business on the side, and was somewhat of a mentor and very helpful with my own business. I'm still very friendly with the events team at the Frazier, and they are more than happy to advise me on any questions I might have regarding event logistics, vendor references, etc.
In the 2013, I changed the name of my business to Event 29. The 29 was in reference to my age at the time because it was the year I'd planned on getting my act together, and also my birthday, which is March 29th. My name was never legally changed in anyway. The plan in 2013 became to direct my business back to it's original purpose of me being an event designer, but when I began putting my website together I discovered that my portfolio was lacking, and that I'd need to create one in order to market my services.
I worked on my portfolio between August of 2013 and November 2014, doing a wedding and 4 photo shoots. The photo shoots were successful and were featured on many of the most popular wedding blogs including Style Me Pretty and Ruffled Blog. One of my shoots was even featured in a magazine, and the CEO of Weddingstar, a company that sells wedding products and publishes a wedding magazine, called me and asked me to do a shoot for them and sent me whatever products I requested. In January of 2014, I was also asked by Sydney O'Brien of the Louisville Palace to design 5 different decorative vignettes to be displayed throughout the venue for the Palace Wedding Show. It was actually my intention to launch my full-time wedding design business at that show, and I'd hope to book a full calendar of weddings for the 2014 wedding season.
What actually happened between August of 2013 and November 2014 is that I established both design credibility, and a pattern of working my ass off for free or paying out of my own pocket, and I not only lost a lot of money, but I didn't book a single wedding.
In November of 2014, I realized that I'd focused entirely too much on creating a glorified brand image, praise, and a false sense of status, and had a weakness for doing projects that cost time and money, but did nothing to generate actual revenue. I'd gained a false sense of success because of all of the praise and features. So, I created a plan that involved two very important components:
- stop hiding from success and start directly talking to actual people who could either bring clients my way, or could be clients themselves about my business
- stop hiding from money and the actual work I wanted to do and put in action a process to generate leads and close sales
Basically, my plan was to stop playing around and start making money. I worked on this plan from November 2014 - January 1st, 2015, developing services, website copy, and a sales process and I immediately saw interest from 2 potential clients when I put it into action. I booked my very first paying wedding design client in January of 2015, and to date I have 4 weddings for the 2015-2016 wedding season. I'm continuously seeing an increase in inquiries for my services, and am almost always in the process of booking a new client.