Leading Ladies- Interview #3

Once again, I am excited to share with you another interview with a lady who is kicking some serious booty with her fantastic work! If you have missed my previous interviews, please check back here and here to read about two other ladies who do very different work but are dong it amazingly!

I would like to introduce you to Kami! She is the lovely lady on the right. I have known Kami since I was in high school and have had the pleasure of watching her co-create and grown her incredible business, Custom Events.  Here is what Kami has to say about starting this business she c0-owns and the wedding planning industry.

kami

My name is Kameron Payeur, I am a co-owner of the wedding and event planning business Custom Events. Owning and operating an event planning business, with my good friend Amie Jackson (pictured above on the left),  is an amazing adventure that certainly keeps me on my toes! It’s paperwork, late nights, design, marketing, and a surprising amount of lifting (which definitely helps when I need to point out the direction of the nearest beach). It’s a busy world but I am thrilled to be a part of it!

Q. How would you best describe what you do?

A. Event planning is combination of creativity, logistics, planning, and execution. When we work with our clients our goal is to understand their vision and objective and from there put everything into place to achieve it. We design rooms and tables, create and manage budgets and guest lists, and we are there on event day to ensure every detail previously discussed is running smoothly. If it’s not, we’re there to put out the fires.

Q. Describe the path that led you to your current work.

A. I’ve always had a desire to create but I wasn’t necessarily artistic in the common forms of drawing, writing, and music. I went to university with a blurry idea of what I wanted to do. I was in my second year of studying communication studies when I started to get a clearer vision of the career I wanted to have. I wanted to used what I had learned and blend my desire to create to plan events. It had the organization and planning aspects as well as the physical work I’d like to have in a career. My worst fear when choosing my path was that I would become bored. I never wanted to think of my career as a job that brings home a paycheck. Event planning offers the balance and excitement I was craving.

Q.On average, how much time would you say that you work each week?

A. This varies per week for me due to the fact that event planning, especially wedding planning, has on/off seasons. Currently, my business primarily focuses on wedding planning as this service is in high demand for us. When wedding season is in full swing and I’m working events, managing emails, paperwork and maintaining our marketing and public image, I easily work 40 + hours a week.

Q. What are some important skills that you have that make you well-suited to your work?

A. I am a problem solver and that is invaluable as an event planner. I work diligently to prepare for my events to make sure everything is perfect but that’s not how life works. Life throws curveballs that you have to be prepared for to the best of your ability. The best compliment is when the event is over and the client has no idea what I had to do to make sure it ran smoothly. That’s when I know I did my job right.

Q. What excites you most about your work? 

A. I touched upon this earlier but the most exciting part of my work is that it’s always different. Sometimes that’s what makes it so hard, there is no set system that works for every single client. The challenge is what makes it so interesting. I learn something new from every event and with each lesson I am able to grow the business and develop new ways to provide the best service possible.

I also absolutely love seeing my clients’ reaction when they see their event and vision become a reality. They often come to Custom Events feeling overwhelmed and unsure. It’s amazing to be able to help them with such an important moment their life.

Q. What goals are you working towards? 

I am so excited that Custom Events has grown enough that we were able to add two members to our team for the next season. Amie, my business partner,  and I have had so many late nights, conversations and, quite honestly, some tears in this process. Right now, our goal is to integrate our team members into the world of event planning and really focus on continuing to provide solid, exceptional service.

Q. In what ways does your work challenge you?

A. I have had some events that have challenged me both mentally and physically. I’ve had to develop thick skin because criticism is part of this career. The role of event planner, especially on something as special as someone’s wedding day, means you don’t get to make mistakes. When you put yourself in this position of control and leadership you need to take on the responsibility of your title. When my name tag says “Event Planner” it removes the human element and perfection is expected.That means accepting fault, even when it is not the result of your direct work, and holding accountability for the outcome of the event. You can do everything right on your end but if something goes wrong it’s ultimately on you. I’ve learned how to process the criticism, how to respond to it, and how to grow from it.

Physically my work is challenging because well have you ever carried 200 chairs up multiple flights of stairs? I think I might need to do some more cardio to prep for my future events. It’s all worth it though when that room is complete and my client is smiling!

Q. What inspires you to keep going on the hard days?

A. My family. There is no doubt that everyone has had days when nothing can make them smile but for me having the incredible support system I have keeps me going. I am constantly growing and learning but I definitely get caught up in the compare yourself to others game and I feel as though I don’t offer enough to my clients. There was one day in particular when I was very down on my abilities and I just didn’t have a productive day. I was venting to my husband and he just looked at me and said, “I don’t think you realize how good you are. “ My husband telling me he is proud of my work just instantly took me out of my funk and I was back in the office creating, improving, and building my business.

My business partner, Amie, is amazing to work with. We use each other for support, honest opinions, and just to improve every event. We are friends and business partners, which means I can let her know what’s going on in my life and how I’m struggling and she can completely relate. From there we pull each other up and move forward.

Q. What aspect of your work takes the most time?

We receive a lot of inquiries all through the year. With each inquiry we provide service information and custom quotes tailored to their needs as a client. In order to get these details we have a lot of communication and time put into each inquiry. As any service provider would tell you unanswered quotes are just part of the job.

In terms of booked events it remains the paperwork. From contracts and timelines to design boards and details I spend a lot of time on the computer preparing for each event. Event day is only so long (typically 12-14 hours a day for a wedding) but the prep to ensure it’s perfect is the result of many hours.

Thanks so much for offering us such incredible insight into your unique career, Kami. I learned a lot about this industry that I had no idea was such a big part of your daily job.  I am very inspired by your expertise as well as your positivity.  Check out Kami on Instagram (@customevents). You can also check out their website here. 

 

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Leading Ladies- Interview #1

Hello! I am really excited about today’s post. I had an idea back in the middle of December to start a series where I interview ladies who are killing it at their creative jobs or who are pursuing a life that they love and have made for themselves.

I have ladies lined up for each month this year who come from all different fields and are doing work they love.

My first interview is with one of my closest friends and very talented photographer, Amy.  Here is what Amy had to say when I asked her about various aspects of her work, daily routine and the future of her business…

amyz

Hi! I’m Amy, full time photographer and part time blogger currently living in Ottawa with my sports-photographer husband and our super adorable son.

I’ve been doing photography for about 6 years now and am still in love with it!

I started my blog, The Lovely Things, a few years ago as a non-photography creative outlet for me. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I loved making beautiful images for that too! Let’s just say I don’t go long without taking a photo of some kind..

Q: How would you best describe what you do?

A:Photography! I’ve come to describe my style as commercial/lifestyle… I love photographing people doing what they love to do in their environment. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and girl-bosses are my jam.

I also run the lifestyle blog, The Lovely Things, as a passion project/creative outlet.

Q: Describe the path that led you to your current work.

A: The short story? I got a job at a photo studio in my 20’s, realized that you could actually make a living doing photography, went to school for it, and have been in the industry ever since!

The long version involves 5 cities, Craigslist, Anne of Green Gables, hanging out with penguins, falling in love (not with the penguins… although they were pretty cute), and meeting some pretty important people. But that’s a story for another time 😉

Q: On average, how much time would you say that you work each week?

A: That depends on what you think of as “work”. I usually have about 2-3 shoots a week that can range from an hour long to a whole day.

But when I’m not on a shoot there is always something else to do! Editing, emails, the behind the scenes accounting and marketing that self-employed people do themselves..

And when that’s caught up and I have some free time I try and get some blog posts written and photographed. I used to post twice a week, but since having my baby this fall I haven’t been nearly as consistent. I’m hoping to change that soon though!

Q:What are some important skills that you have that make you well-suited to your work?

A: Most people probably assume that to be a photographer you just need to be “artsy” (a word I’ve come to not like very much or really identify with if I’m being honest!). But to make a living at it you also need to be organized and extremely self-driven. I’m lucky enough to enjoy being organized and getting things done on my own so that definitely helps with my business.

Q: What excites you most about your work?

A: When I make a photo, or photos, that I absolutely love! And when my clients are just as excited about them as I am.

QWhat ‘Big Things’ are on your horizon?

A: Every year my business evolves a bit more into what I want it to be, and every year I work towards that goal in a new way. I would love to solely shoot what I described in the first question and not have to do the “doing because it pays the bills” jobs that fill in the rest of it.

Q: In what ways does your work challenge you?

A: I like planning and knowing exactly what to expect, but every shoot I do is in a new location, with different people doing different things, so it keeps me on my toes! But part of being a photographer is making all situations work and still getting great images – no matter what.

 

Q: What inspires you to keep going on the hard days?

The thought of going back to a 9-5 office job! Ha! But really when things are tough I’m still so grateful for the career and life I’ve chosen that the thought of having to give it all up makes me work harder to keep it.

Q: What aspect of your work takes the most time?

That’s a hard one. Probably all the “paper” work that has to be done as unglamorous as that sounds. Quotes, invoicing, accounting… taxes (ugh). It’s all really time consuming, but a necessity of running your own business.

Thanks so much Amy for taking the time to share all this awesome information with us! I am really excited to see what the next year (and beyond!) has in store for you and your business.  Please check out Amy’s amazing blog and business website!