How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?
At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, I was working for a corporation and was weeks away from being promoted to their Corporate Event Planner. After years of having planning being a component of my job, I was excited to be 100% focused on event planning, which had been a long time ultimate goal. With the disruption of the closures and necessary adaptations, though, my promotion was postponed indefinitely. In the summer of 2020, my position had shifted quite a bit to focus on work that I was not keen on creating a career out of. I was working 80 hour weeks and was completely worn out. My fiancé saw my distress and gave me the go ahead to leave my job and start my own company, another goal I always have had in the back of my mind. We were so fortunate that the pandemic had grown his business and he was able to support me while I got my company off the ground.
So in June 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I started my event planning company, RosePOP Parties. I had experience in all realms of event planning so I was willing and prepared to jump in wherever made sense. I landed in the wedding industry. Austin, Texas is a wedding hotspot and COVID-19 did not change this one bit. Within a couple months, I had booked at least one wedding per month through December 2021. I don't know if I will stick with exclusively weddings "when the world reopens" but I am grateful for the event planning work and am enjoying helping couples plan and prepare for their special day!
With people wanting to stay home the majority of their time, I decided to get creative to give clients something to look forward to while not having their ordinary parties or being able to go out to dinner with friends. So I created events-in-a-box, what I call POPBoxes. These are fully curated home parties delivered contactless or shipped. They include everything that you might need for a home event including an evening agenda, curated playlist and all necessary supplies. I have standard themed POPBoxes including Candle Making, Happy Hour, Baking Party and Game Night. I also create custom POPBoxes that sometimes accompany virtual events. For example, a speech pathologist in Maryland hired me to help her celebrate a long-time student's virtual graduation. The event and POPBoxes were centered around origami projects as the graduate loves crafts and learning new intricate skills.
I have also sent out POPBoxes to all attendees for virtual events that I have been hired to host. A popular virtual event is trivia. With this, I send out the same cocktail ingredients, snacks and party favors to all attendees so it feels like everyone is in the same room, indulging in the same things like you would at an in-person party. Never would I have imagined myself as a trivia host but I absolutely love providing a fun activity for friends or colleagues to do together!
Overall, this pandemic gave me the opportunity to take the leap of not only finally becoming a full time event planner but also fulfilling a life goal of starting and running my own business.
This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where we celebrate the positivity and optimism shown by planners across the industry when navigating the turbulent waters that COVID-19 has brought the meetings and events industry. Keep an eye out as we release more stories like this over the next few months.