Today, we spoke to two of our fantastic backers – Lauren Chumbley and Kristi DePew, co-owners of Eclipse Event Co, based in Austin, Texas.
By believing in The Apprentice Program, Lauren and Kristi are helping us make history and revolutionizing the events industry. Read our Intern Manifesto and stand strong with us: MENTORS and INTERNS, you both deserve better!
With over 15 years combined experience in the events industry, Lauren and Kristi plan events around their three pillars of excellence:
Honesty, Creativity and Resourcefulness
Lauren has been a member of the International Special Events Society, where she served on the Austin board for two years, while Kristi is currently a member of the Austin chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) and has just accepted a position on the board as the Fundraising Chair for 2016.
Check out their insider tips for making it big in the events industry, how their first year in business went and the biggest reason they supported The Apprentice Program’s Kickstarter campaign!
Hey Lauren and Kristi! What led you both to getting careers in the events industry?
LC: Honestly? The movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. I was in high school and I thought “I want to do what she does!” She was in Public Relations (which I majored in at The University of Texas), but really when it came down to it, she was an Event Planner! Basically, all the studying I did, internships I took, jobs I worked was to help me reach my ultimate goal of being a full time Event Planner.
KD: I was an active part of my sorority in college and began planning their formals and mixers as part of my role within the organization. I’ve always had a keen eye for detail and a photographic memory, so bringing in elements I had seen from various movies or stage productions quickly helped me gain a reputation as an “event planner”, even before I knew that was a real occupation! Upon graduation I moved back home to Austin and interned at a local wedding planning company to see if weddings were a good fit for me, and the rest is history!
In your experience, what do you think are the most important skills you need when mentoring event interns?
KD: I think patience, the ability to listen and flexibility are all key to having a positive experience with interns. They are learning, so encouraging them to ask questions and making yourself available to them is super important.
Do your interns often help on-site at events or do they mostly work during the week? What tasks do you typically delegate to them?
LC: [They attend] one to two weddings a month during busy season with a blog to write, and then a site visit a month during the slower part of the season. We invite them to client meetings when feasible so they can see the entire process.
KD: I always invite them to meetings around 30 days out to hear how the plans are coming together, and make sure to include them on a formal overview of the event a few days leading up to the big day. At the events, having already been informed of the details, I delegate tasks based on the duration of how long they will take, as well as in order of importance. I try to show them hands-on how I (or the bride) want things to look so that they can fly on their own.
What’s your very best life hack tip you’ve learned along the way as an event planner and a small business owner?
LC: Always show up. Someone said that at my high school graduation (that 80% of life is showing up) and for some reason it has stuck with me. Showing up could mean a lot of things, but basically being available to someone goes a long way and I think shows your investment in the client as well.
KD: Under-promise and over-deliver! I don’t know if that’s a life hack, but it helps result in some very happy clients!
Now tell us, what is the BIGGEST reason you became a backer for The Apprentice Program by The Simplifiers?
KD: Not only does the program help solve problems we have like “what kinds of things can I give my interns to do?” but it really helps outline a curriculum. I have also known Mary for years and have seen first-hand the types of events she has been able to produce, and have followed her career since moving to the UK, and we are impressed to say the least!
LC: We want to legitimize the industry further by training everyone the right way! Interns are an investment in your business (especially because they represent you at events) and have the potential down the road to be a full time planner. I want to be able to trust who we bring onto the team and successfully completing The Apprentice Program would help build that trust.
We need your support as well, if we are going to achieve our mission – we’re currently 72% funded with 6 days left. Whether you’re a wedding planner, event planner, vendor, eLearning expert or just passionate about mentoring – every dollar counts! You can support us at whatever level works best for you, whether it’s $5 or $500.
Join us, stand strong and make history with us by signing our Intern Manifesto – click the button below.