What were you doing (careerwise) when you decided to create
your own business?
Before launching Camille Styles Events, I planned corporate events for a marketing agency. I loved working with a team of creative people, but craved the variety of planning events for lots of different clients. Instead of focusing only on corporate events, I wanted to plan bridal brunches, baby showers, and birthday parties.
When did you start your business?
CamilleStyles.com and Camille Styles Events were launched in January 2009 -- it was the height of the recession, but I knew I couldn’t wait to pursue my passion until the economy turned around!
When did you know that you could really make a go of
I won’t lie, the first year is tough. It seemed like all I did was get out there, call potential clients, and market myself any way I knew how. But then when I entered my second year, an amazing thing happened: Clients started knocking down my door!
How did you turn your dream into a business plan?
I initially created my blog, CamilleStyles.com, as a way to market my event planning business. However, as I began forming partnerships with other bloggers and my traffic increased, the website began to take on a life of its own as it became a resource for party inspiration. As my blog gained popularity, my event planning business naturally expanded in ways I never imagined.
What inspired you to do this?
I once heard that you should figure out what you’d want to spend all day doing if money were out of the equation ... and then find a way to get paid for doing that very thing. For me, it’s helping people to celebrate both the big moments in life and the everyday experiences in unforgettable ways.
What was the biggest obstacle?
I’m sure that friends thought I was crazy for starting a “luxury” party-planning business in the middle of the recession, when companies and individuals were cutting budgets all over the place, but I knew that I couldn’t wait for the economy to turn around before pursuing my passion! I was also able to reach a separate audience of those that might not hire an event planner, through CamilleStyles.com. Our mission there is to show people that everyone can create inspired parties and unforgettable experiences for family and friends.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
I’m incredibly lucky to have friends and family who believe in me way more than I deserve credit for. My husband (also an entrepreneur) was there for me on those days when I felt like giving up; he always encouraged me to keep going and believed that I could be truly successful if I hung in there long enough!
How long did it take for your business to become
About a year.
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Time management, without question. My job requires me to be incredibly detail-oriented, but when I’m juggling six parties at once, I may not have time to spend an hour searching for the perfect favor boxes. Add to that the fact that CamilleStyles.com is updated twice daily, and you’ve got the recipe for an incredibly full schedule.
What's the most fun part of what you do?
Duh, I plan parties for a living! Of course, it’s not all fun and games, but I truly do try to remember that parties should be about fun, and it’s important to keep this spirit of whimsy and creativity throughout the planning process. The most fun part of my job is seeing clients' eyes light up when they see their parties come together more beautifully than they could have dreamed!
Where do you work from?
I have a home office with an external entrance. I love working from home, but it’s great to feel like I’m “arriving” at work so I can be productive while I’m in the office with minimal distractions. It’s also imperative that I have a place to store the mountains of party supplies that pile up before every event!
Do you have employees?
My amazing employee, Chanel, is my right-hand woman on events, as well as a coauthor of CamilleStyles.com. Hiring that first employee is a little scary; it means that not one, but two, people are now relying on your company’s success. But I believe that taking that risk is ultimately what allowed us to grow and work toward our big goals.
How have you been using social media to grow your
Twitter and Facebook have been invaluable tools to grow the readership of my blog. Not only have I been able to connect with new readers all over the world, I’ve actually forged lifelong friendships with other bloggers who continually inspire me on a daily basis.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring
One of my event clients, Kendra Scott, is a total inspiration to me. She started her own line of jewelry out of her spare bedroom, and has since grown her company into an internationally recognized brand that’s worn by celebrities and sold at some of the most chic retailers. What’s most inspiring about Kendra is that, in addition to her great success, she manages to prioritize her family, friends, and the causes she’s passionate about, and always has fun doing it!
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your
I started my career as an event planner for a catering company, and it was in that environment that I learned the nitty-gritty, practical aspects of planning a successful event from start to finish. How many pounds of ice are needed? Where do we haul trash? Not the most glamorous questions, but oh-so-crucial to making an event happen.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever
Women often feel uncomfortable talking about money and frequently undercharge for the value we bring to the table. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to get over that, and fast! My husband gave me some great advice when presenting clients with a bid: “If you don’t cringe a little when making 'the ask,' you’re probably not asking enough.”
What is your favorite product/service that you offer?
It’s been incredible to see my blog grow beyond a complement to my event planning company into a real business in its own right. Since CamilleStyles.com provides inspiration for the home entertainer, I love that I’m able to offer expertise to those who live around the globe or who may not be able to hire an event planner. Our mission is for everyone to have the tools to create unforgettable celebrations!
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become
Consider ways to start living your dream where you are right now. If you’re not in a place to quit your full-time job just yet, look for weekend internships and volunteer opportunities that provide a real-life taste of what it would be like to work in that industry. If you’ve already done that and know it’s truly your dream, then there’s no time like the present! Never forget that life is way too short to waste one day working in a role that’s uninspiring. You’ll always regret it if you don’t give your dream a shot, so go for it!
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