Sometimes an unexpected life event can lead to success. Andrea Adelstein was a recently divorced mom who needed to support herself. She had worked as a buyer for a large department store in New York City years before, where she built an appreciation for aesthetics. She also had two close friends in the event planning business and had grown familiar with the industry. Event planning soon struck her as the perfect blend of her skills and interests.
“My fate as an event planner seemed pre-determined,” Adelstein says. “I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home--everything that represented who I really was, added in my strong skill set, and harnessed them into the business of event planning.”
Today, she is CEO of NYLUX Events, an event-planning business whose client list includes major corporations and non-profits as well as weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
1. What does your business do?
NYLUX Events is a full-service event production company specializing in social and corporate events. From personal milestones to large corporate productions, we infuse creativity, resources and attention to detail into each event, while developing long lasting relationships with our clients. Our motto is ‘Be a guest at your own event…’
2. How has your business grown?
My business started from doing one event at a time to juggling eight or 12, or more, events at a time. Connecting closely with clients, listening to them, always being available, paying attention to detail and being calm in the midst of the storm became the foundation of the business. Slowly the referrals came.
I am also investigating doing more work in-house rather than using different vendors. This would bring in additional revenue, keep pricing down for clients and let us have more control over product quality.
3. What hurdles have you overcome?
Maintaining A constant flow of business has been the biggest hurdle. To overcome that took time and diligence. Expanding into different segments of the event planning industry has also helped.
For example, I wanted to increase the number of events we worked on at any one time. I felt that corporate events were a good direction, as they would balance out the type of work we were already engaged in. Corporate event work is more concentrated during business hours, with less evenings and weekends, and has a shorter lead-time than most of the social events we work on.
Selling myself properly and learning to market what I do versus what other event planners do has also been a hurdle. I’ve worked with a public relations firm and am now working with a media consultant to help me distill what makes NYLUX Events unique, and how best to present that. I’m always looking at how social media can be useful in marketing.
4. What would you want other business owners to know about running a business?
Find your unique voice. It takes a while, but building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Be true to your core values and authentic, as those values show to clients.
When I found the right business, I kept at it every single day. Even on vacation, weekends, holidays, I was reading or working on something. The long hours required to be smart and relevant are remarkable, but they pay off. Clients are clued in and they have numerous choices. Be real and honest with them, and they will be, too.
5. What’s the biggest challenge you face in selling your services?
My biggest challenge is getting people to understand what an event planner’s job entails, and therefore why it is valuable. Most people have a point of reference from the movies about us just choosing colors and flowers. While I am a creative, that is only one aspect of the job.
Event planning can be incredibly stressful for the client who has put all their hopes and dreams into a single day. We take the stress away from our clients. We act as our events’ relationship managers.
I run the event like a COO, with all the operational and organizational details anticipated and dealt with far in advance. I act as a relationship manager between all the parties involved. Once clients understand the full body of work I cover, they understand the value of hiring my company.