Tanya makes it happen
If there is one thing that Tanya McAllister likes is to see her friends happy, and she often gets to do that when she is planning parties or baby showers for them.
The owner of Essential Events likes to create things and plan. She does not like making lists and checking them off as the event gets closer but she relishes the satisfaction on people’s faces when everything comes together.
While she does not have as much experience as some of more established event planners, that has not stopped her from doing what she loves and she is more determined than ever to ensure her fledgling home based business blooms into what she has visualised.
It was a year ago that she decided she would start on her journey and turn her hobby into a business. However, she is taking baby steps, not wanting to rush anything and incur debt.
“After planning three parties and three baby showers I decided I could make money from this. I like planning; getting everything together, the decorations, the venue and then when it is finished [decorated] how it looks and seeing the clients’ and their reaction which is priceless makes me feel good.
“Also, seeing everybody happy and knowing that everything worked out how I planned and the client was satisfied, gives me the most satisfaction. Something as simple as giving a child who wants a balloon, one, makes me smile. I also helped some friends who were getting married look for venues,” she said.
Apart from watching various tutorials on YouTube each night for different aspects of planning, McAllister completed a course at the University of the West Indies Open Campus to make sure she knew what was required to ensure the event’s successes. Things such as colour schemes and budgets, menus and venue layout add to the success of an event, she explained.
“When a prospective client has a consultation, the budget, types of food, colour scheme, decorations, venues, the date, time or season are equally important,” she added.
Noting that while low budget events can be pulled off effectively and within the price range given, she said people must be realistic and take into account their wants with their money they are willing to shell out.
She said that even though she was the person in her circle of friends planning various outings when they attended secondary school, it never crossed her mind to get into event planning after leaving. Her advice to anyone contemplating getting into this business or anything for that matter is to go ahead.
“For anyone thinking about entering event planning, they should try to do as much research as possible. They can google events and other information, try to go to different events and see how the venues are laid out, look at how everything is rotated from the stage to the bar. They can also try to do things at home, centrepieces, banners, napkins, decorations, and invitations,” she said.
McAllister shared that in addition to planning her friends/clients’ baby showers, she might help prepare the treats if asked. She also helps clean up after it is done and more often than not she is the hostess organising the games to be played.
For those who have never attended a baby shower, these games include pins in the rice, making toilet paper diapers or an outfit for the baby, quizzes, and pass the dirty diaper, which all contribute to creating memories for the mums-to-be.
What is her next step?
“I want to do everything. I want to plan a wedding but I think that I can carve a niche with baby showers. I have also planned children’s parties. …. I’m hoping that Essential Events will be a full-service business offering suggestions on the venue to actually providing the invitations,” McAllister said.
“I’m aiming to grow Essential Events and I know I can with good support from my family and friends. I use social media a lot and my Facebook page has some of the showers I’ve planned but I want to do more. My friends tell other friends and that’s how it has started to grow.
“I also want to do the wedding planning course and I’m looking for one to sign up for so I can grow in that area. I know I will get there eventually but I’m taking baby steps first and going slowly but I will get it done,” McAllister said optimistically. (GBM)