How I set up my own events management company

Rebecca Thomas is a director at events management firm Eventify alongside Samantha Burton.

Rebecca Thomas runs events firm Eventify
Rebecca Thomas is the co-founder of events firm Eventify

My ‘career’ in events management began whilst I was in sixth form at school and part of the team organising the opening of a new school building. I had never done anything like it before and soon realised I had a real passion for events and putting on a good show that everyone enjoyed.

I spent my gap year in a corporate hospitality role, it was absolutely amazing and I got to work at Twickenham Stadium, Cheltenham Racecourse and many other sporting venues.

By now I was well and truly bitten by the events bug! I studied Event Management at University which included a year-long placement with Merlin Events in London whose venues include the iconic Madame Tussauds, London Eye and Sea Life Aquarium.

The experience was incredible. I worked on everything from glitzy gala balls to high profile award ceremonies. After completing university with a first-class honours degree I was hired by Merlin Events as an event manager where I spent five happy years in a mixture of roles in both operational and sales, before co-founding Eventify in 2018.

Starting an events business

Both Samantha (my business partner) and I had been in our roles for a few years and felt ready for a new challenge. Neither of us could imagine working for anyone else so decided to join forces and start our very own business. We have a natural affinity with a similar approach to business, events and life in general. From day one we promised to make every event special, no matter how big or small. Starting Eventify is the best decision I ever made.

Eventify co-founders Samantha and Rebecca

What we do

Eventify is an event management and venue finding agency and our clients include corporate businesses and private party organisers. As co-founder and director, I am completely hands-on in everything that we do.

We have just celebrated our second year in business which has seen us deliver over 800 hours of events for more than 11,000 guests in 14 worldwide locations with over 7,000 glasses of champagne sipped and 18,000 canapes nibbled.

Events have included a Studio 54 inspired company ball, a festival themed Christmas party and a product launch at the Tower of London. A “typical” month for us could consist of two drinks receptions, a few small meetings, one conference, and an awards dinner thrown in for good measure! 

Eventify – Autumn Ball at Cafe de Paris

The challenges we’ve faced

The most recent and probably the greatest challenge we have faced is the COVID-19 pandemic.

The events industry has been impacted massively, with most events being cancelled or postponed.

Unfortunately, the events industry was one of the first to come to a halt and will probably be one of the last to pick back up again in our journey back to ‘normality’. We have approached the challenge with an upbeat and flexible attitude encouraging our clients to think creatively; to postpone events rather than cancel; hold some events virtually and by using our own time for positive good.

To mark our recent second year in business we delivered care packages to our NHS heroes in local hospitals and hospices. I am so proud of us for achieving such a milestone in business whilst making a difference to people’s lives. 

What I love about my job

The best thing about my job is getting to meet so many people and visit so many amazing places. Events are all about connecting and engaging people and I love building up relationships with so many different people whether they be clients, suppliers or colleagues. I feel hugely lucky that I spend most of my time in stunning venues and experiencing wonderful events.

The best bits of running a business

It is honestly like a dream come true! Being my own boss allows me great flexibility as well as an abundant creative outlet. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with many challenges and pressures, it is hard to truly switch off from ‘work’ but if you create a business doing something you love then why would you want to switch off?

Samantha and I still ‘whoop’ and high five (obviously virtually at the moment!) every time we win a piece of business, no matter how big or small, because it’s a symbol of our hard work and perseverance.

Eventify is our ‘baby’ and we work tirelessly to ensure its success and we’re rewarded with plenty of proud ‘parent’ moments. 

What characteristics I think someone needs in my profession

To succeed in events, you need to be personable. As I have said, events are all about connecting people and engaging guests so you have to be able to communicate with all types of people, whether that’s your clients or dealing with venues, suppliers and colleagues whilst organising and delivering events. I’d also say as long as you are organised, can think on your feet and you’re not shy of a long day (or night!) of work you’ll be fine!

Get out there! Meet as many people in the industry as possible whether that is virtually at the moment or at networking events in the future.

Also get as much experience as you can, whether its visiting event venues or attending events but most importantly volunteering and working on events.

The first question you will be asked when applying for any events role is ‘what experience do you have?’ You need to show you have real-life experience of live events and all the nuances and last-minute changes which come with them.

The advice I’d give to my younger self

It seems obvious but to not care what people think. I spent many years too scared to voice my opinion or give my ideas because I was scared to be laughed at or shut down.

In all honesty, that’s not going to happen in your work environment, and if it does then you’re in the wrong place! Your idea may not be perfect but that’s the whole point of teamwork, together you can chop and change it until it is perfect and you can roll out one of your very own creations. There is nothing better!

To find out more about Eventify, visit: www.eventifyuk.com

You can also follow Eventify on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

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