Archive for the ‘Student/Grad Feature’ Category

Meet QC grad, event and wedding planner Diane MerrissDiane Merriss believes in the power of education. That’s why she’s enrolled in QC’s Wedding Planning course. Her career has come so far since then, and she is now the owner of her own thriving event and wedding planning business. We’re so proud to share her story with our readers today, from her personal insight into the planning industry, to some seriously incredible photos of her work. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to see them all!

Company Name: Event Wedding Planning
Description: Event Wedding Planning is a full service wedding planning company that can customize any package to make it fit your exact needs. From the intimate weddings to the spectacular – we offer more personalized services, from multi-cultural weddings and events to destination weddings.
Region: Southern California and beyond
Phone: 949-940-8884
Facebook Page:

What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner and how did you career unfold?

I was into photography for such a long time, and experienced a lot of behind the scenes of weddings and events. I thought that I would love to do it too, as I had always loved to host get-togethers. My ultimate dream goal was to own a luxurious wedding and event venue along the coast. I had thought about that goal many times over the years. I finally decided to go to school to be a wedding planner and start from scratch so I could learn the real way to plan weddings professionally.

I then enrolled in QC Event School’s Wedding Planning course, completed my course, and started by business, Event Wedding Planning, immediately. Less than two years later, QC called to let me know that they added the Core Event course and wanted to see if I was interested. I enrolled and completed it quickly, changing my designation from IWPP to IEWP (International Event and Wedding Planning Professional).

Right after completing the Core Event program, I started Special Event Producers, which is the corporate and private events side of Event Wedding Planning. I have planned many events and still love every minute of what I do.

In 2011 I decided that, knowing all I do about events, it was time to bring in even more education to my business to help with design, color schemes, and so forth, so I went back to QC for the Design and Decorating course. I love it! Adding professional design elements to my business gives me a greater advantage for designing an event from scratch and putting together color schemes. Most seasoned planners seem to have an interior design background, or vice versa.

What are some highlights of your career so far?

1. Planning an entire wedding from scratch in less than three months! It was challenging but fun, and worth every moment. The wedding turned out beautifully, just the way the couple imagined.

2. Having the opportunity to work with not only fabulous wedding couples, but also some amazing and talented wedding and event professionals, along with some amazing locations. We have developed long lasting relationships that are treasured by my business. I consider my preferred vendors and preferred locations like family, and I refer them to all my clients and to anyone needing their specific services.

3. Lastly, I had the opportunity to add “private estates” to my business to rent out for events. Great properties with great possibilities – I am just blessed to have been part of the estate renting experience, as it felt like my own wedding venues!

How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

QC’s courses taught me a lot about the business end, which is so very valuable to any business. Learning how to properly price my services, the do’s and don’ts of business, and legal information has been so very priceless. My business is stricter because of this.

Learning the cultural diversities and traditions that were broken down into detail in the course has been such a blessing for my business as well. I love, love, love the religious traditions for weddings and events! That is one thing that has made my business stand out a little bit more from some of the others. The knowledge of different cultures and religious traditions has brought more business to my company and that is one thing I honestly cherish about my wedding business.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

My advice would be to finish all schooling first! I have many interns who want to “just be a planner already” and think they don’t need schooling. I quickly sit them down and tell them how important it is and how it benefits them for their own future businesses. Ultimately, having a certificate shows an employer how serious you are about this as a career and that it’s not just another job you are taking. Schooling shows you the back-end of running a successful business, how to run different types of events, and how to problem solve in worst-case scenarios, so it is very valuable to have.

Let’s have a look at some of Diane’s work…

Kerri & Jim’s Wedding

Photography by Jen Lauren Grant Photography

An example of QC grad Diane Merriss' work

QC grad Diane Merriss planned this beautiful reception

Creative ideas from QC grad Diane Merriss

Great Gatsby Inspired Wedding

Photography by Lin & Jirsa Photography

A stunning outdoor ceremony by QC grad Diane Merriss

QC grad Diane Merriss planned this impressive Gatsby wedding

A creative Great Gatsby-themed wedding by Diane Merriss

Jillian & Chris’ Wedding

Photography by Gavin Wade Photography

QC grad Diane Merriss is an impressive wedding planner

QC grad Diane Merriss

Rietkerk Wedding

Photography by Jim Kennedy Photographers

Wedding and event planner Diane Merriss

QC Event School grad Diane Merriss

QC grad and wedding planner Diane Merriss

Michael Smith has always been interested in makeup. Before enrolling in QC’s Master Makeup Artistry course his focus had mostly been on special effects makeup for motion pictures. Because of this background he understood the transformative power of makeup, and he was ready to work with the face as a canvas for beauty and glamor.

Michael excelled in his coursework and graduated near the end of 2012. He’s already well on his way to a thriving career as a makeup artist. We’re so pleased to bring you Michael’s story today, and invite you to visit his Facebook page and scroll through some photos of his work below.

Meet QC graduate Michael SmithBusiness Name: Blushstrokes Makeup
Course Taken: Master Makeup Artistry
Service Location: Central Ohio

A few of Michael’s noteworthy credits:

Makeup Artist, “Fish’n with Joe” Youtube episode, “Fishigan in Michigan” (makeup for spokesmodel) Columbus, OH.
Makeup Artist, International Talent models’ photoshoot. Columbus, OH.
Makeup Artist,  35mm feature “Oracabessa” (Tigest Films), Columbus, OH.
(Best Makeup Award Nomination) Makeup Artist, international competition film submission, “Perspectives”, Columbus, OH.


Where are you in your career?

I’m rediscovering my passion for makeup after several years of working in photography. I am building on past experiences, along with my schooling at QC, to better myself as a professional MUA.

What’s your favorite part about being a makeup artist?  

What I enjoy most about being an MUA is the variety of work I do. I can do a wedding one day, and then the next day work on a local film production or photo shoot.

What’s your dream job?

I would have to say my dream would be to work on a Hollywood motion picture production.

If you could do anyone’s makeup, who would you love to work with?

There are so many talented and gorgeous models and actresses out there. However, I’ve always been drawn to the glamour of the thirties and forties. I will say that to me, beauty is not just a pretty face. Beauty is also defined by what’s on the inside.

Why did you choose to study with QC Makeup Academy? 

In Ohio there are no schools for just makeup application, so I found the distance-learning lessons to be convenient. The materials (books, DVDs) that come with the lessons are good references to have even after graduation.

Some photos of Michael’s work…

MUA Michael Smith's take on Clara Bow

Photography by Jeffrey Glasser

QC makeup graduate Michael Smith

Photography by Jeffrey Glasser

Master makeup artistry graduate Michael Smith

Michael Smith's makeup artistry

QC graduate Michael Smith, MUA


May 31, 2013 10:00 am

Pinterest For Wedding Planners


Pinterest is all the rage these days. It’s quickly become a part of our daily vocabulary, and has changed the way we do a lot of things. We find ourselves saying “Hey, I think I saw that on Pinterest!” more and more, and it’s now our one-stop shop for recipe, DIY, décor, event, style and travel inspiration.

As a wedding planner myself, I’ve watched as the site has quickly made itself an invaluable resource to professionals in the event industry. And for good reason. Aside from finding inspiration there, I find it’s also an incredible way to connect with my clients.

Gone are the days of magazine clippings. A picture might paint a thousand words, but a Pinterest board filled with a bride’s wedding inspiration can save a thousand words. It’s now easier than ever to communicate concepts, which makes the whole wedding planning process much more efficient.

Now, one of the first things I do with my new clients is create a secret pin board. In the past this would have been a physical folder full of magazine clippings; oh how the times have changed!

My only tip? Recommend to the bride that she not look at Pinterest starting at least one month from the wedding. Pinterest bombards us with new and inspiring images every day, which makes it so easy to second guess those table centerpieces we were so sure of a few months before. I promise, getting your bride to commit to banning Pinterest for that last month will save you both a lot of hair pulling stress!

The possibilities are endless, so let the pinning begin!


Kim is an experienced wedding planner, a cultivator of ideas with the resourcefulness to make creative dreams a reality. From concept to completion she is a detail oriented, creative out of the box thinker whose experience and knowledge are second to none. She takes great pride in assisting others to achieve their dreams beyond expectations. She has had opportunity to live in many locations including Europe, Quebec City, Montreal and even rural Ontario; her travels have deeply influenced her creative flair making her an invaluable resource to her clients. Connect with Kim via LinkedIn and Pinterest!


May 13, 2013 10:54 am

Featuring QC Grad Jo Davies

We want to offer a big congratulations to QC Event School graduate Jo Davies! She recently won the “Best New Wedding Planner” (Devon) award from Wedding Industry Experts. Jo graduated from the Wedding Planner course only two months ago, and we’re so proud of how far she’s come in such a short amount of time. That’s why we wanted to feature her story and her business today. Make sure you scroll all the way to view some photos of her work!

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies


Company Name: Jo Davies Weddings
Region: South West England, UK
Twitter: @JoDaviesWedding
Phone: 07902540033 or 01823 602839

What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner?

My lovely sister in law asked me to organise her wedding soon after she got engaged last year. She told me that she was so impressed with the way my own wedding turned in out in 2011 she wanted me to help plan hers! I was completely over the moon that she felt I could create her dream day and I thought to myself, What if I can do this for other people too?

What are some highlights of your career so far?

My wedding planning business is still in the very early stages but I have already received a huge amount of support from other vendors in the wedding industry. I was recently voted the Best New Wedding Planner in Devon and ranked number 7 in England!

How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

From start to finish the IWPP course with QC provided me with all the knowledge needed to start my own business in wedding planning. The course taught me how to successfully complete all the stages required to plan various different wedding styles and provided brilliant support all the way through!

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

The only thing I can say at this point is to never give up! I have experienced many knocks and downfalls on the way but the important thing is that you pick yourself up and carry on. If your dream is to be a wedding planner, go for it!

Some photos of Jo’s work…

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies

Featuring QC grad Jo Davies

Photo credit (Jo’s portrait): Andy Whale
All other photos: Mark Waldron

Meet QC grad Galina!Today we’d like to introduce you to Galina Sergeyeva. Galina has always had a flair for design, and so she decided to pursue a creative career that she would love. That’s why she enrolled in QC Design School’s Home Staging course back in 2009. Since then, she’s used her skills and passion to open up her own design business – Gala Interiors. We’re so happy to share her story with you today and to feature some beautiful before and afters of her work.

Company name: Gala Interiors
Design and renovation services
Greater Toronto Area
Facebook fan page:

What motivated you to start your career as a design professional?

Ever since I was a child, I aspired to a career in design, although unconsciously at the time. I was already preoccupied by aesthetic elements such as clothing, accessories, and gift creation through choosing, matching, and creating away when I had the chance.

After my graduation in Technological Engineering with an Industrial Design degree, I started working in the fashion district, keeping interior design as a hobby in between drapery and textile designs.

I then moved to Canada and received my degree in Administrative Science and Marketing Management at the HEC Montreal University. I got a manager position in a modern furniture store, and enjoyed helping clients with furniture and accessories selection, interior decorating, and redesigning.

However, my tasks did not bring enough satisfaction to my creative needs, so I finally decided to take that one step further and transform my passionate hobby into a full profession, which led to my graduating in QC Design School.

What are some highlights of your career so far?

After my graduation from QC Design School I started my career as Home Stager and became part of a real estate team that leads house flipping projects for individual clients and investors in the real estate market.  I was helping them in the home renovation process selecting colors, finishes, and building materials, as well as in kitchen and bath remodeling choosing the right tiles, flooring, cabinetry, counter tops, lighting, and fixtures. I was also leading projects as a Project Manager.

How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

Thanks to the International Staging and Redesign Professional course with QC Design School I have learned how to create beautiful, well organized, and decorated spaces, working with any budget – even very limited budgets. I have learned how to apply design techniques and principles to any type of home. Knowing how to use 3D floor plans helps me a lot in creating and presenting my projects.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

It’s crucial to listen carefully to the clients, to understand their needs and goals, and to try your best to satisfy them.

Some photos of Galina’s work…

A beautifully staged family room by Gala Interiors

Before and after kitchen staging by Gala Interiors

Before and after living room by Gala Interiors

A luxurious master bedroom staged by Gala Interiors

A well-staged home office by Gala Interiors


This month we're featuring home stager Tiffany ParkerMeet Tiffany Parker. A few years ago, she decided to make a major career change. She wanted to escape her 9-5 job and pursue the growing home staging industry. She wanted to be creative every day, and so she enrolled in QC Design School’s Home Staging course. Shortly after, she opened her own business, Parker Interiors.

Company name: Parker Interiors Staging and Redesign
Region: Washington, DC
Phone: 202-431-1229
Description: With over $30 million in staged homes, Parker Interiors Staging & Redesign is the best value for staging in the Washington DC area – dollar for dollar. Using our vast inventory of furniture and accessories, our professional staging team creates fresh design concepts that transform spaces in preparation for sale and open house. Parker Interiors is committed to meeting your goals and exceeding your expectations. In the fast moving world of real estate, we believe that staging should be fast and convenient. Our talented team will reinvent most spaces in one day to showcase their best attributes, helping it sell quickly.

What motivated you to start your career as a design professional?  After years in corporate office settings, I was motivated to start my staging business by a desire to be active, transform spaces, have an impact, and express creativity.

What are some highlights of your career so far? Besides several homes receiving multiple offers after one day on the market, the greatest highlights so far have been the constant growth and expansion of the possibilities of staging.  Staging is so ubiquitous today; there are opportunities to use it in so many different environments. I was even asked to do a set design for Dr. Maya Angelou.

How did your course prepare you for working in the field? QC Design School’s Home Staging course provided a strong baseline as I entered the field by introducing me to what I would be expected to know.  Certainly a lot of learning can only be acquired on the job, but the course helped me to feel prepared for whatever might come my way.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?  Just be ready for an adventure.  Staging is serious physical and mental work.  Be willing to be self critical. Take risks.  Spend as much time on the business side as you do on the design side and grow smartly!

Take a look at some photos of Tiffany’s work…

Featuring home stager Tiffany Parker

QC Student Tiffany Parker

Featuring Tiffany Parker

Featuring Tiffany Parker

Featuring Tiffany Parker

Featuring Tiffany Parker

Featuring Tiffany Parker

All photos credited to Walnut Street Development


It’s the best of student work! Meet Cristina Iliescu, Joshua Gilchrist, and Lynn Phu. We’re introducing you to these three standout QC students and grads today, because we’re so proud of the work they’ve accomplished! We want to give a big thanks to all three of our featured MUAs for sharing with us their inside perspectives on the makeup industry…and of course, some gorgeous photos of their work.

QC: What’s your favorite part about being a makeup artist, or makeup artist in training?

Cristina: My favorite part is that I can express my creativity and I can bring confidence, self-esteem, and a smile to my clients.

Joshua: I love working with people. The fact that makeup artistry is a very artistic field allows me to be creative!

Lynn: My favorite part is showing off my creative side because I love art and I love my clients’ happy reactions when I finish their makeup looks.

QC: What’s your dream job?

Cristina: Being a makeup artist is my dream job. It is the only job that makes me feel me.

Joshua: To be a world renowned makeup artist who everyone would love to work with.

Lynn: My dream job would be to do fantasy makeup for runway shows.

QC: If you could do anyone’s makeup, who would you love to work with?

Cristina: I would love to work with celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Kate Moss because they have that natural beauty that makes a makeup artist’s work a pleasure, but I know that I would feel totally fulfilled as a makeup artist if I could bring back the lost beauty of those people who have had a tough life.

Joshua: I would love to do makeup for Adele.

Lynn: Emma Stone, because she seems very laid back and easy going. I also think any makeup would work for her.

QC: Why did you choose to study with QC Makeup Academy?

Cristina: I wanted to study more about this passion of mine (as you all know, in makeup learning never ends!), so I was looking for something professional enough to feed my hunger for information but also allow me to continue my job. After almost two months of searching for the best school for me, I discovered QC Makeup Academy. After doing some research, I decided that it was exactly what I was looking for, so I enrolled immediately. I am so happy I did, and I am so honored to be part of this fascinating family.

Joshua: I was very happy with the great source of information. The Student Support Specialists are amazing and the assignments were a great way to evolve me into a wonderful artist.

Lynn: I chose QC Makeup Academy because the step-by-step guide was well planned and I wanted to learn something new.

Scroll down for photos and contact information…

Cristina Iliescu:
Service location: London, England
All images c/o Cristina Iliescu


Joshua Gilchrist:
Noir Makeup Artistry
Service location: On location in Madison, Wisconsin
Photography by Vince Padilla


Lynn Phu:
Service location: Houston, Texas
Images c/o Lynn Phu









March 13, 2013 3:46 pm

Featuring Demarra Smith, QC Graduate

graduate feature demarra smithMeet Demarra Smith. Demarra graduated from QC Event School’s International Event and Wedding Planning course nearly a year ago. Shortly after, using her creativity, dedication, and just a pinch of style, Demarra successfully launched her own planning business, Bello Events. After working in the medical field for years it was a major career change, but Demarra now loves what she does each and every day.

We’re so pleased to bring you her story, get her perspective on the event and wedding planning industry, and showcase some stunning photos of her work. Make sure you check our her website, and social media pages!

Company Name: Bello Events
Description: Event planning services
Region: Southwest Michigan, United States

Phone: 1-269-389-0368
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

QC: What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner?

Demarra: My motivation came from wanting to do something that I am passionate about. I wanted to get into an industry where I could enjoy working again. Now, I look forward to work!

QC: What are some highlights of your career so far?

Demarra: One of my biggest highlights so far is starting my own business! I also enjoy all of the professional relationships I have made. I have met a very diverse group of professionals from near and far in the event industry, and they have all taught me some valuable knowledge.

QC: How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

Demarra: This course prepared me for working in the field by giving me real life situations for planning a successful event. When I took this course I had to do the research for each assignment within my area. I made phone calls and talked to different vendors, and received quotes for different services. By doing this, it helped me have a better understanding about how to approach different situations for various events.

QC: Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

Demarra: My advice is to stay focused, be dedicated, don’t give up, and continue educating yourself after you graduate. QC teaches us very well, but there is still so much to learn afterwards.

Take a look at some photos of Demarra’s work…

graduate feature demarra smith

Photo credit: Brittany Toornman

graduate feature demarra smith

Photo credit: Brittany Toornman


February 27, 2013 4:03 pm

Student Feature: Cristina Salerno

Cristina is a graduate from QC Design School’s Home Staging and Interior Decorating courses. She now owns her own successful home staging and redesign company, Ella Staging & Design. With a creative flair and an eye for all things decor, Cristina’s portfolio includes some very impressive spaces. Read on for Cristina’s insights on the home staging industry and to see some fabulous examples of her work!

Company Name: Ella Staging & Design Inc.

Description: We style to sell and design to please! Services include: Occupied home staging, vacant home staging, interior redesign, color consultation and professional organization.

Region: Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area
Phone: 905.605.2393
Facebook fan page:

What motivated you to start your career as a staging and redesign professional?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in design and real estate. HGTV was and continues to be my go-to channel. My shelves are filled with design magazines and I’m always exploring ways to improve my families’ quality of life through organization and function. It’s something I truly enjoy and provides me with immense gratification.
Then there’s my personality. Innately, I’m a very organized person. Friends, family, and colleagues would always comment on how organized and beautiful my home was, or how my office was perfectly ordered despite working on multiple projects at any given time.

I suppose the true turning point, however, was during the sale of our first home. It sold very quickly despite being a ‘buyers’ market. Our real estate agent stated that I should consider a career in Home Staging, saying that I was a natural.

What are some highlights of your career so far?

I’d have to say the most memorable moment of my career thus far was my very first staging job. It was a two-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto. It had been sitting vacant for a couple of months. The finishes were very attractive, however potential buyers couldn’t get past the perceived lack of space. Needless-to-say, it sold within a week of staging it. My clients were thrilled. It was a euphoric feeling.

How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

The QC Design course was great! Upon receiving my certification, I truly felt I had the knowledge, tools, and confidence to be a success in this industry. For example, space planning is especially critical in vacant home staging. The QC Design School course really prepares you well for this. There were also many optional assignments designed to prepare you for starting your own business, such as ‘developing a business plan’. After completing the course, I felt like I was already a step ahead because it was something I had to do to launch my business and it was already done. I loved that!

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

The one thing I would have to say in terms of the training is not to cut corners. There are other programs out there that offer you staging certifications following a weekend seminar, but completing the course myself and learning all there is to know, I don’t see how that is even possible.

In terms of starting a career, my advice would be the same: don’t cut corners. Staging a property following the steps taught by this course will ensure you avoid costly mistakes such as ordering the wrong sized furniture. Third party furniture rental companies are only too happy to charge you that re-stocking fee.

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February 22, 2013 7:21 pm

Event Planning Career Feature: Stephanie

Stephanie Hammermeister is still a student of QC Event School, but she’s already well on her way to industry success. She owns and operates her own wedding and event planning business, Memory Lane Events LLC. Stephanie believes in lifelong learning, and is using all the new skills she is gaining in her Event and Wedding Planning course toward her growing business. Read on to learn about her event planning career and her advice for anyone looking to start their own.

Below, Stephanie tells us how she got to where she is today, and reflects on the best parts of her career so far. She also shares some photos of her work…and they are absolutely beautiful. We’re so happy and proud to share her work with you this month. If you would like to learn more about Stephanie’s company, be sure to check out her website and Facebook page.Stephanie Hammermeister is our student of the month

Company Name: Memory Lane Events LLC
Description: Wedding and Event Planning
Region: Southern California
Phone: 949 444-5140
Twitter: @Stephanie_MLE
Facebook: Memory Lane Events LLC.

What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner?

From early adolescence straight into adulthood, basketball had been my passion, my outlet, and my whole heart! So as you can imagine, the transition from tomboy to girly girl was certainly life changing. The idea of becoming a professional wedding and event planner was always an immense interest of mine (even while in uniform), but falling in love had ultimately become my motivation to pursue a career in the field. My journey to the altar grew to be my first project in the creation of Memory Lane Events LLC. After receiving wonderful feedback on preparation, design, decor, and execution, I made a decision to become more involved in the industry.

I was given a wonderful internship opportunity by a gracious wedding planner out of the San Diego region. In that position, I learned helpful skills and beginner techniques which provided a great foundation to begin my personal path for success. The enormous support of my caring husband, wonderful family, and gracious followers is all of the motivation and inspiration that I need for continual success.

What are some highlights of your career so far?

One of the many highlights I have received in my career thus far has been the remarkable feedback and generous gestures from my previous clients and other professionals in the business. The industry is competitive yet rewarding all the same. It has been a privilege to work alongside several successful professionals who I admire dearly. However the finest highlight, I must say, is bestowing emotions of peace, happiness, and bliss upon my clients in a monumental moment of their life’s journey, no matter how large or small.

How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

Still currently enrolled in the coursework, I have become more knowledgeable in the logistical aspects of wedding and event planning. I am eager to become more educated as I continue through each unit.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

It takes a lot of hard work to embark on your own business and you want to be sure that you are as prepared as possible. With that being said, the best advice I can offer those in training or beginning their careers is to always be open to educating themselves further! Even the best-of-the-best in the business are always continuing to learn. In my opinion, when you’ve become complacent you’ve stopped learning and when you stop learning, you become fearful of change. Change is one of the most common factors in a successful business. You have to be able to adapt to the change of our society’s needs and wants while still remaining true to who you are as an individual and as a business.

Running a business, like anything, takes a great deal of sacrifice and special attention. You need to continually motivate yourself and those around you every day in a positive manner. When you are dedicated to something you’re passionate about, you can never fail!