Event Planner Alexandra Slawek
In this article we get personal with Alexandra Slawek, one of QC Event School’s new tutors. She opens up about her career, her inspiration, and her recipe for success.
What made you decide to pursue a career as an event planner?
I’ve always had an interest in planning and organizing events. The first time I officially organized an event was when I was attending university, and I found I really enjoyed it. When my children had grown up, I found that I had a lot of extra time on my hands. I got a job at the Wedding Pavilion, a one-stop shop wedding venue here in Calgary, as an event manager. I think that’s when I truly fell in love with working with brides and grooms and the whole wedding ambiance. I decided to become certified through QC Event School so I could be more knowledgeable in the field. A year later, I opened my own business!
Tell us about the early years. How did you get your name out there, find clients and hone your craft?
When you’re first starting out, you have to do a lot of trial and error experimenting in terms of what works and what doesn’t for your business. The first way I reached out with my business was hosting a booth at The Bridal Expo. It happens every September in Calgary. I also placed ads in local community magazines and in the Calgary Bridal Guide. I didn’t have a lot of success with these initial endeavors, so I started networking with other wedding industry vendors. That proved much more successful. I also attended many workshops and conferences to get better ideas on running my business. My website has attracted a number of clients, so making sure it is top-notch is very important. Finally, I became a member of the Calgary Bride Association, which has helped me get my name out there and connect with other wonderful wedding planners.
What was your “big break”?
I think my “break” happened when I befriended another wedding planner. She was incredibly supportive and hired me on several occasions to work her events. I got lots of exposure and experience that way. Last year, I took part in a wedding show, “A Spoonful of Vintage”, put on by a team of vendors that specialize in vintage décor, dresses and photography. I designed a Downton Abbey table and that particular piece put me “on the map”, so to speak.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am often inspired by my brides and their creative imaginations. I spend time on Pinterest and other social media sites watching for new trends. I also network with other wedding planners to share ideas and collaborate.
If you had to do it all over again, would you? Any past career decisions you would change?
Yes, I would absolutely do it all over again! I really love it. The only thing I would change is the way I went about advertising at first. I’d put a lot more time into conducting research to determine what kind of advertising works for my target market. That way, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time or money on something that proved to be ineffective. It was an expensive learning experience, to say the least.
What are some “golden rules” you believe every single event planner should follow?
Here is a list of personal rules I follow:
- Always answer emails within 24-48 hours
- Return phone calls and texts ASAP
- Stand by your word. If I say I will do something for someone, I always do.
- Listen more to what other vendors have to say rather than talk about your own experiences. You can learn much more by listening!
- Maintain a solid reputation through integrity and honesty in business. I have found that having a good reputation is the key to other vendors promoting me.
Do you have any final words of wisdom for QC’s students?
To QC students: be passionate about your work! Clients love to work with people who are enthusiastic about their work and learn to trust in their passion. Be honest and have integrity in your work, and always be kind and respectful to other industry vendors.
Best of luck in your studies at QC!