Posts Tagged ‘graduate feature’
Name: Jess Adlington
Location: Emu Plains, Sydney, Australia
Program: Event & Wedding Planning
When Jess Adlington decided to plan her own wedding, she set out to create something unique and truly memorable. Well, she definitely succeeded at that! Her DIY wedding set off quite a stir, even getting her featured on i-do.com!
After the wedding, Jess decided to make a career out of event and wedding planning. She found QC, and has since graduated from the Event and Wedding Planning program. With her newly acquired business acumen and industry expertise, along with the passion she exhibited in planning her own nuptials, we expect to see great things of Jess in the near future!
We caught up with Jess to find out just how she pulled off such a beautiful and fun event on her own!
1: Your wedding was just beautiful! Have you always wanted to plan your own wedding? What made you decide to go down that path?
Thank you. I wanted to plan something that everyone would remember. I decided to do it myself because I made the decorations to give it my own personal touch. Planning my own wedding was something I wanted to do. I love themed events. Our housewarming was dress-up (heroes and villains) and our engagement party was dress-up as well. I’m currently planning my 30th and throwing an 80’s themed party. So planning a theme wedding was the way to go for us.
2: The Mad Hatter theme is absolutely brilliant! How did you come up with that? Did you have any difficulties when it came to executing on the theme?
I went looking on the net trying to find something different and fun. I found Alice in Wonderland and decided on The Mad Hatter (to be different). I found a lot of ideas on the internet and started buying one of each of the decorations. I would pull them apart when they arrived to see how they were made and would make them myself. I had no difficulties finding or coming up with ideas for it.
3: What did you enjoy the most about planning the wedding?
The most enjoyable part was seeing everything come together. It’s one thing to put it together in your head but when it starts to come together towards the end it makes all the stressfully days’ worth it.
4: What was the most stressful part of planning this wedding? If you had to do it again, would you change anything?
Table plan and place cards, I can’t say how many times this was changed. I just wanted to scream. Each table had their own place cards, so when we moved people around at the last minute I had to re-print them to make sure they had the correct character on them for the tables.
The wedding invitations would also be in this group as well. The invitations had 7 parts to be cut out for each invitation, plus everyone got a map to find the place. Everything was hand cut and put together.
I would still do it all over again because the end result was worth it.
5: Your wedding got quite a bit of attention! How did you manage to get featured on i-do.com and other high-prestige sites?
I was very lucky. I have a friend who works for the people who run the site. They wanted to do something on themed weddings and my friend mentioned mine. I was so excited because I spent 16 months putting it together, and for it to be featured on Australia’s leading wedding site I felt so privileged and grateful this has happened to me.
6: What would you tell future brides who are thinking of planning their own nuptials?
If you can dream it, plan it. Have the wedding you want, not the wedding others want you to have. Remember, you’re paying for it and they will be your memories to look back on. I wouldn’t change a thing about my wedding because I know everyone had a great time and still talk about it.
Are you looking to expand your knowledge and launch an exciting career in event and wedding planning? Check out QC Event School’s Free Brochure for more information on the programs offered.
Location: Charlottesville, VA
A little bit about Cody…
Cody Grannis, a lifetime Virginian, is an award winning, certified International Event and Wedding Professional (IEWP), holding certificates in Non-Profit Management and Meeting and Event Planning from the University of Virginia. She has over 6 years of experience planning University events in Charlottesville and throughout the country.
Cody, the mother of four, is the founder of Amore Events by Cody, LLC. She has orchestrated many weddings in Charlottesville, Virginia and has an extensive network of reliable vendors in the region. You will find her to be extremely dedicated and always working hard to ensure that each bride receives the wedding of her dreams. Through Cody’s attention to detail and creativity, you can count on a wedding that will exceed your expectations.
Did you always see yourself becoming an event & wedding planner? What started the dream?
No, not at all! I started working at UVA in 2007 where my first job was an event planner in the Alumni Department. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much! I had never traveled before, but for one of my first events at UVA, I was sent on a trip to Palm Beach to plan a small alumni gathering. I had so much fun on that trip, getting to meet new people and work in a new and exciting environment. After that trip, I knew that event planning was something I wanted to continue to do long term. A little while later, I switched jobs at UVA and starting planning much larger events ranging anywhere from 100-5,000 people. After a couple of years at UVA, I got tired of all of the red tape and bureaucracy, and decided that I wanted to do something more creative on my own. I did some research and decided to become a wedding planner! We are now going into our forth season as Amore Events and we cannot be anymore excited!
Can you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today?
I was a teenage mother of two little ones by the age of 19. And because of that I had to work extra hard to get where I am today. Knowing that I needed to provide for my family, I jumped head first into research on how to become an event planner, getting my certification from the QC School, and even took a course an event-planning course at UVA. When I applied for my job at UVA, I wrote them a letter and told them how excited I was about the position and how I really felt that I could do the job. They trusted me and hired me even though I didn’t mean all of the qualifications because I showed them how I was a fast learner and knew that I would succeed in the position.
Let’s talk branding. It’s probably one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business, and we’re sure our students would love a little insight into how Amore Events became what it is today.
Branding is a daunting thought, especially when you haven’t done it before. One of my biggest regrets is including my name in my business because I can never sell it. It is possible to change the business name, but not without a lot of paperwork and paying a bunch of money. Another huge part of branding is a logo and website. One thing that is necessary is working with a graphic designer and working through lots of different options with them. Make sure you go see lots of different logo designs and website templates before you choose. Take your time with this part because it is going to cost a good bit of money and in the end, it should be exactly what you want. One thing to remember through all of it is to stay true to yourself and your own personal style. You want your logo and website and overall brand personality to reflect you and what you have to offer. It is okay to get inspiration from other planners or people in the industry, but in the end, your brand needs to be all about you. Something to remember is that you can always re-brand. That sounds crazy, but it is actually a big part of growing your business. You might re-brand when your style changes, or when you add different services to your packages, or even when you want to reach a different clientele. We are actually in the process of re-branding right now and it is already paying off.
In the event industry, making connections is key. When you were first starting out what was your approach to networking?
I started with just joining local event planning communities in the area. That is an amazing place to meet people, get your name out there and just make connections in the industry. A big thing I did that not a lot of other planners in the area did, was actually go meet with vendors face to face. I just wanted to get to know them and get to know their business better and really learn about how they like to work with planners.
I also joined free websites to market my business. The main ones I used in the beginning were Wedding Wire and The Knot. They were a big help in getting my name out in the industry and getting seen when couples search for wedding planners in Charlottesville. I also started requesting reviews from my brides. These reviews could be seen on both Facebook and Wedding Wire. This is a beneficial tool because I can use it to send to people who are inquiring about hiring me.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
I just love working with my brides. I love taking care of them and being such a big part of making their special day as perfect as I can. My favorite part of the wedding day is getting to steal my couples away for a few minutes and show them that every little detail we planner together has come together in the most beautiful day for them!
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
The biggest step in my career so far has been getting a studio space! It is a place that we have where brides came come and meet with us and can see all of our décor laid out. Something else that is huge for us with this space is being able to create a full mock-up of their reception tables. With all of our décor displayed in the studio, it is easy for us to walk around together, pick up things they like, try them on the table and really decide what they love. That is something we have never been able to do before, but it really adds an amazing touch to the experience for our brides.
A huge highlight of my career so far has been seeing our weddings and styled shoots on different national blogs, like Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings and, Wedding Sparrow, and being published in Barn Weddings, a book by Maggie Lord. To see all of our hard work and our beautiful brides featured in these amazing places is really special.
As you know, many of our students have dreams of owning their own businesses. Do you have any advice for those who are just starting out in the event industry?
Some quick snippets of advice I would give are take your time with starting, really do your research about the industry and the market you are entering, have patience and kindness with both your brides and your vendors, be quick and assertive, learn how to say no, figure out your own personal design style, but also make sure you are keeping up with the trends.
You’ve been featured on sites like The Knot and Style Me Pretty. That’s something to brag about! What do you think the future holds for Amore Events?
Amore Events is really taking off and I couldn’t be more proud! One thing that I would really love to do sometime in the future is open up a wedding venue. I would also love to make more connections outside of Charlottesville. It is a dream to work with vendors in California and New York and even in another country. There is so much inspiration in the world that I don’t get to see, so I would just love to experience and learn about other styles and bring it all back to Charlottesville.
Business Name: Lionsgate Design
Location: Missisauga, Canada
A bit about Tina…
I’ve always had a passion for design and love solving design dilemmas. I grew up in the small town of Chatham Ontario and moved to Toronto in my mid-twenties for more opportunities. Met my husband of 13 years and have two small children, girl and boy in that order. I was the Project Manager for a major telecom company for over ten years before pursuing my passion and starting my own business.
What first motivated you to get into the design industry?
Ever since I was a child I was into decorating and design. I think I mostly got it from my mother who was always re-arranging and decorating the house. This tinkering in my parents house turned into a passion I couldn’t deny so I started Lionsgate Design as an outlet, but I made sure it would be a real business and not just a hobby.
At what point did you decide to enroll in an interior decorating course? What made you choose QC Design School?
I decided to enroll in the interior decorating and staging course after I had my first child. I wanted to pursue my passion and thankfully have a very supportive husband. I chose QC Design school because I was able to still work my full time job while I did the distance education. I researched the schooling and found that QC Design School was the best fit for me, and I had a wonderful experience.
Tell us! What do you enjoy most about your work?
What I enjoy the most about my job is when clients are speechless and love the overall look of their home. That is my greatest satisfaction!
We love the creative look of your website – it’s lovely! Can you talk a bit about how you ended up at your current business name, design and logo?
Thank you! I came up with the name Lionsgate Design because I wanted my company to reflect me and to tell a story. I’m a Leo, born in August, and my last name Singh means Lion. I envisioned a lion head doorknocker with iron gates to a home which is how I came up with Lionsgate Design and my logo.
You’ve done an excellent job of utilizing social media to get your name out there; we especially love the monthly newsletters you distribute through Facebook! Any tips for industry newbies on using social channels to network and build brand awareness?
Thank you! The best tip I can provide is to not always sell, sell, sell. It’s all about engaging an audience and providing some honest, free advice and tips. I like to showcase design spaces that inspire me which shows my sense of style and what I too like creating. I’d say 10% advertising and 90% engaging.
Highlights of your career so far? Tell us about your most memorable project to date!
My most memorable project to date is when I was hired on to decorate a new build 12,000 sq ft home from cutlery to furnishings. My clients literally moved in with just their suitcases. Soap, towels, glasses and utensils were all purchased and ready to go.
On the flip side, was there a project you didn’t particularly enjoy working on? Why?
Yes, one in particular where everything that could go wrong did go wrong; with one particular reputable company (not mentioning any names). My client was on a tight budget and they purchased items from this company because there was a great sale. 10-12 weeks for a custom sofa that was ordered only to find out at the 12th week , even after continuous follow-up calls, that the sofa was never ordered and the coffee table that arrived was warped and the ottoman was chipped. Event though it was not ordered through me but rather directly through this company by my client, I worked as hard as I could to resolve the issues. Made it happen and in turn the client blamed Lionsgate Designs and never paid me for my fees, even after working 60+ hours on the project and styling the home with all the decor items. Lessons learned: contract revised, all hours billed including any discrepancies beyond my control or outside of my A team of suppliers.
Any advice for our readers on how to deal with difficult clients?
Always stay calm, firm and note company policy. Stay professional and always make sure you have a contract. I’ve only had one difficult client situation since I’ve been in business and once I revised my contract and prequalify clients ahead of time I haven’t run into any difficult clients. Just like clients interview you, you also need to interview them to make sure you both are a good fit.
What decorating trends are you most excited to work with in the coming year?
I’m not really in to using trends since they do come and go. I try to keep with classic and long lasting designs unless a client is adamant about a new trend. Then I will design according to the trend to provide what the client is looking for. In regards to staging, it’s all about the demographics and how the home is speaking to me. I target market through lifestyle merchandising the home to get it sold fast and for top dollar.
What do you see on the horizon for Lionsgate Design?
I see Lionsgate Design expanding to the next level. My goal is to create a larger design firm and hire more stagers, decorators and designers over the next 6 months to a year.
Take a look at some more of Tina’s work!
DO YOU DREAM OF CREATING BEAUTIFUL SPACES LIKE TINA DOES? QC DESIGN SCHOOL CAN HELP YOU PURSUE YOUR PASSION.
Name: Alexandra Merri
Business: The Bijou Bride
Location: London, U.K.
Connect with Alexandra!
Facebook: The Bijou Bride
Pinterest: Alexandra Merri
Alexandra Merri aka The Bijou Bride is a creative wedding planner and stylist based in the U.K. Alexandra believes no two couples are the same and therefore no two weddings should be either. Her services offer a bespoke approach to wedding planning that’s tailored to suit each couple’s lifestyle and budget.
What first motivated you to get into wedding planning?
I’ve always been a creative planner, as one of my friend’s put it I “turn everything into an event” from birthday parties to Pancake day. It was whilst working at a major film company organizing premieres, exciting team away days and so on as well as freelance fashion styling that I had that light bulb moment. I realized that there was a career that would allow me to combine both my creative and organizational talents – wedding planning. I had organised my own Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding (my middle name is Titania so needless to say it was a theme) within a 5 month time frame and been assisting various friends when I took the plunge and enrolled in the QC International Wedding & Event Planning course. Luckily I passed with flying colors and the rest, as they say, is history.
How did you choose QC Event School? What did you like most about your studies?
I researched the most valued, in depth event planning study programs and knew that I needed a flexible course which is what led me to QC. Those messages from my mentor were so much nicer than just a typed email and I felt really supported by the QC team throughout my studies and long after.
You graduated from QC Event School in 2011, how has your career evolved since then?
It hasn’t been easy but then nothing that’s worth striving for is. The real challenge is getting your name known and working out your niche within the industry.
Your website is absolutely beautiful. What inspired the design?
I wanted it to be clean and contemporary, I found that a lot of planning company’s sites were pink and swirly which just isn’t me. Inspiration came from some of my favorite sites like Kate Spade and Topshop I think it’s important to stay true to who you are, your loves and taste.
What came first, the name or the tagline? How did you come to decide on this unique brand identity?
I wanted to find a word that summed up my approach and ‘Bijou’ does just that. By definition it is ‘desirable, fashionable, stylish, chic, sought-after, to die for’ just how a wedding should be. The tagline just came to me; I want all my clients to feel that their wedding day is quintessentially them not a projection of others’ expectations.
We know you must always be juggling a dozen tasks. How do you keep on top of everything?
My Google calendar is invaluable, I log my to do list in 30 minute slots and have it synced with my mobile phone so I never miss a thing.
Wedding trends change every year; what 2014 wedding trend are you most excited to work with?
There is definitely a move towards toned down and understated styling or as I’ve dubbed it ‘bare naked elegance’ that is reliant on a great setting and good furniture.
What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve planned to date?
That is a tough one as they are all memorable in their own way. A snowy winter wedding with a James Bond theme and 4 am finish time is probably the quirkiest though.
You’ve been featured in quite a few notable publications and sites. Tell us! What do you see in The Bijou Bride’s future?
This year is my busiest to date for wedding bookings but I’m hoping to take on further branding projects with bridal designers and venues. I love being creative so a variety of projects is never a bad thing.
WANT TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL EVENT & WEDDING PLANNER? SIGN UP FOR QC’S FREE BROCHURE TO LEARN HOW WE CAN HELP YOU GET THERE.
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.
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, 168Project.com 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…
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!
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…Andy Whale All other photos: Mark Waldron
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
Description: Design and renovation services
Region: Greater Toronto Area
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/Gala.Interior.Design
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…
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…
Noir Makeup Artistry
Service location: On location in Madison, Wisconsin
Photography by Vince Padilla
Meet 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
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…