I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the event industry. After teaching skiing for a few years in Aspen, Colorado, I was fortunate to get a job doing catering sales and events at The Little Nell, Aspen’s only five-star hotel. But after almost three years working in one of the more challenging and trying times of The Nell’s history (ie. the great recession), I knew it was time for a change.
I wanted to have something of my own, to put my hands in all elements of event planning: the design, the budgeting and the negotiations of vendor contracts. I also wanted to work at many different venues.
The wheels started turning and before long I invited a friend and colleague – who served with me on the board of the Aspen Young Professional Association – to a secret meeting. I knew she was searching for a new job, and her background in marketing and PR was the perfect compliment to my experience in high-end events. She called back less than 24 hours later with a resounding “yes.”
Several weeks later, I left my job at The Little Nell and my new partner and I got down to business researching, writing our business plan, developing the first version of our website and networking away. Six months later in January 2011, we launched Bluebird Productions with several events on the books.
The rest of the first year was busier than we could have imagined. We had a lot of events to book and plan in a very short time. Not only were we busy executing events in 2011, but we fully embraced getting our company out and known. We set up meetings with everyone in town, pitched our company to every media outlet possible, did several styled photo shoots to get content for our website, researched a ton and did all we could to make our company different than our competitors.
We never, ever sat still, and we don’t now. We have a policy at Bluebird to respond to clients within 24 hours, which means my husband tries to throw my iPhone away at least once a week. But I think the moment you sit still is the moment that you start to fail.
Taking the leap and starting Bluebird Productions has been the most thrilling experience. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, but even they couldn’t prepare me for how hard starting something of “my own” has been. Being accountable for every decision and for every dollar that comes in is a challenge. Not only are we the event planner and designer but we are the bookkeeper, the managers, the marketing team, the housekeeper, the IT team and quite often a psychologist to our clients.
Despite it all, I wouldn’t do anything else. I love Bluebird Productions. It is by far the most rewarding thing I have done professionally--and pretty high up there personally!