Engraved Heart Events: Cheryl Tissot
Party planning for events on a shoestring
Tell us what your business does:
We plan, theme, style, design and fully co-ordinate private events for clients on a budget. We offer many services and cover every occasion from an intimate dinner party for six guests, right through to a lavish wedding reception for 150 people.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have been helping friends and family with planning and styling their dinner parties and other social occasions for years, using my skills as a theatrical set designer/dresser and my experience in theatrical lighting, I’m known for creating magical parties on shoestring budgets. I was talking through the Christmas decor design I am doing for a friend recently and she suggested that I offer my services to the public….so here I am!
How did you know there was a market for it?
Even in a recession, people still want to have fun and celebrate big occasions. The only problem in the current events management market is that they only cater for large minimum spends or corporate only. When starting the research for a friends 40th Birthday extravaganza, I started to become more and more frustrated that I couldn’t place smaller orders with the companies already out there, I decided this had to change as spectacular doesn’t have to be expensive!
What were you doing before starting up?
I have had a couple of career changes over the years, but this one brings my stage and TV experience together with my professional office skills. However, I have recently been working as a fitness instructor.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes for as long as I can remember. Most of my working life has been as a freelancer, so working for myself seems natural to me.
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How did you raise the money?
As a freelance fitness instructor, I can choose my hours, so I have continued to work during the early days. Luckily, the nature of my business allows me to raise money as I go, by taking deposits for the work undertaken and any purchases that are made for the client are billed in advance of purchase.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The events market is very competitive and getting yourself seen and heard is critical. I’m still getting to grips with self-promotion as I don’t have the capital for large scale advertising, but social media is a god send for this.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
I don’t lock clients into a big package unlike other events managers. Instead, I have a list of services which they can treat rather like a shopping list. That way they get the prices upfront with no nasty surprises. I make money via my service charges.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I was asked to help with a public fundraising event, which enabled me to have co-branding on the publicity.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I’m still quite green myself, but I always say that if an idea is nagging away at you, then have a go. Don’t fear failure – you may fail, but you may also be more successful than you can imagine, but one thing’s for sure…you’ll never know unless you try!
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I’d like to see Engraved Heart Events big enough to have a few teams based around the country so that we can still provide that personal touch that is so important to me.