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Name: Andrea Adelstein
Business: NYLUX Events
Location: New York, New York, U.S.
Industry: Travel, Hospitality & Events
Reason for starting? My fate as an event planner seemed pre-determined. I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home — everything that represented who I really was — added in my strong set of organizational skills and aesthetics, and harnessed them into the business of event planning. I grew up in a household that valued proper entertaining and spent the beginning of my career at Saks Fifth Avenue. Soon after having children, a friend convinced me to work with him “here and there” in his event planning company. When I needed to make a living, I went to work with another event planner, partnering on some of New York City’s most creative and glamorous social occasions. In 2010, I went out on my own and formed NYLUX Events. Looking back, I feel as if I have found my calling.
Related: Read about another event entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? My definition of success is directly correlated to attaining goals I set forth for myself. Every year I have laid out two sets of goals for the growth of the business — one set that I think is fairly attainable and based on what we are working on, and one set I feel is something to strive for. These goals are both creative and financial. I refer back to them often, and reviewing helps me to push myself and to constantly think about my business — what is working and what changes need to be made. When the business is growing in the right direction, I feel successful.
Biggest success: That is hard! Every event we work on is incredibly important to us and to our clients, so each time we complete an event there is the feeling that it is our biggest success to date. Working with families on a repeat basis is one of my ways to measure success. Certain parties feel like turning points in the business. Taking the team to dinner to celebrate the year has a special place in my heart and feels like the embodiment of success. But if I had to choose, an art-themed party we recently produced at the Brooklyn Museum would feel like our biggest success, because it included the exciting challenge to learn about contemporary and pop art so we could integrate it into the party in a thoughtful, elegant and discreet way. The client loved what we did, and we learned so much.
I am always looking to increase the number of events we do each year, coupled with making sure those events are a good fit. The business started from doing one event at a time to juggling 12, 24 and now more. Connecting closely with clients, listening to them, always being available, paying attention to detail and being the calm in the midst of the storm has become the foundation of the business. As I push for more growth, scaling up with the right staffing is integral, so that we continue to give every client our full attention. Developing our brand by increasing our social media presence is also key as younger people use social media as their tool for finding event resources.
Related: Scaling Up: When Equity Matters
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Maintaining a constant flow of business has been the biggest challenge. To overcome that took time and diligence. Expanding into different segments of the event planning industry has also helped. For example, I wanted to increase the number of events we worked on at any one time. I felt that corporate events were a good direction, as they would balance out the type of work we were already engaged in. Corporate event work is more concentrated during business hours, with less evenings and weekends, and has a shorter lead-time than most of the social events we work on. Selling myself properly and learning to market what I do, versus what other event planners do, has also been a challenge. I’ve worked with a public relations firm and am now working with a media consultant to help me distill what makes NYLUX Events unique, and how best to present that. I’m always looking at how social media can be useful in marketing.
Who is your most important role model? My father is my most important role model. He loved his profession and taught me the importance of working at something you love and are passionate about, and how that is key to being successful. My father taught me that you must put in the effort to see the results. I watched him be detail oriented and learned incredible organizational skills from him. He is compassionate and generous. And he taught me that life is not a popularity contest – you must follow your heart and do what you believe is the right thing in all situations.
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Edited by The Story Exchange