By: Tracey Manailescu
Today we have a Planner of the Month who is very special to us at WPIC. She has a heart of gold, and is unbelievably kind. Don’t let that fool you though, she is also incredibly business savvy and an ultimate professional. She gives her all to the events & wedding industry. Some things that really stand out to us is her attention to detail, and the way she listens. She offers great advice and will kick your butt when you need it most. She is one of our amazing instructors, Sue Morris of Soulmates Barbados & Essemm Events.
Harold & Noreen Hoyt – 2004 – It was Harold’s 3rd marriage and Noreen’s first. He was the Editor of the largest newspaper in Barbados and my first “celebrity” wedding. 400 guests and while it was a great success, I was so inexperienced. NB they just celebrated their 10th anniversary.
Jasmine & Chris – 2007 – I could write a book from this wedding alone, but the highlight was getting a call from the father of the groom who insisted that I move the wedding (over 300 guests) from Lion Castle Polo estate to another venue because a tropical storm was heading to Barbados. This was about 72 hours BEFORE the wedding.
Karen & Femi – 2012 – My last wedding that I planned (I have since changed my business model so that I am handling sales and business development and not the coordination) Beautiful wedding with cultural tapestry from West Africa, Scotland, Barbados, England… Pouring rain, stately plantation house, jazz band, touching speeches… My wedding coordination swan song 😉
Most challenging aspect of starting your business?
Trying to figure out how to make a sustainable living from just weddings (haven’t found the answer for that yet but working on it!)
When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?
I have had some milestones of success with my corporate business, Essemm Events, but I still feel I have a ways to go for getting Soulmates Barbados to the point of calling it a success.
How many staff do you currently have?
2 full-time office/accounts; 3 contracted independent planners (2 are WPIC certified!); about 15 casual staff who I use for both the wedding and corporate events
Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?
Too many, but currently it is receiving glowing tributes about my team and the positive service experience they have. It is very fulfilling watching your team grow.
Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?
Develop and invest in your team. You are only as good as your last event. I really believe in niche marketing and Not trying to be all things to all people. I think focusing on a demographic that mirrors my personality helps me to attract those types of clients to the business.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Teaching lots of WPIC classes. Remarried (LOL). Still actively working in the events industry, but hopefully in areas that I could never even predict at this moment!