No entrepreneur knows it all at the start of their business and every new entrepreneur makes rookies mistakes initially. What is important is learning from those mistakes.
Previously, we spoke with Opeyemi Salami about how she manages stress in her catering brand. This week, we spoke with Ogunwo-Adeyemi Anuoluwapo of Gracie Bloom Events shares things she wishes she knew before starting her events planning business and the lessons she learnt from them.
Current laptop: Hp Laptop.
Current phone: Samsung A70.
Best work quote: What is worth doing, is worth doing well.
First thing you do every morning: Pee.
Favourite owanbe outfit: Comfortable clothing.
Language you speak when angry: Silence and English.
Please tell us about yourself and your brand
My name is Ogunwo-Adeyemi Anuoluwapo. I am the CEO of Gracie Bloom Events. The name is gotten from my Grandaunt’s name. She raised me. Gracie Bloom Events was created to provide honest event planning services.
What inspired you to start Gracie Bloom Events? How many years has it been in existence?
It’s funny. I had never had the desire to start my own company. I didn’t even start out planning events, I just wanted a nice corporate job in Advertising. However, I had just left my job at an amazing events planning firm, that uncovered my love for the job, and was looking for work in an international hospitality firm based in Lagos but I could not reach them.
Plus, I wanted more structure and I did not find a firm at that time that was not a sole-proprietorship. A friend of mine then advised me to just start my own firm and that was how I started. Gracie Bloom has been in existence since 2012, so it has been around for about 9 years now.
Oh, wow. That’s beautiful. I’m sure you’re so thankful that you followed your friend’s advice now. Please tell us about your first job and how it went.
Oh, it was hilarious. It was a design job for the prom of an international school – a Pakistan themed job. It was ok. However, the clients were not particularly wowed. At that moment, I learned a lot about the needs of that particular client and I am proud to say that they are still my clients till this day.
Nice! Over the years, what have you learnt are the most important work ethics in your line of business?
Authenticity and consistency.
As an events planner, being authentic is highly important. I cannot afford to try to be like someone else or copy their style of doing things. I have to be real with what I do and do things in my way.
Consistency is also very important. People want to know that for whatever event they call me to plan, I will be consistent with delivering quality. No one wants to patronise an events planning business that does not consistently diver results. Results that they love.
How do you get customers to trust you?
I listen to them and just get the work done. Customers love to be heard and I am here to solve their problems. So, to gain their trust, I make sure to listen to what they have to say and get the work done to their taste. Exceed their expectations even.
How do you handle having multiple events on the same day?
I generally have not had such an experience. If I ever do though, I will just have different teams at each event and play an over-site role. I thrive under pressure by planning.
What are the things you wish you knew before you started your brand?
Pricing with profitability in mind. I wish I had known how to price my services in a way that will be mutually beneficial to my client and the company.
Proper business structure. Running an events planning business is more than just helping my clients pull off amazing events. There has to be structure in place to make the business run efficiently. I wish I had known that before I started my business.
Hmmm… Those are two very key aspects of running a business. Now that you know these things, how has that changed how you run your business?
I charge fairly now. I was always about pleasing my clients even to the detriment of my business. Now, however, even though I am still about pleasing my clients, I don’t do it to the detriment of the business. I had to realise that if I wanted to continue to please my clients, my business had to thrive as well.
This has helped me grow my business better and keep my business from going bankrupt.
If you could go back in time to when you started your business, what would you change?
I would change my entrepreneurial experience. I would have loved to understudy an entrepreneur on running and succeeding in business.
What are some of the rookie mistakes you made at the start of your business?
Pleasing or being a Yes-man for my clients to my detriment. This is an unprofessional approach, as the client came to you because they require your professional inputs.
This means that even though you have to give them excellent service, you should not do it to the detriment of your business. Every job must be mutually beneficial to the client and my business as well.
What lessons did you learn from these mistakes?
Learn, learn, re-learn, then form a hybrid opinion. It helps to build your confidence and authenticity.
From your experience, what lessons have you learnt about growing an events planning business?
It is quite dynamic and the early years are difficult and lonely. But along the way, as you grow, things get better. Even though the industry trends change a lot, if you are committed to learning, you will surely succeed in it.
What last words do you have for other business owners about running a brand?
Let God be your guide in making decisions and not the world. Do not put off living and thriving because you are building a business. It becomes a habit that might be too difficult to break.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for having me.