“The experience of elegance isn’t about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.”
Like many things in life, we rarely see what forces are behind creating the things that catch our eye and capture our attention. Experience Elegance Event Planning is a fresh face company founded in 2013 that is dedicated to making your event a graceful experience from the inside out and the force behind the continuously growing brand is CEO, Kayla Heard.
Recently graduating from Georgia State University with a BBA in Hospitality Administration, Kayla knew what her ultimate goal was before she even graduated and that was to develop her own company and brand as an event planner. Our generation of millennials is producing a great amount of entrepreneurs and creative focused careers, but only the elite minded will have the will power and finesse to carry out their vision to it’s fullest potential. While still finishing up her degree, Kayla wisely used her resources of networking and college refund to begin turning her dream of owning her own company into an actuality.
What separates one’s character and style from the next is not what they do, but how they do it and Kayla started showing from a young age that her style is as equally slay-able in her professional life as it is in her play time and personal life. On May 4th, 2013, two days after her actual birthday Kayla combined her company’s launch party with the celebration of her 21st birthday and from there Experience Elegance Event Planning was born.
From working her way through college, becoming a member of a highly respected sorority of leadership, and launching her company Experience Elegance Event Planning, Elite Eye Publishing considers Kayla Heard’s journey one that is worthy of sharing for example and inspiration that young (black) women are continuously and elegantly making room for themselves without stereotypes and superficial motives.
Read below as Kayla shares how she handles business as a new brand, how experiences help shape her, and what having a mentor has done for her. You have now been elegance stamped!
Dev Gillespie: When did you take your first step towards creating Experience Elegance Event Planning and what was that step?
Kayla Heard: Experience Elegance Event Planning was created when I was actually sitting at my desk at my job. I knew I wanted to do event planning and I’m very much a go-getter and entrepreneur. I was sitting down and I kept thinking ‘what do I want to do for my 21st birthday?’. I kept saying I wanted my own company, but I had not made the steps yet. January of 2013 I decided that I was going to do a launch party for my company on my 21st birthday. I was sitting at work doing research and someone told me to go to legalzoom and I came up with the name via one of my best friends and I just playing with different names and ‘Experience Elegance’ just stuck. I just started going through with it and it was around refund time so I was like, ‘let me do this while I have the money’ and that’s how it started off.
Dev Gillespie: What are small ways you put money into your company that will eventually lead to the financial success of your company?
Kayla Heard: With being a college student at the time I really just launched it and from then on I started really heavily networking. Financially I wasn’t putting much into it, but I was going off word of mouth. So the business I would get off word of mouth and they would pay me accordingly. As a college student I didn’t have much money, but as I’m up and coming I’m gradually starting to figure things out.
Dev Gillespie: When anyone is starting a business or anything new for that matter they usually have a memorable lesson they learned or know red flags to pick up on next time to avoid. What was a moment like that for you with Experience Elegance Event Planning?
Kayla Heard: My moment was when I realized that you cannot take all business and what I mean by that is, even though people wanting to support you is a blessing, you have to identify your brand. If you don’t identify your brand then it really means nothing. I started off heavily in the independent artist industry and I started realizing that although I built my name in that industry and that’s where my support and following came from, those weren’t the type of events that I wanted to do. I started saying ‘no’ to a few things and really identifying my brand and what it stood for. I wanted the exposure, but I had to start realizing every event wasn’t a part of my brand.
Dev Gillespie: What was the first event you put together and how did that experience shape the way you continue to shape your up and coming projects?
Kayla Heard: My first event under Experience Elegance Event Planning was my launch party for my 21st birthday. My birthday is May 2nd, but I had the launch party May 4th (2013) and that was my first official event. It was half launch, half my birthday party and I had friends and family come out and I had a few people do testimonials and speak a little bit about me as a person and as an event planner. It shaped my experience in planning in the way as far as inviting people it got me to the realization that everyone is not going to come to every event and to not get your hopes up for that. It also helped me with menu searching a lot and what to expect from attendee
Dev Gillespie: Do you have a target audience that you want to plan events for?
Kayla Heard: I wouldn’t say that I have a target, it’s just a type of event I would like to do. I want to do events for someone that wants to have a nice time and have a touch of elegance to it. You walk in the room and you’re like ‘yeah, this is an elegant event’. For instance, I did Diana Schweinbeck’s website release party, it was simple, but I still got to put a touch of elegance on it like with her cupcakes and her goodie bags. As long as my details have been added I’m sure anyone can enjoy one of my events.
Dev Gillespie: So what are some deciding factors when choosing brands to work with?
Kayla Heard: I kind of just weed things out as the question process is going on. I have an apprenticeship with the SOA brand and my mentor Shawntel White has expanded my horizon. Communication is definitely a deciding factor. If you’re not following up with me then I’m not going to be chasing you as a client. You need to be persistent in following up. And you also need a budget!
To book Kayla and Experience Elegance Event Planning email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on IG & Twitter @CEOofElegance