Tutor and Event Planner Andrea DeLucia
In this article we get personal with Andrea DeLucia, one of QC Event School’s new tutors. She opens up about her career, her inspiration, and her recipe for success.
What made you decide to pursue a career in event planning?
Event planning allows me to be creative and work with people, which I have always loved, while maintaining a flexible schedule. In the early days of my career, flexibility was so important to me in terms of raising my children. I also found that I was very passionate about putting together events through from concept to design. It was something that came very naturally to me and I had a lot of confidence in my abilities.
Tell us about your early years. How did you get your name out there, find clients, and hone your craft?
To be honest, my early years were difficult. I was unsure about what I wanted to do and about how to transition between careers. I wasn’t sure how to get started but I knew that talent alone wasn’t enough. Teaming up with the right vendors helped to get my name out there. I discovered clients through word-of-mouth and by experimenting with different advertising methods. I found that once I completed an event, people would talk about its success. These recommendations helped to build my clientele, and still help even today. Obviously, I had to be relentless with my marketing endeavours and follow-up!
What was your “big break”?
Realistically, I don’t think my “big break” was a traditional one. I consider it to be more of an inspirational turning point. I attended an event in California a few years after starting my business and I met Preston Baily, a celebrity wedding designer, who has always been a huge inspiration to me. I met so many amazing entrepreneurs and learned so much. The event inspired me to push the limits and really try to make my business known. I made the decision to reach out to UGG Australia, who had made an appearance at the California event. I wanted to see if they would let me do a photo shoot promoting their new UGG boot in their I Do collection. After months of calls and e-mails, I produced an amazing shoot that was featured in ISS magazine (among other publications and blogs). This was the assurance I needed. It confirmed that my hard work and perseverance were paying off.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
This may sound a bit cliché, but my main source of inspiration is my husband and our four children. In my business, I strive to achieve success for them. A lot of other things inspire me, too: colors, great ideas, or client stories. I love to listen to other professionals and learn from their experiences. I am constantly being inspired!
If you had to do it all over again, would you? Any past career decisions you would change?
There are definitely some things I would change if I had to do it all again. My answer, though, is yes. I love what I do and am proud of how far I’ve come. No business is perfect, and the biggest lesson I can take from my experience thus far is that you can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you work, you simply can’t make everyone happy all the time. Being an event coordinator means offering stellar customer service; at the end of the day, you need to make the customer happy. There are some times when that just isn’t going to happen, no matter how hard you work.
One thing I would change if I could go back is the decision to work independently at first. With a partner, you can divide tasks and brainstorm together. Running a business by yourself isn’t always easy. Your success is yours, but so are your failures.
What are some “golden rules” you believe every event planner should follow?
I believe that every event planner makes her own rules. What works for one may not necessarily work for another. However, there are a few rules that I think we should all live by. Firstly, you must accept that not every client is right for you. If there isn’t a good fit, don’t try to force that connection. The experience should be positive for both sides.
Secondly, never reduce your price or your worth. If a client doesn’t want to pay for quality work, then they should find another planner within their price range. Our time is valuable! Time is money, so don’t devalue your time.
And, finally: be open and don’t get frustrated. As event planners, we are all a team to some degree. Be open to other planners and help them strive to better their business. You will find the same kindness in return!
Do you have any final words of wisdom for QC’s students?
You are about to embark on a spectacular journey. Finish the courses and use the resources that QC provides. Take your time and work at your own pace. Figure out what quality makes you special and gives your business a unique factor. QC is providing you with a very solid foundation in the industry, but it is very important to continue to educate yourself after your course has finished. Take part in learning seminars and special training opportunities. The event industry is always evolving and changing. You need to keep up so you can offer your clients the latest and greatest styles, decor, etc.