Welcome to our “Day in the Life” series! We feature wedding and event planners from around the world with many different levels of experience. If you would like to be featured, download our questionnaire here and email your responses and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to feature Canadian corporate event planner Carina D’Angelo today!
Name: Carina D’Angelo
Business Name & Location: Event Boutique & Co., Hamilton, ON, Canada
Years Working in the Event Industry: 8+
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 1.5 years
Facebook: Event Boutique & Co.
What is your typical day like?
I typically start my work day around 8 am, working from my home office. I try and make a point of always getting ready for work, even though I might not see anyone that day. Getting ready as I would go to an office helps me focus and get into “work” mode. Plus, there is always a chance that I need to run out the door to meet someone last minute, and I hate to be scrambling to get ready.
Before I begin any “event work” such as floor plans, production schedules, etc., I always take a look at my email to make sure there is nothing pressing. I try my best to respond to email immediately to avoid a flooded inbox. Email always comes first and work, second.
I have an alarm set on my phone for 1pm everyday to make sure I take a lunch break because there are times I get so focused on what I am doing that I can forget to stop and take a break (don’t get me wrong… there are days I could snack all morning, too!) I always have a 3 pm tea to get me through the afternoon and keep me fueled.
I schedule my days to make Tuesdays and Thursdays my appointment/out of office days. On these days I meet with vendors, clients, etc. Keeping these as my travel days, makes me feel more productive overall and helps me prioritize to avoid feeling like I am always running around. My husband also works late on these days, so I don’t feel rushed to get back home to start dinner if an appointment runs a bit late.
I make a point to workout at least 3 days each week. Some days I love working out, and some days it’s a chore just to get to the gym. I have to admit though, I never regret it and always feel better afterward.
I try to keep my weekends work-free (minus event days) and only work if it’s crunch-time and I really need to catch up. This helps me avoid burn out and forces me to really focus during the week.
How did you get started in the industry?
I went to Mohawk College for Marketing and then completed my post-grad certificate in Event Management at Niagara College. I always knew I wanted to be in events, so choosing the educational part of my journey was not a difficult choice.
I started in the industry as an intern, and I was lucky enough to be hired on after. I learned so much from some amazing mentors.
After a year, I continued my journey with another organization where I was responsible for planning 70 events per year as the only planner on staff. While I was in this position, I grew more than I could have ever imagined. I had no choice but to create processes that worked for me in order to complete the huge pile of ongoing work that was constantly coming at me. In this position, I realized how critical, clear, and turn-key processes became.
I was so lucky to have grown my connections in Halton in this position and really make my mark in the event industry. While in this role, I was recognized as the youngest Hamilton-Halton’s Top 40 Under 40 in November of 2013.
I was looking for a challenge and something different so I found a job with a better salary and long-term stability, plus, the job had a smaller work load… I thought, a win-win. After being in this position for a few months I quickly realized I needed to be challenged more. The slower pace wasn’t working for me. I realized I had the itch, and craved something more.
I knew I needed an experience to push me in a way that I haven’t been before. For years, even as a young adult, I knew that one day, I wanted to start my own business. So, I took the plunge.
I realized many companies don’t have in-house Event Managers because they don’t have enough work year-round for them to do. In corporate planning, there are very clear peak and low seasons and the corporations that have full-time Event Managers are lucky to have them, but they end up paying for a salary during a low season which doesn’t make logical sense. Employees benefit from lieu hours, get a great salary but are only really busy during peak times. This doesn’t make much sense for the employee or employer.
That’s why I started my business, Event Boutique & Co. We’re a savvy alternative to in-house corporate event planning. We fill gaps for companies when their internal resources are low. Instead of companies putting an event project on an employee with no event experience (because they have a lack of resources), we are there to help fill that gap and ensure that their event goals are achieved, and that their event really makes an impact! It’s a win-win.
What inspires you?
Successful, entrepreneurial women inspire me. Putting in the time, day in and day out, to reach the next goal is a lot of work, and a lot of pressure. I feel more connected and inspired by local entrepreneurs, for some reason. I feel like I can relate more beyond the obvious, local connection. I can’t imagine the challenge of juggling being a new mom, on top of being a business owner. I have an immense amount of respect for the ladies that pull it off. And, there are so many of them! Hats off to you, ladies!
I have been apart of a community called The Rising Tide Society for about a year now. It’s a group of entrepreneurs who believe in “Community of Competition”. Each month we get together and focus on a specific topic in business. We share tips and stories to help one another go further in our businesses, whether that be SEO or blogging, to accounting and organizational tips. It’s also a great network to meet many other creatives and vendors that I can work with in the future. These ladies and gents are amazing, and always keep my spirits up.
On a less personal level, I follow a few lifestyle bloggers, who inspire me:
Jillian Harris is one of my favorite ladies. I’ve followed her for years, after I fell in love with her interior design style on Love It or List It, Vancouver. I look to her blog for inspiration and love seeing what she does to style parties. She has some great entertaining and style tips.
I also love Stephanie Sterjovski. She’s local to Toronto and has a lifestyle blog. She’s very creative and has a great eye. I found out about her through her stationery line, SS Print Shop and have been following her ever since.
These are two fashionable ladies who share their lives with the world, but do it so tastefully. Its so refreshing. They are both creative entrepreneurs and I love reading their stories in business and in life.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
Aside from wedding and event planning, how do you spend your time?
I play volleyball every week for something fun to do. Although I don’t always love going to the gym, I love staying active. I love the social aspect that I get there because that’s something I really miss about the employee life now that I work from home. I miss the socializing in the office. That has been the biggest adjustment for me.
I really enjoy hiking and going for rollerblades with my husband. We love anything outdoors. I also love shopping for home décor and clothes. Although I could shop all day, I am a productive shopper – in & out! Shopping on impulse is when you get the best finds and it’s one of my favorite things to do!
Carina, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and a day in your life. If you are an event planner and would like to be featured, download our questionnaire today and email it to us along with a photo. If you aren’t sure about being featured, take a few minutes to read how it can help your business.