Coming off the heels of a successful Fire & Ice Festival, we sat down with Katina Dawson from A Sweet Affair Events to learn a little bit more about what brought the business to life. Learn more at www.asweetaffairevents.com.
Q: Tell us about your business.
Weddings & special events!
Q: Why did you start your business?
After I got married, I realized the need and the benefits of having a wedding planner or coordinator just from my own wedding, and then had friends start asking me to help them with theirs, and it just kind of snowballed from that. I was a stay at home mom and had the time during the day to be able to make those relationships with vendors and make those contacts – so yes I had the full time job of a mom, but I had the time to be able to build up the business. My first five weddings I did for a very low price, but I was able to go to Key West, and the Outer Banks. I was living in Baltimore at the time, so I was doing weddings there – all over it was really good exposure.
Q: Was there a time you wanted to quit, and how did you deal with that situation or overcome it?
I can’t say that there was a time I ever wanted to quit. Every wedding and event that I do, I learn something new from, and figure out how to make the next one better on my end.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
Being my own boss!
Q: Biggest regret, if any?
Not having a drawn out plan when I started. Because I started with so many people wanting to use me, I just jumped into it. I didn’t have a long-term plan, because I was just going, and just figuring it out. Which caused me then to have to figure it out in moment – and of course you learn from every step that you go through, and I just learned backwards.
Q: What’s the dream? What’s the end game?
To rule the world, and to blow people’s minds!
Q: What education or experience did you have that prepared you for the business?
I have a business degree in marketing and management from Salisbury, so that was the foundation of the business side of things. I have always been in the hospitality business, so I know that side of it, and then doing an internship in event planning, gave me a look into the industry; and then just working as many weddings and events as I could as I built my business.
Q: Is this what you went to school thinking you were going to do?
Absolutely not. I was maid of honor in my friends wedding, and that’s when I started. I was helping her, doing my mid of honor duties, and was able to make those relationships. Then right after I planned my wedding, I had a friend ask me for help planning hers – so know I’m thinking, “I’m helping people plan their weddings – this is a thing, I can do this,” and that’s kind of how it started. What’s interesting about the wedding industry is that you don’t necessarily need a wedding planning degree if you will, not that its not helpful fir sure, and there are certifications, but it is really the experience – you can never learn the things you learn from a book.
Q: How do you measure business success?
Happy couples and happy parents. At the end of the wedding, when the parents hug me at the end of the event and tell me how amazing it went and my role in helping keep the ease of the day – they don’t need to know the things that are going on in the background. That’s why they’ve hired me. So, that hug mid-day, or at the end of the day, or random phone calls like “we really appreciate you,” – that’s what you’ve hired me for, so that’s how I measure my success.
Q: If you and I were meeting 3 years from now, looking back, what would it take for you to feel happy about your progress?
That I’ve continued to grow, and learn, and always keep an open mind. You can always keep learning, and if you have the mindset to always be growing, taking things in, and using that to be better as a person, and better in your business. Being nice also goes a long way. Being nice with a smile is always my goal, and keeping calm in stressful situations and having ease about your temperament.