Last week was filled with highs, lows, laughter and tears. Long hours, great friends and a whole lot of sweat. For the past 5 years we have put on what we have called a Linen Show. We dress up a large amount of tables in linens and style them to inspire clients and then set them loose in our own DIY area so they can mix and match to find their perfect combination.
This year, because we were fortunate to grow and take over some of the warehouse next to us, we decided to do a scaled back version of the show and had over 14 event/wedding designers create various looks for the event. We felt that opening the doors to our warehouse would give people the chance to understand us as a business and get to see how we make the little things happen. We talked to our guests about how we process our products and quality control and how we want to deliver the very best we possibly can for them on their big day. It really helps to build a different level of trust when potential clients could walk through the warehouse and see that the products they wanted were hanging there.
Last Monday, I began the daunting task of transforming the warehouse. We started with just draping the walls. Sounds easy enough in theory right? With the help of my friend Wendy, from Mix Mingle & Marry, we got the room more or less covered and then our phenomenal co-op student had the task of making it look pretty and started steaming yards and yards of fabric.
Wednesday, Sophie from Sage Designs came in and draped the ceiling to help change the look of the cold warehouse space even further. From there, there were tables to be moved in to place, linens to be put out and steamed (again) and the fine details so when gorgeous bridal gowns and place settings started showing up we would look prepared.
I have never had so much anxiety, my finger nails (as I am a nail bitter) are a wreck. I have no idea if I ate or went to the bathroom, I spent a lot of time walking around the warehouse and worrying. I worried if we had stuff people would like, I worried about the layout of the room, I fretted that people wouldn’t show up and then stressed that too many people would come. All of these things and countless other random thoughts somersaulted through my brain and heart continuously until 1pm on Friday.
I have never felt so on display, and not necessarily me personally but our company. I was worried people wouldn’t think we had enough selection and that we would be judged. We had over a 100 industry people coming through on the Friday to check out our business. SO yes, we were literally on display for two days. I’m even getting that tight feeling in my chest now thinking about it.
When I think back to the #MMEOpenHouse what I am most proud of is how many people came together so selflessly to help make it a success for us. All the designers gave their time and talent to create beautiful tables, my friends came and stayed and worked through the weekend, and our staff was outstanding providing personal customer service to excited couples. I am truly grateful that all these people have my back. Even when I feel slightly crazy they can talk me back off my ledge.
I feel like I am being overly exuberant in my praise but I was flattered and shocked by how many people took time out of their busy days to come on Friday and see what our little business can offer and to celebrate a great Ottawa event industry.
The positive out of this is that our warehouse has never looked so clean and put together. I did get to test out a drink luge from Ice is Cold Design, for work purposes of course. I should take it as a good sign that people were so eager to check things out on the Saturday that they were arriving 20 minutes before the doors were supposed to open and they got to see us frantically vacuuming and trying to figure out how to work the sound system. They got the true behind the scenes look of how the event happens.
My stress level probably wasn’t helped by the fact I had a board meeting Wednesday, and then we got 2 large event confirmations last week as well. One where we had less than 16 hours from the confirmation to the delivery and then other we had to set up 550 spandex chair covers at the EXACT same time as the start of the open house. Nothing like throwing a lot of balls in the air and hoping you can keep them up.
On a side note, I want to congratulate the incredible group I had the opportunity to mentor through the Algonquin College Event Management program these past 7 or so months. There event was also Saturday evening and it was a sellout. The team pulled off a great night with creative entertainment and raised a lot of money for the Children’s Wish Foundation. What a great introduction to mentoring!!
Now that the high from the weekend has worn off and I am left with the bone numbing exhaustion that you only get after an event, the cleanup can begin. It’s like Cinderella at the ball, and reality has to set back in and our fancy space is now just a warehouse once again, and we will live happily ever after until the next event!
*Many thanks to Barb Cameron from Barbara Ann Studios for capturing this event