Episode 434 MICHELLE RAGO: Destination Planner, Producer, and Designer Part 3

This episode marks today’s guest’s third spot on The Wedding Biz! Michelle Rago is a very popular and successful destination planner, producer, and designer based out of New York City, and she has published a book titled Signature Weddings: Creating a Day Uniquely Your Own. She joins Andy today to discuss topics such as how the COVID-19 pandemic affected her business, how she sometimes has to make decisions in the moment, her passion for travel, how she values her independence, what her greatest challenge is now especially since the pandemic, what she is most excited about in the future, and more! 

Andy is so glad that he had yet another opportunity to talk to Michelle and hopes to have her on again in the future! If you enjoyed his conversation with Michelle and/or found it helpful, then Andy would love if you were to share this episode with a few people you know who might also enjoy it and would also appreciate it if you were to subscribe to the podcast if you aren’t already so that you never miss a new episode! Be sure also to leave a top review wherever you listen because that really helps out the show and helps people find it!

 

This episode is sponsored by Zola, the fastest-growing wedding platform that connects today’s couples with the right vendors. Zola gives wedding vendors more control, better exposure, and higher quality leads — all with competitive pricing and no annual commitment. Create your free listing at www.zola.com/andy.

 

Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[0:00] – Today’s sponsor is Zola.

[1:02] – Andy reveals that today’s guest is Michelle Rago.

[2:42] – Michelle discusses how COVID impacted her business.

[5:32] – The destination part of Michelle’s business completely shut down during COVID.

[6:47] – What did Michelle learn about herself during the pandemic?

[8:26] – Michelle reflects on a recent wedding at Palm Beach.

[9:40] – How did Michelle curate a team for this specific event?

[12:50] – Michelle describes what it’s like being a team leader.

[16:24] – Andy shifts the conversation toward making your own luck.

[19:23] – Andy gives an example of improvisation as a musician.

[21:23] – Michelle touches upon how she stays inspired.

[22:48] – Does Michelle ever feel burnt out?

[24:58] – Michelle shares what her greatest challenge is.

[27:00] – Learn about the second business Michelle might launch.

[28:40] – Michelle discusses what about the future excites her.

[30:58] – Discover where to find Michelle.

 

RESOURCES

Michelle’s Previous Guest Spots on The Wedding Biz
Michelle Rago – Signature Weddings: Creating a Day Uniquely Your Own


Find Michelle:

Michelle’s Website

Michelle’s Instagram Page

Michelle’s Facebook Page

 

Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Support The Wedding Biz by clicking here.

Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment & Zola.

Episode 433 CHRISTINA MATTEUCCI: Bridging the Generation Divide to Benefit Our Event Industry Careers

Longtime listeners of The Wedding Biz will definitely recognize today’s special guest, as she has been on the podcast several times before! Christina Matteucci is the executive director of David Beahm Experiences, and in today’s conversation, she and Andy talk about the generational gap in the event industry. She offers potential solutions not only to bridge that gap but also to thrive even more in our careers.

Christina reflects on an article she wrote for Special Events titled “X Marks the Spot: A Forgotten Generation’s Plea to the Hospitality Industry,” an article about the generational gap in her industry. She passionately argues that the generational gap is problematic within the events industry and that bridging that gap and having more generational blending can do nothing but benefit an office environment. She offers several examples of how generations can lean into their differences and learn from each other which, again, will only benefit the company and the industry overall.

It was an incredible time for Andy to discuss this topic with Christina, and he encourages you to check out the article that she discusses in this conversation. Christina always has such great wisdom to share, and he really appreciates her time. If you enjoyed his conversation with Christina and/or found it helpful, then Andy would love if you were to share this episode with a few people you know who might also enjoy it and would also appreciate it if you were to subscribe to the podcast if you aren’t already so that you never miss a new episode! Be sure also to leave a top review wherever you listen because that really helps out the show and helps people find it!

 

This episode is sponsored by Zola, the fastest-growing wedding platform that connects today’s couples with the right vendors. Zola gives wedding vendors more control, better exposure, and higher quality leads — all with competitive pricing and no annual commitment. Create your free listing at www.zola.com/andy.

 

Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[00:00] – Today’s sponsor is Zola.

[0:57] – Andy announces that returning guest Christina Matteucci is today’s guest.

[2:20] – Christina explains what compelled her to write an article about the generational gap.

[5:50] – Christina argues that generational blending is beneficial to a work environment.

[7:30] – Hear an example of how generations group together.

[9:38] – Different generations should lean into differences rather than commonalities.

[12:37] – Christina gives an example of how experience helped some people overcome COVID.

[14:38] – What are some specific ways that we can bridge this generational divide?

[17:42] – Andy gives examples of guests on the podcast of different generations.

[20:00] – Hiring younger people is absolutely an investment.

[22:05] – Christina reveals where you can find her article.

[22:25] – Christina is very proud of the industry right now!

[25:14] – Where can we get ahold of Christina?

[26:03] – Andy gives us more of Christina’s contact information.

 

RESOURCES

Christina’s Previous Guest Spots on The Wedding Biz

“X Marks the Spot: A Forgotten Generation’s Plea to the Hospitality Industry”

 

Find Christina:

David Beahm Experiences – Website

Christina’s Instagram Page

Teucci Mama – Website

Christina’s LinkedIn Profile

 

Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Support The Wedding Biz by clicking here.

Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment & Zola.

Episode 432 JESS LEVIN CONROY: Building Carats and Cake & The Power of Branding

Joining Andy this week is Jess Levin Conroy, the founder and C.E.O. of Carats and Cake, a community within the events industry that connects industry pros with couples planning weddings. They also offer a software solution focused specifically on venues to drive their entire event revenue streams and focused on revenue optimization.

Andy and Jess have a conversation that is full of a wide range of topics, including how she would describe what she does with Carats and Cake, what her college education was like and what she learned from it, how she went about implementing her brand, how she handles obstacles, how she overcomes her weakness of being too reactive, her thoughts on how the current economic environment is impacting her business and the wedding industry in general, how she finds a balance between her busy professional life and her personal life as a wife and mother, and so much more!

Andy really enjoyed this conversation with Jess Levin Conroy, especially since it gave him the opportunity to get to know her better and hear her perspective on the wedding industry, and he hopes that you enjoy listening to it! If so and/or you found it helpful, then Andy would love if you were to share this episode with a few people you know who might also enjoy it and would also appreciate it if you were to subscribe to the podcast if you aren’t already so that you never miss a new episode! Be sure also to leave a top review wherever you listen because that really helps out the show and helps people find it!

 

Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[0:31] – Andy reveals that today’s guest is Jess Levin Conroy of Carats and Cake.

[1:20] – How would Jess describe what she does?

[2:27] – Jess touches upon whether or not her childhood influenced her career choice.

[3:50] – Jess reflects on her college education.

[5:49] – Learn how Jess got interested in weddings.

[8:46] – Jess reveals why she went to business school.

[10:55] – Jess discusses how she built and implemented her brand.

[12:55] – Was Jess profitable in her first year of business?

[15:46] – Jess addresses how she approaches challenges and obstacles.

[17:25] – Jess struggles with being too reactive.

[19:29] – Jess elaborates upon investing where your consumers are.

[21:46] – Hear Jess reflect on having raised nearly 30 million in the last 18 months.

[22:46] – How is the current economic crisis impacting the wedding industry?

[25:06] – Prioritization is Jess’s biggest struggle right now.

[27:41] – Jess reveals how she manages a balance between her professional and personal life.

[30:42] – Jess advises listeners as to where to go on her website for more information.

[31:48] – Andy leaves us with Jess Levin Conroy’s contact information.

 

RESOURCES

Carats & Cake Demo – Video
Carats & Cake Pippin – Video
Carats & Cake Testimonial – Video


Find Jess:

Jess’s Instagram Page
Carats and Cake – Website
Join the Carats and Cake Community
Partner with Carats and Cake
Carats and Cake – Payments
Carats and Cake – Instagram Page
Carats and Cake – Facebook Page
Carats and Cake – Twitter Page
Carats and Cake – LinkedIn Profile
Carats and Cake – Pinterest Page


Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Support The Wedding Biz by clicking here.

Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment.

Episode 431 VICTORIA DUBIN: Creating a Bespoke Event Experience & Collaborating with Competition

Andy welcomes Victoria Dubin to the podcast today! Victoria runs Victoria Dubin Events located in New York City. After graduating from Cornell University, Victoria began her career in finance and real estate and was later the owner of a successful gift and home design accessories business. She eventually started a highly sought-after event planning firm. Victoria Dubin Events offers a complete scope of services for social, weddings, corporate, and nonprofit events, both in New York City and elsewhere.

Tune in as Victoria reflects on her childhood and how certain aspects of it instilled a love of entertainment and events. She also explains her usual process with new clients and how she matches her plan for them with their personalities, how she thinks about and approaches competition, how she feels about older approaches to the business vs. newer ones, what her retirement plan is, and so much more. She also offers advice to anyone who might be looking to go into this business.

Andy recalls meeting Victoria a while back and being very impressed with her work, and he is so grateful for her time coming on the show to discuss her career and her expertise. If you enjoyed his conversation with Victoria and/or found it insightful, then Andy would be very appreciative if you would share this episode with a few people you know who might also enjoy it and would also appreciate it if you were to subscribe to the podcast if you aren’t already so that you never miss a new episode! Be sure also to leave a top review wherever you listen because that really helps out the show and helps people find it!

 

This episode is sponsored by Zola, the fastest-growing wedding platform that connects today’s couples with the right vendors. Zola gives wedding vendors more control, better exposure, and higher quality leads — all with competitive pricing and no annual commitment. Create your free listing at www.zola.com/andy.

 

Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[0:00] – Today’s sponsor is Zola.

[1:19] – We learn that today’s guest is Victoria Dubin of Victoria Dubin Events.

[2:36] – Victoria reflects on her childhood and whether or not it affected her career path.

[5:31] – Victoria walks us through her usual process with new clients.

[7:45] – Where does Victoria get her inspiration and ideas?

[9:48] – Victoria enthuses that she is a very skilled multitasker.

[10:34] – Discover how collaboration with competitors came about for Victoria.

[14:10] – Victoria is going to continue her collaborative model.

[15:14] – How does Victoria determine when to collaborate with competitors?

[18:16] – Andy compliments Victoria on her cutting-edge approach.

[20:58] – Victoria argues that there is a happy medium between old approaches and new ones.

[23:18] – Does Victoria have a retirement plan?

[25:51] – Andy offers insight into his own exit strategy.

[28:52] – Victoria gives advice to people looking to go into the business.

[31:39] – Hear where to find Victoria online.

 

Find Victoria:

Victoria’s Website
Victoria’s Instagram Page

 

Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Support The Wedding Biz by clicking here.

 

Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment & Zola.

Episode 430 REVISIT RAY THOMPSON: Lighting Design & The Choreography Of Emotion

Lighting designer and owner of Images by Lighting Ray Thompson is here today to talk about storytelling with lighting for events and designing lighting for lux weddings. He has over 30 years of experience and an amazing passion for creative design.

He also pioneered the modern event lighting industry. His company has created the lighting for events at major corporations like Adobe, Taco Bell, Gillette, NFL Super Bowl and many more. He has also been involved in premieres and events for major movies and entertainers like HBO, DreamWorks Pictures, Disney/Buena Vista, Elton John and more.

In this episode, Ray shares how he got started and was able to transition his passion into a career and an award-winning company. He also talks about the evolution of lighting, changes in technology, tools smaller designers can use to create amazing lighting, how he finds inspiration and more.


This episode is sponsored by Zola, the fastest-growing wedding platform that connects today’s couples with the right vendors. Zola gives wedding vendors more control, better exposure, and higher quality leads — all with competitive pricing and no annual commitment. Create your free listing at www.zola.com/andy.

 

Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[00:00] This episode is sponsored by Zola.

[00:44] Ray Thompson is one of the true icons in the industry for what he does with lighting design.

[02:05] Lighting is critical to telling a story no matter what you’re doing.

[02:14] Many years ago, Ray began lecturing and educating people about lighting and what can be done with lighting and where events were going.

[03:01] When Ray was a kid, he was always good with science and math. His dad owned a vending machine company, and Ray had access to the broken machines, so he would create lighting installations in his bedroom.

[03:27] He would even sequence lights to music. He wasn’t sure how to make a career out of this, so he went into electrical engineering.

[04:22] He moved to LA and was an electrical engineer for Hughes Aircraft.

[04:36] While working at Hughes Aircraft, Ray had created some lighting sculptures in his apartment, which a well-known event professional saw and he tells the story of how that led to building a clientele.

[05:46] Ray shares how one of his first big breaks came from Allan Carr.

[06:46] Once props and scenery became decorations for parties, lighting also became a natural element.

[07:39] Lighting is a dance from the moment you enter an event. Light creates an experience and storyline through color, texture, and intensity.

[08:56] Ray is very spiritual. He loves color and the study of chakra and color on your being.

[12:58] Ray directs the events, and lights can be used to create total theater for events.

[16:03] We discuss Ray’s concept of the relation between lighting and “the choreography of emotion.”

[18:38] Ray likes to be involved early on in the design process and discusses why.

[19:07] We learn the behind the scenes process behind a project from proposal to end design.

[25:10] Messaging for brands like Tesla involves a unique lighting design approach for a product reveal.

[26:04] Ray tells the story behind designing the lighting for the wedding for a king in Dubai.

[29:21] We get to hear about lighting projects such as the Governor’s Ball for the Emmys, the Oscars Green Room, the Super Bowl, and studio and movie premieres.

[33:25] He has worked with very high-end entertainers from Elton John to Katy Perry.

[34:41] Ray shares his secrets for production efficiency and profitability that he’s learned over the years.

[37:48] Ray shares how lighting technology has evolved since he began in the industry.

[41:10] LED screens will get cheaper and cheaper for video walls.

[41:45] Ray reveals the best way for industry professionals to work with lighting designers.

[42:47] Battery packed pin spots and battery packed uplights are great cost-effective and simple ways for planners and designers to notch things up a level.

[43:34] Going to concerts is inspiration and relaxation for Ray. He also gets inspired by the very creative producers that he works with.

[44:35] Andy thought the video screens and the lighting at the Ed Sheeran concert were amazing.

[45:50] Ray loves what he does.

 

LINKS & RESOURCES:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram

The Wedding Biz on Facebook

 

Images By Lighting

Images by Lighting

Images by Lighting on Instagram

Images by Lighting on Facebook

@images_lighting on Twitter

 

Mentioned By Ray

Freedom Par by Chauvet

FUEL Lighting Systems

Alan Carr

 

Colin Cowie & His Interview On The Wedding Biz:

Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Colin Cowie: Part 1 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

Colin Cowie: Part 2 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

 

David Beahm & His Interview On The Wedding Biz:

David Beahm

David Beahm: Risk & Synchronicity

This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment & Zola.