Andy is very excited to welcome Marcy Blum, an internationally sought after event planner and entertaining expert who has 30 years experience. She has been named one of the best in the world by Vogue, Martha Stuart Weddings, Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Times magazine. Marcy has appeared on many television shows and, with event planner Sarah Haywood, has developed EPIC, the Event Planners International Collaborative that offers an intensive and advanced wedding and event planning education.
In this episode, Andy and Marcy discuss how she got started in the industry, when she started her own business and how scary it was to strike out on her own. She tells us about wanting her event designs to be different from everyone else and looking for clients who wanted the same thing. She also gives us insight into what the business looked like when she got started in the 80’s and how it has evolved today.
Listen in as Marcy talks to us about some of the weddings she remembers, the way she structures the rates she charges for her services, her advice for people starting out in the industry today and about EPIC, the program she started with her friend Sarah Haywood. Marcy is a pioneer in the event industry and you won’t want to miss all of the knowledge she has to share about the industry.
[03:02] Welcome to the show Marcy!
[04:30] Was there anything when she was growing up that was related to being in events?
[05:20] She went to the CIA to be a chef but after graduating and working in restaurants decided that it wasn’t what she wanted to do, it was too repetitive, not creative enough for her.
[06:20] She was planning parties at restaurants and some of the customers started asking her if she could plan events for them.
[06:45] Was she scared when she started out on her own?
[08:47] She said if she knew then what she knows now, about how difficult it is, she would never have started her business. Good thing she wasn’t aware of it at the time!
[09:26] Is there a relationship between acting and event planning?
[10:29] Back in 1986 how did people view her as a party planner? Did she try to do things differently than other party planners?
[14:18] Did she have visions of how she wanted her events to be different?
[16:35] She felt that everything was so canned and stiff back then, she wanted clients who wanted something different.
[18:23] How did she balance the art with business decisions? Were they emotional decisions?
[19:20] Marcy changed her business perspective by thinking more about the numbers instead of just the design.
[20:18] She now spends more of her time on events that are profitable and points out we can’t stay around this long unless we seriously consider the financial end.
[21:13] Her advice for someone just starting in the business is to get knowledgeable about what you are trying to do.
[22:13] You can’t be successful without templates but you have to be able to customize them for each client.
[22:48] She is all about the experiential approach to event planning, sell the sizzle not the steak.
[24:45] Do you pay attention to the news on a daily basis? Does a possible recession scare you?
[25:33] People, for the most part now, are more interested in what they are bringing to their friends and family than their own experience.
[28:42] Is the demographic of the guests at a wedding important when planning the event?
[29:35] Music should have a beginning, middle and end. Hear Marcy’s favorite way of presenting music for ceremonies.
[33:58] Marcy said guests really appreciate place cards at events, it can give guests a different experience and they can meet people they wouldn’t normally have talked to.
[34:57] Here her take on the best timeline for weddings.
[35:53] Marcy talks about planning 3 or more day events before a wedding, starting with the rehearsal and lasting until after the wedding.
[37:58] Marcy would love to take a lighting design course – the visual nature of it can take events to another level.
[38:35] How involved is she in the lighting design of her events?
[41:08] Is there a dream project she hasn’t yet been able to do?
[43:53] Learn about Marcy’s pricing policy.
[45:37] EPIC is hands-on education for someone wanting to take a deep dive into event planning. It is very intensive and lasts 3 to 4 days.
[47:28] Within the next five years, Marcy would like to write a novel based around the event business.
[48:21] What is her morning routine?
[48:35] What is her work schedule like?
[49:25] How does Marcy define success at this point in her life?
LINKS & RESOURCES
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Mentioned during the interview:
Bryan Rafanelli’s Episode on the Wedding Biz
Sylvia Weinstock’s Episode on the Wedding Biz
Ray Thompson’s Episode on the Wedding Biz