Labor Pains: The Birth of a Business

What’s in a name? This question was famously posed by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. also chose this as the title for his famous narrative.

Names hold significant weight; one of the most important considerations when having a child or starting a company is determining the name. The name is how someone or something is identified and perceived by society.

When I was deciding on a name for my event planning company, I wanted a name that easily identified the services I would offer: planning and styling social events. As I reflect on where my life was at the time I started the company, I realize there were several reasons this name was so fitting. I started it in 2012 when social media had already risen in popularity, and the name Socials was undeniably influenced by this fact as well. However, I believe the main reason I chose this name is because of the need to improve my social life in general.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this definitely holds true for the creation of my company. Around 2010 and 2011, I was undergoing major shifts in my social life/relationships. I was coming to the end of a relationship that lasted the majority of my 20’s, and the entire time I was in it, I focused mainly on him and who we were as a couple. I didn’t give much thought to what I wanted for myself. When this relationship began to unravel, I was in an uncomfortable and unsettling position. All I knew was this relationship, and hadn’t defined who I was outside of him, and I definitely had no clue about my purpose. At the same time, many of my friends were going through the exact opposite. They were getting married, having children, and here I was feeling alone in the new reality I was facing.

During this time, I was asked to be a part of their weddings. I served as a bridesmaid in two of my good friend’s weddings, and was an event hostess for two other weddings. I should have been able to be completely happy for them, but at the time, I was miserable. I put on a smile, but inside I was crumbling. I remember secretly crying in the hallway of a hotel room after partying all night in downtown Chicago for my friend’s bachelorette party.

I was deeply depressed, when one night after talking to my mom about what I was going through, she posed a question that really made me think. She asked me what I wanted for my life outside of a relationship?

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This was my “aha” moment.

This is when I really began to focus on what my interests were.

At the time, I didn’t look forward to attending weddings and baby showers because these events were a reminder of what I didn’t have in my life. But I did feel a sense of purpose when I helped out for these events as a hostess. I also realized the importance of time management when I was in a wedding that had a huge guest list that could have definitely benefited from having a wedding coordinator to help keep everyone organized. And when my dad asked me to plan my mom’s 50th birthday party a week before the event (gotta love men lol) I actually had fun getting everything together.

It occurred to me that while being a passive witness to events gave me ample time to sulk about what wasn’t happening for me, being an active participant in helping others during these events made me feel a whole lot better. Serving others is what healed me.

I began to intern for other wedding coordinators and event planners, and I felt myself come alive. I remember being an intern for a wedding coordinator who had a bride who was quite difficult, but during the whole experience I felt a sense of peace. That’s when I knew that I found a career that I would enjoy.

I also admired the décor and ambiance that surrounded these events. A beautiful event tended to uplift my mood, and this inspired me to want to learn how to create décor that would enhance events, as well as produce events that would inspire others. Long story short, Socials, LLC was born. And as I continue to evolve, so does my business.

So what’s in a name? When I decided on Socials, I only had one idea in mind for what I wanted the company to be. Now, there’s so many directions I look forward to pursuing. I’m glad I chose a versatile name that is also specific in its purpose of helping others because my vision for Socials continuously grows, but I’m always keeping this purpose in mind.

When I was at a low point, the circumstances of life navigated me to this purpose. I want to say I founded my company, but in all actuality, my company found me.

It found me when I least expected it and challenged me to become more vulnerable. It placed me in a position to face my shortcomings head on, to genuinely be happy helping others plan events that I have yet to experience for myself, and to be truly grateful for the opportunity. Socials, LLC is a labor of love that was conceived from pain.

I’m excited to see where this baby will take me 😎

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Their Little Eyes are Watching

A couple of months ago, I was on my way to work when my cousin Tasha inboxed me.

The night before I posted pictures of a protective style I had just tried out, and honestly, I was a little self-conscious about the style, but decided to post it anyway.

She was showing me the picture of her beautiful daughter Aniyah’s hair. She said Aniyah liked my hairstyle, and wanted to wear her hair like mine. So she sent me the picture of her hair in the same style I had.

It was at this moment I realized that not only does representation matter, but that I too am a woman that young African American girls are looking up to. Mind blown.

I never really thought about this, being that I don’t have children, and I rarely spend much time with kids-with the exception of my goddaughters that I try to see at least once a year.

And this realization inspired me in a way that nothing else has. Sometimes I get caught up in a bubble and I think no one sees me, but when I received that message from my cousin, it made me realize that I am seen.

I know it was something as simple as a hairstyle, but it was impactful because now that I know there are young girls watching me, it makes me want to become the best me that I possibly can. That’s why I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable, and sharing these experiences.

And I’m in great company. Oprah’s powerful acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes touched on this where she so eloquently stated:

“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching…it is an honor and a privilege.”

This speech was given a mere two days before my cousin inboxed me, so these words were already fresh in my mind. If that wasn’t enough to motivate me, this picture that went viral certainly took me over the edge:

Photo Credit: The Washington Post

I mean there’s not much to say that this picture doesn’t already. It embodies the importance of representation, and how heartwarming it is to have an innocent child be in awe to that magnitude.

From Oprah, to former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, to little ol’ me, they are watching. It’s my responsibility to give them something to aspire to.

And yours too. Let’s make them proud 🥂

Superhero Party!

EC9597AA-C87B-4CB7-B702-EB1C103C49D2This year, one of my faithful clients decided to throw her son a Superhero Themed 6th birthday celebration. I always have a great time helping her to enhance her theme, but this year seemed especially fun.

Per usual, I was in charge of designing and coordinating the treat table for the party, and I teamed up with local bakery Caity’s Confections to create desserts that were SUPER cool!

I wanted to create a skyline for the dessert table backdrop, so I found a pattern that I liked, and drew an outline using a gold highlighter on black card stock.

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Once this was complete, the only other design I would need to make was the sign for the birthday boy. I used blue, yellow, red, black, and white poster board to create the “Quin is 6” birthday banner.

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Of course, the desserts by Caity’s Confections were designed to perfection. Take a look at the before and after setup to see how the desserts really made this dessert table out of this world!

 

 

 

 

And here are a few more highlights of the table:

Until the next time Socialites ❤️💥👊🏾

Mother’s Day Tea

A few weeks ago, Socials was given an exciting opportunity to cohost a Mother’s Day Tea with local Indianapolis bakery, Mama P’s Bakery and Cafe.

I was super excited to plan and style an event honoring mothers and mother figures, and I knew that the event needed to reflect how special they are to the lives of all they touch.

And, Mama P’s has been gracious in catering the event and allowing their cafe to be used for Socials and all of the esteemed guests.

The menu will include light fare such as mini chicken salad sandwiches, cream cheese pinwheels, cookies, scones, fruit, and an assortment of hot and cold teas.

Socials will provide the ambiance and hosting duties.

The tea will be held Sunday May 7, 2017 from 11-1 and from 2-4. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children $10 and under, and are available via Eventbrite or at Mama P’s Bakery located at 3990 Georgetown Rd. Indianapolis, In 46254.

Can’t wait to mingle with all of the attendees, sip some tea, and spill a little tea, all in fun of course! Take a couple of hours to relax and enjoy a beautiful, Springtime social!

Creating a Personalized Event Theme in 10 Steps

1. Start with a Vision 

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The vision came to me a while ago (November 2015) to plan a Victoria Secret inspired 25th birthday party for my younger sister Veronica.  This theme was perfect because she worked at the store for years, and loves their brand. I initially envisioned the theme colors to be black, gold, and pink after referencing VS logos that I liked.

However, once I began to shop, the items that caught my eye ending up taking me in a totally different direction. This event took a life of its own, and truly embodied the VS PINK theme.

I was a little concerned that the party would look overly “girly” and that there would be too much pink in the room. But, I think the end result turned out nicely after mixing in some white, a little black, glassware, and silver.

2. Ensure Event Materials Incorporate Theme

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The idea to design a program came at the last minute after my mom texted that she wanted to do an ice breaker game for the guests. She sent me questions she wanted guests at each table to answer as a group, so I took her questions and designed a PINK themed How Well Do You Know Veronica trivia game. Once I did this, I began to think of how I wanted everything to flow, so I kept the same template from the game to design the programs. The game and the programs ended up being different colors of pink because I designed them in different design software, but it still worked.

3. Create a Focal Point

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I knew I wanted the star of the show to be the dessert table. Candy buffets and dessert tables tend to excite guests, and are a great focal point for the room. I wanted the dessert table to have a Strawberries and Champagne theme, since Victoria Secret sells this product line in its stores.

4. Add Special Touches

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I added pink glitter to a couple of bottles of Pink Moscato and VS letters, placed them atop silver trays to protect the table from the glitter to add extra sparkle.

5. Create Authenticity 

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For the gift table, I made a Veronica’s Secret Gift Sets sign as a way to notify guests where to put the gifts, and decorated the table with candles wrapped in pink striped ribbon, and an actual Victoria Secret gift box to make the theme feel more realistic.

6. Highlight the Guest of Honor

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For the table centerpieces, I played around with different ideas, but ultimately decided to make a pink tissue floral centerpiece placed in hurricane vases wrapped in the VS theme ribbon, and each table had a picture of the birthday girl dressed in Victoria Secret gear. A sheet of 12×12 pink swirly card stock was used for the base of the centerpiece at each table.

7. Cater to Guest Demographics 

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Since this event was geared toward millennials, I knew I wanted to have a photo backdrop, and this would give me an excuse to make photo booth props. I handmade about a dozen to serve as party favors. I placed the props in a clear vase, wrapped the vase in two shades of pink wrapping paper, and sat the vase on a silver tray along with a photo booth sign. My sister then added her own special touch by covering the table that everything sat on in pages cutout of one of her Victoria Secret magazines.

8. Decadence is Key

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I decided that the cake and chocolate dipped strawberries should be light pink to match the table linens. I initially wanted to add VS themed cookies to the table, and found some on Etsy that I really liked, but they were a little pricey, so I nixed the idea.

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But, lo and behold, my mom’s friend’s daughter made VS cookies that she brought to the party. We had no idea she was going to do this, and they fit in perfectly on the dessert table. She even placed them on clear trays, as I did with the strawberries. Coincidence? I think not. I love how God brings people and things together because I can see us working together on future events.

Speaking of the strawberries, I initially wanted them made by a professional, but I ultimately decided to make them myself, so my sister and I made them together. I think I was a bit overbearing trying to make sure they turned out decent at least (sorry sis, lol). I think we did pretty well for our first try. What do you think?

9. Add Signature Cocktails 

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The signature drinks were Berry Punch and Pink Moscato. The punch was served throughout the night, and the wine was served during the birthday girl’s toast, and a bottle was given away to the table that won the trivia game.

10. Make it a Team Effort

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I must give a special thank you to my mom and her friends who helped make this party a success by serving the guests throughout the evening. Aren’t they the cutest?

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The birthday girl herself contributed to the party as well, helping set up, make desserts, and allowing me creative freedom in planning her party. Thanks sis, you’re truly an “angel”!

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Special thank you to Carolyn June Photography for taking beautiful pics of the event! She even got the chance to have a little fun in front of the camera as well!

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Last, but not least, I want to thank my family for always being able to collaborate in love in celebrating the special moments in our lives.