How did Fay Campbell events start? And tell me about your background?
Fay Campbell Events started completely by chance. I have had a varied career in the industry, and I think this experience put me in good stead for setting up on my own. I started in the event industry 18 years ago at a publishing house as a project coordinator working on music awards such as Smash Hits Poll Winners Party (think The Brits but with more boy bands and screaming teenage girls).
During the next 5 years, I worked at agencies as a Senior Producer creating experiential events such as VIP areas at UK Festivals, a cocktail festival in New York and launches, conferences and parties for clients such as Virgin Media, NFL Moet Hennessy and the 2012 Olympics Committee. It was hard work and long days but lots of fun! I made friends during this time that I still work with and know today. The final 3 years before starting my business included being inhouse as an Event Director for a trend forecaster producing the Global Fashion Awards and New York Fashion Week activity.
It was at this point in my career clients started to contact me asking if I would consider producing events for them. It felt like a natural next step and over the last 6 years my business has grown organically through recommendations. I absolutely love what I do and enjoy the challenges and rewards of having my own business. I am a bit of a workaholic.
What made you specialise in event management?
I studied Journalism at university and at the time didn’t know event management was a career option. I was an intern at a teenage girl’s magazine called Just 17 when I was told about a position in the upstairs events team working on brand-owned events for Emap Publishing house titles. These titles included Smash Hits, Kiss FM, FHM, Empire, Heat and Q. It was such an exciting introduction into the event world, and I have very fond memories of this first job.
From the moment I went onsite at my first event, I knew this was the career for me. I loved the buzz of seeing months of hard work come together and enjoyed being part of a creative team. I could use the skills I enjoyed from journalism such as writing, communication and research and also utilise my organisational and creative talents. Producing events, you are constantly learning and developing new skills and meeting fascinating people.
How does your process work?
Normally a client will contact me with their brief and we will have a complimentary consultation to discuss their requirements in detail. I then prepare an event proposal that can include walkthroughs, plans, visuals, mood boards, budget and timings that bring the concept to life. I find that when a client sees a proposal this can help them to visualise what they want.
Once the proposal is approved, based on event needs, I will appoint suppliers such as caterers, florists, set builders, designers, event managers, AV & lighting companies and we will bring the vision to reality. Preplanning is key to a successful event and ensures that everything runs as smoothly and calmly as can be when we are onsite.
I am very detail orientated person and making sure everyone working on the event is clear on the brief, their roles and the requirements is so important. I will be onsite to manage the event from beginning to end and offer clients the option of a feedback session post event.
Who is your ideal client/brief?
I work with a variety of clients from events and PR agencies to brands direct and private clients, so I see an assortment of briefs and don’t have an ideal client as such. I find the variety of my client base exciting and enjoy that no day or project is the same. I do enjoy an outdoor event whether that be a party or an installation and love a brief that is open to trying new and bold creative ideas.
How do you communicate with your clients to fulfil their brief?
Taking the time to understand their needs and offering a personal and bespoke service. Every client is different. Some like to have calls, some emails, some detailed status reports and some don’t really have time for any updates at all. I take the time at the beginning of a project to talk to my client and to understand their needs and objectives. Always going back to these objectives throughout the process to ensure they are being met.
Communication is key to any successful event as is being upfront and honest. Ensuring that clients are involved, happy and understand why decisions and suggestions are being made. I care about my client’s event just as much as they do and am there to support them as little or as much as they need.
What marketing tools do you use?
Events are such a visual business so I find Instagram works well because you can showcase your own event photos and imagery you find inspiring. It is difficult to be able to market yourself in the event industry as most clients will come via word of mouth recommendation. We are only as good as our last event. It really is about who you know so networking and building relationships is paramount.
What is your favourite flower?
I love roses. They are elegant and timeless and because of the different varieties can be used in classic designs or mixed with other flowers and foliage for a more modern look.
What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have a self-care ritual?
It can be very easy to work long days in the event industry, so I have had to teach myself to take better care of my wellbeing and make time for self-care. I work from home so feel it is important to try and give myself a structure to each day. This can easily be thrown off by a new project or the demands of an existing one, but a daily plan helps to have focus. I write my plan for the next day at the end of each day.
I normally start my morning with some exercise. I love yoga or Barrecore classes. I like to start my workday around 7 am and spend an hour or so replying to emails and enjoy the peace and quiet at this time. After a mid-morning break, I will move onto project work. It is important when you work from home to have a separate office or space away from your living space so that you can have some separation from work.
If I don’t have meetings in the afternoon, I take myself out for a walk or to a coffee shop with a book to clear the mind before returning to my desk for a few more hours. If it is close to an event day this normally means very long days at my desk or at my storage unit packing boxes but if not, I try to finish around 5 pm so I can have a bit of social life.
I allocate a day in the week for inspiration where I either spend time on the internet researching, going to meet new suppliers or visiting shows and exhibitions. Friday’s are admin days which might sound boring to most, but I do love a bit of organising and a spreadsheet!
Where do you find inspiration? Films, exhibitions, art, fashion?
I find film and television can dedicate many event trends, for example, recently Peaky Blinders (Prohibition) and The Greatest Showman (circus) were very popular themes.
I love going to see exhibitions and find their set designs so inspiring. The Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A is still one of my all-time favourites. The use of technology, lighting, set build and colour was simply wonderful and mesmerising.
Themes can also come from major world events such as the Olympics and on social media, I like to follow designers and technology companies who are creating innovative and unique inventions, designs and installations.
Do you have a favourite garden to visit?
I really enjoy visiting the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden at Wisely. It is a tranquil space away from the hustle and bustle of London. It’s especially beautiful in the springtime with all the blossoms and bulbs coming to life. There are so many vibrant floral colours and beautiful English country gardens. A calming space for a walk or for a moment to sit, relax and breath.
Website – Fay Campbell Events
Instagram – Fay Campbell Events
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to know more about our services please head over to our Contact Page and get in touch. I would love to hear all about your project!