This interview was made possible by our friends at Guidant Financial:
The leader in alternative startup, franchise and small business financing.
Johari Barnes is the owner of Distinctively Yours Event Management.
Distinctively Yours Event Management is a full-service event management company that specializes in personalized event planning and coordination for individuals and organizations. It is their goal to exhibit a high degree of professionalism, integrity, and exceptional service with every event. They assist individuals and organizations in creating unique and memorable experiences.
MO: What inspired you to launch your own event management company? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
Johari: As far back as high school, I had friends and family members ask me to plan events for them. It did not take long for me to realize that I loved it! I have planned events for major corporations, small businesses, and individuals professionally for the last ten years. All of these experiences inspired me to start Distinctively Yours Event Management, LLC in April 2005.
MO: What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
Johari: I planned a wedding for a friend of the family. That is when I realized that I could not go this path alone. I needed help. The wedding went off without a hitch as far as the couple was concerned but I went home and made a list of all the things I would have done differently.
MO: What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
Johari: I wish that I had joined some of the wonderful wedding and event organizations in my area. These relationships have been great for my business and I definitely have learned a lot.
MO: What are some tips for planning a beautiful and memorable event on a tight budget?
Johari: First, be open minded- look for usual locations for your event. Because some of these places are not used for events, you may be able to get them at discounted rates. Television shows, magazines, websites, and blogs all offer great hints on ways to fancy up your event. Most importantly, hire a professional planner. The planner is not an expense but rather an investment. Their expertise and industry relationships can be the most cost effective step you take in planning any special event.
MO: Who would your dream client be and what kind of event would you most enjoy planning for them?
Johari: My dream client is open minded and willing to be different. They do not have to be famous or rich but definitely appreciates a great event and has the disposable income to get everything! It would be a New Year’s Eve party to be talked about for years.
MO: What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
Johari: To date nothing has yet to surprise me so I am keeping my eyes open for that.