Planning an Event or Becoming a Planner?!

Mar 21, 2013 No Comments
  • When did you start your company?jamie-lipman,-owner-of-absolute

I started my company in high school. Well, at least in my mind and heart. I officially became a legitimate company, according to the federal government on Jan. 13, 2011. That was the day “absolute” was born!  Its been two years of a wonderful, exhilarating and wild ride!

  • What led you to start an event planning business?

I am one of the rare birds who have known what I wanted to do since I was in high school.  At times it felt like I was an employee at my high school, not a student. I was an employee who didn’t get paid and I loved it! I planned every pep rally, every homecoming, every school event, every contest and prom. I was president of my school and spearheaded the leadership class. This is where my love for event planning was cultivated.

Since I was little, I was always a social butterfly. You learn to be when you are from a family of five very animated, unique and loud personalities. I was always extremely detail-oriented, perhaps I am a little obsessive-compulsive,  but without that quality, I would not be as successful as I am, so I embrace it!  Event planning is a unique business that focuses entirely on the details. No detail is too small to be considered and you need someone like me to make sure nothing is overlooked and no one skips a beat!

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In high school, I would always say “I’m going to own my own wedding and event planning company one day.” Looking back,  I didn’t entirely know what that meant. I was still young and was about to start college, Go Gators! I wanted to get a taste of the event planning world in real time so I began my formal education in the Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation program.

Midway through my freshmen year, University of Florida opened a special concentration in Event Management.  I went to my absoluteguidance director the next morning to switch my program of study. You could tell that she was thinking “Calm down little freshman, I am sure you will change your major six more times as you evolve as a student.”  Little did she know, nothing could de-rail me.  I was on a mission.

I have had an unflappable sense of my professional destiny since that day. I spent the next four years of school interning and working any job that could provide even a glimpse into the world of special events. I worked for an off- premise caterer, a specialty dessert maker, a party promotion company, a hotel catering department, and even a wedding planner.

I quickly learned that Event Planning isn’t found in textbook jargon .  You cannot teach the passion, intuitiveness, or creativity that it takes to master this trade.   My true education came outside of the classroom by throwing myself in to the trenches. Being at the bottom rung of many of these jobs fueled my passion to jump start my career.  I was that intern, starting the thirteenth hour of a wedding, dressed in a black suit, sweating and still asking when the next wedding was. I’m the same person today, but the sweat is under control!

As part of my graduation, a field experience internship was required. I took my internship with the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Fort Lauderdale. Ft Lauderdale was my hometown and I relished in the fact that I could intern for the city I loved so much. It was our responsibility to promote tourism to the city. Therefore, I had to know everything from the small businesses in the area to the best hotel bars and the best outdoor activities for visitors. Here at the CVB, I was exposed to so much of the hospitality world and I began to grow a major database of my own.

It was through this internship that I met my mentor, the CEO of Turnberry Associates. Although, I had other job opportunities outside of the state, I decided to begin my career at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Aventura, owned by Turnberry Associates. I was one of two people responsible for over 64,000 square feet of event space.  I grew a very sturdy foundation there that would ultimately become part of the foundation of “absolute”.

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I was very spoiled with the types of events I was able to be a part of ; weddings for 850 people and other events on that level. I was able to take the elements from that job and environment and bring them with me to my next job at The National Hotel South Beach. I was handling an average of four weddings a week for three years. Every day I looked forward to it as if it were my first day.   I was full of energy and I worked with couples, who, like me, just wanted to have a great party with their loved ones.  We could relate to one another and I was able to develop long lasting relationships with my clients. For me, that is what it was and will always be about.

Working in both a high end, corporate hotel and a funky, boutique hotel was exactly what I wanted to experience before I was ready to go out on my own. I wanted to take from both the different tools and skills each one taught me, re-work them to better suit me and create my own working environment.

I trust myself and depend on “that” feeling that tells me when it is time to take the next step.  After three years at the National, I knew it was time to move on. I had built a reputation for my work ethic, ability to sell and creativity. It was then that I knew I was ready to launch “absolute”, THE best wedding and event planning company in the world!

I had the support of the event industry, the experience I gained, and the unwavering passion and drive to start my own company.  It was time to make my dream come true. My experience, my drive and my tenacity had brought me to this moment.  That was two years ago.

Owning a business of any kind is not easy. I have lost any semblance of a balance. But, I consider that par for the course. I wear it like a badge of honor because it means I am busy and in demand.   No matter what, you have to believe in yourself with every fiber of your being. I am a proud self-made woman entrepreneur and I am capable of building a successful company that will stand the test of time and will always Leave them Talking.   If you have that unconditional belief in yourself and a true passion for what you do, you will succeed.  I personally know that to be true.

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  • Tell me what you do in five minutes or less?

Absolute’s mission is to make sure that you and your family can enjoy this experience for the magic that it is and not worry about the details.   We provide nothing less than an incredible EXPERIENCE, no matter when we come on board.   We are here to make your visions , ideas and your plans a reality and keep everyone at ease because as involved as you will be, your first priority is to allow yourselves to be taken care of.    From total accessibility, to being the professional and physical presence representing you to simply a very light and fun time all around, we can guarantee that hiring absolute will be the best money spent.   We are committed to making sure that every “T” is crossed and every “ I”, dotted.

In addition to our direct services, you can rest assured that through our connections, experience and knowledge of the wedding industry, you will have access to the best vendors in the business offering the best possible experiences.  From inception to execution, there is “absolute”-ly  nothing that we are not going to do for you.

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  • Weren’t you scared of not having the security of a bi-weekly or weekly paycheck?

No, I was more frightened of the regret I would feel if I didn’t act on the impulse to open my own company.  I was more scared of how I would feel to know I always had a dream and the confidence in my abilities and I didn’t do anything about it.  If you are truly good at what you do, have a true love for it and are inherently a good and honest person, the money will come.

  • Why should I hire you? I think I can do this on my own. What do you bring to the table?

You might think you can but you will quickly learn that you cannot and should not.  You hire me because of my time commitment to you and the planning of this event.   While you are at your job all day  every day, I will be working for you.   My contacts and relationships to vendors in the industry are incredibly strong.  Going through this process, you will quickly see how valuable this is.  I have the experience, the knowledge, the support and the passion to share.   Having a professional guiding you through each step and who has your best interests at heart is invaluable.   Someone that you trust to hold your hand through this process, without which it could be an overwhelming time.  Nothing brings me greater joy then sharing this with my clients for the benefit of their event and overall experience.  This is truly where my heart is and that will be obvious when you work with me.

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