Jul 21, 2010 1 Comment

jcg-eventsThe wedding, the birthday, the mile stone event, the store opening, the company anniversary or the years end “bang!” Doesn’t matter what event you are hosting, planning or attending… it needs to be outstanding!

Jessica Masi is the owner and founder of JCG Events. At her young age she has over 10 years of experience from New York to Miami and everywhere in between. Her events are stunning, her organizational skills are astounding, her taste is exquisite, but aside from all of this is her genuine care for the client. JCG Events has the unbelievable ability to tend to a client’s every need and go far and beyond your highest expectations with ease.

When did you know you wanted to become an event planner?

JM: I have always loved event planning from a young age. I would always be very involved in planning family events as well as events for various clubs and organizations that I was affiliated with. I never thought I could make a career out of my passion until I was at Florida State University; I was undecided in regards to my major and met someone that was studying Recreation & Leisure Services Administration with a focus in Special Events. I had one of those “a-ha!” moments in life where it just made perfect sense for me.

How did you gain experience on Event Planning before you opened up your company?

JM: While in the University I knew that studying from a textbook for event planning would not be enough. I needed to gain hands-on experience and that is when I took a job in a catering company where we planned weddings and corporate events. I learned a lot about the food side of the business. Presentation and quality of service was key. I also became the Date/Social Function chair for my sorority Gamma Phi Beta. I planned the sorority’s formal events, hayrides, and various other events. I created one event that was so successful that became an annual tradition for the sorority. I also volunteered at Southwood Art of Living Community where I planned and coordinated community events, delegated tasks to volunteers and would market the events to increase attendance.

After graduating, I took an internship in NYC at a top event-planning firm. When my internship was completed they extended me an offer of employment and I stayed with the company for three years before moving back to my hometown of Miami. At this company we mostly organized corporate events and gained expertise in managing registration and logistics of an event. At this company I gained invaluable experience because of their way of approaching events. Some of the events I helped coordinate included: Reopening launch of Elizabeth Arden’s Flagship store, Mariah Carey’s M perfume launch, The Footlocker Foundation ‘On Your Feet’ Gala and various other non-profit galas.

Approximately how many events do you plan per month?

JM: The summer season is slow in Miami for events especially for weddings because of the hurricane season. Once hurricane season is over, which is around October I typically have a couple of events per month. I like to keep my clientele to a minimum because I pride myself in giving excellent personal customer service to each of my clients.

Do you have a specialty?

JM: We specialize in planning weddings and social events.

What other types of events do you plan at JCG EVENTS?

JM: We also plan corporate events, meetings, in-store marketing events, store and product launches. With normal advertising outlets quickly being out dated with technology such as DVR, satellite radio, and internet, it is important for companies to stay in touch with their clientele and what better way to create brand loyalty than through an event. The event now does not just touch those who are in attendance but can now be shared by bloggers, tweeters, facebookers and various other social media outlets.

Tell us your process, from the moment a client contacts you, until the day of the actual event.

JM: Our process really varies depending on the scope of work we are hired for. Our packages range from day-of coordination to full-service. When a client contacts us the first thing I try to do is set-up a meeting. Sometimes it has to be a call because the client is planning their wedding from out of the state. I like to meet with clients in person though because it is an interview process. We are interviewing each other to make sure we are going to be a good fit.
Once we are hired for the job the planning process begins. This includes setting up meetings with any vendors that have not been booked yet, getting quotes and proposals and then moving forward with them. Once all the vendors needed to complete your event are booked you start delving into the details of the day and mapping out a timeline. It is also important to confirm all the details with all the vendors prior to the event. I also hold a production meeting with our staff, a week prior to the event. We are then on-site executing every detail from the beginning of the timeline to the end of the event. A lot of planners include 8 hours or certain amount of hours for the day of the event. I do not do this because it shouldn’t be based on that. Quality service is being there from the beginning to the very end of the event managing each step.

Give us a breakdown of the areas your money went towards for your initial investment to start your company.

JM: Here is a breakdown of some of the expenses I incurred when opening my business: designing a website, purchasing business cards, purchasing a computer and printer/ fax and scanner. The cost for the marketing/sales kits: folders, paper, ink, and labels. Also there is a fee when incorporating your business as well as the cost of commercial insurance. My most important purchase has been my portable hard drive to be able to back-up all our documents and information, which is invaluable to our company.

What do you look for in the vendors you work with?

JM: I look for vendors that are professional, reliable and have an easy demeanor to work with. An event is all about assembling the “A-team”. When you hire professionals that offer high quality service your event will go without a hitch and you do not have to micro manage everything because they are experts in what they do.

How did you get your first client and what type of event was it?

JM: My first client was a 150 guest wedding. It was a success! We had assembled an A-team of vendors and guests kept talking about all the details that were incorporated both during the ceremony and reception. I thrive on being able to surprise guests with various unexpected elements. Some things I learned during this event was evaluating all possible solutions and executing.

Negativity is everywhere… how did you deal with any negative people and negative obstacles that tried to get in your way during the process of opening up JCG EVENTS?

JM: I have to say I am fortunate enough to have a supportive husband, family and friends. When I told them my plans for my business they were thrilled for me. They all told me I was going to be very successful. I try to surround myself only with positive people because I believe that dwelling on negative thoughts or energy only makes it manifest more in your life and why would you want that, right?

Tell us about your pricing and your package

JM: I offer three different packages. The ‘Platinum’ full service package includes everything you need to fully enjoy the wedding process from event conception to the implementation and management the day of your wedding. Then we offer the ‘Gold’ partial planning package. This does not include certain items that the full service offers such as venue location selection and budget maintenance. Lastly we offer the ‘Silver’ day-of coordination package, this includes confirmation with all your vendors prior to your wedding. We also conduct a production meeting with the client a month prior to create a customized wedding timeline and production document to be able to distribute to all the vendors and manage everything on-site the day of the event.

How many hours per week do you work?

JM: My hours vary week to week. I can work anywhere from 40 hours to 70 hours per week. Sometimes my days are 16-hour days if I have an event. I also try to keep myself available to my clients at unconventional hours since a lot of the times they have a full- time jobs and are unavailable during the day.

At what point did you realize that you had a great company and knew you were going to make it?

JM: I think after booking my first client and executing the event successfully I knew that I had made the right move. Just hearing all the positive comments and praises afterwards solidified that I was in the field that I was meant to be in.

Who has helped you in this journey?

JM: My husband has been the most supportive person. He is always willing to help and give me great ideas for my company.

I also have a wonderful and extremely talented friend who designed our logo, Chloé Price:

Do you feel that you have reached the success level you have always dreamed of?

JM: I feel that I will constantly be striving to be successful because as my business grows I will be setting new goals for my company. As cheesy as I am about to sound, I see success as a journey rather than a destination. I think once you feel comfortable in the success level that you are at, your business suffers because you are no longer being innovative and creative.

Edited by: Bridgette

Cities, Create, Miami

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