Preston Bailey Spotlight Series: Ali Messer and Jessica Sheady
June 14, 2013
Thank you all for your kind notes and posts about your enjoyment of this series. I am really having a great time getting to know more about all of you, and I love the wonderful sense of community that seems to shine through in all of your comments and emails. Today, I am profiling Ali Messer and Jessica Sheady, co-owners of Soiree Event Design, an event design and planning company based in Washington State.
Tell us, when you discovered that working in events was your passion?
The idea of Soirée Event Design was born in the kitchen while we (Co-Owners, Ali and Jessica) enjoyed our weekly baking and blogging session. Conversations often trended towards events, weddings, marketing and style. We discovered we both had a passion for events and the process leading up to an event, and decided to take the leap into business ownership!
What did you do beforehand?
We have a combined 9+ years in the catering industry. At the time that Soirée was built, Ali had just finished working for a catering company as a sales manager. Jessica, meanwhile, was working part-time for a catering company and for a real estate agency doing marketing.
Tell us about your biggest event success!
We love events that challenge us and force us to grow with creative solutions and design. But honestly, our biggest event success is any event where our services exceed our client’s expectations and they walk away happy with an unforgettable experience.
I believe that each of us have something unique and special to offer clients. What do you feel sets you both apart?
We pride ourselves in two things; we are 100% client-centered customizing our services to fit client needs and we make choices that focus on guest experience as well as client experience. It is so easy for an event to focus in on what the client wants and forget about the guests, but happy guests help make the most enjoyable events. We spend time getting to know all of our clients and strive to create an event that reflects their personality and still translates to a comfortable and enjoyable event for their guests. We pair them with vendors that best meet their needs and will create a pleasant experience.
Working in events is often a full time job, especially when you are committed to your clients. How do you find that balance between your personal and professional life?
Like so many small business owners, balance is something we have to put a lot of emphasis on. We structure our schedules in a way that we are able to get time off even if it is just a couple intentional hours during a busy day, and we are sure to squeeze in time with friends and family whenever we can. Having two of us is definitely helpful in managing time and allows us to have more flexibility.
Finally, describe the event of your dreams! What is the budget, theme, location?
The event of our dreams will always be a wedding, but it does not have a set budget, look or location. Our dream event is an experience where every detail has a significant role in helping paint a picture of the couple’s story, reminding them of what brought them to this day and what will continue to fuel their relationship. We love to encourage our clients to take elements from life that are important to them and their story and incorporate them in functional and meaningful ways. The event of our dreams tells a story with an experience instead of words.