Re-cap of the Book Discussion with Nina Garcia at Barnes & Noble

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Before I give you a re-cap of last night’s event, I just have to say thank you to everyone who came out to Barnes & Noble. It was an extraordinary evening, and even though I’ve given hundreds of talks, I still get a little nervous before each event. It helped that I had such a wonderful interviewer and companion on stage, Nina Garcia. Once I’m surrounded by the excitement and energy of the others around me (Nina, the guests, my wonderful family who also came last night) I’m ready to get out there and give my all.
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After answering a series of insightful questions by Nina, mostly covering how I got started in the business, what my design process is and where I draw inspiration from, we played a game called the “Or Game.” It was a series of questions—Lilies or orchids? Uptown or Downtown? Prada or Gucci?—designed to help the audience get to know me better. Can anyone guess what my answers were to some of these questions? I’ll give you one hint—I didn’t answer lilies.
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Biyan, one of the best designers in Indonesia, even came out to the event. (Check out our accidentally matching Prada shoes!)

Then we took questions from the audience, and I want to share some of the answers here with you. One lovely woman mentioned that she’s been designing a lot of corporate events but wanted to get more into designing weddings and social events. She asked for some guidance on how to break in.

My advice? Just start doing it. Start off by designing weddings for your friends and family. Learn from each experience and build your knowledge base from there. Wherever you go, keep your ears and eyes out for people looking for help planning or designing their wedding. Offer your services, and before you know it, it you’ll build up a list of clientele and a portfolio of some amazing events.

I really believe in the power of doing and knowing that the only way to get started is to get out there, create, and be comfortable with making mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, we all do, and the most important thing to do is just to turn each mistake into a learning lesson, fix what you did wrong, and make yourself better with each new job.
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Another person also asked about decorating for the holidays and where to start. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to pick one color for your event to keep a unified look and feel. Last night, I also advised on picking a theme for your event to help give it some focus. For example, one year we used a nutcracker theme for a client’s holiday party. It was a charming take on the traditional holiday decoration and it left everyone with a new sense of fun for Christmas. And, like Nina says about any good wardrobe, having a theme makes your event “edited”–meaning that there’s a focus and specificity that helps your event’s design stand out from the rest.

Thanks again for coming out to Barnes & Noble—hopefully I’ll get to see you all again at my next talk.

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