Today, I am interviewing Decinda MacDonald, the talented owner of Sugar & Spice Events from Queensland, Australia. Decinda was one of my amazing guests at my recent PB and Friends Event last month and I am pleased to share more about her below. I will be profiling all of my guests in the coming weeks in my Up Close and Personal series.
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey into wedding planning and styling.
I worked for nearly 10 years at an entertainment production company. We provided high-end circus acts for local and international corporate events, and I gained exposure to some amazing work. When I turned 30, I had a light-bulb moment and realized that I was never going to live the kind of life I wanted to while working for someone else. I had a huge passion for events, weddings in particular, so I registered my business name and never looked back. I had big dreams and empty pockets, but made the decision to sell my house to fund the start-up company. It’s been such an adventure!
What do you enjoy most about being a planner and designer? What do you find is most challenging?
I love being able to take a blank space and create something from nothing. It is the most satisfying feeling to stand back after a hard day’s work and think, “We did that!” It is even better when the bride sees the groom for the first time; we usually both end up in tears, and I love that we can positively impact people’s lives by doing what we love. The biggest challenge is encouraging clients to trust us. Weddings are such a personal experience and some clients have trouble letting go.
What is the most rewarding event you have ever worked on?
While we have done many events, the most rewarding is yet to happen. We are currently working on producing a charity event to raise funds for colon cancer. In June, we lost a dear friend to the disease and we want to honor him through our work. We are hoping to raise at least $10,000.00 for cancer research, and then I will be able to take great pleasure in knowing that we have contributed in this way.
What was the most challenging?
There was a wedding where I blurred the lines between client and friend and it caused a lot of problems. We tend to get very close to our clients as we spend so much time together, and we need to build a relationship with them throughout the process. I have learned that it is primarily a professional relationship and both myself and the client need to be aware of that.
What are you most inspired by?
Wow, that’s a big question to answer in a few short words. I am inspired by beauty, by nature, and by love. I am inspired by incredible designers like Preston Bailey who consistently raise the bar of creativity and force me to look at things in different ways. I am inspired by the needs of the world and wanting desperately to make a difference in my realm of influence.
If you could change anything about our industry, what would it be?
In our region, I think a higher standard of service is needed, and I know it starts with the man in the mirror. There needs to be more communication between vendors to ensure a smoother running event and treating our clients with the attention they deserve.
What is the best compliment you have ever received from a client?
When the bride cries with joy when she sees the reception room, it really touches me. This has happened more times than I can count and no words are needed.
Have you ever thought of quitting? If so, how did you move through that time?
Not yet, I have a huge passion and desire for what I do and I’m obsessive about the business. It is an extension of who I am and a constant journey of personal growth and satisfaction.
Can you tell us how you felt about the event as an attendee? What did you like and not like about it? (I promise our technology will be better next time)
The whole weekend was superb. As an attendee, I just felt so excited! I didn’t realize how giving Preston would be with his time; as I look at the picture of us in a giant crystal sitting on my desk, I marvel at what just happened. I loved hearing from all of the key members of the team and getting a comprehensive overview of all roles in the company. There was nothing I didn’t like, except that it would be amazing if it were longer! Though, I understand with a company the size of PB Designs this might not be possible time wise. I would love the opportunity to work onsite at one of your events as a culmination of the week’s workshop
What are the three best pieces of advice you would give someone who is just starting out?
First and foremost, PASSION! Let the idea simmer in your mind before you jump into anything. I would encourage them to stay at work for as long as possible to build up the business to a point where it can sustain them. Back yourself. Believe in yourself. If you have passion you don’t need anything else, it will all fall into place.
We all have someone–a client, a friend, a mentor–who challenged and inspired us to go for our dreams. Tell us a little bit about who this person is for you.
I don’t think I have just one. I draw inspiration from many amazing entrepreneurs who have started with nothing and created an empire. I am constantly reading their stories and it is motivational to see that they all go through the same struggles. Sometimes it’s like reading about my day and motivates me to keep going. After a short 30 minutes in my one-on-one with Preston, I got a small insight into the kind of man he is and got such validation from our time together. He might not know it, but I’ve adopted him as my mentor and hope that it was the start of a beautiful friendship.