Q&A with our Event Manager, George

George Martino joined our team in July as an Event Manager and has been busy managing weddings, social and corporate events. He has indeed won the hearts of our clients and we’re absolutely thrilled to have him at Karen Brown New York!

How did you get into the wedding and event industry?

George: I began a baking company in 2009 called Queens of Sweet. I was then introduced to Karen Brown and had the privilege of baking cakes for some of her events. Recently, I started a path of self-discovery and questioning my next career move then one day I received an email from Karen with an opportunity to be an Event Manager. I quickly made the call and so it began.

What do you feel are some important skills and qualities for an event manager?

George: The first skill that comes to mind is generous listening. You really need to hear what your client is looking for. Organization and calmness also come to mind, as well as a savvy knowledge of your venues, trends, and buzz of what’s happening in the industry. With these, you will have a recipe of success and make a lasting memory for your client. And in the end, a happy client is what counts.

What brings you the most joy and excitement about being an event manager?

George: Seeing the joy and love that the client is experiencing on the day of their event.

What do you feel are some of the challenges of being an event manager?

GeorgeStaying organized. On busy days, you can be handling multiple tasks while receiving several emails and phone calls from clients so it’s imperative to keep all the details straight.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

GeorgeInspiration for me can come from so many places. When you live in a city like New York, inspiration can be walking down the street or just looking up sometimes. All the fashion, and architecture, and cultures can really inspire you to create. Television, Magazines, and Museums are also places that provide inspiration for me. You always want to be on top of trends and history because you never know where a client may ask you to go.

What advice would you give someone wanting to become a wedding and event manager? 

GeorgePASSION! The same advice I gave myself and friends about anything we do in life. Like the quote from Confucius says; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Q&A with our Business Development Manager, Lauren

This past May we brought on Lauren Rush as our Business Development Manager in Denver and she’s been busy going to local industry events and meeting clients. We’re excited for you to get to know her a little better through our interview!

How did you get into Business Development for the wedding and event industry?

Lauren: I got connected through the fabulous Karen Brown. Both of us are Dallas girls with big hearts for travel and giving back! I knew it was a match made in heaven and immediately wanted to be a part of her team! After relocating to Denver, it only made sense for us to connect and see the spark KBNY could bring to the beautiful state of Colorado!

What do you feel are some important skills and qualities for developing business in a new market?

Lauren: You need 3 things: passion, persistence, and a positive attitude!

What do you feel are some of the challenges for developing business in a new market?

Lauren: Anytime you’re in the business of relationships, the biggest challenge is being patient and knowing it takes time to develop strong connections.

What brings you the most joy and excitement about being part of the wedding and event industry?

Lauren: I love celebrations! Whether it’s a birthday, company party, or a bride’s big day, I love connecting with people and helping their visions become reality!

What are some of your favorite places to grab a drink or bite to eat in Denver?

Lauren: Dad and Dudes. I have a soft spot in my heart for this place because they serve the most incredible gluten free pizza and serve their shots on a ski! How fun is that!?!

What do you do for fun in Denver?

Lauren: Denver has so much to offer. Some of my favorite festivities for letting loose include; concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater, volleyball at Wash Park, weekend hiking trips, and I’m hoping to soon add snowboarding to the list come Winter!

Get to Know a Custom Suit Tailor: Jason Enlow

There’s always so much buzz about what the Bride will wear on the wedding day but not a lot of talk about what the groom will wear. Just like brides, grooms should have options in style, color and fabrics for their suits. At Claremont Bespoke they make an effort to create an fun experience while making sure the groom will look his best on the wedding day. Get to know Claremont Bespoke:

How did Claremont Bespoke begin? 

Jason: In 2009, I was working for an investment bank and was in the market for a few new suits. I wanted a high quality garment without having to sell a kidney to get one. The only options for such suits were the Asian tailors that would sell out of hotel rooms. I thought there was an opportunity to create something that allowed men like me to get quality at an affordable price, from someone on this side of the world.

What is the mission of your company?

Jason: To define the sartorial philosophy of every man we dress.

What is the best part of designing these suits for a wedding? 

Jason: 90% of the time this will be the first custom garment for the groom, so it has to be the look of pride on the groom’s face.

What separates you from other custom suit tailors?  

Jason: It would have to be the level of involvement with each wedding. I source the fabric specifically for each wedding. When the final product is delivered, I often get invited to the wedding. I created the entire outfit for this groom. Shoes, shirt, and suit. As you can see I am involved in the grooms look for the big day.

What is the process like when a wedding party decides to hire you to create their suits? 

Jason:

  1. Consultation with bride and groom to determine style of garments, number of garments and budget.
  2. Develop and send a style guide and swatches to the groom for approval.
  3. Get measurements for all individuals in the wedding party and set up a payment structure.
  4. Create garments and set a time for the first fitting.
  5. Perfection!!!!!

How many different options do clients have when designing a suit? 

Jason: Lol… More than they will ever need! We try to accommodate all the requests of our clients.

How far in advance should someone contact you?  

Jason: For a large wedding party, I think 3 months is adequate. I have delivered in as little as 3 weeks but that is not recommended.

Would you mind sharing a photo of some of your favorite suits that you have created and tell us why their you’re favorite? 

Jason: The first wedding I ever did! It is still my favorite suit.

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A classic mohair tuxedo, with peak lapels:

I love this suit, but the love the couple more!

What is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you? 

Jason: Email is always the best, tailor@claremontbespoke.com.

You can visit Claremont Bespoke on their website and follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Get to Know a Photographer: Erik Ekroth

What could be more important than the photography for your event? So much time is spent organizing every little detail not only for the guests to appreciate on the special day, but also for photos that can be cherished forever. Picking the perfect photographer for any event can be difficult, as you want someone who is adaptable and easy to work with. We know just your guy to take beautiful pictures that you can look back on over the years! Get to know Erik Ekroth:

How and why did you decide to become a photographer?

Erik: I’ve always enjoyed photography and my father was an avid photographer, but my photographic epiphany came when I was overseas in Ukraine as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English.  I used my camera as a way to document my experience, as well as a form of communication and bonding with the people I was photographing.  Many of them didn’t have any recent photographs of themselves or their families, and I was able to give them something invaluable by providing prints for their families and future generations.  It made me realize photography was my passion and true calling.

What is the mission of your company?

Erik: I’d say my mission is to have a fundamental and tangible part in documenting people’s lives through my work and to bring joy to those viewing the photographs I’ve taken for them or their friends and families. 

Where do you get your inspiration?

Erik: I get inspiration from my son, my wife, and from the beauty of the nature.  I’m also inspired by real moments and emotions (weddings are full of these!) and the love that couples and families have for each other.   

What is your favorite part of being a photographer? 

Erik: My favorite part of my profession is capturing tiny slivers of life in my own way and feeling so honored and privileged to do so for my clients.

What is your favorite type of photography to do? 

Erik: I’d definitely say weddings are my favorite (and most challenging) type of event to document, but I’m also a huge fan of family and kid portraits.

What is the most important thing to know about a client before you begin a photography session with them? 

Erik: I always like to know how my clients interact with each other before starting a session, so that they look and feel comfortable and at their best.   

What is your top tip for current and potential clients?

Erik: Hire a professional photographer whose work you love and that you get along well with.  There are no reshoots at a wedding and having someone that you feel at ease around will translate into better photographs.

How far in advance should someone book you?

Erik: 9-­‐12 months in advance is always a good recommendation.

Would you mind sharing a photo of one of your favorite shots and tell us why it’s your favorite?

Erik: This is a photo from Diane and Christopher’s wedding at the Soho Grand in the summer of 2013 – I just love the intimacy, the view and the parents throwing confetti.  It sums up why people get married to me in a fraction of a second – love, family, community and joy.

What is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you?

Erik: I’d say to first visit my website and blog, to make sure my style is attractive to you, and then either a phone call or email is a great way to start. I also always believe in having a meeting at my Tribeca studio to make sure I’m a good fit for my clients.

Erik has been featured in several wedding blogs, including Style Me Pretty, Carats & CakeSnippet & Ink and more.

Get to Know a Dessert Expert: The Dessertist

For some, desserts can be an important part of their event – being a focal point of the party and something for guests to admire and enjoy. Not only should desserts be beautifully presented, they should also be delicious. Desserts can be completely formed to match a theme, and no one is better at this than THE DESSERTIST. From cake pops to unique desserts, she can make anything that you could possibly think of – and if you can’t think of ideas you can count on her to come up with some! Get to know her and see some photos of her artistic creations (and try not to drool too much!):

How and why did you decide to specialize in desserts?

Sam: I have always loved baking. It’s in my blood. Growing up in a large family in the Midwest we did a lot of cooking and baking together. Our talents were kind of divided amongst the family. Some were better bakers and some were better at cooking. I picked up the baking gene when I iced my first cake at 3 years old. I had always loved to bake, it was always just a hobby and something traditional for me. It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I discovered that desserts were my passion.

I have an art degree. I used to always have a creative outlet whether it was sculpting or painting; my two favorite mediums. When I moved here I just didn’t have the room to bring my art supplies. After month of withdrawal I decided to try something new. I woke up one day and said “I’m going to make a cake for Rebecca’s birthday, and it’s going to be a cat!” We were throwing her a surprise birthday and thought it would be awesome to have a cake that looked like her cat. I did a little research, started from scratch and used my sculpting skills to mold and shape this cake into a cat. After that the rest is history and here I am today.

What is the mission of your company?

Sam: My company has a few missions. 1) Dare to make the impossible – If you can dream it, I can bake it. Nothing is too out of the box for me. I encourage people to use their imaginations when it comes to both flavor and design. It becomes an interactive experience for my clients and allows them to step outside their comfort zone and create what they thought to be the non-existent. To me, the sweet element of any event is one of the most important factors. Desserts take people to a happy place, bring out their inner child, and create a feeling of warmth and happiness within them. Seeing my clients and their guest in that sugar induced euphoric state is the best part of my job. 2) Empowerment of Fulfilling your Dream – I like to think of myself as a voice for a lot of women out there who have always had this awesome idea or thing they wanted to do and then life happened. People get that mentality that once you get married or have kids then you have to let go of your dreams. In my opinion, no you don’t, you CAN have it all. It takes work and a great support system, but it can work. I want to make a difference in the world by helping in any way I can whether it’s inspiring others to do what they want to do, or raising money for incredible charities. My desserts come with a lot of love and desire to make a difference.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Sam: I get inspiration from everywhere and everything! Foods, colors, pictures, movies, songs, smells, flavors – you name it I can make something out of it. It is so much fun to just be out in the world and see something and think “wow that would look so cool as a dessert.” I have begun to look at everything and see it for something it could be within a dessert. Edible or not, I find a way to make it work. For example: my daughter LOVES Disney Princesses and we play with her dolls a lot. While playing one day I started to stare at the dolls, their faces, their clothes and then it hit me! I then grabbed my journal and started coming up with recipes based on every Disney Princess! All the way down to the design of each. I now need to add Elsa and Anna from Frozen to the mix. It’s just so awesome having a brain that thinks so crazy sometimes.

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What do you like to know about a client before you create a dessert menu and display?

Sam: My very first question to a client is “Tell me about your event” – this is a great opening question. It allows me to get the clients inside perception of what they expect their event to be like. Typically I can figure out an entire menu just based on this one question.  I must know what the client hopes for and dreams of having. I always ask about their favorite flavors and what the best dessert was that they’ve ever tasted. I always like to catch them off guard by asking “If you can have anything turned into a dessert – what would it be” and sometimes people come up with some awesome off the wall ideas. I’ve never had a meeting with a client where we didn’t laugh most of the time. Desserts make people excited and they excite me too! I always ask about dietary restrictions and allergies, not the most fun part of the conversation but a very important one. I always want to make sure they get everything made to fit their needs.

What is your favorite dessert to make?

Sam: Wow, this is a trick question for me. I love making everything. Some more than others for sure. I guess my favorite desserts to make are the experimental ones. Basically when I take some quiet time and just start trying flavor combinations into various medias of desserts. A few weeks ago when I made my “Barnyard S’more” cookie, I was making cookies for a party my daughter was going to and figured what the heck; let me see if this works. I made a butter cookie base but added toasted cornflakes to the mix. Threw in some marshmallows and chocolate chips and BAM – the Barnyard S’more was born. I didn’t even get to take a picture of it because they were gone in 5 minutes. But, ok, I will be real here if I HAD to pick a favorite dessert it would be my families Horseshoe Cookie. It’s a secret recipe and it’s hard to make, but it makes me feel peaceful and nostalgic. Always helps when I am really missing my family and need to make some trips down memory lane.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while designing custom desserts for events?

Sam: The client’s vision is number one. If they have something specific in mind I do whatever I can to make sure their expectations are met. I also need to factor in venue space and time frame. Last thing you want to do is include ice cream in a menu for a party being held outside in the middle of July. It just doesn’t work, so I am always conscious of where I am going and what resources I have available.

What is your top tip for current and potential clients?

Sam: Don’t overthink the desserts. Just go with what you want and what you like. “There are too many desserts”, “Gosh, I wish there weren’t so many choices” – said no one EVER. The sweet treats of the party are something everyone looks forward to, my advice is just have fun with it, let yourself be creative, and don’t hold back.

How far in advance should someone place an order?

Sam: The sooner the better. THE DESSERTIST is a custom design business and everything is made specifically for each order. Nothing is pre-made or frozen. I really believe in desserts being fresh and made with the freshest ingredients. This is part of THE DESSERTIST experience where you are getting the VIP of custom designed desserts and all of them being done by me, like your personal Dessert Chef. Because of this I don’t mass produce like larger bakeries so my availability fills up quickly. But, there have been times I have been known to do a last minute order if you are the lucky one to snatch up that free time and catch me in a very good mood.

Would you mind sharing a photo of one of your favorite dessert displays and tell us why it’s your favorite?

Sam: Sure! I can’t just share one though. I love them all because each one is so different. No two displays are ever the same. They are each like a snowflake. I love collecting new display pieces wherever I go and all of that brings the display to life. So I can’t say I have a favorite – they are all my favorite. Here are a few of my tops:

What is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you?

Sam: The best way to get in touch with me is email: Samantha@thedessertist.com, I’m not always able to talk on the phone but I am glued to my inbox. I always suggest to my clients to follow my social media outlets. It’s a fun way to keep in touch about my dessert adventures, what I’m baking, and events I will be attending. I’m kind of a butterfly chef and I am always bopping around the city. Aside from the baking I am also have a dessert column in Beauty News NYC Magazine where I try new recipes and review desserts all over Manhattan and hopefully soon I’m going to be teaching some classes on dessert making. So yeah, the social media is honestly just fun and entertaining for people. I give viewers a glimpse into my crazy, sugar filled life!  

You can also follow THE DESSERTIST on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

THE DESSERTIST has been featured in 914NC MagazineThe PatchDoughmesstic and will be a honored Festival Featured Chef for the Fourth Annual Greenwich 2014 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL presented by Serendipity. The Festival will take place September 25-27 at The Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, CT.

Get to Know a Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Jackie K Styles

Among other huge decisions that have to be made in preparation for a wedding, choosing someone to do your hair and makeup is a big decision. Enhancing your natural beauty on your wedding day is especially important, since it’s your big day. You want your beauty to shine, and you want to feel confident and fabulous. If you have a vision of what you would like your hair and makeup to look like, it is important to find someone who can take that vision and apply it personally to you. We happy to have Jackie Kalmenson with Jackie K Styles as a guest on our blog!

How and why did you decide to specialize in hair and/or makeup?

Jackie: After years of styling my friends hair and doing their makeup for fun they encouraged me to make a career out of my hobby. I decided to take their advice and looked into cosmetology school. I started out getting my certification in Fashion and Glamour Makeup in NYC followed by my NYS Cosmetology license from the Learning Institute of Beauty Sciences.

What is the mission of your company?

Jackie: To enhance women’s beauty and help them feel like the best version of themselves.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Jackie: I get inspired from watching red carpet events, what’s trending in celebrity style, and from each of my clients. We all have our own style that comes from within.  I have fun getting to know my clients and matching their personality with their hair and makeup look.

What is your favorite type of event to do hair and/or makeup for?

Jackie: I truly enjoy doing hair and makeup for weddings. I get to meet a lot of people, be social, and creative! What better way to spend my day!

How do you make sure that the hair and/or makeup is exactly what the client is looking for?

Jackie: I ask the client to show me pictures of hairstyles that they like. Pinterest has become the go-to for searching for styles! I also make sure to consult with them before I start styling. Honesty is the best policy. If I think a style won’t work for that individual I will give my professional opinion. I want to be sure that my client and I are on the same page.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a hair style and/or make-up for a client?

Jackie: I always consider what will enhance the clients’ best features. Whether it’s a certain hair-style that would look great or what colors to use when doing their makeup, I don’t create beauty, I enhance it!

What is your top tip for current and potential clients?

Jackie: When choosing a style for yourself don’t just think about what will look good…think about what will make you feel fabulous from the inside, out. It’s amazing how a jazzed up version of ourselves can give us such a great boost in confidence!

How far in advance should someone book you?

Jackie: Approximately 4 months.

Would you mind sharing a photo of one of your favorite events and tell us why it’s your favorite?

Jackie: Rebecca’s wedding was one of my favorite weddings to be a part of!  She has been a client of mine for the past 7 years. Over these years we have become great friends and it was so much fun to be a part of her and Mitch’s day!  Not only did I get to style her hair, I got to see them make their vows and celebrate with them after!

I was also lucky enough to work beside some uber-talented wedding professionals, Karen Brown New York, Samantha Mittler with The Dessertist and makeup artist Kelly Hushin.

What is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you?

Jackie: The best way to get in touch is through email: Jackie@jackiekstyles.com or by phone: 516-375-6081.

I can also be found through my website, www.jackiekstyles.com.

Wedding Wire: www.weddingwire.com/biz/jackiekstyles-tarrytown/9a9fbf7992188e2a.html

Or The Knot: http://www.theknot.com/Vendors/JackieKStyles/Profile/HBF/074/493090/profile

You can also follow Jackie K Styles on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Get to Know a Cake Designer: Me Too Cakes

Choosing someone to design a cake for your event can be extremely difficult. It could be your favorite part of the event process… or it could be something that you absolutely dread. Even though a cake is something that is just going to be eaten, it serves a purpose much bigger than that. There is something about a cake that ties the whole event together, and if you think about it, there are a lot of decisions that go into choosing a cake. You have to decide on the flavor, the design, the size, the frosting, and more. The energy and talent that goes into making cakes is extraordinary, and choosing who to design and create the cake for your special event could be a daunting task. But we know someone that does the job perfectly: Me Too Cakes by Amy Kathuria! Here’s what she has to say:

How did you decide to specialize in cake design?

In my early 20’s I was working as a Pastry Chef for a French Restaurant that had a private dining room. I was asked to make special occasion cakes and wedding cakes. I really enjoyed learning to decorate cakes and decided to do an internship with Ron Ben-Israel Cakes. This opened my eyes and it became a passion for me to learn and create more.

What is the mission of your company?

To work more closely with the couple and create a custom designed cake that represents their personality. Resulting in a beautiful cake that guests will remember and enjoy the taste.

Where do you get your inspiration?

The Couple first and foremost – followed by: Nature, Fashion, Invitations, Magazines, Colors, Patterns, Craft Stores and other Cake Designers…

What do you like to know about a client before you design their cake?

Any personal touches they would like to add to their cake. The personal touches really can make your cake unique and memorable.

What is your top tip for current and potential clients?

The more information that the couple brings to the tasting or wants to share can really inspire a new cake design. Don’t be afraid to share little details such as how you met, how he proposed, where you are going on your honeymoon….The cake does not always have to match the décor of the room. It could reflect something as simple as the bouquet of flowers he gave you on your first date.

Have fun with your cake! Add touches or hidden gestures that your guests will either comment on later or ask questions.

How far in advance should someone book you?

Once all of your details are set such as invitations, décor, event space and you have established a theme for your wedding. Usually 3-4 months in advance.

Would you mind sharing a photo of one of your favorite cakes and explain why it’s your favorite?

My favorite wedding cake includes Poppies, it is my favorite flower.

My favorite Groom’s cake would be the Stryker Army Vehicle cake because we were able to incorporate a very memorable detail of a beverage they enjoyed when they were first getting to know each other. The Bride kept the Groom’s cake a surprise, which made the cake even more special.

Birthday cake – hands down goes to my favorite flavor Passion Fruit Mousse, Almond Jaconde sponge with Fresh Mango. Triple Threat – YUM!

What is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you?

Email is the best way to contact me, with a description of what you are looking for in cake design and date of your event; amy@metoocakes.com.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Me Too Cakes! If you need more information, her website is: http://metoocakes.com/.

You can also follow Me Too Cakes on Facebook and Pinterest.