Carolina Soares is the Owner and Senior Event Designer at The Event Firm Inc., a full-service event management firm located in Kitchener. The company officially incorporated in 2010, but she has more than 10 years of experience in the hospitality and event industry. She prides herself on being able to sit down with clients to gain a strong understanding of their needs, then taking care of those aspects of their events. “This eliminates stress for our clients, who would otherwise be spending time running around, doing the work for themselves,” she said. “We are able to customize our services to suit any budget, location, or design, and our clients take comfort in knowing the details (small and large) are looked after.”
Additionally, The Event Firm has been responsible for pioneering a pop-up restaurant culture here in Waterloo Region. Each of their pop-up events have completely sold out. “These pop-ups bring culture and spontaneity to Waterloo Region, and promotes local brands, artisans, suppliers, vendors, and companies, as well as fosters relationships between attendees,” said Carolina. “They showcase out-of-the-box ideas that appeal to all senses, and allows for attendees to experiment with new and innovative cuisine.”
The Event Firm has two full-time staff members and a number of contractors they regularly work with to help them achieve their clients’ vision. “We want personal details to be included in all of our designs so that your event truly reflects you and your vision. We also want the entire experience to be completely stress free. We’re experts in what we do. When you hire us, you can sit back and be sure that you’re taken care of and that your event will be flawless,” said Carolina.
They also specialize in working at unique venues, such as car dealerships, warehouses, and even cornfields! “We employ specialists in each field, including a florist, a full-time in-house certified wedding planner, and DJ. Because we have a great deal of experience, we understand the ins and outs of running an event from start to finish,” said Carolina. “We pride ourselves on being trendsetters and offering unique event design ideas. We work with our clients to ensure their vision has come to life without the event being a carbon copy of the one before it.”
What made you want to start your own business?
I pretty much fell into what I’m doing. I was in a car accident and couldn’t walk for 2 months. I’m not one to normally sit a lot, so I was super bored and asked my then boyfriend, Kyle Priestley (now husband) if I could answer his emails for his company, Planet Goodtime. He said yes, and the rest is history! I loved the industry and working for myself so much that I kept doing it and never looked back. In 2010, I launched The Event Firm Inc.
What is your background/experience/education?
I’m a trained opera singer with a Bachelor and Masters in Vocal Performance from McGill University. I have a makeup artistry degree from an aesthetics school in Montreal and I’m an internationally certified wedding planner by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC). Currently, I’m taking an Instagram marketing course and studying wedding design under Sasha Souza. I’ve worked on over 1000 events, some as small as 20 people and some as large as 5,000 people.
What do you wish you knew (but didn’t) when you started your business?
That you have to do everything. You wear so many hats when you own your own company. Sometimes people think that being the event planner is all glitz and glamour, but it’s not like that at all. You’re running around, carrying heavy boxes, setting things up, keeping timelines, making sure everything’s perfect, all while looking like you’re stress-free and carefree. You have to be a fantastic multi-tasker.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region?
Be true to yourself. Ask for help if you need it from people who do similar things to you. Do your business research before you start your company as well. Know your margins and know what your responsibilities are as a business owner.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Our extreme attention to detail. We are super SUPER picky about what we do. We steam fabric on site, go to Toronto to personally hand pick blooms for our centerpieces, etc. We are also always striving to become better. I love getting feedback from clients. I want them to have the absolute best experience possible when they work with us and I want to know if I can improve anything along the way!
If applicable, what do you do to give back to the community or to others in your industry?
We provide either discounted or completely donated services to a number of groups in Waterloo Region, including the Kitchener-Waterloo MS Walk, ManEX, Jeans and Scrubs, Junior Achievement Waterloo Region, and Explore Waterloo Region, an organization that helps promote tourism in the Region. We regularly speak to high school students and event planning students at Conestoga College about working in the event planning and management field.
Last December, we made our showroom available as a drop-off site for collection of furniture, household goods, clothing, food, etc. for the relocation of Syrian refugees here in Waterloo Region. We have also sat on boards for the Inspiring Women Event, as well as for the Business Excellence Awards in the past. We provide our services for many Chamber events, as well as attend many of the events in order to network and connect with other Chamber members.
Do you have any promotions or upcoming events?
We hold Pop Up Restaurants on the last Thursday of every month. We take a short break for the summer and we start up again in September. You can check out the “get tickets” section on our website and it will take you to a list of our events on our ticketing platform.
The Event Firm is also pioneering the Cantina Food Club, a unique experience for showcasing some of the best things in Waterloo Region featuring craft beer, Ontario wine, local artists, and musicians. Stay tuned! More details to come...
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