We recently spoke with event planner Veronica Vargas, owner of Mon Ami Events in Long Beach, CA and she shared some amazing advice and insight with our readers. We know event planners come from many different backgrounds but how many event planners do you know have been through law school? Not very many; Veronica is one.
Veronica Vargas started Mon Ami Events in 2010 and it has quickly picked up momentum in the Southern California area. Then earlier this year, capitalizing on her planning company’s success, Veronica started Birdie’s Bakery as a complimentary business.
In talking with some of our readers, we know many of you find yourselves in similar situations where you are not happy in your current or past profession and are ready for a change. You know you want to become an event planner but do not know what early steps to take as you are blueprinting your business.
This interview is one you should especially read.
After law school and working at several companies, Veronica was ready to step out on her own and do what she truly loves – plan events. How did she know she was good at it? She had been planning all types of family events and family parties her whole life.
Best of all, Veronica was able to get her planning company off the ground while being a stay-at-home mom. Talk about impressive time management and organization.
Mon Ami Events does a good share of business with non-profit organizations, and has an affordable pricing structure which caters appropriately to different types of clients. These items, along with smart marketing has led to Veronica’s early success.
Enjoy our Q&A session:
Max: Let’s start out with how you decided upon the names of both of your companies: Mon Ami and Birdie’s Bakery. What is the meaning behind both names?
Veronica: I really wanted a French word for the event planning business because I love the way the language sounds. Mon Ami translates as “my friend” and I thought it fit the type of event planning I wanted to do… I wanted to feel like a friend to the client, so that both parties were comfortable and open with one another.
Growing up, my brother called me Birdie… no one ever knew why and we still have no idea to this day. But it was always a nickname for me. I thought it would be cute to use it as my bakery name; and so “Birdie’s Bakery” was born.
Max: When you were first starting Mon Ami Events, what was the most difficult thing about starting your own business?
Veronica: Figuring out where to market and who to market to was definitely a challenge. At first, I just put up ads as a general event planner and hoped for the best. Now, I have been able to narrow down where I need to be marketing and to which specific groups of people. It has definitely gotten a lot easier… thank goodness!
Max: Now that your event planning business has good momentum and Birdie’s Bakery is off the ground, can you describe what your current day-to-day is like?
Veronica: Emails, phone calls, emails, baking and more emails… haha. But, that’s basically what it’s like. I also am a stay-at-home mom, so I have a lot of challenges throughout the day. My son ALWAYS comes first, so I really have to plan out my weeks as far as when I’m meeting a client, baking for a party or event, speaking with a potential client, etc. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but I love the challenge and I am very grateful that I am becoming successful as an entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom.
Max: What do you think is the most difficult thing about being an event planner?
Veronica: Envisioning an event to be a certain way, then having your client have a completely different vision. Part of the reason that my clients appreciate me so much is because I am creative and come up with ideas that they may have never thought of. However, I sometimes want something and am so set on it being great for the event… then, my client wants something completely different. Of course, it’s all about what the client wants, so there is never an issue. BUT, it’s definitely hard to let go of an idea that I believed would be amazing.
Max: What is your favorite part about being an event planner?
Veronica: Every day is a new day! I never get bored and never run out of ideas. I am so thankful to be in a business where each day brings a new adventure. I also love that I get to meet so many new people and learn about so many different entertainment options that are available.
Max: What have you found to be some of the bigger differences between working with non-profit events and other types of events?
Veronica: Non-profit events definitely take a lot more time and effort, but the payoff is huge! All of my clients have been so appreciative of my work and efforts, but I think the non-profit organizations show it a bit more because they too realize how much effort it takes. It’s also great to see how much the community donates for non-profit organizations.
Max: When working with non-profit organizations, typically who’s responsibility is it to invite potential donors?
Veronica: It is both my responsibility and the non-profit. As part of my service, I invite all of my contacts and seek out new contacts. However, I also ask the non-profit to invite all of their current supporters.
Max: When creating a dessert table at an event, what is the process you go through to determine what items Birdie’s Bakery will make?
Veronica: ANYTHING the client wants!! When speaking to my client, I find out what items they want, make sure they know what items I specialize in, and ask what type of flavors they want. Sometimes they are set on certain items and flavors, but other times I can inspire a new flavor and/or baked good that they may not have known about.
Max: How do you think Mon Ami Events stands out from the competition?
Veronica: I definitely have the lowest price point with the most services! I’m extremely detail oriented, and I know all of my clients have seen that in my services. I also offer around-the clock access… whether by phone, text or email. I never let more than 24 hours go by before responding to a client or potential client. I LOVE what I do, and I think that shows!
Max: If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who wants to become an event planner but has no experience, where would you tell them to start?
Veronica: Try to become an intern and learn all the ropes. So much more goes into event planning than many people realize. There is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that I didn’t know about until I got into the business. Getting your feet a lil wet before jumping in is a good plan.
Max: Veronica, thank you so much for chatting with us and sharing your experiences with our readers. It’s been truly helpful. Best of luck to Mon Ami in the future!
For more information you can check out Mon Ami Events’ website.