Jade Fletcher is an RBS Woman in Enterprise award winner and CEO of Jade Green Events. She created her own events company back in 2012. Jade Green Events specialise in creative and strategic music, fashion, corporate and charity events. Here she tells her story of how and why she created her company and shares her companies 8-step project management plan.
I knew from a young age that the norm wasn’t for me; I started my first magazine (about horses) at around seven years old; designed my first clothing collection at around 10 years old and have thought of numerous business ideas along the way. However, until 2012, that’s all they ever were: ideas.
I’ve always had a love for creativity, a passion for performing arts, and I’ve always valued experiences over material things, so it was clear that I would fit more with freelancing than the average 9-5. Although I enjoy working within a team, I’m just as happy working quietly away in a corner, at home or in a coffee shop.
I started off in a (typically) unconventional fashion as a backing dancer after I was spotted in a dance class at Pineapple Studios when I was about 19. I had a place at university to study English and Dance, but deferred and instead toured the UK doing festivals, club events and music videos until I injured my ankle.
Determined to stay in entertainment, I badgered my agency until I could work as a booker in their offices, but what I saw behind the scenes really bothered me; a real lack of thought (or even interest) in the talent, and not much more consideration for their clients. I realised that supporting the talent was really important to me, and as I moved from contract to contract, I didn’t see many of those values around me.
Disheartened at the lack of care and attention in the industry, I was given a final push when I approached a local event organiser planning a fashion festival. I suggested a partnership with the agency that I was working with and the event organisers gave me the opportunity to produce my first fashion show, which was - coming from a creative and performance background - the dream, and something I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise.
It was a great success and soon after I was approached to plan, manage and deliver the logistics of other fashion shows. I freelanced in numerous roles, building my experience and contacts in fashion, music and charity until 2012 when I decided to start building my own team and brand (Jade Green Events) with the same values.
With each event, I started implementing and applying processes to streamline refining what we did, with the emphasis always being on creativity, guest experience and added value.
In 2013 I won my first award (RBS Women in Enterprise) after presenting my business plan to a panel of judges and continued to work on a range of contracts and projects while building the brand and reputation.
While event consultancy, project management and delivery is still a huge part of what we do, I’m also keen to push our boundaries a bit more. After all, to me being an entrepreneur isn’t about a particular industry, it’s about constantly looking at ways to improve and add value not just to me, but the people I work with and the little bit of society I may be able to reach.
Top tips to successful event planning:
There are key skills that most Event Planners and Managers have, which include timeliness, organisation, negotiation, communication and the ability to stay calm under pressure.
However, in addition to this, it’s important we also stay true to our brand values; our focus is not just on delivering what is asked, it’s about finding what else can benefit the client, the event and the guests. After attending a course in lean processes for business at LSBU (London Southbank University), I began documenting and streamlining the end-to-end processes we had to give a more holistic and rounded offering to our clients, but also to ensure we could measure our targets and successes and give the same quality of service to everyone, no matter what the size of the event or budget.
Jade Green Events - 8 step Project Management Plan
Generally, a client will have a particular end goal in mind, but may not know all the ways they could achieve this. Take the time to talk to them about their vision and understand the deliverables, whilst also offering guidance and advice based on your experiences.
If you’re creative like I am, it can be easy to get carried away with enthusiasm for the project and start work straight away, however, you WILL get bitten! Manage and file your paperwork from the moment your services are agreed, from invoicing to booking agreements to insurance (event as well as business), to terms and conditions.
Establish the processes that work best for you. We use shared documents and spreadsheets to keep track of budgets, suppliers, sponsors, mood-boards and resources.
Once the ball is in motion, we have an ‘active’ folder so that we can keep track of where we’re up to on everything from the venue, suppliers, contractors and entertainment, to health and safety requirements, catering and guest-lists.
Obviously, not applicable for all events, but as a large proportion of what we do is ‘live’ (concerts, award ceremonies and festivals), we usually need to have some input, whether it’s just in terms of understanding timings and how they fit with the event as a whole or whether we’re responsible for creative concept, theming and staging (for example).
It should be important for every event organiser/host to consider the needs of the guests, but, sadly, this often gets pushed to the side in favour of content and logistics. The customer journey is important as it gives them a feel for the brand, client and event from day one. Guest experience can mean anything from the flow of the venue to the catering, to goody bags or after show party. Make it a good one!
Sales and marketing:
In all honesty, sales are not where we’re positioned as an events company, however, it can be a part of what we do and is often important to the client. We tend to use Eventbrite to keep track of attendees and a range of social media tools and platforms to (strategically) support their activity.
No matter how successful the event or how happy the client, there are always lessons to be learnt. Where you can, a debrief and analysis with your team and client will help identify challenges you may not have been aware of and help to make the next one even bigger and better. This is also an opportunity to gather pictures, quotes, testimonials and media for your website and to use when approaching potential new clients
Words by Jade Fletcher
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