We are so excited to share this interview with you. Katharine is not only a friend in the wedding industry, but a talented planner and designer who always leaves us inspired. We first met Katharine out for coffee at our favorite local coffee shop, Roots Coffee and Tea to discuss wedding collaboration. Even though it was the first time we met her, Katharine is one of those people who is so comfortable and welcoming, that after one conversation you are sure you’ve known her for many lifetimes before. We are excited to share her services with our wedding couples that are looking for a planner or event designer here in Buffalo, New York! Even if you’re not getting married locally in Buffalo, New York, Katharine has a love of travel, so don’t hesitate to reach out to her for your destination wedding too!
We’re so excited about working with Katharine in 2020 and beyond. Want to learn more about Katharine and the services she offers to wedding clients? Check out her stunning website or find her on instagram!
Tell me about Katharine Phillips Events & Design and the intention behind starting it?
There are so many decisions and details that go into event planning & design, but at the core of my work is the intention of wanting to help people creatively tell their stories and create new memories through events. Gatherings of any kind are a great way to do that, but planning it can also be stressful which can detract from the overall experience. My role is to help organize & simplify for people and bring a unique perspective on how your event details and the guest experience communicate your story. By having me at the helm to direct and steer the ship, it allows my clients to uninhibitedly enjoy something they’ve worked so hard to plan.
What does Katharine Phillips Events & Design specialize in? I offer wedding day management and design consultations, but where I shine is in full planning which encompasses both those services to execute a wedding from start to finish. I’d say that this service really caters to discerning and creative couples that already have a lot on their plate in terms of their personal and professional responsibilities, so they value being able to delegate it to someone they can trust. What I enjoy most about full planning is that I get to know my couples and their stories very intimately which I really cherish and consider to be a gift. In exchange, I always have my couples best interests at heart to make sure their wedding day is nothing short of perfection.
How long has Katharine Phillips Events & Design been operating and how has it evolved since you started?
I have been an event planner coming up on three years but I really struck out on my own this past Fall of 2019. These past few years have been a crazy whirlwind and I always tell people that I “accidentally” fell into this industry, but the truth is this job plays to a lot of my strengths: creativity, my eye for design & my love of people. I really have enjoyed growing in this industry and now it’s difficult for me to imagine doing anything else!
3-5 words to describe your style, vision, philosophy behind Katharine Phillips Events & Design:
Sophisticated | Modern | Warm | Reliable | Authentic
I’ve always been fascinated by the threads that lead someone right to the moment they are in. What were some key moments/threads in your life that lead you to where you are with owning and operating Katharine Phillips Events & Design?
Wow, love this question! Despite me saying “I fell into this industry,” reflecting on my journey it’s like, “Oh, duh! Of course you’d end up here.” I was raised with an appreciation for hospitality- my mother is a huge Martha Stewart fan and, much like her father, has always been an amazing entertainer. My first job growing up was serving in a restaurant and banquet catering at Crag Burn Golf Club in East Aurora so that was my first exposure to events. Later on, I went to college for accounting but it wasn’t until the summer going into my Senior year where I was doing an internship that I realized- “oh boy, this is not for me.” Regardless, I graduated with a business degree and used that to begin a career in marketing and communications having worked mainly with hospitality clients in San Diego and Boston for a cumulative of four years before I moved back home to Buffalo. It wasn’t too long after I moved home when I was off-handedly offered the opportunity to do event design and planning and it just really stuck for me. Three years later, here I am!
What did you want to be/do when you were younger?
I would always say, “I want to be a business woman” because I watched my Dad suit up every day and go to a nice office– that was what I wanted for myself. Now my attire and place of work might look different, but I’d say I accomplished becoming a business woman!
Was there one or two key threads or bigger moments/life happenings that really pushed Katharine Phillips Events & Design to evolve to where it is now from where it started?
I think my time living in other cities has definitely shaped how I view things and operate, but I also think a lot of it has to do with the relationships I’ve worked hard to cultivate here in Western New York. Whether it’s been other vendors or creatives that I’ve met through Buffalo Boss Babes, I’ve been so fortunate to have been supported, encouraged and inspired by others around me that its pushed me to take action and I’ve made it my mission to give back by doing my best and doing whatever I can to lift up this community.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from starting and running your own business? (What is your favorite mistake or should I say learning lesson you’ve ever made?, and by favorite I mean, which one taught you something so important it changed how you operated business?)
Ha it’s crazy because I learn something new every day, but I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to accept that I can’t do everything. I think it’s important to narrow down to two or three things that you’re good at, and do everything in your power to be an expert at that. With the other things you’re not so great at, gradually outsource or hire where you can. I hear a lot of people that say they “can’t afford to” but I think it’s actually not prioritizing to budget for it or having a lack of trust, and lack of trust does not make for good growth. By trusting other people to do what they’re experts at, it can give you more time to work on and excel at what you’re great at.
How do you keep inspired (Or what inspires you to create)?
Traveling! I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of it. And while some people may perceive it as leisure, I’ve had conversations with people, tried new cuisines or have new experiences that shape how I design my events. I’m always looking for an opportunity to bring back new or fresh perspectives.
Is there one or two pieces of wisdom you can share with someone else looking to start their own business?
- Listen to Mel Robbins TED Talk if you haven’t already to learn the 5 Second Rule
- Get a business bank account!
Describe your ideal day when you’re not working on or with Katharine Phillips Events & Design?
An ideal day for me is usually spent either by the water soaking up sunshine and reading a good book or buying home decor and house plants because I love to make a space feel cozy.
Is there something you haven’t accomplished with yet that you’d like to do?
I would love to plan a destination wedding abroad- there’s no place I’m not willing to travel!
Anything else important you feel you want to share?
If there’s any advice I can provide couples planning their wedding, it’s to make sure that not only they vibe well with their vendors but that they trust them to do what you’ve paid them to do. The more you’re able to trust their skills and abilities, the easier it is for you to step back and just enjoy your day.
Where do you see Katharine Phillips Events & Design evolving in the next 5 years ?
In addition to my work with clients, I really want to help unite the community members of the events & wedding industry here in Western New York. I think it’s important for all professionals to continue to have dialogue, choose community over competition whenever possible and always be willing to welcome and educate new community members so creating and organizing events that can really provide us with that opportunity is something I plan to step into.
What are you most excited about in 2020?
Project wise this year, I have probably what will forever be one of the most important clients I will ever have- my sister! I am really excited to have been able to help her plan her wedding. Overall, I think I experienced a lot of growth in the previous year so I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to continue advancing myself and this business to where I envision it!
Are you inspired by reading this interview? We put together a collection of our interviews of other creative entrepreneurs that inspire us! You can check them out here.