I really can’t believe that it has been 5 years since Creativiti Custom Designs and Events was launched! My business has been blessed with so many amazing opportunities, and I have learned so many valuable lessons. I have to admit that it wasn’t my dream to become a professional event planner, and ironically I wouldn’t have even labeled myself as a creative person, until I attended a few crafting classes. Those classes totally unlocked my creative side. Growing up, I dreamed of becoming an Social Worker. I even had a specific plan for my life to achieve that goal. Even though I say this creative entrepreneurship life wasn't in my plan, it was in God's plan! My mom and grandmother always joke, that I hosted my first birthday party. They laugh at the memory of me walking to the door to greet everyone who came in, because I was like a mini hostess! So, I guess I have been doing this party stuff for a minute now! Building my business and brand has helped me to understand my purpose in life and has given me real-world application of the business fundamentals, that I learned in business school.
Looking back, I think that I wanted to become a social worker, because I have always had a heart to serve others. Serving, advocating and supporting other people is at the core of who I am. My purpose is fulfilled each time I assist my clients in achieving the desired objectives of their event, project, or business. I am also extremely passionate about serving my community, and through my business I have planned many community events. As a member of the Washington Park Ambassador's committee, we've planned community events like "The Men of Virtue", and "Christmas on 55th Street", to showcase the positive things happening in our community. I have also worked on other community events like the Woodlawn Community Summit, and the Economic Empowerment Summit for New Covenant Baptist Church. Working on these projects allow me to utilize my skills in my community. I work very hard to provide and improve the conditions in my community, as well as create opportunities for the underserved communities on the Southside. Our communities deserve the resources that it takes to thrive just like other communities have, and I am committed to working to close those gaps.
I know that this has been a very challenging year for the entire world, collectively we are traumatized and enraged by the unjust killings of unarmed black women and men, devastation caused by the pandemic, financial strain and political foolishness from the White House. In March, ‘non-essential’ businesses were shut down, and an executive shelter-in place order was issued in Illinois. This shutdown caused the entire hospitality industry to take a huge hit. I kind of expected my business to slow down as well. But with favor from God and savvy strategic planning, my business has actually thrived! Initially, a few of my events were cancelled, but then demand for my customized party supplies and gift baskets increased as curbside celebrations grew in popularity.
Even with all of that going on, I decided to continue to strive to achieve my goals. In April, I heard about an opportunity to learn new skills, and I applied and was accepted into the 3rd cohort of the program. Three weeks later, I was awarded a Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate from Florida Atlantic University. The certification program is offered by the College of Business (Marketing Department), and prepares students for management positions in multiple segments of the world’s largest service industry. Completing this program equipped me with hospitality industry specific knowledge which will help me provide better service to my clients.
During the pandemic almost everything went virtual, and organizations with a strong online presence (before COVID-19) had a huge advantage over those that didn’t. I also noticed that many businesses and organizations struggled with using digital tools to increase productivity, or lacked the ability to create digital content to engage their audience, or sell their products. Many of these organizations (primarily small businesses, non-profit and faith based) in my network lacked full time managers trained to manage and deliver digital projects, manage the transition from traditional to digital meeting spaces, or implement digital marketing strategies to engage their audience. To accommodate this need, I decided to pivot my company to offer project based services including (digital ) project management, digital marketing and design services to help these organizations deepen their impact in the community.
I've been consulting on the low for a few years now. To keep my skills fresh after college, I created content, designed websites/e-commerce sites, and copy written for a myriad of clients. As a result my clients achieved measurable results in building and growing their online presence. For the last few years, I struggled to articulate how my education, skills and experience qualified me to share my knowledge. All of that changed this year, because I decided to step out on faith to grow my business. I realized I had had already been doing the work, and that I did have the valuable experience and education to share, so I got to work!
After receiving some amazing advice, I set a goal to pursue more opportunities to share my knowledge. I also decided to take the steps needed to continue my marketing education by becoming a member of the American Marketing Association, and accepting a seat in the Professional Certified Marketers program. Last month, Creativiti Custom Designs and Events also became a Constant Contact Certified Partner. As a Certified Partner, I have an in-depth knowledge of the Constant Contact online marketing platform and best practices in digital marketing. These digital tools, coupled with strategic planning will help my clients realize meaningful results from their investments in email and online marketing. I am excited to host my first Holiday Marketing Webinar, and I will also be speaking on the University CoWork December Lunch and Learn panel: Turbocharge Your Marketing. I hope to see you there!