11 Mar 2013
- Written by Carlee McCullough
Whether pulling together a wedding for 300 or handling a corporate event for 5,000, Andria Lewis Events has demonstrated what professionalism and attention to detail looks like at the highest levels. Lewis' signature events, which are known for vibrancy and color, have been featured in Essence and Ebony magazines.
Carlee McCullough, Esq.: Tell us a little bit about Andria Lewis.
Andria Lewis: Andria Lewis is a survivor, literally and figuratively speaking. I think that is a trait that enables me to juggle so many things at once with my clients. I find a way to make it all work.
CM: What type of services does Andria Lewis Events LLC offer?
AL: We offer corporate and social planning. That encompasses everything from conventions and corporate incentives and holiday events to milestone birthdays (16, 21, 30, 40, 50+) to the most wonderfully masterful and creative weddings you will ever have the pleasure of attending.
CM: How did you become interested in the event planning business?
AL: Seventeen years ago, my cousin asked me to help plan her wedding. She didn't do it because she thought I knew what I was doing. She asked because we were close and had grown up together. Fast forward seventeen years and I have been in business full-time for over eight years. When I look back, I realized I had always planned parties and events. I just never connected the dots until after my cousin's wedding.
CM: Did you create a business plan before starting your own business?
AL: Not initially. I created my plan about a year into deciding this is what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was in my mid-twenties at the time. I remember the summer I did sit down to create my business plan. I lived in the library researching and learning what profit and loss statements were and how they related to me. I now update my business plan each December to keep current with company goals.
CM: Who is your ideal client?
AL: Our corporate clients could be any company or public entity that needs professional services for their events (we have a contract with a department within the City of Memphis that we execute events for). My social clients are generally college-educated, with a master's degree, people between the ages of 25-33. That's just the average. We have certainly had clients from all walks of life and who range in age from 21-48 (weddings). We have had celebrity clients as well. All of my clients are very down-to-earth, non-pretentious people who want to put on a great event for their guests.
CM: How do you market your business?
AL: Social media is huge for us (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Vendor and past client referrals are our largest marketing tools, however. We've recently placed (March 2013) our first print ad in over four years. And that was specifically to reach our next market (Southeastern states).
CM: In your opinion what does it take to run a business?
AL: A lot of moxie and thinking outside the box. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.
CM: What is the biggest hurdle in landing new business?
AL: I believe that what you want wants you. If I put in the time to put together a great proposal and give it my all during the presentation, it's left up to God at that point.
CM: Given the current state of the economy, would you say now is the best time to become an entrepreneur?
AL: I may not be the right person to ask this question because I will always tell somebody to jump out and do what you love. That's how I started. I got fired from a job (after planning for about 10 years on the side) and I found a corporate client in New Orleans and pitched myself to him. I had some business cards made and now eight years later, I have a great company. I'm published nationally about four times per year (Municaluchi Bride, Essence.com, Ebony.com, TheKnot.com) and I have two weddings that were voted Most Stylish Wedding in Memphis for two consecutive years.
You just get out there and do it! If it's meant to be, the seed will already be planted within you. You already know what to do. It's simply a matter of implementing it.
(For more information about Andria Lewis Events LLC, visit www.alewisevents.com.)