Briana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
*LAUGHS* You ready for the ride? Here it goes:
I graduated from USC in 2009 with my BA in Broadcast Journalism but once I had finished the program I had come to the conclusion that not only was my heart no longer interested in that path, finding opportunity in that field was going to be tough (the Recession was going strong and stories of journalists being laid off by the hundreds was discouraging, to say the least). I struggled for six months to find my first job out of school and managed to stay a year, all the while trying to figure out what I wanted to do that was going to make me happy.
I left that first company for an Executive Marketing Assistant position with a film equipment company that was willing to train the right person and found myself picking up new skills (blogging, advertising, maintaining social media, SEO, etc), it was here that I got my first taste for events. Every year, the company participated in a handful of tradeshows and it was my responsibility to ensure we secured our booth space, payments were made, essentially coordinating all the logistics! I look back fondly at those times because I remember loving the planning process, the energy of meeting different attendees and the feeling I felt after each show. I looked forward to that time of the year every time it came around.
My heart was calling to me again after a couple of years in that position as I found myself questioning if what I was doing was making me happy and fulfilled. I recall thinking about how much I enjoyed doing the tradeshows and if there was a way to do that for a living. The Universe heard my thoughts because not too long after that I went to an alumni networking event at USC where I connected with an event planner and expressed my interest in interning with her followed by being laid off in late 2013 from the company I was working with. Unemployed but confident, I decided to utilize the time I was looking for work (thank goodness for CA EDD) to also push forward full force in getting into the events industry.
It has been nonstop since! I interned with the event planner and took every chance I could to work with event departments/planners/promoters and gain experience. I began in venues with my first official position in the events industry as a PT Birthday Party Coordinator/Event Department Assistant for the Petersen Automotive Museum. From there I moved into restaurants where I stayed for a couple of years working as an Event Assistant/Coordinator/Event Operations Manager for a restaurant group with locations in the DTLA area. I came to realize venue work wasn’t a great fit so I moved in the event rental side of the industry for about seven months. That company ended up doing massive layoffs (me included) but I, again, realized it wasn’t a great fit so I saw it as an opportunity to regroup and think about what I wanted to do to stay in the industry I enjoyed so much.
I needed to work/live and wanted to keep “warm” so I took a position working in catering for a restaurant, trying to convince myself I could make it work. It was the end of 2017 and I was at a reflective point in my life where I was reviewing all my experiences and trying to figure out where I wanted to go from there. As I am sure you can imagine all the movement I had made up until that point taught me a LOT – it taught me how to grow a thick skin, how to know my worth. The events industry is collaborative and crossing paths with different people engrained in me how I wanted to be as an event professional and what energy I wanted to put out in my work. I also realized I wanted to be able to dictate what and how things were done. It was then I realized the only way to do it my way was to start my own – and so I did. I stepped down from the catering position in January 2018 and decided from that moment on I would be moving forward in the events industry as my own agent. It was a jump off the cliff with no safety net, one of the scariest things I have ever done! It took until mid/end of 2018 for me to settle on ‘Busy B!’ as my company name but I have been independent ever since.
The journey so far has been amazing, I am still learning so much when it comes to negotiation, building a client list, people and their personalities, maintaining an actual business, staying true to myself, etc. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I continue growing Busy B! I have been fine-tuning my vision for my company and I want to do big things! I am a self-proclaimed Event Junkie who works on all kinds of events with people from all backgrounds and supports other event professionals on their work but my ultimate goal is to assemble a team – my ‘Eventger’ team if you will – of event professionals and vendors to produce (existing or new) large scale events like festivals, fairs and conventions. I feel that is my niche and I am running with it.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not. If you were to look at my social media you would think my life is easy and fabulous (not saying I don’t live a great life – I can’t say enough how grateful I am) but there has been a lot of sacrifices that had to be made and long hours put in to get to where I am:
When I first decided to take the jump into events I was living with my significant other at the time in an apartment in the Valley. Because I decided to use my CA EDD while looking for work/interning in events we could no longer afford that place. We gave it up, both of us moving in with family. I slept on my parent’s couch for about a year until I was able to get my own little apartment. Once I got my apartment I had no furniture. I slept on an air mattress for a year until I could afford a good mattress.
The first year as a full-time IC was intense – I was constantly networking, looking for gigs on Craigslist, Indeed, etc. to make my bills. I had a little bit of CA EDD from the last W2 job I had working in event rentals but once that ran out things were looking dire. There were a handful of months where I had to seriously contemplate giving up my apartment for a room somewhere or a friend’s couch because I wasn’t going to make it. I was BLESSED to have people in my life who saw me struggling and held me up financially, kept me positive. Those months were tough but taught me about the nature of the industry and why saving as much as I could when I could was of the utmost importance.
Year two (this year) has had its own challenges – I have been blessed with referrals and repeat clients from my first year but I have had other lessons come to the surface, specifically when it comes to contracts (how important it is to have a solid one), getting things in writing (always, always, always!) and most importantly setting boundaries. I have always been someone to not like confrontation/fighting with others but being my own boss and growing my business has pushed me to step into my power and speak to others confidently, sternly if necessary, but still respectfully and professionally.
Owning a business, in general, is not for the lighthearted, it requires everything you have. I am always working in some capacity and cannot tell you how many times I have gone long periods without seeing my family and friends (who I love to death), I am blessed to have a great circle of people behind me who understand and encourage me to keep going.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Busy B! Events & Special Occasions – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My goal for Busy B! is to be a resource people can reach out to for all levels of event needs. It can be something as simple as being pointed in the direction of a great vendor or venue/restaurant for their event (because I go out a lot and like to EAT), working alongside a client to partially plan/support them through the process or produce the event/occasion from conception to completion with my team. Nowadays, I have been working on larger scale events like festivals and conventions (most of my friends/colleagues know me for that) so I have large scale events in my sights!
There are many things I am proud of as a company but if I had to narrow it down I would say I am proud of the growth that has happened and the experiences I have secured under my belt. Busy B! is on a referral basis right now and I am so blessed to keep going with what I love. I know there are SO many other event professionals in the industry (really, really talented folks too!) and we each have our own styles and energy we bring to the table. I know my style is all my own and those who have worked alongside me/contracted me to work with them/hired Busy B! for their event can attest to that. I am pretty laid back, honest, positive and upbeat during the process and I feel people appreciate that.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA weather is unbeatable, the food delicious and the people colorful. I love there are so many cultures in one area.
LA is overcrowded – it accounts for why the cost of living is forcing people into homelessness or natives to move elsewhere, people losing their time (and ultimately themselves) when stuck in traffic or working 2-3 jobs just to get by.
A love-hate relationship, indeed.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @iambusy_b
- Facebook: Busy B – Events And Special Occasions