Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Bowers.
Erika, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey started in 1994 in Missouri when my dear friend asked me to plan her wedding after graduation. Needless to say, I didn’t understand why she asked me because we had just graduated with our Accounting Degrees and were ready to enter Corporate America.
But because she was my friend, I took on the challenge and it actually turned out really, really amazing. I had never planned a wedding before but reflecting back I realized that I was always involved in planning things such as family events and parties, church plays, and fashion shows. I approached the process like I did everything else by researching every aspect of the wedding planning process and to this day Tiffany and Anthony are still talking about their wedding. After that, the next 10 + years I engrossed myself in Corporate America working in various Accounting Positions and finally moving into Project Management. However during that time span, from my initial wedding, I got a lot of referrals, with one being three months after my first wedding which allowed me to expand my services into design as well.
I was working in corporate full time plus averaging about six full service weddings a year and a few other events which gave me a happy balance. Fast forward to today…. I moved to California in 2008 after getting married and took about a year off. But during that time, I missed planning so much. So I started volunteering at church on their event’s team and joined the board of the local Association of Bridal Consultant Chapter in Orange County to get acclimated with the industry in my new environment. During this time, my family and friends kept asking “when are you going to start your business?” So finally, January 2011 I decided I was going to do a launch party for my event planning business. Well guess what January came and went and I didn’t do the party. My corporate career was so crazy. During that time, I was managing over 12 clients, with portfolios over $1.6B, from the East Coast to the West Coast and I didn’t have time to focus on the business. I’m a firm believer all things happen for a reason. So on January 24th our company was acquired and after talking extensively with my husband I knew that it was a great time to have an exit strategy from corporate and in March 2011 Erika’s Elegance Weddings & Events was officially opened full-time.
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road but I was taught anything worth having is worth fighting for. Because I had worked in business for so long and even for a start-up company at one point, I knew that it took time to get a business up and running and flourishing. I have definitely seen my share of obstacles and challenges in growing the business. Southern California has so many wonderful planners and one of my biggest struggles was getting known in the business. I had several things against me. I was “the new kid on the block” because I wasn’t from Southern California. And although I had been in the business part-time for over 15+ years, I really didn’t have a strong business presence in the event industry because my focus had always been on my corporate career first. Another struggle was effectively communicating how well I knew the industry and the work that I’ve put in behind the scenes. Many people had never seen my work. And before moving out here I really didn’t understand the importance of partnering with photographers to get images of my events. Last was finding my true voice and having a consistent brand that I loved and felt comfortable with representing me and my business.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Erika’s Elegance Weddings & Events – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Erika’s Elegance Weddings & Events is a Full Service Wedding and Event Planning Company that loves connecting with people. Life is best spent with love and laughter and we love being a part of celebrations that build upon those two foundations. We are best known for truly understanding our client’s vision and helping them articulate that for their event. All while allowing them to enjoy the celebration on event day because we are handling all of the details for them. I am most proud of being able to stay true to my brand and personality. I love to laugh, have fun, and value family and friends and am always so excited that all of my clients share those same values. Because of my experience and work ethic they trust and know I will get the job done and are okay with us laughing a lot along the way.
There are so many amazing, awesome, talented, and gifted planners in the area and many bring something special to the table that gives them a competitive edge. I am in awe of the level of awesomeness many of them have. I think what sets me apart is that not only do I have the ability to allow my mind to dream, dream, and dream some more to develop a design concept, secure the right vendor team, and create a cohesive memorable event, but I understand the importance of the business aspect of things because I am an Accountant by trade and worked as a Project Manager for over five years so knowing that the logistics, the budget, the RSVP management, and the timelines, are all very important in making sure that you have a seamless process on event day. I say that I am OCD when it comes to planning details in that I map everything out down to the last second. Ok well may not the second but definitely the minute.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity of our city and the various architectural styles. I know sometimes we’re referred to as the melting pot but when you melt chocolate and caramel together you get such an amazing blend and I think that’s what makes our city awesome.
OMG did you have to ask what I like least about the city, it’s the trafficcccc. Who can get used to it? I keep asking myself, where is everybody going?
- Website: www.erikaselegance.com
- Phone: 626-430-6099
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: ErikasElegance
- Facebook: ErikasEleganceWeddingsandEvents
- Yelp: biz.com/erikas-elegance-west-covina
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