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Meet Kari Dirksen of Feathered Arrow in Playa Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kari Dirksen.

Kari, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started Feathered Arrow about five years ago from a tiny little desk in the corner of my bedroom in my LA apartment. My business was born from a love for photography and event planning but to be honest, I fell into the world of wedding planning. I had just left a job in 2014 and I wanted to get into photography more and was also looking to get back into the event planning world and just be more creative on a daily basis. During my job search at the time, I came across a wedding planner in my area, so I decided to reach out to her and take a chance to see if she had any jobs available. Lucky for me, she needed some additional help and so I started working with her on her client weddings and learned a lot from her throughout that time. To be honest, working with her catapulted me into the wedding world and I loved it so much that I decided to launch my own event planning business. I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and start a business that I really loved and that would matter. The name Feathered Arrow actually came about during a conversation with my good friend over a glass of wine in Malibu. I wanted a name that could encompass multiple things and that would be memorable. The meaning of Feathered Arrow to me was this hodgepodge of ideas and people coming together all headed down a similar path with a similar goal. I could make Feathered Arrow whatever I truly wanted it to be.

After a trip to Haiti in 2014, while I was doing some photography work with a nonprofit there, I decided that my business had to do good for others and not just my clients. So with every client, I work with, I make a donation to nonprofits that I love.

In 2016, I was able to dive full time into my business and it’s been growing steadily every year since. I plan about 20-25 weddings a year and take on other events as well with nonprofits or helping to plan private events for clients. I also do some lifestyle photography work and this year I am launching a lifestyle podcast called The Local Table. It’s going to be a podcast for women who want to learn more and feel inspired and challenged to chase their dreams or build up a business. I’ve wanted to create a platform where I could share what I’ve learned and helped share other people’s stories as well. I love being able to design spaces and create some epic celebrations and parties for my clients, especially in really important seasons of their lives. I’m continuing to grow my business and evolving what I do and how I do it so that I can serve my clients and other women the very best I possibly can.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Like starting and growing any business, it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, in the beginning, there were some really scary and hard times of not knowing if I would book more clients or when my next paycheck would be. The thing with starting a business is that you just never know what will happen some months or even some years. There are always slow seasons and you learn over time when those seasons are and how to best plan for them, especially during your busy and profitable seasons. As business grows and I continue to put in the hard work, business has been a lot more steady but I know that inevitably a slow season could come again.

Working for yourself can also be hard because it’s just you at the end of the day. I grew my business out of my apartment and have spent many days alone working my butt off taking on multiple roles. As a business owner, you learn to wear all the hats, seek advice where you can and spend time soaking up all the knowledge you can because it’s what you need to do to grow your business. Especially when you’re an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time alone so it’s key to make friends and build relationships with other entrepreneurs, especially in your industry. These relationships have been a saving grace for me to not only feel less lonely but to bounce ideas off of and to share in my hardships and in my victories.

Please tell us about Feathered Arrow.
Feathered Arrow is a wedding/events and design planning company for people in love, brands, and businesses that focuses on creating the most epic and wonderful celebrations for our clients. We also offer lifestyle photography and help to educate and inspire people in the industry and the entrepreneurial world. We mostly specialize in planning weddings and we help our clients to create an event and space that is not only beautifully and thoughtfully designed but also leaves their guests feeling like they just had the most epic night of celebrating. We love to help our clients throw the most rad parties.

One of the things I’m most proud of and what I think sets me apart from others is how I approach wedding planning. I pride myself on being the calm in the storm because my biggest goal has been to flip the “industry standard” on its head that wedding planning is stressful and overwhelming. I truly believe that it’s a really special season in life and one that should be enjoyed and celebrated not wished away. My biggest thing is to help make clients feel less stressed, to enjoy the process and have fun planning their wedding. My clients and vendor friends have said that I’m one of the most chill, stress-free, laid back but organized and highly detailed planner they’ve ever met. It’s one of the highest compliments because it’s always been my ultimate goal in who I am in running this business and how it represents my business in the industry. I’m so proud of the beautiful events I’ve created, the way I treat my clients and serve them the very best I can and how I value the relationships I’ve made in the industry. It’s important to me that my business is regarded as a business that you definitely want to work with if you get the chance.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would be kinder to myself in the process. There were a lot of moments of thinking I couldn’t do this, I didn’t deserve this or being unsure of myself. However, I know those are all lies I told myself when things were hard. I’d tell myself now to be more confident, seek out authentic and honest friendships in the industry and know that if I continue to work hard and really want it, it’ll work out.

The other thing would be to outsource certain things sooner. For example, taxes and bookkeeping. I wish I would have learned more about it from the start and really understood better how everything worked being self-employed. Looking back I would have outsourced help for it way sooner than when I did.

Every bump in the road or failure that I’ve had though have been huge periods of growth and learning for me and I think those are necessary in this journey.

Pricing:

  • Basic Planning Packages Start around $2700 and can all be customized per client and their needs for each event.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sisterlee Photography, Poppyhill Flowers; Rachel McCauley Photography; Mary Costa Photography, Wild Child Balloon Creations, Primary Petals Flowers; Chuy Photo, InStyle Blooms; Wild Whim Photography, Shin Dig Chic Creations, Creative Amme; Simply Adri Photography, Blooms Dunn Right, La Pinata Party Rentals, Creative Amme, La Tavola Linens, Dish Wish Rentals

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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