My name is Oli and I am a 22 year old (girl!) just starting out in the events industry. Currently working at Fisher Productions as a Production Assistant, I’ve decided to start a blog about some of my ideas, aspirations and inspirations.
I guess I should start with a bit about how I ended up falling in love with party planning.
It probably started when I was about 15 and spent all my spare time doing fashion photoshoots with my friends. I used to spend hours planning a theme, getting costumes/outfits/props etc, borrowing cameras, dragging everyone off to some random location and then editing the pictures on Photoshop. I’ve always been creative and really enjoyed creating a ‘scene’, especially with a theme.
I planned my first proper party for my 15th birthday and it was ‘When I Grow Up’ themed. Everyone had to dress up and I cleared out the lounge, made my dad hire some laser lighting and used the biggest speakers I could find in the house. I also bought a load of sweets which I thought was an ironic twist on the theme – angrily telling my mum that no one had crisps and cake any more.
My best mate Rose had a really quirky eco house and garden (and parents that were cool); I ‘persuaded’ her to let me use it for house parties, with a particular highlight being our ‘You Are What You Drink’ party (dress as your favourite drink). I loved creating spaces for people to socialise and planning all the different elements. Standing back and watching everyone enjoy something I had created gave me such a buzz.
For my 18th (again, at Roses) I threw my biggest one yet. Alice in Wonderland themed, I made my boyfriend nick his mums wedding marquee, persuaded my best friend to buy me a shisha pipe (The Caterpillar?!) and invested in a smoke machine and strobe light. I decorated the entire garden, made mutli coloured vodka jelly shots and even provided 200 cigarettes (don’t ask). I thought nothing of spending every penny I could on throwing the best party anyone had ever been to.
Career-wise, the original plan was to study Medicine at university, but when I missed the grades I had to resort to my back-up plan of Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University. A second attempt to get into Medicine failed but I tried to stay focused, planning to apply for graduate entry.
I remember thinking during my Freshers’ Week, ‘wouldn’t it be crazy to organise this’. I just wanted to be the one in charge of it all. I’d always loved throwing parties and this was a party on an epic scale.
At the beginning of my second year at university, I took part in Freshers’ Crew, not knowing that this would eventually lead to pursuing a totally different career path.
At uni I also became involved in the events side of a couple of societies, threw my own parties (more on those later…), worked as an Event Assistant for Steven Duggan Events and as a decorator at The Christmas Decorators. I also took part in part in Freshers’ Crew again. I slowly began to realise that maybe Medicine wasn’t right for me and that I could pursue a career in events, which I believed I was good at and which I loved.
After Freshers’ Crew ended I suddenly decided that I wanted to be Freshers’ Week Organiser. This was a crazy idea for a few reasons – the role is won through a university-wide election and I was probably the last person anyone would have considered to win. To cut a long story short, I somehow found some other people to form a team and campaign with me – and we won.
Organising Freshers’ Week really threw us in the deep end but was an incredible experience – planning a week of events with a budget of £280,000, managing 400 volunteers and and selling tickets to 4500 people. Highlights included securing Sigala to play at one of big evening events, putting on a festival on campus and holding a Full Moon party in a 5000 capacity tent.
Fast forward to now and I’ve been at Fisher Productions for 6 weeks, on a development programme called ‘The Fisher Accelerator’. On this programme I will rotate around 5 different departments, getting experience in a wide range of event disciplines: Logistics, Corporate Accounts, Hires, Venues and Staging. Fisher is the only event production company to hold a Royal Warrant in the UK and so is a pretty exciting place to work! I’m looking forward to getting a lot more experience in this industry and hopefully there will be bigger and better things to come.
Anyway, that was a (not so) brief introduction, thank you for reading and I’ll be writing some proper blog entries now. Have a great day!