We were lucky to catch up with Lauren Kellison recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Lauren thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’d love to go back in time and hear the story of how you came up with the name of your brand?
It took me awhile to settle on something. I really wanted a name that would encompass and fit both the event planning as well as the marketing management sides of my business.
The first part of my business name initiated from thinking back on events that I had previously attended. I wanted a word that represented the celebratory nature of the events that people plan. I kept coming back to that core feeling of merriment that coincides with parties, so I picked ‘Revelry’.
For the second part of my business name, I took some inspiration from one of my favorite quotes “life is a journey, not a destination”. It helps form the idea that our achievements and milestones are part of a bigger picture. Pertaining to the event side, whether it be a wedding, or a baby shower, or the marketing side, whether it be a grand opening, or a hitting a financial goal, there are always things to celebrate, and then we can continue down the ‘Avenue’ to the next.
Hence, ‘Revelry Avenue’.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I got into the event planning industry in college, working to put myself through school. It started as a part time job while I pursued a different career path at the time. I was working to become a professional ballerina, and eventually did so. Working in the arts industry is tough, the career doesn’t lend itself well to providing a comfortable financial living. So, I always had a second job. I continued in event planning on the side, and also started running social media and marketing for the ballet companies that I was dancing for, helping to increase publicity and visibility, and found that I loved it. When I decided that it was time to hang up my pointe shoes and stop dancing full time, I considered what it was that I wanted to do, and decided that I would start a company that allowed me to do two of the things that I enjoyed most outside of dancing.
Revelry Avenue is a two tiered business. There is an Events side that provides planning and day of coordination services for weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, and all kinds of events, as well as a Marketing side that provides services from social media management and content scheduling, design of graphics, to website updating and management, and more.
One of the biggest things that I can offer my clients, is a service that is customized to their needs. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ model. I work very much with each of my clients, providing them with a service that helps their event fit their vision, or that helps their business grow and thrive. Weddings and events are such an individualized experience, every one is different. I’m a planner and coordinator that can help bring that vision to life the way the client wants, while keeping everything organized and timely, so it’s stress free for my client. On the marketing side, I can offer customized packages based on budget and needs. If a client only needs help with post design and scheduling for Instagram, we have a package that fits. If they need a little more, some website updates, and assistance posting to multiple social media platforms and content creation, we also have a package for that. My big goal is to have my clients feel less stressed about their event or business tasks when they’re working with me.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
I honestly never thought that the job I got to put me through college, would be what blossomed into the business I started for myself. I worked that job as a means to an end, to get me through school and into the career path that I had chosen to dedicate the better part of my life to. Little did I know, it would lead to the next big chapter of my life.
While I was pursuing a career as a professional ballerina, I kept a second job in the hotel industry. I worked my way up the corporate ladder, from working the front desk, to becoming a sales and catering manager, where my job was to plan and execute all kinds of events including weddings, corporate conventions, business meetings, etc. Eventually, my dance schedule was all encompassing, so I left the hotel world and committed to dancing full time.
During my tenure with one of the ballet companies I was dancing with, I noticed that they could benefit from some help with their social media. Having minored in media studies in college, I lent my hand at running some of their social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, at a time when social media was just taking off as a means for businesses to market to a larger audience and was becoming more essential. Seeing the way the followers and engagement grew, and how social media activity could increase a company’s business and success, was something I most enjoyed. I continued to do this for future ballet companies I danced with, but it was always something I was doing ‘in addition’ to dancing.
Over time, I would attend friend’s and family member’s weddings and events, and I would often find myself wondering what I would have done the same or differently had I helped design or plan. I didn’t realize that these were little milestones culminating to a realization of missing being an event planner. A key milestone was assisting with a family member’s wedding. That day, I helped with the organization and coordination the day of her wedding, and realized that I missed the fast pace and rewarding experience of producing a successful event.
There was a turning point when I knew I was nearing the end of my performance career. Every ballerina knows that there will come a time that they’ll have to give up the stage lights, tutus, and tiaras, and have to find a new career path. I researched and looked for jobs and I was continually having a discussion with myself about what it was I wanted to do. I loved event planning, but I also didn’t want to give up the work I had been doing with social media and marketing behind the scenes for the ballet companies. So I decided to do both.
The biggest hurdle was knowing how big of a risk it was to take on starting something on my own, and being fully committed. But once I had decided to form a business that encompassed both of the ‘side hustle’ jobs I loved doing, and created a business plan that proved it could work, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
Having potential clients in the companies that I was already doing marketing for, felt like a good starting point. Nothing is guaranteed, but having somewhere to start was encouraging. I know they say these things take time, and they are correct. But now, having a roster of marketing clients, and having planned my first few events as my own entity, I am more confident and excited to see how I can grow my ‘side hustle’ turned ‘full time’ business even more!
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
A few things have worked for me so far!
1. Networking & word of mouth. There is nothing quite like it. I’ve definitely obtained the majority of my business so far from past connections or personal referrals.
2. Cold calls. Goes hand in hand with #1. The more people you meet, the bigger your network grows and the more people you connect with. I know these aren’t always the most comfortable for everyone, but I’ve met some great people and created some good business opportunities by making some calls or scheduling visits to bring a gift bag by to someone and introduce myself.
3. Social media. Sharing and searching for business online is how a lot of people do it nowadays. The more people you meet and the bigger your network grows and gets shared, the more your online following grows. As that continues to happen, your reach grows, and therefore your business opportunities!
- Website: www.revelryavenue.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/revelryavenue/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/revelryavenue
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-kellison/
Art Louse Films – Johnathan Kilcullen