“The Forgotten Few” in the Events Industry
For many months now, the pandemic has been part of our everyday existence. It has affected almost every industry and especially wreaked havoc on industries that in some way serve the public.
Two industries that have had no shortage of business are medical/hospital systems and grocery stores. Our favorite restaurants, for the most part, created inventive ways to adhere to the mandates from state and local governments, and survived, albeit barely. We all supported our favorite local restaurants in their efforts for drive-by food service or in-house service at 25, 50 and 75% capacity, and all of us became content with wearing our masks when out in public amongst our citizens.
Houston has long been the third largest producer of fundraising events in the country and the same in dollars raised from them. Most of us have hosted various types of events in our personal and professional lives. We have used a caterer, chosen an event planner or event décor company, booked a band or DJ, rented linens, tables and chairs, hired a florist, photographer, valet parking company, bartending service, lighting, audio/visual company, bought invitations, booked a venue or hotel ballroom and many other services. My purpose in writing this article was to bring attention to these unsung heroes of the event industry and remind everyone to not forget them, now that this worldwide epidemic has caused so many problems. Don’t think for a moment that they are busier than ever. As creative as all of them are, they are not like a food service provider. They can’t be at 50 or 75% capacity. They have had to totally redesign and redevelop their business models. Most of them are barely surviving and keeping their doors open. Due to issues with social distancing and sterilization guidelines, many of us have decided to stay home, or at the minimum, keep a very close-knit group nearby. Our normal staple of vendors we’ve always had on speed dial, have become the proverbial “red-headed stepchildren” when it comes to being hired for events of any kind.
In the best of times (and sometimes struggling times due to disasters from Mother Nature), many of us have sent requests to these same “forgotten few” and asked for donations or silent auction items for a charitable event or even asked them to discount their rate for that charity. Now that everyone is struggling to stay afloat, it is the perfect time to pay it forward to those same companies you approached earlier.
Next time you think about going to a restaurant to get a meal to celebrate with friends at your home or office, consider calling a caterer instead. They can create something special that you can be proud to serve. With the upcoming fall and winter holidays, how about calling them to create a turkey/ham/beef/lamb dinner with all the “fixin’s?” Reach out to your favorite florist to have fresh flowers for your special meal. Have a photographer and/or videographer create special memories of your occasion. Hire a décor company to put some pizzazz inside and outside your home or business. Rent some linens, tables and chairs for your festivities. Engage a designer to style a holiday or special occasion invitation or interior display for you. Use a lighting company to add ambience to your soirée. Book a band, elegant string ensemble or hot DJ for your gathering. A sound company can create holiday set lists and find inventive ways to play them for your family and guests.
Barbara McKnight, owner of Culinaire Inspired Cuisine & Events writes, “This has been the most challenging and sad year for just about everyone, especially those of us in the events industry. However, spreading joy is what we do, and we will continue to find safe and creative ways to continue to spread joy!” This is the same feeling that you will find with our friends in the events industry. Compassionate and professional! All of them!
Don’t know who to hire for these events? The Social Book and SocialBook.com is happy to provide you with a qualified checklist of Houston’s best event and lifestyle vendors. We have many who are always at the top of their game and are eager and ready to help you create memorable celebrations. My love and respect go out to all these remarkably creative individuals and their companies. (Photo above courtesy of Culinaire Inspired Cuisine & Events)