Life is an event and we all have a task to make it a fulfilling and meaningful experience. If the world would be a little bit more fun and memorable, life would be many times more blissful and enjoyable. As we all journey to discover the one thing that elevates our spirit, it is worth celebrating the moments we have. To fill up the little spaces we have with happiness. To escape from the chaotic cacophony of the outside world. To unleash our inner child, and allow our spirits some healing.
This is where our guest comes in, a seasoned event planner dedicated to creating delightful memories. Memories that leave a lasting impression and are brought to life with glitz and glamour. Marian Ebe is a professional event planner and personal brand strategist, specializing in creating exquisite unforgettable events for clients, and helping many other event planners hone their event management skills for excellent delivery and unique execution. In her interview with GABI, she walked us through her story as an event planner and her vision of transforming the business of event management in Nigeria.
Who is Marian Ebe?
My name is Marian Ebe, a wife, and mother of 3 kids. I am an event planner and specialize in personal branding strategy for event planners. I help individuals and organizations create fun and amazing event experiences. I also help event planners build and maintain a strong personal brand which helps them align with their business goals.
How long have you been in Event planning industry?
I have been in the event planning industry for over a decade now. We have planned events ranging from weddings, corporate events, intimate events, birthdays, bridal showers, and the like.
How would you describe your business growth over the years?
Interestingly, my business growth has been more steady than rapid. I would liken it to a marathon rather than a sprint. It has been steady and we have been focused on our growth. Over the years, we have diversified and introduced more departments into the business. Initially, we only offered event planning and design services, but over time, we expanded to include training for aspiring event planners, event hosting, and event rentals and logistics. Overall, growth has been steady but good.
Would you like to tell us how event planning has changed over the years?
The event planning industry is diverse and has undergone significant changes in recent years. One of the most important changes is the increased use of technology both in terms of planning and in promoting the business of event planning itself. Social media and other online platforms have made it easier to promote events and connect with potential clients while event planning software has also made it easier to organize and manage all the details of an event.
Another trend in recent years has been the shift towards virtual and hybrid events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, it was all about physical events. But during the lockdown, some events had to be held. Yes, some were cancelled, but some major events just must be held. We had to go back to the drawing board and strategize. Okay, we can have virtual events with good internet and technology has made it possible for us to be able to do that effectively. Not just virtual events, but also hybrid events, so now, we can actually hold hybrid events and those that are not able to attend physically can join online. That has helped us to evolve.
Could you please share with us some practical knowledge one must have to be great at event planning?
To become an event planner, there are a variety of skills and knowledge that are very important to have. I am very passionate about this because you see people claim to be event planners just because they have been able to coordinate or plan a family member’s event, but that doesn’t make you a professional event planner. Take for instance my case, I used to love planning events in my church, and my school, it was something I loved to do, and it was a passion for me.
But I realized if I was going to take this as a business then, I would have to seek the knowledge for me to be a professional, and do this in the right way. So to become a successful professional event planner, some of the skills and knowledge that you must possess would be communication skills. How well are you able to communicate your services to potential clients? You have to be creative. Creativity is key.
You also need to have negotiation skills. How well are you able to negotiate with your clients and vendors? These are some of the skills you must have. I gave a more comprehensive and practical breakdown of these vital skills in an online course I launched early this year, it is still on sale at the moment. Picture it like an all-in-one course containing everything one must possess to be an amazing event planner. So, for anybody that would want to venture into the world of event planning, that course is a must-have. It simplifies everything you need to know.
You mentioned communication skills are a must-have for any successful event planner, please tell us, how have you dealt with client satisfaction in your line of business?
Yes! You know, there is no way you would not come across different kinds of clients. Some clients are level-headed, and some are ready to tear down the building. Dealing with client satisfaction as an event planner requires the combination of effective communication, as I earlier mentioned, attention to detail, and a willingness to be flexible and adapt to changing needs. You have to be able to build trust.
This is one attribute that has endeared me to many of my clients. Because my clients trust me, they have been my major marketing channels. They refer me to potential clients. So I do not have to do a lot of adverts, because my existing clients, by word of mouth, bring in more clients to me just because they have that trust in me and I have maintained my business integrity over time. That is how I have been able to deal with client satisfaction.
What is that one thing you always tell brands to never lose focus on?
As an event planner and a personal brand coach, one thing brands should never lose focus on is, their unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition is more like a statement that describes the uniqueness of your business or personality. This differentiates you from others in the market. Once clients can distinguish you and identify the unique value you offer, it sets you aside. People can identify you with it, and it puts you on a higher pedestal than your competitors.
Your bio also says that you are a creative director, can you tell us a bit about the brand, Be-Dazzled Events NG?
Be-Dazzled Events was born out of the passion to transform spaces – from ordinary spaces to the extraordinary. I’m talking about event venues, and event ideas as well. A client has an idea in their head, and to me, that’s a space. How do we turn that ordinary, simple idea into an extraordinary masterpiece? It is all about bedazzling the clients, their guests and also the event venue.
The name is an inspiration from a movie I watched “be-dazzled”. It is all about bringing blitz and adding colors and embellishments, what you call “shine shine” to any ordinary object. At Bedazzled Events, like I said at the beginning, our strong point is helping individuals and organizations create amazing and fun event experiences so as a client you come as a guest to enjoy your event. From conception to execution, we take the stress off you. We make sure you come to your event and enjoy yourself, and create a long-lasting memory for both our clients and their guests. It is all about experiential memories. In the planning and the design, we take care of everything.
Being a coach, an event planner and an excellent entrepreneur must be a lot, especially when you are great in all of it. As a woman in Nigerian society, how have you been able to manage all these responsibilities?
In Nigeria, yes, it is hard. One thing I have learnt to adopt and manage though is my mental health. If you are not mentally stable there is no how you can thrive well managing all of this. So, I guard my mental health jealously. I take care of my mental health and I do not joke with it.
I also maintain a healthy work-life balance. If the home front is in chaos, it would be difficult, it would affect my brand and my delivery. Paying attention to these two things has helped me manage all the things I do. Because being an event planner alone is tasking, not to talk of adding all the other things and managing them effectively. So yeah, these two, taking care of my mental health and a healthy work-life balance are important.
Where do you see yourself and your brand in the next five years?
Thank you for this question. I believe it is very important. I see Marian Ebe as a brand. In the next five years, I see myself building a strong community of event planners with strong and amazing personal brands. Because it is with this personal brand of theirs that they would be able to elevate their businesses to an amazing level. That is what I intend to do. It is all about impacting the next generation of event planners.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into event planning?
You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you want to be an event planner, seek knowledge. Go for training. That is my one piece of advice. Seek the knowledge you require, not just to be an event planner but an excellent one at that.
As I said, when I wanted to make a profession out of event planning, I went for knowledge and got trained although I have been planning events for my friends and all. And you know knowledge is something you have to keep improving on every day. The event industry keeps evolving. With over ten years of experience in this industry, I still learn every day. My advice is to go for knowledge and build a strong personal brand. Your brand would always push your business brand.,