Today’s blog is a spotlight on one of our fabulous EPA members. Melissa Banks truly is an inspiration to the event planners group. Melissa joined the EPA during our first challenge, Pivot and Thrive. She has since pivoted her business and is more successful, and more knowledgeable than ever! Melissa Banks has shown if you invest time into the challenges and the mentorship, while applying all the information you’re learning, you truly can be successful.
Tell us about your business. (Where are you located, and what services do you offer)
The name of my business is DMD Event Planning and Design, LLC, we are located in Jackson, Mississippi. We offer Full Service Event Planning, Virtual Event Planning, Conceptual and Visual Design.
How long have you been in the Event Planning industry?
I have been in the Event Industry for twenty years. My Event career began as a decorator. Then after the discovery of a national organization called ABC (Association of Bridal Consultants) I registered for a certification through an online university, which launched me head first into the wedding industry.
Why did you become an Event Planner?
As a Floral Designer/Decorator you really don’t get involved in the details of creating the experience. After receiving my certification and membership in ABC(Association of Bridal Consultants) very early on, I knew I wanted to create the entire experience for a client. I had to try different things such as Bridal Gowns, Tuxedo Rentals, and invitations to really figure out what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t. It’s funny how due to the current environment/situation I had to do a similar thing on a different level. What I know for sure is, I love creating special moments that the client and their guests will always remember.
What made you join EPA and the David Tutera Mentorship?
The first Challenge Pivot & Thrive actually found me. It found me at a time where I really didn’t know my next step. All I knew was my business felt like it was gone, and I felt the Event Industry wouldn’t survive this year. I signed up for the challenge, and on Day 1 everything changed for me. The EPA and David Tutera Mentorship has changed the way I think, has opened possibilities I know are out there for me, and the way I do business. Now three challenges later, and a couple months into the David Tutera Mentorship, I love every minute. The best decision I could have made was saying YES to that first challenge.
As an EPA member and mentee under David Tutera how has the mentorship program affected your business and personal life?
The mentorship program first gave me the confidence that I can do this. If I committed to be present and implement the strategies shared, my business could thrive even during this difficult time. I have implemented the strategies shared and the information from both the David Tutera Team and EPA leadership. Instead of having an empty calendar and not knowing what to do, I am busy with new clients I never thought I would be working with, and implementing changes in my business model to not only sustain but to thrive.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in the field?
- Determine your Niche. If you don’t know that yet choose one or two types of events and focus all your efforts into it.
- Identify your audience, who is your customer, where do they live, what do they do, how old are they?
- Create a Marketing Strategy. How will you let your audience know who you are and what you do?
- Social Media Presence. You don’t have to be on all of them, determine where your audience is and focus on that one. Just be consistent.
- Network, not only with others in the Event Industry but other industries as well. Networking builds great relationships and great collaborations.
What do you look forward to learning about in the Event Planners Association?
I look forward to connecting with other Event Planners and learning strategies that can make my business run more smoothly, and expand my limited knowledge. I already love the idea of bringing the experts in to talk about subject matters I would never have access to.
Are there any fun tips or tricks you have for event planners?
I don’t think I have any tricks really, but what one thing I would say is don’t ever stop enjoying it. When you find yourself not enjoying yourself, get creative, change things up. or just do something fun. For me I spend time with my Mom whether it’s Friday morning coffee or lunch on Saturday, it centers me.
What was one of your favorite events you’ve planned? Do you have pictures?
I love planning weddings, but I have to say one of my favorite events was The Believe Big Conference held in Ridgeland, MS annually. This conference brings in amazing speakers to inspire and encourage the attendees to believe in themselves, while gaining skills necessary to do the work. It’s one of my favorites because my passion is to encourage and inspire people to believe in themselves – once you can do that you will be successful.