Twenties Unscripted Takeover is a special week-long feature series highlighting twenty-somethings who are “taking over the world” in music, art, film, social activism and business. The week concludes with Melissa Beck, CEO of B Astonished Events, LLC. In the age of everyone being an entrepreneur, Melissa is truly building a business from the ground up with the much needed help of her co-founders Sheree Bolding and De’Angela Boone. Learn more about these women’s journey through the world of event planning in the last Twenties Unscripted Takeover Q&A.
What is the vision behind B Astonished Events?
B Astonished Events started as a social outlet for three young inspiring entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. After planning many successful events such as birthday parties, graduation celebrations, baby showers, and wedding anniversaries for family and friends, it was then we discovered our strong passion for event planning. With ambition and determination B Astonished Events was created to cultivate our business endeavors and expand our clientele.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned as a young entrepreneur?
As a young entrepreneur, I’ve learned that it’s all about perseverance and teamwork. Being able to own my own event planning business was always a dream for me. Having to implement my dream was not easy and we still have many years to come in order to develop B Astonished Events, LLC as we envisioned. Organization and staying focused has been our main priority for the business so we can one day reach the highest levels of success. Without my co-founders, Sheree Bolding and De’Angela Boone there is no way I could have done this on my own. As young individuals, we have so many other goals that we are trying to accomplish in our lives, and the value of teamwork and mentorship we have come across has helped us as we continue our journey to success.
What do you love most about event planning? What is most difficult about it?
Whether it’s a client, friend or family member, being able to take their vision and turn it into a reality is what we enjoy most about event planning. We love using our passion, creativity, skills and connections to make events memorable for others. As young entrepreneurs, this opportunity allows us to interact with people on a personal level, which is one of the benefits we find truly rewarding.
The most difficult part about event planning can be dealing with demanding and challenging clients, which comes with the job of an event planner. The ultimate goal as an event planner for us is to exceed and make the clients expectations by helping them to create an ASTONISHING event.
How did you start the company? Where do you see the company going in the next five years?
Before starting B Astonished Events, LLC I always enjoyed planning events for my friends and family and knew that I wanted to take the step to the next level and start a business. So in January 2014 I sat down with Sheree and De’Angela and we started coming up with business names and goals. The moment we established our business name, B Astonished Events, LLC, we were so excited to get the business going. Since then we have done birthdays, graduations, fitness events, anniversary celebrations, networking events, and a wedding after party. We are very proud of our business thus far and within the next five years we hope to have expand our clientele and expand to the corporate side of event planning as well.
What is the most underestimated challenge people overlook when it comes to planning events?
The most underestimated challenge that people overlook when it comes to planning events is the trial of being able to stand out amongst the competition. When it comes to event planning, everyone enjoys following the latest trends to please their client, but if you are incapable of putting your own twist on what’s trending at that time then you become subject to the question of “Why should I choose you as my planner?” All event planners face this challenge in many aspects of event planning and it is one of the underestimated challenges that people on the outside looking in never assume to be a major trial.
What is the best advice you have received as a budding entrepreneur?
The best advice that we have received as budding entrepreneurs is to never give up. When starting a business you have to prepare for the ups and the downs. There will be times when you are constantly gaining interests and planning events and then there will be times where there will be little to no interest. In addition to never giving up, we were also told that you have to work for what you want. So instead of sitting back and waiting for the business to come to you, you will have to go out and market yourself to be noticed.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I know there are so many people who are looking to start and develop their own business. My biggest advice is do not give up. Starting a business can be so intimidating, but once you get past the initial legal paperwork, you can go from there. Follow your goals and make your dreams become a reality.
Melissa Beck currently works as a Personnel Security Specialist at the Department of Defense and is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of B Astonished Events, LLC, an event planning company she created with two of her closets friends, Sheree Bolding and De’Angela Boone. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011 with a dual major in Behavioral and Social Sciences along with a minor in Leadership Studies. After completing her undergraduate studies, she obtained her Master’s degree at Georgetown University in Sports Industry Management solely focusing in Business, Management and Operations.