Tara and Jessica are such a delight! We’ve hung out over drinks (both bubbly and caffeinated), and it’s so fun to see their ideas come to life. Their fresh style is inspiring, originating from a mutual love of art (they met in college in drawing class), which led them to bond over a mutual love for weddings and—boom! They decided to take the leap and start Event Science. This double shot of girlboss is a wonderful example of how working together makes you stronger, and they talk candidly with us about the obstacles of starting a business from scratch (the shock we’ve all had: “a contract review lawyer costs HOW much?!”); remembering that done is better than perfect; and the flexibility and freedom of being your own boss.
“The biggest obstacle…was coming to terms with how many different hats you have to wear as a boss, and realizing that you won’t be successful unless you embrace them all.”
Tell us a little about yourselves and the road that led you to becoming business owners. What made you want to start an event company? What do you love most about your work?
Tara: I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we never intended to become small business owners, we just wanted to work and create beautiful things. For me, it could’ve been anything. In high school I wanted to be a novelist, and then in college I studied a little bit of everything art related. I would stay up late at night creating interior design layouts for other people’s houses, or designing weddings and budget spreadsheets for fictitious couples. I’m know I’m a little nuts, but these were seriously my hobbies! Jessica and I actually met during college in one of our drawing classes, and it was there that we bonded over our shared love of weddings (and daytime TV!). I finally landed on event planning because this job combines all my favorite aspects of my creative pursuits: interior design, graphics, color theory, and space planning. We both worked for other wedding planners as interns for several years, but Jessica and I decided to start our own company once we realized that interning for other companies couldn’t pay the bills long term. If we were serious about this profession, then we had to put on our big-girl pants and try to make it on our own. It was, and still is, super scary and intimidating at times, but I absolutely LOVE being my own boss! We now have the freedom to pick our own clients, build a brand that represents us and our style, and be involved in every facet of the wedding process from initial planning and design, to seeing it all come together on the big day. The best feeling in the world is the excitement/relief /awe in seeing a finished event space, just before guests arrive, and thinking, “We did it!”
Jessica: Like Tara, I’ve always loved the creative world! Both of my parents have artistic backgrounds, so I suppose growing up in that environment established a love of “visuals” early on. I always enjoyed helping them throw frequent parties and get-togethers, and my mom would let me help pick the place settings and decorations. Like many girls out there, I’m a romantic at heart who loves sentimental mush! As a young teenager, I realized that my passion of pretty party details could be combined with helping couples in love throw the most significant and meaningful event of their lives—and from then on my heart was set on wedding planning! Tara and I independently got as much industry experience as we could, and talked about maybe planning weddings together “one day” way down the line. But, as opportunities for additional internships and part-time assisting started to slow down, we were stuck with the choice of waiting for more wedding gigs with other companies to come along, or use the skills we’d already obtained to jump in and start our own business. It was a scary choice, and though we certainly didn’t know everything about the business (still don’t—but we learn each day!), we knew a lot and enough to plan successful weddings on our own. I agree with Tara that seeing the months of labor come together before your eyes on a wedding day is so rewarding, and for me the extra joy comes from knowing how much the wedding day means to our couples and their families. It’s an honor to help make their wedding day visions come to life!
What was the biggest obstacle to starting your business?
Tara: There were so many obstacles for us starting out—figuring out how to market ourselves, dealing with those nagging “fraudy” and perfectionist feelings, or building a website from scratch on our own (thanks, Google!). Most of all though, the legal aspects of starting a business are what kept me up at night. How to setup an LLC? How to write a contract? A contract review lawyer costs how much?! Oh yeah, and taxes… The biggest obstacle for me was coming to terms with how many different hats you have to wear as a boss, and realizing that you won’t be successful unless you embrace them all.
Jessica: Yes—while we felt we knew our way around the wedding world, there is SO much more to being an independent wedding planning company! We still have a lot ahead of us to navigate as our company grows, but we are so fortunate that there are now many resources available for small businesses and entrepreneurs. On the mental side of things, something I’ve really struggled with is feeling “ready” to start a business. I love learning, and like to learn from others as much as I can. Starting your own business switches hats and changes your public persona from “learner” to “teacher.” I have to remind myself that we absolutely have the skills to do this, and I just need to remind my self-confidence who’s boss—me! I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, and Tara is sweet to reminds me that, “done is better than perfect,” as in, if you wait until you know absolutely everything there is to know, you will literally never start a business. There is always something more to learn, but that’s a good thing. The sooner you start, the sooner you will get to where you are hoping to be.
What was and is the most exciting part of being a business owner?
Tara: The most exciting part for me is that I am now one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming the next Martha Stewart. This is just the foundation of my empire! But in all seriousness, I get really excited when I see evidence of our progress and growth as a company. New clients, new industry friends, new styled shoots and creative endeavors—these things really get the wheels in my head turning and keep me invested in building our business.
Jessica: I agree with Tara on the excitement that comes through seeing our progress (though the Martha dreams are all hers!). Each small thing adds up, and realizing it all started from scratch in our own heads and hearts is pretty amazing. It takes time for everything to develop, but we’ve proven to ourselves that if you put in the effort, eventually others will notice and success will slowly build. We have a long way to go, but we’ve also come a long way! Those little triumphs keep us going. I do want to add one more thing that Tara and I have excitedly discussed many times, and that is having schedule flexibility. We both look forward to having children one day, and this was a huge factor in starting our own business. The ability to work from home and be with our kids during the day is important to us, and this goal is certainly more attainable when you are in control of your own schedule and workflow.
What do you see in the future for your business, and how will you get there?
Tara: I have all these lofty aspirations (see: Martha Stewart above, haha), but in reality I just take things one day at a time. My goals right now are to keep our current clients happy, build our brand and attract more amazing clients, continue producing new content through styled shoots, and always striving to be better the next time. We’ll be successful if we work hard and seize any unexpected opportunities that come our way.
Jessica: I see Event Science continuing to build its audience and becoming a go-to, reputable source for couples who desire beautiful, well-thought out, and fun events. We are definitely passionate about creating original content through inspiration photo shoots, and have plans brewing for several more. We will continue to build our reputation by staying creatively fresh, streamlining our internal systems to maximize productivity, and constantly educating ourselves on the intricacies of entrepreneurship. I think the biggest way to reach our long-term goals is to continue to put in the work, even if day-to-day the results aren’t apparent. It’s an ongoing investment of time and effort, but we know it will be worth it in the end!
What is the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business?
Tara: My best piece of advice would be to try your absolute hardest to quiet self-doubt. All boss ladies (especially me!) struggle with the need to be perfect and accepted. We want to please everyone, to the point where it actually becomes a hindrance. “I don’t want anyone to see this, it’s not perfect yet…” or, “I don’t have the time to make this perfect right now, so I’m just not going to do it at all.” But it never will be, because nothing is perfect. Stop torturing yourself! I try to remind myself and my friends (okay—Jessica out-ed herself earlier) of this Mark Zuckerberg phrase a lot: “Done is better than perfect.” There’s kind of a freedom in knowing that whatever project you’re working on doesn’t actually need to be perfect, it just needs to be your best.
Jessica: I would advise women starting a business to make sure you have the basics down on a physical/skill level, then surround yourself with people who believe in you and want to see you succeed! It’s so helpful to have Tara experience this all with me, but if you’re going into this solo, find a friend, mate, mentor, or other confidant who can help keep you motivated and positive when obstacles arise. It is often a slow process, so have patience with yourself and your business. Connecting with other aspiring creatives is also so helpful! Even if you can’t help each other make money, sometimes chatting with someone else who is attempting a similar hustle is so comforting and a great place to bounce around new ideas. Keep chipping away, and eventually you will see the fruit of your labor.