What I Learned from Planning a 300 Person NYFW Party

What I Learned from Planning a 300 Person NYFW Party

I learned that it’s hard AF. The end.

 

JK. But seriously, both Jessie and I have been living and breathing the NYFW Party since June – the anticipation and anxiety leading up to the event was insane, especially when I found out that Jessie wouldn’t be coming to NY because of Hurricane Irma. I was so sad that she wouldn’t get to be part of something that she worked so hard on. But, we made it work and pulled off our biggest event to date! Our NYFW event 10x’ed in size over last year (!!).

Style Collective NYFW Party Recap 114

 

The Highlights

There were many, many highlights of the party. Everyone loved the DJ and dancing, the designer handbags, interactive temporary tattoo station, the food, and the selfie wall downstairs. SC members had a blast tasting yummy Style Collective cookies by Chocolati Bar and chocolate by Patchi Chocolate as well as getting their hair, makeup, and nails done by beGlammed and local nail professionals. The decorations and the vibe were just right for a night of fun, glam, and connecting with other women. And can I just say? I really had a fabulous time meeting so many of you ladies IRL. I am an extrovert in the sense that I am energized by being around others! I loved every minute of the party.

>> You can catch the full recap of the party here, including photos & video.

 

The Misses

Originally, the party was intended for 150 people, but when tickets sold out mid-August, mass panic ensued. The only solution the venue presented to us was to add another room to the party, which was located in a completely separate space from the main party. Jessie and I weighed the pros and cons of this less than ideal setup, but ultimately decided that the benefit of allowing more guests outweighed any mishaps that may ensue.

Due to the event being in two separate locations, swag bag and wine distribution was not exactly ideal and some guests didn’t get either one. One thing that I overlooked was the swag bags. I thought that we could leave them out for each person to take one, but it turns out that some people thought they could take multiple bags. It never occurred to me that someone would do this, so I may have been naïve to think that would have been okay. Next year, swag bags are getting locked down.

I felt so horrible about the two issues above, that I scheduled phone calls with every attendee that was disappointed and personally apologized before issuing a refund. One of my core values and principles is integrity and my leadership compass would have been screaming at me that I was not aligned with my true north if I had just ignored the situation at hand. It only ended up being a handful of people, but I know that I can sleep at night.

Another aspect that was extremely challenging was planning the event remotely while I was in the middle of relocating from the north east to the south east. Jessie worked on the event from Miami and I worked on the event while packing, moving, and then from whatever hotel room I was in that week. This added a lot of stress as we had a really hard time envisioning the layout and flow of the parties. This was a huge, huge pitfall for both of us and we absolutely need an event planner going forward. I’m so glad that I learned this lesson before our conference this April.

The party was also open to all bloggers, which we may reconsider for 2018 and make it an SC exclusive event. We wanted the party to be inclusive since so many NYFW events and parties are invite-only, but we may have to rethink this approach because it’s simply not scalable.

The Verdict

Overall, everyone had a fabulous time at the party and I can’t beat myself up over the 5% of people that didn’t have a good time. I am proud of this party and I know that next year, we will do even better!

For 2018, I want to do an all-day conference instead since that is more aligned with my mission for Style Collective. The vision is to have hair/makeup touch ups, a snack station, networking activities, a panel of speakers, workshops, tutorials, and of course, a party! I will definitely hire an event planner, find a space that will allow for everyone to be in one location, and lock down swag bags. I still can’t believe how many people wanted to attend our NYFW Party and I am so grateful to be surrounded by such inspiring women who want to uplift one another.

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  • Charlotte Pottieger

    Annie, you are a rockstar! You should be so proud of this accomplishment! xo!

  • Annie,

    Even though I wasn’t able to make it in the end, I’m sure the party was amazing! It always stinks that people can’t understand the 1 to 1 bag idea, but as someone who’s planned numerous corporate events for work, I too have learned that the hard way. (And you just have to wonder who these people are and why they think this is okay, but that is a WHOLE other post in itself. LOL)

    I saw all sorts of fabulous pics on IG that weekend and suffered intense FOMO because of them. YOU and Jessie should be SO PROUD of what you did and continue to do with Style Collective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on planning this stellar event and I look forward to not letting a hurricane stop me from attending the next one.

    Stephanie | http://www.theborrowedbabes.com

    • Aw thank you, Stephanie!! I know – that really is a whole post in itself!! We are definitely super proud of the party, thank you so much for that reminder. 🙂 I hope to see you in April at the conference in Raleigh!!

  • Sounds like it was a blast and and I cannot wait to go to next years NYFW celebration! Just to hang out with my SC Sisters is a dream! As far as the mishaps, It’s a great thing..pressure and diamonds, you know! 😉

    • Ahh you are so right, I’ve never heard that one before! Pressure and diamonds – love it!! I can’t wait to be in NC – one month!!

  • Sanglui

    Hi Annie, I wasn’t able to make it to the party but, I was able to connect and collaborate with many of my SC Sisters during NYFW due to, you and your team had. Which made my first NYFW, an amazing one. I’d love to volunteer in any way to help out in anyway possible if need be. Thank you once again. Have a great remainder of your week. – Sanglui 🙂