Interviews

Welcome Jessica!

We are excited to welcome Jessica Stucke to our HELEN MILLS team! As our new Event Sales & Operations Coordinator, she will be helping in all aspects of our events from beginning to end.  Jessica has an extensive events background that has included working within the winery, restaurant, and floral industries in California. She is looking forward to contributing to the lively events scene in New York City! 

Here's a quick interview with Jessica:

o  Hometown? San Mateo, California.

o   Favorite place in the neighborhood? Shake Shack (But it’s still 2nd place to In-N-Out, sorry!)

o   What is at the top of your personal bucket list? To find and take a fabulous selfie with the new Netflix ‘Queer Eye’ cast.

o   What do you love most about events / planning events? I love being surprised by each event’s creativity and purpose – it’s always uplifting to see people come together for a shared passion or cause.

o   Favorite swag item? I can never have enough Tote Bags!

o   Favorite event décor? String lights or as I like to professionally call them behind the scenes: “fairy twinkle lights”.

o   Favorite cocktail? I’ll gladly sip anything with gin and mint/cucumber – bartender’s choice!
 

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Stop & Smell...the Peonies: A Guide to Event Floral Design

 Walking through the flower district on 28th street, you will be literally surrounded by choices.

On my walk to meet with Merriel Weston, a veteran florist with nearly 25 years of experience, I passed through what seemed like a pop-up jungle. To my right were small bushes and imposing conifer trees, on my left, gorgeous bright flowers, climbing vines and tall grasses. Despite the appearance, I was not in a jungle, I was walking along 28th street's famous flower district on my way to get Merriel's words of wisdom on event floral design.

For someone unfamiliar with planning for and purchasing flower arrangements, the choices can be daunting. What is in season? What fits with your brand or event theme? Do you want large arrangements, something more discreet or both? How does your event venue factor in to your choice of floral arrangements? 

I tackled these questions with the help of an experienced and talented florist. Below are some quick, high impact tips to get you on your way to incorporating floral design into your next event.

 A selection of arrangements in the studio. These were all created for the same event and kept with the white color scheme while varying in texture and type of flower to create variety and different points of interest.

A selection of arrangements in the studio. These were all created for the same event and kept with the white color scheme while varying in texture and type of flower to create variety and different points of interest.

Q: What are the top factors to consider when creating floral design for an event? 

  • The venue's architectural details. For example, if the venue has high ceilings, consider creating taller plants or flowers or having a large centerpiece. If the venue has large window sills, can you place arrangements at each one?
  • Guest interaction & Event flow. If you are creating centerpiece or table accent arrangements, make sure your guests can see one another across the table. For your centerpiece, make sure it's near the point where guests will congregate most - at a bar or food station may be a good option depending on the size of the space.
  • Seasonality. In the spring Cherry Blossoms, Pear Blossoms, and Magnolias are a great way to reflect the season and create a feeling of Spring indoors. In June, peonies and lilacs are abundant choices. In the Fall, berries and dahlias are local, readily available to usher in the brisker weather. For more guidelines of what flowers are available by season, see here.
 Succulents are readily available in the summer and a unique and hardy choice.

Succulents are readily available in the summer and a unique and hardy choice.

Q: What are some considerations when choosing flowers or plants for your arrangements?

  • Your brand / cause and the event's mood. Consider what mood you want to create for your event and how you want your guests to feel. For example, bright or intensely colored flowers may foster a sense of excitement while subdued, earthy succulents may have more of a calming, comforting effect.
  • Color and texture. When selecting items for your arrangements, consider the texture of each selection you make. The arrangement pictured below has not only varying colors but also vary textures to create interesting contrast in a subtle way, while maintaining the overall white color theme.
  • Budget. Floral and plant arrangements can become costly. If you are working within a strict budget, consider having one large or high-impact piece and then complimentary small arrangements throughout the space in areas that guests will see such as check-in, on the bar, or on cocktail furniture and in lounge areas.
 This bouquet uses varied textures and colors to create a truly stunning arrangement while evoking a classic look. Each element of the bouquet, from the peonies to the hydrangeas, was chosen for how it would ultimately contribute to the final look.

This bouquet uses varied textures and colors to create a truly stunning arrangement while evoking a classic look. Each element of the bouquet, from the peonies to the hydrangeas, was chosen for how it would ultimately contribute to the final look.

About Merriel Weston Merriel Weston has been a florist for nearly 25 years, first in Malibu for 7 years and then in New York City for the past 17 years. Her clients include, Estee Lauder, FedEx, Financial Times, and numerous private clients. For more about Merriel as well as photos of her work, see her website.

 Merriel Weston, founder of Merriel Weston Floral Design, poses in the walk-in plant refrigerator.

Merriel Weston, founder of Merriel Weston Floral Design, poses in the walk-in plant refrigerator.

Event Planning Series: Extending The Life of Your Event with Photography

Choosing an event photographer and/or videographer can be challenging – they must be able to tell a strong visual story while capturing important moments. Photographer Zev Greenfield of Milk & Honey Productions outlines questions to ask and things to keep in mind when recording your next event.

  HELEN MILLS Event Space Events, Fashion and Meetings & Conferences

Think Beyond the Moment

MAKE EVERYTHING EASILY SHARABLE
From signage to venue setup, make sure your event lends itself well to being photogenic and easy to share on social media. In this day and age, lots of photographers offer interactive photo-sharing technologies so attendees can share photos on-site during your event. If you want guests to share photos during the event itself, be sure to bring this up during your initial conversations to see if this is an option.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR EVENT
Events are a huge investment, make sure to get the greatest return. Have compelling photographs and beautifully told stories on video to make the event memorable and engaging for guests who aren’t able to attend. Photographs can also help to increase interest in future events.

...FOR MORE TIPS, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget
 

  HELEN MILLS Event Space Events, Fashion and Meetings & Conferences

Q&A With a Professional

WHY INVEST IN VIDEO?
Video is often a second thought, however, people should consider using a videographer for any event where there’s a speech involved or a message being given to people. While it’s easier to upload and share pictures and videos, video captures words, emotion, movement and sound in a way that photography simply cannot. It takes skill and expertise to tell an event story. It’s easy to shoot images but to tell it in such a way where there’s a thought process, beginning to end, and also convey a message, that takes talent and experience.

HOW CAN GOOD PLANNING ENHANCE EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY?
Plan how and when you’ll use your event photos before the event. People often want photographs and video immediately. Go in knowing the timing you’ll need post-event and be clear about this schedule with the photographer.

...FOR MORE Q&A, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget

Want to Learn More about Planning Your Next Event? Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget or Contact Us for an event consultation. 

Event Planning Series: Event Entertainment To Wow Your Guests

Entertainment can make the difference between a unique and memorable event and one that
guests forget once they step out the door. Never considered having entertainment at your event? Read on for recommendations and a Q&A from event entertainment expert Brian Rosenbaum. Brian is the President of The Entertainment Company and has 25 years of experience in the event entertainment industry working with 1,000's of clients.

 HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theater Event Planning Series - Event Entertainment

Do Something Different

TAKE A RIDE ON THE MOBILE BANDWAGON
Encourage your guests to interact with the event by using mobile technology. Some ideas to consider:

  1. Set up a projection screen with a twitter wall of live tweets from the event.
  2. Set up a projection screen that displays photos taken at the event in real-time.
  3. Set up  a hashtag print station where guests can print photos from the event that they have posted on social media. This type of interactivity will keep your audience engaged throughout the event (as well as publicize your event on social media).

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Hire entertainers that your guests won't expect. Some crowd pleasers include dancers, acrobats, stilt-walkers, magicians, graffiti artists, and balloon artists. These entertainers will liven the vibe of your event, and make your event stand out.

...FOR MORE TIPS, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget

Q&A with a Professional

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST UNCONVENTIONAL ENTERTAINMENT YOU'VE PROVIDED?
We’ve had aerial performers with high ceiling venues. We’ve also done indoor ice-skating for winter themes, complete with professional ice skaters doing performing a show for guests.

ENTERTAINMENT OPTION YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF?
Strolling performers are great when there are a lot of people at an event. These performers are like the street performers you see in New York City. They are extremely talented and will circulate throughout the room, doing a number of performances a night for small groups of people. They create intimate performances that don’t disrupt the flow of the event. 

...FOR MORE Q&A, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget

Want to Learn More about Planning Your Next Event? Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget or Contact Us for an event consultation. 

Event Planning Series: How Furniture can Take Your Event to the Next Level

At HELEN MILLS, we work with talented event professionals every day. Over the coming months, we will be posting insights and interviews from some of the most experienced experts in the industry as part of our HELEN MILLS Event Planning Series! Please let us know your thoughts by commenting, sharing, or contacting us

Kicking off the Event Planning Series, Rhonda Cosaluzzo of AFR Event Furnishings spoke with us on how event furnishings may be just the thing for impressing guests and creating a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Rhonda helped start AFR’s event furnishing business in NYC 7 years ago and has worked on events across the country from Miami to Dallas to Chicago to New York. Read on for highlights from our Q&A as well as top tips to consider when furnishing your next event. 

Essential Tips for Furnishing Your Event

MATCH FURNITURE TO EVENT GOALS
Before you decorate and design your event, know what you want your audience to do. Maybe they will be listening to speakers without much time for socializing. Maybe there will be time for networking and socializing before speakers. Or maybe you do not have presentations. All of these situations should factor into your decision of how to arrange the furnishings.

SAVE MONEY BY SPENDING IT ON SOMETHING EXPENSIVE
Take the "centerpiece" concept and apply it to the room. Instead of using 20 floral arrangements at $50 per table, sink all the money into one dramatic floral arrangement in the center of the room. People will not notice that you have scaled back on the tabletop pieces, but rather the extravagant piece in the center of the room could be a conversation starter.

...FOR MORE TIPS, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget

Q&A with a Professional

MOST UNCONVENTIONAL USE OF FURNITURE?
With one of our trade show booths, we turned cocktail and end tables on their side and stacked them to make a beautiful backdrop. We stacked sofas to make an entrance to the booth. You always have to think outside the box in the event industry. We’re always experimenting in our warehouse. We all put our heads together and figure out what works. Some of our experiments have resulted in a few broken pieces but it’s worth it to try new things.

WHAT CHANGE ARE YOU CURRENTLY SEEING IN EVENT FURNISHINGS?
Many of today’s top companies like Google and AOL have gotten away from the traditional chairs and have gotten into sofas and little ottomans where people can put their feet up. The day of sitting in a conference chair is over. Companies are now focusing on creating a welcoming, social atmosphere at their events. It’s a much more casual atmosphere, with corporate and social events alike.

...FOR MORE Q&A, Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget

Want to Learn More about Planning Your Next Event? Download our eBook - Essential Event Tips You Can't Forget or Contact Us for an event consultation. 

Words of Wisdom: Food PR & Marketing Events

We sat down with Food Fête founder Jeff Davis to speak about the creation of the 10-year-old food marketing & PR event, food industry trends, and how food brands can get involved and succeed. HELEN MILLS has hosted Food Fête events since 2011. How didFood Fête Start? Food Fête started 10 years ago out of a desire to create a high-value media event for food brands. I come from a PR background and saw an opportunity to help food brands get in front of many top food editors. The tabletop format was not being done in the food industry at the time, and having seen the event model work in other industries, I decided to try it.

Best Giveaway Item at a Food PR/Marketing Event? The US Potato Board several years ago put a Mr. Potato Head toy in each media gift bag. It was clever branding and helped reinforce potatoes as an ingredient.

Food Industry Trend to Watch?  In both our San Francisco and NYC events, we featured two companies in the online food shopping space, where consumers can order ingredients for a meal or recipe (including fresh foods) and have it shipped to them. The presence of these companies points to the growing number of online companies getting involved in the food space.

Food Fete event at HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theater

How Can Food Vendors or PR Professionals Stand Out? Great products always speak for themselves, but having a knowledgeable brand representative on hand to talk about them can make or break a vendor’s presence at Food Fête. Media see Food Fête as an educational opportunity to learn about the latest products, how they’re made, and how the ingredients are grown. Post-event follow-up is  essential to getting the most out of a food PR or marketing event. The benefit of Food Fête doesn’t stop when the event is over. Food brands and their PR people need to follow-up with food editors and writers they meet to stay top of mind when they want to cover their product category.

How Do Vendors Apply ForFood Fête's Upcoming 2014 Events? Food and beverage brands can apply online for any of our events at http://foodfete.com/forms/2014-events-online-application/

AboutFood Fête: Food Fête was founded in 2004 and is an exclusive, intimate event that introduces food PR and marketing professionals to a targeted group of top food writers. Exhibitors showcase their newest food, beverage and kitchenware products in an intimate, cocktail party setting. In just two to three hours, meaningful conversations naturally unfold. Social media profiles give way to, well, genuine social interactions. Food Fête has evolved into an essential industry touch point where new food products and the food press intersect. Food Fête's upcoming 2014 events will take place in New York City in April, June, and October. To learn more, see the Food Fête's website.

Looking for a Food Event or Tradeshow Venue? Please Contact Us for more information or visit our Tradeshow page for more information.

3 Essential Elements for a Successful Party

This week we spoke with Florie Huppert, event planner extraordinaire and founder of Florie Huppert Design, a boutique event company that plans and designs social, corporate and not-for-profit events. Florie has planned everything from Bar & Bat Mitzvahs to Birthday Parties to Galas / Benefits.

What are the essential elements of any successful party? Your event could happen in the basement community room of your church with florescent lighting and no decor. If you send your guests home having eaten too much, drank too much and danced too much, they’re going to tell you they had the best time. As much as I love decor and spaces – if you make sure everyone can get to food easily, get to drinks easily and dance their feet off, then they’ll rave about your party forever.

What are your favorite event decorations right now? I love candles. I just love how easy they are. I also love string lights. People have been asking me a lot recently for balloons - I make fantastic custom streamers cascading from the 3-foot balloon. I love flowers of course but they’re too expected, I'd rather use other less predictable materials.

You've planned a number of events at the HELEN MILLS Event Space. What's your favorite part of the venue? For this space, if you don’t use the front of the venue it’s a tragedy. The front of the building’s signage cases are so awesome. I’ve seen it done so well so many times. People just just need to be careful to choose great printers and leave time to install it perfectly.

What was your most memorable party moment? I had one mitzvah where I just stood there and just watched the kids dance for four solid, uninterrupted hours. They didn’t break, they didn’t eat, they didn’t sit down. They did nothing but jump up and down and dance. They had the best time ever and that’s the best part of any party, watching the kids have the best, best time.

About Florie Huppert DesignFlorie Huppert Design • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About HELEN MILLS: Please contact us or call 212-243-6200 for more information or to plan your next party. From Meetings to Bar / Bat Mitzvahs to Fashion Shows, see here for more information about the types of events you can have at the HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theater.