Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophia Jones.
Sophia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Freeport, Bahamas. Growing up, I loved parties and Christmas decorations, especially Christmas trees. As a teenager, I fell in love with romance and weddings after watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. I was mesmerized by that wedding, but I didn’t realize how much of an impact it had on me until many years later.
I moved to the U.S. in 1985 and became a wife and mother. I loved planning parties for my children. Children’s parties were not as elaborate as they are now, but I did my best to make them beautiful. Everything had to go with the theme; table cloths, paper goods, gift bags, the cake, it all had to go together. I had a girlfriend (who is also my kids’ godmother) who loved parties just as much as I did and was always looking to do something new and different. I remember when the doll cakes became popular, both of my daughters had a doll cake that year; one daughter had a Barbie cake and the other had an Esmeralda cake (from the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Every time I did a party, I did my best to make it memorable and better than the last.
As time went on, I became the go to person for planning and decorating events for my family. One day, my daughter asked why didn’t I start my own event planning business, since I loved what I was doing. I had never thought about being an event planner before, but after much consideration, I decided to give it a try and launched Royal Occasions, Inc. in 2011.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. There are the normal hurdles every new business owner must face; marketing, bookkeeping, attracting the right clientele, etc. However, I had no idea how saturated the wedding and event market was in South Florida. It wasn’t until I started attending various conferences and networking events did I come to this realization. So, one of the major challenges for me has been trying to determine what will make my company stand out from others in this highly competitive industry. Part of this involves identifying the right clientele for me and my company.
Tell us more about the business.
Royal Occasions, Inc. is a full service wedding/event planning and design company. Our goal is to create unique celebrations and unforgettable memories for every milestone in our clients’ lives. We have recently added to our line of services folio invitations and custom gift boxes.
Last year, I started the Wedding and Beyond podcast which is a podcast committed to not only helping couples plan and execute their wedding day but also give tips and advice to help them prepare for a successful marriage. The podcast has been on hiatus but we are excited to release new episodes in early 2020.
For me, my clients are more than just another booking. They are individuals with complex lives just like the rest of us. When I take on a new client, I am concerned about more than just the event they hired me to produce. I’m also concerned about them as a whole person and the things in their lives that affect who they are. With that in mind, I’m able to serve them and not just produce an event. I believe that this approach is what makes us more valuable to our clients.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The sky is the limit for the wedding and event industry. Over the next 5-10 years, there will continue to be large, over the top events. Planners and designers will continue to push the envelope with creative and innovative ideas and I for one can’t wait to see what we come up with. But I also believe that there will be more clients asking for smaller (in size not necessarily budget), intimate events.
One thing that is currently happening and I would love to see it continue and gain even more momentum, is the whole “community over competition” movement. I believe that if everyone in this industry embraced this idea, we would all be better for it. No one can serve every client in any given geographic area. There are more than enough clients/business for everyone. If we all understood that “every client is not your client” (be it because of budget, personality, event style, etc.) then it would be less about competition and more about servicing the clients that are right for you, We would be more willing to support each other and share our knowledge, ideas, and contacts.
Let’s do this together!
- Address: 10064 NW 53 Street
Sunrise, FL 33351
- Website: www.royaloccasionsinc.com
- Phone: 954-856-1997
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/royaloccasions/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOccasionsInc/
Justin Jones, Quarter 4 Productions
Joe Stitt Photography
Vanessa Valez Photography