• Meet Sara Conklin, Petal Power

     
    POSTED May 7, 2019
     

    Parsonage Events’ Sara Conklin blossoms into a truly creative floral designer.

When flower lover Sara Conklin walked in to Parsonage Events some eight years ago, the staff thought she was a prospective client.

“They asked if they could help me and thought maybe I was getting married and needed to order flowers, but I said, ‘well, I’m looking for a job!’ ” Conklin recalls.

Fast forward to now and Conklin is lead designer/consultant at the popular, Clarkston-based event company

“When I was at college [Baker], I actually wrote a business plan in one of my classes for a florist company,” recalls the busy Conklin, who has a 1-year-old daughter and 11-year-old stepson. “My goals were to run a business in a creative field,” she adds.

Parsonage Events started as a flower shop (owned by Liz Stotz and her mother, Susan Andre) and transitioned into a floral event company just when Conklin started working there. “It was so interesting to be there during the transition period, to see everything grow into what we’ve become today.”

Conklin credits Liz for recognizing her skills and sharing all her knowledge with Conklin. “She let me shine,” Conklin says.

She loves being located in downtown Clarkston. “It’s a nice community here and our business is in a very old house, so it’s a charming space,” says the designer, who recently worked on an event for the president of Oakland University.

The company does events that range from weddings to annual corporate gatherings. Working with everything from romantic peonies and classic dahlias to contemporary succulents and modern orchids, Conklin says the company’s bandwidth includes anything that has to do with design, from flowers and linens to graphic design. She’s especially proud that Parsonage is committed to sourcing blooms from Michigan and American farms first.

One of the company’s biggest challenges is when clients ask for ceiling installations. “We’ve had too-low dropceilings or ceilings that are really high that require a lift,” she says. “There’s always a solution and often, second options turn out better than what the client wanted in the first place.”

Incidentally, Conklin did in fact become a Parsonage “client,” so to speak, when she got married four years ago. Of course, Parsonage was her go-to event company. “We did dahlias in fall shades for the tables,” she recalls. The bride’s bouquet was stunning, naturally, and included dahlias, garden roses, orchids and greenery. “It was lush and full; we didn’t skimp,” she laughs.

Conklin’s favorite part of the job is the variety. “I get to do something different every day; every client is different and I’m not behind a desk doing monotonous things. Plus, the floral community is great and we’ve made a lot of friends through it.”

Then there are the flowers themselves. “The day I walked in to Parsonage looking for a job, the whole front room was lined with buckets of flowers. My heart just knew that I needed to be there.”

As CEO of Miami-based Loni Paige Events, Loni Paige has launched and managed experiential campaigns for high-profile brands such as Bacardi, vitaminwater, T-Mobile, American Express and Target. While many people used quarantine cocktailing as a coping mechanism during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the bars and everyone’s favorite mixologists who needed their own shot of help. Paige set out to do her part by creating Mixology Mixer

 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.