Stacy Horn has recently launched Juniper and Lace Events, based in Traverse City, MI.
1. How did you get into the industry?
My first job in the special events industry was a part-time catering gig at Centennial Hall in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The sense of comradery during late night clean-up after a successful event was a great preview to the larger community of event professionals I would encounter in subsequent work at the front desk of the Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island (a destination wedding venue), as Special Events Associate at Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies (a 5,000 acre family, conference, and event property in Colorado), and as Wedding Sales Manager at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa (a luxury mountain destination in Colorado). A connection made at Devil’s Thumb Ranch gave me the opportunity to work as an event planner for JA Special Events for the past three years.
In summary (and surprisingly similar to many event professionals I’ve met), I fell into the industry seemingly by chance, discovered a bit of magic in it, embraced some key opportunities over the years, and now find myself in a career I never would have predicted and am absolutely in love with.
2. What made you decide to launch your own business?
When my husband and I decided to move from Colorado to Michigan to live closer to our families, I realized that, although I would be leaving my event planning role in Colorado, I still loved serving clients as a wedding planner. Launching my own company seemed both challenging and a reasonable next step in my event career. My husband and I chose to live in Traverse City specifically because of its destination wedding opportunities.
3. How do you think past industry experience has prepared you for owning your own business?
My first seven years in the industry have equipped me with service skills, technical skills, a community of colleagues, and an undiminished thrill of the event experience.
I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve destination wedding couples in one of the country’s most popular destinations (Colorado), both for a luxurious and widely published mountain venue (Devil’s Thumb Ranch) and for one of the state’s best planners (Jessica Adler, owner of JA Special Events, voted “2016 Best of Colorado Event Planning Company”). Timelines, room blocks, menu planning, reception diagrams, budgets, contracts, and event styling are all elements I’ve seen from the perspective of venue manager and wedding planner. Website design and social media skills have also proven valuable in the start-up process.
In addition, I have been a member of the International Live Events Association (formerly ISES) since 2011, a board member for nearly two years, and most recently Vice President of Communications. This involvement has immersed me in a larger community of event professionals, educated me on current event topics, and inspired me with stories of other entrepreneurs and creatives, people with a passion for throwing great events.
Perhaps of most value as I embark on the adventure of business ownership is knowing that after hundreds of events, I can still see each one as unique and personal to the people it celebrates. After seven years, I know that the trends and the people keep this job fascinating and ever-changing. I know it’s a business I’ll enjoy.
4. What goals do you have in mind for your company for this year and further down the line?
I see the first year as a business development phase with the goals of discovering remarkable venues—wineries, barns, orchards, beaches, galleries, and more; of connecting with the talented creatives in Michigan—photographers, caterers, musicians, etc; and of becoming part of the Michigan events professional community. Essentially, I see the first year as one of becoming well-equipped to serve my clients.
Building on this phase, my goals are to provide exceptional service to my clients, to encourage their creative and adventurous inclinations, to create trendsetting event experiences, and to be active in the larger community of event professionals.
5. What do you enjoy most about owning our own business?
I love the variety of skills and senses this business engages. From client relationships to cake tastings, room design, fashion, and music, to contract review, budgets, and timelines, to marketing, taxes, and networking; there is always something for both sides of my brain to be engaged in.
6. If you could describe your business in one word, what would it be?