Just Jersey is just, well, Jersey. As it sounds, this store features the finest handcrafted products from all around the state. Originally, Tina Bologna created Just Jersey as a school fundraising concept, and the idea flourished. In 2014, co-owners Tina Bologna and Paul Miller opened a pop-up shop with 35 vendors, and the store concept took flight. Now, as of their anniversary on Jan. 21, there are about 200 vendors from all over the state represented. 

Just Jersey sells everything from jewelry and apparel to furniture and food; and of course, it’s all made in New Jersey. Gift baskets are an especially popular item, and feature an assortment of products from the area. They have a full line of New Jersey-themed gift boxes including Good Morning, New Jersey, the Italian Sampler Box, Shore to Please, the Spa Box, Taste of Jersey, and The Jersey Devil—as well as a variety of custom and co-branded options. One of their notable customers includes the Prudential Center, which has purchased gift baskets for artists like Demi Lovato, Olympic athletes and other program attendees.

Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers. 

 

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.