Gala Darling // Addicted to the Rush

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

I am thrilled to introduce you to our very first EHM cover girl – Gala Darling! And this vivacious lady really is a darling of both the blogging scene and speaking circuit as an author, teacher, and speaker who has been teaching radical self love for close to a decade. Her site, galadarling.com, helps over 1,000,000 women a month (yes you read that right!) find their voice, live without fear, and fall in love with life.

Born in New Zealand, she moved to NYC with one suitcase when she was 24 years old, and used radical self love to heal from an eating disorder and depression. Gala has been called “a spiritual revolutionary”, “the oracle of all things mystically glam”, and “a modern-day guru”. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, New Zealand Herald, Teen Vogue, New York Post, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Time Out New York, Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Age, Sunday Herald Sun, The Dominion Post, Inked magazine, MiNDFOOD,  Stuff, Viva, and countless others. 

She has been interviewed on CBS, ABC News, and Hay House Radio. Gala has spoken about radical self-love and entrepreneurship at SXSW Interactive, TEDxCMU, and dozens of other events across the world, in addition to lecturing at NYU (twice). A co-founder of The Blogcademy, she taught over 1,000 women how to build their business through their blog on several continents.

What I love about Gala is not that she has a huge list of achievements that come after her name, but the fact that she has passionately pursued her dreams and is dedicated to living her truth. She is a beautiful example of a life well lived and well loved.

A big part of Gala’s work is connecting with her community which she does regularly through all types of events and speaking gigs. It feels like there isn’t a stage that this lovely lady hasn’t graced so we are going to dig deep today and get a backstage view of what happens at Gala’s events!

 

Thank you so much for chatting with us Gala, we couldn’t think of anyone better for our first cover! And speaking of firsts, I am curious to know, what was the very first event that you ever organized?

I think the first event I ever organised was The Blogcademy in New York City! Before that, I had been invited to speak all over the place but had no experience putting an event together from scratch. It was totally eye-opening... And addictive! The rush was massive.

 

To me, the word ‘events’ represents endless opportunity to engage, inspire and take positive action in unique settings. Something you are great at is having vision for what is possible and then making it come to life. How do you come up with the ideas for your events?

Thank you so much for saying so! It's a combination of two things: seeing a gap in the market that I think I can serve, and something I actually want to do. You absolutely have to be enthusiastic about what you're doing, because you're going to come up against challenges, and your passion is the only thing that will keep you motivated!

The events you put on and are involved with are such a wonderfully eclectic mix ranging from a handful of people at a high tea to thousands of people in a lecture theatre. Do you have a favourite type of event and why?

I love all kinds of events, from the huge to the intimate. Any opportunity to connect with my readers is a total delight and my favourite part of the work I do. Writing can be so solitary, so getting to meet so many like-minded people at once is really incredible.

 

You have a deliciously full and exciting calendar which involves a lot of travel and external commitments, not to mention tending to your own online space and all of the book writing you have been doing lately! How often do you run your own events and does this change depending on what projects you are working on?

It really ebbs and flows depending on how the rest of my year is looking. My co-founders and I just did the last of our Blogcademy live events, which we held for 3 years on 3 different continents and taught over 1000 women! I like to run my Radical Self Love Salons when the weather starts to cool down, because the temptation to hermit and stay inside (especially in freezing cold NYC) is so high! It's great to bring women together on a regular basis.

The last time I saw you was for the Melbourne Radical Self Love Ritual event at the Cullen which was super fun and fabulous! It sold out really quickly which I attribute to having such a deep and honest connection to your worldwide community. What do you think helps sell tickets quickly and easily?

It's important to offer something original and inspiring, as well as teaching skills that people can take away and actually implement. I loathe theory without application, so my focus is always on how people can take action in their everyday life. I think this really resonates with my audience!

 

Just like musicians have riders, business owners usually develop their own little list of must haves. What can’t you live without at your events?

Now I feel way too low-maintenance... All I need is water and hot pink lipstick and I'm ready to rock!

You are fabulous at putting a positive spin on things and always looking on the bright side. Can you share the ways in which events have challenged you and stretched you in a positive way?

Every event is a challenge in its own way. Sometimes it's a bigger audience than you're used to, or the venue isn't ideal, or a supplier didn't come through... I try to see the blessing or silver lining in everything. I often find that the solutions you come up with can inform your business in the future, or even end up being better than the original plan!

 

And finally, for all of those entrepreneurs and business owners out there who want to make events a part of their business, what is your biggest tip for running memorable and unique events that people talk about for years to come?

It's important that YOU'RE having fun at the events because the person who hosts sets the tone! When we started talking about my radical self love event in Melbourne, I was really keen to have a tarot card reader on site, and it made the event so much more fun. It encouraged the attendees to talk to one another while they waited for a reading, and added a level of magic, mysticism and fun to the evening. I also think it's important to be deeply gracious and loving towards your guests. I am so in love with the people who come out to see me, no matter what city I'm in, and I think that comes across!

 

What gorgeous words and advice from a woman who truly knows her stuff! You can keep up to date with all of Gala's upcoming events and speaking gigs HERE.

Indulging Clients with Pure Opulence In Travel

By EHM Feature Writer Ainslie Young

With extensive international business experience across multiple industries and having lived in Singapore, the UK and now Thailand, Australian entrepreneur, Leigh Pulford is passionate about changing the way entrepreneurs spend time travelling and working abroad. With exclusivity and opulence in mind, Leigh helps you think global to totally ‘wow’ your clients with spectacular private villas in South-East Asia. We sat down with Leigh to learn why private villas are the perfect backdrop for high-end retreats and workshops and why bespoke travel planning is a surefire way to delight your clients.

The Residence, Nha Trang, Vietnamn

The Residence, Nha Trang, Vietnamn

Tell us what inspired you to start Opulence in Travel

I’ve lived and worked abroad for the last 10 years and as a result I’ve experienced first hand the need for seamless organisation when it comes to business travel and event management. I know what it’s like travelling between five cities in five days all whilst holding meetings and hosting client events. This experience made me realise the power of a great concierge service. Their solid, local knowledge was always so vital to the success and enjoyment level of my trip.

As an aside, I’ve always enjoyed staying in villas when holidaying in Asia and four years ago I saw a gap in the market. Luxury villas weren’t as accessible for short and long-term rentals. So my aim was to enhance villa accessibility across Thailand, Vietnam and Bali and incorporate bespoke travel and event planning for individuals and businesses so they could benefit from this high-end, luxury experience.

 

How is OIT is different to other travel and event management services?

Both myself and my team are focused on taking the time to drill down into the detail so we really understand our clients’ needs and expectations from creating a holiday of a lifetime to running an unforgettable retreat.

I have a full event planning process, which commences well before the event start date. I like to put together tailored destination guides, discuss any private activities or tour options they have in mind. This could be anything from customised yoga classes, sailing on a private yacht or booking them into the best Beach Club to enjoy sunset cocktails. As well as the usual conference and event set up, I also go into detail about menu choices and food options and organise for the villa staff to source organic products and cater to any dietary requirements.

Significant strength of ours is that we have a proven network of suppliers and vendors. I have the utmost confidence in these partnerships and I know they will deliver exactly what was promised in terms of high-end, luxury events and retreats.

In general, I think I’m quite intuitive and the fact that I like to be fully versed in what my clients are hoping to achieve and what outcomes they are aiming. This ensures that together we’ll create a memorable event!

Villa Saba in Canggu, Bali

Villa Saba in Canggu, Bali

What type of clients do you like working with?

I love working with clients who are keen to create grand and innovative events and retreats. I also enjoy working with clients who want to go into the detail and draw on inspiration from other high-end events. For example, we’ve had clients who have taken elements from the Cannes Film Festival and incorporated into decorative elements. We’ve also had clients who’ve taken concepts from London and Paris Fashion Week and created a Welcome Party echoing this vibe. The more grand and creative the vision, the better!

 

Tell us about some of the great events/experiences that you’ve helped to plan and create.

Recently I organised a corporate retreat for an Australian boutique accounting firm. This firm had previously conducted team retreats in Asian hotels but they wanted something different, so I created a bespoke retreat in a private villa in Koh Sumui, Thailand.

I knew this team was quite active so I organised a villa that catered to their needs. This particular villa had tennis and volleyball courts and a fantastic infinity pool. I also organised for a yoga instructor to run classes and in-villa massages were a part of their package, which helped the clients unwind.

My client didn’t have to do anything during their team retreat. Prior to their arrival we worked together to create the meal plan for the three days, which brought together both Thai and Western elements and catered to any food allergies and dietary requirements.

Clients have raved about the benefit of hosting retreats and workshops in private villas as their productivity is enhanced, team bonding is more natural and free flowing and the teams’ creativity really comes to life.

We’ve found that clients are really able to embrace the idyllic and private villa locations and as a result thrive on being away from the hustle and bustle of their usual environment. Also, for these guys I made sure that their conference room was set up so their outlook was of the amazing ocean view. There are no stuffy window-less hotel ballrooms here!

What other events are on the horizon?

Currently I’m working on combining amazing villa-based holidays with the added advantage of experiencing premium lifestyle brands. For example, I’m running ‘The Connoisseurs Tour’ in Koh Samui and Phuket where our guests enjoy holidaying in lux villas whilst experiencing private showings of premium whisky and cigars.

Obviously this is targeted at males, but I also have some great ideas for more female oriented events. I have fantastic relationships with premium liquor houses such as Dom Perigon and Veuve Clicquot.

We’re looking at flying in the Brand Ambassador to provide a tasting of four different vintages, speak about the interesting history of the brand and then the champagne can be paired with a chef-curated meal!

There are so many possibilities and I have big plans around partnering with high-end fashion houses, jewellery designers and luxury car manufacturers. So watch this space!

Villa Padma, Cape Yamu on Phuket, Thailand

Villa Padma, Cape Yamu on Phuket, Thailand

What are the positives/benefits of hosting an event or retreat in private villas across South East Asia?

Private villas really are the perfect backdrop for product launches and high-end retreats because of their superb locations. It brings total exclusivity. Imagine hosting an event or retreat where you’re perched cliff-side overlooking the ocean with your own private beach, or in a charming villa nestled in the mountains surrounded by lush vegetation.

A part from the great locations, a significant benefit is the service level in private villas, which is second to none. The villa staff that we work with are extremely resourceful and always aim to please. Often you may have to change event details at the last minute and nothing is a problem, which is vital when running such high-end events.

Also, South-East Asia is extremely accessible from most parts of the world, especially Australia, with many direct flights into Bali, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

What tips can you provide business owners wanting to run events and retreats overseas? What common mistakes do you often see?

One of the most important tips I can share is to work very closely with your suppliers and local vendors. You have to work hard to find suppliers that you can trust and whom you know will come through, so your event runs smoothly. Also I strongly suggest that you always have a Plan B for each element of your event. For example, you want to make sure you have a back up option for your decorative elements, sound system, lighting etc.

Another major consideration for hosting an event or retreat abroad is to really allow enough time for the planning and set up phase. I usually work with my clients’ several months in advance to understand their needs and event expectations. Often the client will join me for a site visit where we scope out Villa’s together (this is totally optional) and then the client will arrive a few days prior to the event and we’ll go over the last minute details. Planning and preparation is key.

Finally, what do you love most about your role within OIT?

I love the travel element of my business and I enjoy establishing meaningful and long lasting partnerships with premium consumer brands, who I know will make my clients excited and engaged.

But what really excites me is working with clients who have ambitious ideas for their events, retreats and even holidays! It’s so rewarding and inspiring collaborating with other entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and really aspire to ‘Wowing’ their own clients!

 

You can find out more about Opulence in Travel and Leigh’s bespoke services HERE

All photo credits belong to Opulence in Travel

 

 

Trend Alert // Flower Bars

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

Ok I need the attention of everyone in the room please because you are going to want to know about this! 

I want to introduce to you the stunning creature that is the Flower Bar. 

team-ec-101.jpg

The Flower Bar is a brand new concept to the wedding and events industry and is currently only offered by Weekly Blooms. Weekly Blooms is a Sydney based flower subscription service that also offers affordable wedding florals. Now Weekly Blooms has launched a range of different Flower Bar packages to suit your budget and the number of guests you’re accounting for. 

The Flower Bar works like a candy bar or buffet, except guests choose their own flowers to fill a glass jar instead of candy. Genuis! All packages include delivery, set up and pick up, as well as the table, props and styling. All the beautiful glass jars have a personalised tag attached that is specific to the event and clients are able to choose a colour scheme for the seasonal flowers that suits their event. 

If time is limited but you still want to incorporate the concept into your event, another option is to have pre-arranged flowers in jars set up as a clustered centrepiece at your event. At the end of the event, guests are able to each take a jar home with them to enjoy for days to come. 

The Flower Bar is a fun, creative and unique addition to any event that is loved by all with one guest even saying that the Flower Bar is "more popular than the oyster bar at a buffet!".  Well, as a recovering floraholic I have to agree. And with packages ranging in price from $400 to $1100, this is definitely an affordable add on to your next special event. And please invite me, I seriously cannot get enough of this!  

For more information on packages and pricing please go HERE.

Venue spotlight // Art Series Hotel Group

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

The Art Series Hotel Group can be summed up in two words – luxury and personality. Incorporating six hotels across the hottest cultural hubs in Melbourne, Bendigo and Adelaide, the hotels are inspired by and dedicated to Australian contemporary artists.

Each beautiful hotel takes design inspiration from the namesake artist. With original artworks and prints adorning the walls and halls, the multifaceted art experience is complete with dedicated art channels, art libraries, art tours and art utensils on supply. It is truly an experience that you can layer for your attendees with something more than the traditional sit down workshop. Go on a personal art tour and explore the incredible work the artists have done to bring these popular hotels to life.

Pictured: The Olsen Hotel

Boasting personalized service and sophisticated style, The Art Series Group is sure to impress as a beautiful place to host your events. From penthouses to poolside, the unique surroundings are perfection for workshops, conferences, presentations, product launches and special events. You can host an event here for a few hours or a few days, their flexible setup options and dedicated team will help you create something special from 2 people to 300 people!

Pictured: The Blackman

I’ve hosted many events within their walls and I love how you can really have fun with each of the hotels personalities. The Olsen with 10 possible function spaces are sleek and stylish with options in the galleries, in the courtyard, by the pool, in the restaurant or in a penthouse. The Blackman has 8 possible events spaces encompassing the galleries and penthouses which are all sophisticated and gorgeously quirky. While the Cullen is outrageously bright, in your face fun with 4 event spaces to choose from. 

Pictured: The Cullen Hotel

And why not host your event there while they have something fun on and take part? Glee inducing campaigns have included luxury glamping under the stars at St Jerome's - The Hotel , family stays and school holiday workshops and art activities at the Blackman, a reverse reviews campaign where the guests were reviewed and the Etsy takeover where a creative duo transformed a penthouse using Etsy items that you could even purchase. You can find out more about the event spaces, accomodation and what's on HERE or contact us for a quote.

I absolutely love the Art Series Hotels penchant for the fun and the extraodinary. Why do boring when you can do something exciting and unique? See you in there! x

All photo credits belong to Art Series Hotel Group

Take the perfect event selfie

By Peta Serras

Learning how to take the perfect event selfie is one thing every business owner and entrepreneur needs to learn. Not only are good photos much more likely to get a repost, but you're showcasing your brand and your business in the best possible light. You never want to look back with regret on photos taken and be reluctant to post them, so work out these key tips to create event selfies and photos you love! 


1. Use the event hashtag 

Most events these days have a particular hashtag used to identify it. It's a great way to connect with people afterwards, especially if you didn't get to speak with someone on the day just by liking and commenting on their photos! But note, due to new instagram rules hashtagging old photos won't bump them to the top of the list. So include your hashtags shortly after posting the photo to get it noticed! 


2. Find the light 

One way to ruin an amazing snap is by facing the wrong way and having your back to the light. You never want the background of your photo to be brighter than the star - you! So always make sure you're facing the brightest part of the room. I've used a bright TV screen before and even the light from an ATM to create an amazing photo! Also remember overhead lighting creates unnecessary dark circles that nobody wants. 

 

3. Take at least 3 photos 

There's nothing worse than taking a photo with someone you've wanted to for ages to have you blinking in your selfie. I will always take three and usually out of that bunch there's a snap everyone's happy with. 

 

4. Work out your good side and signature pose prior 

Taking photos and selfies are much easier when you know how to pose in your snaps. When you're doing your makeup for the event I find it helpful to practice your poses in the mirror. We all have a side that's our 'good' side in photos. So work that out and practice playing around with your signature pose or smile! Practice makes perfect and it becomes second nature after a while, making for easy photo taking. 

 

5. Have fun 

If you're nervous in your photos it will come across. And if you're excited and happy to be there it will shine out of your eyes like glitter! Everything could be in your favour with selfie; the light is brilliant, your outfit is amazing and you're able to take a photo with the star of the event, so make sure to think happy thoughts when the photo is taken! There's nothing better than when people view the photo and they can tell how much fun you're having and will be totally envious they weren't there!

You can get more tips about taking the perfect selfie in the 'How to look like a supermodel in your selfie' e-book available HERE for only $14.95.


Peta Serras is a Pilates instructor, business owner, writer, model and fulltime Professional Babe. 

Meet the Founder // The Wellness Foodies Expo

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

Yoko is one of those people that you meet who has the most beautiful presence. Don't let her gentle nature fool you though, she is a quiet force who has changed a whole community. Yoko had no idea when she was studying Macrobiotics and Holistic Nutrition at the Kushi Institute of Japan, that opening the door to raw and living food cuisine would lead her to a vibrant life in Melbourne opening and running the well-renowned raw food café  Shokuiku in Northcote. 

After the huge success of the café, which uses 100% organic or chemical free and seasonal ingredients, Yoko saw the huge upswell of interest that the local community was taking in her food and philosophies around wellbeing and sustainability. After hosting numerous holistic health and wellness events within the cafes doors and hosting visitors from all across Australia and beyond, Yoko come up with the idea of the Wellness Foodies Expo specifically for people who have an interest in nourishing foods that are made holistically and ethically. 

With wellbeing, holistic health, organic food and healthier food choices being such a consistently hot topic across Australia, Yoko has deliberately created the Wellness Foodies Expo to provide an opportunity for consumers to come face to face with the producers to be inspired and empowered to make educated food choices.  

The Wellness Foodies Expo, being held on Saturday 7th November 2015, at The Abbotsford Convent will host stalls from businesses such as Loving Earth, My Goodness Organics, The Australian Super Food Co and Grateful Harvest and have intimate workshops from some of the best producers in the industry.  I am so proud to know Yoko and be working with her on this incredible event and I wanted to learn more about how it has all come about so I got the inside scoop on the Wellness Foodies Expo just for you!

 

Where did the idea for the Wellness Foodies Expo come from?

I opened Shokuiku, (the first and the only raw organic cafe in Melbourne) which was something that I wish I had when I was on my health journey. Wellness Foodies Expo is something that I wish I had when I was growing my business. Many small businesses start with their own unique stories and try to share their passion through different means. I wanted to create an opportunity for them and consumers to see the real faces behind a label. I believe that us, as a consumer has the power to influence with our everyday choices. I hope this expo can help producers and consumers  bring together.

 

Why did you think that an expo setting was the best setting for this event?

With what I wanted to achieve and people to feel after attending the expo it would have had to be relatively large, so that I can create worth a while event for everyone involved. 

 
How is this expo different to other food based expos and festivals across Australia and what can people expect on the day?

There are some amazing expos and events happening in Australia. Even though they have been moving towards or at least including more healthier options there are no events like WFE currently. You can be sure that the businesses which are at the expo are all genuine and run their businesses with passion for healthy food. The expo will also be an inspiration for people who want to start and already running their own businesses, seeing others doing what they love doing and share their experiences.


You have chosen to donate part of the proceeds towards Action Aid which is fabulous! Why have you decided to do this?

I have always supported Action Aid through Shokuiku and personally. I would like to use as many opportunities as possible to give back in some ways.


And at the end of it all, what do you want people to walk away with?

I would like attendees to feel connected to what they are buying. Not only with the businesses they saw at the expo, but every time they are making a buying decision. With the amazing line up of businesses involved this year I am sure that concept of healthy food equals boring food would totally be wiped out!

For those who are thinking to start their food businesses as well as ones who have been running theirs, I would like them to feel that they are not alone. I hope they can take away practical and mindset tips from the expo. 

I would like this expo to be an opportunity for the stallholders to tell their own stories and connect directly to the attendees. and also build a solid relationship with other entrepreneurs and creative people who are spreading healthy and ethical messages. 

 

Gorgeous! Tickets are only $13.50 if you buy them ONLINE or $18.50 on the day. Get all the info and buy your tickets NOW!

The 3 Key Elements of Stage Styling

By EHM Feature Writer Eliska Lam Chan-Siy

Hosting events for your business is a great way to market, network and engage your guests. You can think of it as a movie premiere, your business will experience the hype, you will be the star and your name (or in this case - your business) is going to be going for the Oscars!

There are plenty of things to think of when hosting an event but the most important thing is knowing which element makes the strongest impact translating your message to your audience. And one of the key elements is the main stage. It is the one thing that your guests will be looking at for the whole event and will be taking lots of photos of. So it is important to keep the style consistent with your brand but you can also make it seasonal which makes your guests feel that they are in the right place and the right time.

Here are my 3 key elements for effective stage styling:

Color // Don't go far from your business logo. There is a reason why you chose the colors for your business so that should translate to any event that you do. It speaks a lot about you and your brand which helps your audience relate to your event easily. Use florals, linens or even props to add that bit of your personality onto the stage.

Size // Depending on the venue, consider height and width when looking into styling. A great tip is to sit where your guests will be seated and create the vision from there. You want the stage to fall within the sight lines of the stage. A beautiful backdrop is the most effective way to draw attention to you or the speaker.

Composition //  Think of how you or your guest speakers will be moving. Are they going to be standing in the one place, moving around or sitting down panel style? Be smart about using the space that you have. If you are showing video presentations, allow space for where the projector screen will be and frame it beautifully with floral arrangements on stands.  If your guests are mostly seated, you can utilise a coffee table with a floral arrangement as your main décor.

 

To sum it up, your stage design should:

- Suggest the style and tone of the whole event

- Create the ambience that you would like your guest to feel thoughout the event

- Offer the possibility of a backdrop for amazing photos during and after the event

 

Happy Styling! 

 

Set Styling by Ruffles & Bells  // Florals by Lulu Bird  // Photography by Fi Mims Photography & Hello Darling // Event Management by Event Head

 

EHM Attends // Utopia Women’s Wellness

By EHM Feature Writer Sarah Jensen

The Utopia Women’s Wellness Event is a holistic wellness festival held in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.  It’s a great opportunity for people interested in health, wellness and ‘being their best self’ to come together, learn from industry leaders and meet the people behind some of Australia’s leading wellness brands.

Held at the Melbourne Park Function Centre, Utopia Melbourne was a beautiful balance of information and inspiration from wellness exhibitors and big name speakers.  The expansive space of the Function Centre was made warm and inviting with cosy booths set up in the main area, where brands like Lorna Jane, Pana Chocolate and event sponsor Wellineux gave attendees the chance to sample and purchase their products.  There were plenty of delicious treats to choose from, a wide range of wellness books on sale and even a dedicated massage booth!

The speaking line up for the day was impressive and included Lisa Messenger, David Gillespie, Lola Berry, Tara Bliss and Jamie Gonzales.  Talking on topics like health, wellness, hormone balance, nutrition, confidence building and the elusive work/life balance, the presenters not only inspired, they interacted.  It’s not often you get to meet (and talk with) your heroes but at Utopia, attendees had the chance to ask questions and chat with presenters after each session.  This created an inclusive vibe for the event where guests felt connected and part of something special.  Having the chance to ask Lisa Messenger a question was one of the highlights of the day.

While the Utopia team made it look easy, an event of this size takes a lot of love, effort and hard work. 

Planning a large event? Here are 5 tips to help make your event a success:

Do a trial run with a smaller audience first

It will give you the chance to test both the content and your conference confidence on a smaller scale.

 

Get a great team to help you

You don’t have to be an expert at everything. Get a team together who bring skills and expertise that are complimentary to yours.

 

Market, market, market! 

With a big event it’s a pretty safe bet it’ll cost big dollars to bring it to life.  Make sure you have a solid marketing plan in place to sell seats, cover costs and gain exposure and momentum.

 

Figure out the finances

Set a realistic budget for your event and keep a really close eye on it.  Not a numbers person?  Consider adding someone with financial or project management skills to your team to keep things on track.

 

Seek sponsors

Sponsors can help cover the costs or provide products and/or services for your event.  Whether it’s approaching someone to donate the venue, catering or event photography or asking someone to speak; think about what you can offer in exchange – perhaps it’s exposure on your website and social media or getting their brand in front of your list.  Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask - they might just say yes!

 

Ready to be your best self?  Tickets for Utopia’s Brisbane and Sydney events are now on sale.

Photo credits belong to Utopia Women's Wellness

Is Your Event a Polished Affair?

When I first saw Say It With Polish on Instagram, I fell in love.  Just the mere sight of all of those beautifully personalized nail polishes got my event heart beating faster and thinking, ‘Yes! Where have you been all my life?!’

Pics courtesy of #SIWPtributetuesday

Say It With Polish is the first and only Australian company to produce a luxe nail polish collection that is able to be completely customised by the purchaser. They help their clients nail the perfect gift by giving full control over the gifting experience from the colour to the label. Blending the fashionable with the functional, Say It With Polish’s products makes for a unique and memorable gift for any occasion and I think are especially suitable for events like launches, conferences, retreats and masterminds where you want to gift something special to your attendees.

Proudly Australian made and owned, Say It With Polish was founded in 2014 when the search for a personalised and memorable gift for a group of wonderful Bridesmaids failed to uncover anything worth a ‘WOW’. Well I for one am very glad for that very inspired moment!

The ordering process is SO simple. It’s a two-step process that is as easy as picking your preferred colour out of the 18 eye-catching colours, selecting one of the 6 fun templates or creating your own personalized message and then hitting Add to Cart. That’s seriously it! And within a few short days, your order will be completed and dispatched.

The Say It With Polish team can also work with customers to colour match polish and add logos to labels to perfectly compliment any brand or event and for those who, like me, always check the cruelty free status, we are pleased to say that they have been certified as 100% cruelty free and vegan by Cruelty Free Australia.

We had the pleasure of trying out the nail polishes and we just love them! The packaging is gorgeous and sleek enough on it's own that to gift them to an attendee you could simply pop a ribbon around them with a tag. The label customisation is so easy and flexible that you can find a font to suit any occassion and the colour range is perfection. Tha nail polish itself has great coverage and seems to be quicker drying than most. It definitely gets the EHM tick of approval!

Each customised Say It With Polish bottle retails for AUD $18 with shipping available in both Australia and internationally – hooray! Discounts for bulk orders apply so contact don’t delay, contact them HERE and put in your order today.

6 Things Introverts Dread At Your Events

By EHM Feature Writer Katherine Mackenzie Smith

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning - if an introvert buys a ticket to your event and actually turns up, it’s a big deal for them.

More introverted souls love their quiet, alone time. They like to connect with people one-on-one. They re-energise and process information internally. The idea of going to events full of strangers is possibly not the first thing they think of when deciding what to do for ‘fun’.

When we go to the effort to go to an event, there are things we’re not looking forward to when we get there. In case you run events and have never considered this, here are six things introverts dread at your events:

 

1. Standing up and introducing themselves

This is one of the most common and important things that happens at the start of all kinds of events. Understanding that the quieter attendees in the group will be waiting for their turn - heart pounding and wrought with worry - allows you to do something subtle, but powerful: give them a smile of encouragement.

 

2. Unpleasant surprises

Introverts take a little time to warm up, process information and decide how we feel about things. We don’t generally like being put on the spot or surprised (or called up from the audience).

Outlining how the event will unfold, for those who like to be in the know, and asking for volunteers instead of putting attendees on the spot can be really great ways to ease introverts into your event.

 

3. Getting up and moving seats as a ‘getting to know you’ exercise

Without shadow of a doubt, the seat your introverts have chosen has been carefully selected. Introverts tend to gravitate towards the edges and/or back of the room so before including seat-moving-getting-to-know-you style exercises at your events, ask yourself, “Is this necessary?” and prevent putting some of your audience offside before you’ve even started.

4. No breaks

Introverts get easily drained in big groups for extended periods of time. If your event runs for a long time, remember to factor in breaks for anyone who needs to get away - even just for a few minutes of alone time.


5. Big collaborative sessions

For workshops or more intensive events, it might seem appealing to you to have everyone working together in a group, shouting out ideas and collaborating. This can work so well, but it’s also worth splitting off into some alone time for your introverted attendees and even moving around the room to talk with them one-on-one.

 

6. Being talked over or dismissed

When you bring a group of people together, there will always be an assortment of personalities. Some people will ask all the questions, or dominate the discussion and others will stay quiet. Be mindful of the whole group (not just the loud ones) and create space for quieter types to speak up if they want to.

 

You’re the host, you have the power to make everyone in the group feel heard and valid next time you bring all sorts of personalities together in one room! 

 

Photo credits belong to Kate Di Blasi Photography

7 Tips to Running A Killer First Workshop

By EHM Feature Writer Sarah Jensen

I hosted my first live workshop in Adelaide recently and it went off without a hitch. From the outside it looked effortless – pick a date, write a sales page, sell all the tickets, get some kick ass sponsors and teach a group of 14 women how to rock their goals.

Simple?

Sure, in hindsight.

But when you’re planning and presenting your first workshop it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.

Hosting a sold out + successful workshop? That takes a whole lot of love, effort, energy, time and self-belief.

So here are 7 things I learned about planning and running a killer workshop, even if it’s your very first time.

1. Set goals before you start

Before you start planning your workshop, decide why you’re doing it and how you want your guests to feel. Knowing this will help with decision making and influence everything from the venue you choose to the content you present.
 

2. Stay organised

Planning a workshop means wearing a lot of hats. You’re not just the event coordinator, you’re the marketing team, communications manager, presenter, content generator and face of the event. Staying organised, tracking tasks and setting reminders means you’re in control and nothing gets missed.
 

3. Work with an expert

I worked with the gorgeous Jade McKenzie from Event Head who mentored me through the process of planning and presenting my first workshop. Having an expert on board for support, strategy and sanity checks was absolutely invaluable.
 

4. Take your time

Everything takes longer than you expect, whether it’s selling tickets, coordinating sponsors or presenting your content on the day – build in a time buffer for every task!
 

5. Get help

I was going to run the workshop solo but asked a friend to come along and help set up in exchange for a free ticket. I totally underestimated how amazing it would be to have someone there helping me out – not just in pointing people to the bathroom and putting out the dessert but for moral support too.
 

6. Practise, practise, practise

When Jade suggested I practise my presentation at least 3 times before the event I thought she was nuts. Surely I can just show up and wing it, right? Wrong. Doing ‘dry runs’ is so important. It helps you feel comfortable and familiar with your material, you can test the timing of your presentation and it gives you the chance to tweak the content and make presentation notes for yourself. I was worried the workshop would sound ‘rehearsed’ but it actually helped me feel more relaxed and confident on the night. Thanks Jade!
 

7. Celebrate

You did it! You delivered a brilliant workshop that everyone loved. There were post workshop hugs and high fives and you’re feeling great. Congratulations!

Make sure you spend some time in quiet reflection or debrief with a friend, loved one or mentor. Take time to celebrate what you’ve achieved + make note of what worked and what you’d do differently next time. It’s all useful information you can use to shape your next sold out event.

Meet the Maker // Ngoc Le from The Dessert Parlour

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

Today we sit down and speak with Ngoc Le, Founder of The Dessert Parlour.

The Dessert Parlour strive to create simple, charming yet delectable desserts, to keep you coming back for more. They take pride in the attention to detail: from the fresh flowers beautifully placed on top of the cake, down to the smallest sprinkle on a cupcake.

Their gorgeous desserts have been featured on Style Me Pretty, The Wedding Notebook, Amy Atlas, The Lane and in Australia’s biggest wedding magazine Bride To Be, and have been enjoyed at events with Tyson Beckford, Collabosaurus, SeekerLoverDreamer, Nintendo and TopShop Australia. TDP has definitely got the goods!

 

How did you find yourself exploring food as a career?

I always have loved food, growing up and being surrounded by asian food. I particularly had a sweet tooth, and even though I didn't realise at the time, my sweet tooth eventually led me to this business of the Dessert Parlour.

What do you love the most about creating food and desserts for events? 

I'm all about creating different textures and flavours. The thing I love most though is the last process of creating the desserts, which is the decorating! I believe that food and desserts should look beautiful and the taste should be just as delicious. 

How do you believe food impacts on the quality and the enjoyment of an event?

Food has a major role in any event as it is usually one of the key things that guests will remember at the end. It could even have an influence on whether the event was a success or not! An event should be cater to all senses: visual, sound, touch, smell and taste.

 

What do you see as being the biggest trend in desserts coming into the next six months?

Donuts have been the rave this year and I think it will go on for awhile. Mini desserts at events will still a big thing for awhile, with macarons and classic pastries making a comeback. In terms of cakes the naked cake phenomenon will still be seen in 2016, but also there has been a forecast of bold colours and blacks & metallics. It also looks like timeless elegant cakes (think 1950's) will be big next year too.

What should event organisers look for in a caterer? 

Listen to word of mouth recommendations as no amount of advertising will replace a good recommendation.

Schedule a tasting, but keep in mind that there is a difference in quality providing food for 10 people and food for 300, so research what sort of events they usually cater for and what their speciality is, and see if it matches your event.

Double check about on and off site catering and what is better for your venue. I also think it is important to enquire about food freshness as there are some caterers that may use frozen products but will still charge you just the same price.

Lastly, usually what you pay is what you get. Asking for a low price may sometimes mean you will get less quality food.

 

Ok I'm off to put in my order for one of EVERYTHING on her menu! You can check out The Dessert Parlour and contact Ngoc HERE.

 

Frequent Flyer - 6 Carry-On Essentials When Travelling for An Event

By EHM Feature Writer Ainslie Young

As a regular traveller, I know it’s easy to think that packing your hand-luggage can be a last minute task before you jet off for your fabulous event. But if you’re organised and you pack your carry-on strategically, I can guarantee it will make your journey a whole lot sweeter.

Here is a list of the six chic, healthy and functional essentials you must toss into your carry-on when travelling overseas for an event.

1. Water Bottle

We all know that flying dehydrates you, and regardless of the airline, the in-flight hosts never seem to serve enough water! To combat this I suggest you take your own water bottle (either empty or full, depending on the airport rules). This way you will have some H2O ready to go when you’re feeling thirsty!

 

2. Journal or Notebook

I don’t know about you but I find that I’m actually super creative and inspired when I step onto an aeroplane. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m essentially ‘disconnected’ from the internet and the world, but I madly scribble down my ideas during take off (and whilst your electronic devises must be switched off!).

 

3. Noise Cancelling Earphones

One of the best travel purchases I’ve even made is a pair of noise cancelling headphones. These babies actually allow you to clearly hear the inflight entertainment and block out the loud engine noise (and any screaming babies) when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

 

4. Healthy Snacks

I’ve found the more I fly the less inclined I am to eat plane food (unless I’m in business class!). If aeroplane meals aren’t your thing, why not pack healthy snacks such as a piece of fruit, homemade granola bars or some trail mix to keep you feeling nourished.

 

5. Scarf

It doesn’t matter where I’m flying or what the weather will be like at my destination, I always pack a scarf. Use your scarf to keep you cosy when the cabin temperature drops, roll it up so it can double as an extra pillow and then tie it around your neck as you exit the airport Jackie O style!

 

6. Toiletries

I always have an abundance of toiletries on the flight so I can feel as clean and fresh as possible on arrival. To ensure you feel a million dollars whilst in the air and when you touch down, consider packing face wipes, rose water spray, a pack of tissues, hand sanitizer, eye drops, lip balm, moisturiser, hand cream and roll on perfume. It’s a great idea to pack all of these beauty essentials in a see-through clip lock bag so you can easily get your liquids out when going through airport security.

 

Take these carry-on suggestions (literally) on board and get ready to hit your event feeling hot, energised and inspired!

Venue Spotlight // Fenix

By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie

Fenix Events is a boutique event venue in Melbourne, specialising in events, conferences and wedding receptions. It has a reputation for being one of Melbourne’s most iconic venues and the combination of its secluded waterfront setting, central location and strong culinary focus makes it the ideal place for unique events in Melbourne. Fenix’s two contemporary events spaces are perfect for conferences and large workshops through to special events like launches and cocktail parties.

I walk into these doors and I SWOON. The recent renovation ensures that this quality venue does not disappoint its clients with its sleek and sophisticated style. And it’s not just its style that impresses, it’s long list of facilities and features also makes the event manager in me want to run up and hug them. You can expect flexible meeting spaces to suit events for 8 to 300 guests with breakout rooms available, floor to ceiling glass windows throughout the venue with the most incredible views, state of the art AV, complimentary wifi, secure undercover parking with special rates available for delegates, easy access to public transport, a private terrace overlooking the Yarra River, premium menus designed by their own chefs, charcoal linen underlays and white linen overlays (yes, linen is important!), nespresso coffee or barista served espresso coffee and beautiful natural surrounds that can be enjoyed during breaks. Le sigh, this venue is perfection.

And with the Major Award of Caterer of the Year in the Victoria & Tasmania Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence 2015 under their belt, you know you are going to experience world-class catering that will delight your guests.

Their event spaces are seriously flexible with the choice of two first floor spaces, Orana and Botanica, that are perfect for 35 people u-shape style or 120 theatre, or for larger events you can seamlessly combine the two to take up to 350 theatre style. The gorgeous River Terrace underneath is a stunning space that opens up onto the river banks and can take up to 300 people theatre style.

You can find out more about Fenix HERE or contact us for a quote. In the meantime, I am just going to continue to swoon over these pictures and imagine my next event there!  

All photo credits belong to Fenix

Give Your Events a First Class Upgrade

By Emma Veiga-Malta

At EHM, we love a beautiful stage. It sets the tone for your event and not only enhances the experience for your guests, but also serves as the perfect background for social media pics! This month we asked Emma Veiga-Malta from Bespoke Backdrops to give you the low down on custom backdrops that can be used on stage and then again on screen - so handy when you also take videos or pics for your business in between events.

Emma had a 17 year career in art and design, with clients ranging from Vogue Living to Pommery Champagne, from solopreneurs to corporates and she has a cracking eye for making life and business more beautiful so she was the perfect lady to speak to about this. Take it away Emma!

First Class Upgrade: Take your event’s branding and visual identity to new heights with a custom backdrop

We live in a visual, online world where we share pictures of everything we do. Social media has made our tastes and expectations quite sophisticated.

Everything from Instagram to YouTube, from our business newsletters to our Facebook page is all about the perfect shot, the ideal setting, the best image.  Visual identity is real currency.

Which why you really need to think about the styling of your event. 

People expect to see beautifully styled events with something striking to capture their attention and imagination.  Gone are the days of generic venues and generic set-ups. Being on brand and visually appealing is a business essential. Think of your event as one big photo opportunity.  

Imagine your guests taking and sharing cool photos at your event and having your visual identity and branding shining out from them?

Have you thought of using a media wall or backdrop for your event, where guests can pose for photos or as a stage set for your presentation? Forget those boring, repeat logo or a bland stock photo that you see at every other event. 

Think imaginatively beyond that - a truly bespoke, hand-designed backdrop that reflects your brand and your message; designed and created exclusively for you and your business.

How can you use a custom backdrop?
-     On the red carpet to set the tone & welcome your guests.
-     Photo opportunity location
-     On stage as a set backdrop
-     To showcase your products
-    As a video/webinar backdrop after the event

And remember that beautiful, interesting photos are hashtagged and go viral. Make your event photogenic and people will spread the word about your event and your business to their wider community.  

It’s all about making your event looking the absolute best it can be. 

You know that personal presentation is as important as your message; you carefully select your wardrobe and makeup to project the right image. Extend that to your event styling; think of what you, your guests and your venue will look like together on photos, on videos and in your marketing efforts. 

Like a stunning dress and shoes, a custom backdrop instantly upgrades your image.  Well thought-out personal presentation plus a great backdrop will improve your message and communicate who you are and why your business matters.

So remember: Look for a backdrop that can be carefully (and exclusively!) designed for you that you can re-use for your videos, e-courses, vlogs and future events. 
And use your backdrop with a co-ordinating chair or two. Create a polished set with a chair upholstered in fabric that matches your backdrop. 

If you’d like to hear more from Emma and learn some quick and easy tips about improving your visual identity and branding at your event or on video, then hop on over HERE. Thanks Emma! 

Top 5 Secret Tips for Social Media Sharing at Your Next Event

By Christine Rose Elle


There’s no need to have a squad of “it girls” to help you dominate on social media. I have a few simple tips to help you increase engagement, connect with friends, and establish authority in your niche at your next event.
 
Having a simple social media strategy going into an event, allows you to feel present in the moment, while capturing and sharing key moments that create connection and credibility.
 
We all know that fussy, complicated plans never work. So, I have honed down some essential tips that will have you socializing in person with all the grace of Audrey Hepburn, while blowing up social media like Kylie Jenner. Ok, well maybe not quite like that…but still.


Here are my Top 5 Tips for Social Media Sharing at Events:

1. Model your sharing for Instagram.

Instagram is kind of a one-stop shop of social sharing that allows you to automatically share on Facebook and Twitter. Share it once with a wide reach by adding tags and hashtags to your photos. That way your posts will reach more people and be searchable.


2. Focus on photos of people


Don't get me wrong, photos of table decor and whatever cocktail you might be imbibing in are delightful. But let's face it. It's more fun to see yourself and your friends in photos than it is to relive the amazing centerpieces. Plus photos of people create higher engagement with more comments and shares.


3. Take photos to share later

 
Nothing wrong with sharing after the fact. It gives you time to edit, add fun quotes, and be more impactful with what you post. You can maximize sharing by creating a blog post with your images about the event, and if you want some extra credit, pin your post to Pinterest. 

 
4. Take video footage on your phone

 
You can create GIFs or short YouTube videos with snippets of the keynote speaker, girls in pretty dresses, the yummy dessert bar, the hot bartender…. the list goes on. Footage can be easily edited together with iMovie on your phone complete with music and voice over. It's a great way to share the event and promote your business after the action is long over.
 


5. Keep it mellow
 

We all know the girl who is glued to her phone during live events, and even though she is probably live tweeting or some such, it looks like she is bored as hell. Get in and out like a ninja then put your phone away. After all, the whole point of getting together for a live event is to be social with real people in real time.
 


Having a simple plan of attack for your social media sharing can make you the belle of the ball at your next event both in person and online. 

All photo credits belong to Katya Nicholas Photography

Review // True North Meditones

By Rhiannon Colarossi

Tahlee Rouillon, founder of Sonesence, creatively composes exquisite Meditones. These wonderful soul-soothing sounds are a simple way to boost the everyday wellbeing of busy entrepreneurs and business owners - especially in the lead up to running your own events.  

So what exactly are Meditones? 

“Meditones are the catalyst of peace you have been craving. They effortlessly transform your brain by directly stimulating relaxed neural activity with a simple pair of headphones. These pure sounds ignite subconscious healing on an atomic level, giving you tranquil relaxation and deep meditation.” – Tahlee Rouillon

Three beautiful tracks comprise the True North album. Each possesses a unique beauty yet seamlessly connect together.  If I had to describe each track in one sentence it would be the following: 

1.    Lumi – brilliant if you are feeling a little flat or stuck
2.    And They Fed Me Stars – wonderful for unlocking and exploring your intuition
3.    Reverent Undulations – an excellent way to rejuvenate when feeling tired, busy or overwhelmed.

Meditones have a magical effect and their transformative power can be felt instantly. I had goosebumps all over within 10 seconds of listening for the first time.

The album has a beautiful way of gently transporting you from a feeling of busyness into a state of relaxation. Listening can make ordinary (and sometimes mundane) daily tasks feel like a breeze. I love popping on a Meditone whilst folding laundry or doing the dishes as it transforms these everyday tasks into rejuvenating me-time. I also highly recommend listening to the pure sounds of True North whilst in the shower, or as you are getting ready for bed in the evening for a peaceful way to end the day.

Having previously been unaware that such music existed, it has been an unexpected gift and total game-changer for me. I now love listening to Meditones and they’re fast becoming an integral part of my daily wellbeing practice. I’m also excited to have a new tool to share with my wellbeing community through The Wellbeing Web

Each day I’m blessed to connect with many brilliant women and one topic that often comes up in conversation is relaxation. Questions arise such as, How can I find time for me? How can I rest and relax with all I have to do? How can I learn to slow down? Do you have an easy meditation technique? How can I switch off from all the constant thinking? 

My response – first, you must nurture yourself and once you’ve filled up your cup, you will be so much better placed to give generously to those around you. Having discovered Meditones I’m thrilled to now be able to share this flawless relaxation tool when asked the above questions. 

The Meditones from True North are a perfect way to fill up your daily cup, ensuring you are feeling refreshed and relaxed every day. They’re a brilliant wellbeing tool and an easy way to induce the feeling of calm, patience, joy, connectedness, freedom and appreciation – an ideal way to reset your mood in an instant. You can buy your copy HERE and enjoy them as much as I am!  


Rhiannon Colarossi is a wellbeing coach for mums. She loves inspiring mums to nurture their everyday wellbeing. Rhiannon founded The Wellbeing Web after spending 10 years in education.