[Pictured: Slomique Hawrylo of Carpe Diem Events]
I’ve always been fascinated with all things creative. Additionally, I’ve always been intrigued with how people turn their creative passions into businesses. A few years ago I had the pleasure of shadowing Slomique Hawrylo as the owner of her event planning business, Carpe Diem Events. I was fascinated with how she was able to turn events into an experience. As impressed as I was with her event planning capability in her own business, she has not ceased to amaze me. A few years after our experience, she managed to land an assistant role with David Tutera (one of the most amazing event planners ever) on his WEtv reality show “David Tutera CELEBrations”.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Slomique about her creative drive, development of a business and tools to pursue your passion.
9 to Fly Girl: Tell me about how your business began.
Slomique: I started about 12 years ago. I spoke to people in the industry. My mentor owned a floral prop rental company. I brought books about event planning. Actually, one of them was by David Tutera.
9TFG: Wow…how ironic!
Slomique: Yes. I was committed to my craft. You have to build your portfolio to show your work. When I started I did things for free. I began with social events and it grew into corporate events, award shows and designing hotel displays.
9TFG: What were you doing prior to starting your business?
Slomique: I was working full time at 21st Century Fox. Being a new mom inspired me to go out on my own. If I was going to be away from my child, it was going be for something I’d be passionate about. People thought I was crazy for quitting but I had already established a marketing plan and fan base.
9TFG: What made you get into the event planning field?
Slomique: Sometimes the universe puts things in your space. I hosted events in college for my friends like dinner parties and other creative events. I wanted to be able to work from home and build a relationship with my kids. Kids will make you sink or swim. They make you get yourself in order. I want to be a role model for them.
This also helps my relationships with clients. I’m able to identify with them because for many women getting married, kids are the next step.
9TFG: What is the best thing about working for yourself?
Slomique: You personally reap the reward versus a company benefitting from your sweat. It’s your name that’s on the company.
9TFG: What is the most challenging part about working for yourself?
Slomique: You work a lot, there is no clock. No matter what, there’s always a check with a 9-5 – not always with your own business. You usually don’t reap the rewards in the first 2 years. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for everyone.
9TFG: Yeah, people usually see just the glamorous parts.
Slomique: It’s a whole lot of sweat. Some questions to ask would be: “Am I dedicated? Am I afraid to fail? Do I have what it takes to be dedicated?”
9TFG: Tell me about your other business ventures.
Slomique: I try to stay as humble as possible in my journey. I want to bless others. I’m working on a new project in an area where you can find people like me, a person of color, who is at the top of their game.
9TFG: Speaking of business ventures, how did the reality show come up?
Slomique: David Tutera had a casting call for the show. My brother and sister sent me the information separately, without knowing that the other sent it!
9TFG: Oh wow!
Slomique: As Oprah says: “Preparation meets opportunity”. I was prepared when the opportunity came.
9TFG: How has reality tv helped grow you and your business?
Slomique: I now have a bigger platform. I gained a bigger Black audience. It’s made me validated that I’m good at what I do.
9TFG: What advice would you give someone trying to start a creative business?
- Never get caught not knowing.
Do your homework and know your craft. I wanted to know as much as I could especially as a Black woman.
- You should always be ready.
Find the best in the industry and what they’re doing. Then find your own niche.
- Know your audience.
9TFG: Ohh! That’s a good one!
Slomique: Yes, and with that know that you’re not going to make everyone happy. But if you have confidence in yourself, others will see that and follow. You lead the charge of how people view you and your business.
- Know and be truly honest with yourself.
You need more than an amazing line. You have to have personality because you are the sales rep. You’ll need more than a product.
- Always be willing to learn from others and their mistakes.
- Have a goal: for every day, every week, every month.
Set deadlines and implement a plan to achieve it.
I hope that this interview has inspired you whether you desire to one day start your own business or are happy working for an employer. May this interview encourage you in the goals you plan to set, personally or professionally, in the new year.
If you have any questions for Slomique, her services, work and contact information can be found at www.carpediemevents.net. And as always, feel free to leave any questions, comments or other feedback for me below. 🙂