This week, Webwallflower producer Cass Phillipps got a chance to sit down with Liana Burtsava, a long-time event producer and the founder of TrendyLime. She specializes in some pretty high class executive events, and we were excited to learn some of her tips for budding producers.
I’ve highlighted some of the key takeaways here, but I highly suggest reading the entire interview below.
“Guests don’t even always notice these glitches [missing models, music hiccups] and just continue to have a good time…so don’t make small issues a bigger deal than they actually are.”
“Running a business is more than just socializing.”
You can catch up with Liana personally at their JetLag event on June 14th, JETLAG blends fashion, travel and good causes in one fantastic evening of high-power socializing. They’re raising funds for “Help Her Learn” program by CARE.org. RSVP for JETLAG http://jetlagsf.eventbrite.com/
CASS: Now I know events weren’t your first thing. For years, you worked in business development and marketing at a variety of respectable firms all over Europe. So what inspired you to set off on your own and start TrendyLime?
LIANA: I am passionate about three things: building brands, connecting people, and exploring the world. With TrendyLime I’m fortunate enough to combine my passions — and I’m very happy to be doing something I love. I’m able to create my own talented team of some of the best people in the business
CASS: You clearly have a lot of passion; how do you stand out from your competitors?
LIANA: We’re a very friendly, fresh, and chic brand — this is what sets it apart from the competition. We create upscale experiences people want, but sometimes lack in their everyday lives. We also like to support good cause and charities to make fundraising fun. Among the organizations we have supported we are proud to list CARE.org, Samasource, UN Environment Program, FairTrade USA, and many other organizations.
At the end of the day, TrendyLime is about connecting people around the world and making the world a more fun place, and we’re still finding ways we can grow TrendyLime into a successful global business.
CASS: So it’s clear you work with a team to create these events, but what is YOUR favorite aspect of event production, what are your personal talents?
LIANA: I love creating concepts for events. For me, every creation is like art, in that I’m able to create something new and innovative. I also absolutely LOVE meeting new people through events and making new friends from around the world.
Personally, I really strive to create a comfortable atmosphere and make people feel good at our events. I think I’m able to create a space where people feel energized and happy.
CASS: That’s awesome! But there’s got to be a downside – what do you think is the toughest part, your weakest link?
LIANA: I’ve read that event management is one of the most stressful jobs, ranked #6 after firefighters and soldiers. I find it difficult to juggle so many balls at once. Between project functions and relationships, there are many things that can go wrong.
For me personally, the hardest part of the job is to effectively monetize events. While I love the social aspect of the work, but running a business is more than just socializing.
CASS: What is the biggest mistake you’ve made, and how did you recover from it? What would your advice be to others who might have to deal with a similar situation?
LIANA: We’ve had all kind of glitches at events: from music stopping in the middle of the fashion show to models not showing up or DJ set not being what we expected. The thing is, as dramatic as it sounds, the guests don’t even always notice these glitches and just continue to have a good time. So my advice is, don’t make small issues a bigger deal than they actually are.
But my biggest mistake was not branding Trendy Lime early enough and producing events under my own name. I am a strong believer in brands now and in retrospect, I think I should have created the brand earlier.
CASS: Well good thing you did! So what’s on the horizon for TrendyLime?
LIANA: We’ve got 6,000 members in 3 continents, but I feel like the organization really needs to grow. Our next step is to become the world’s trendiest social network, known for bringing like-minded people together both online and offline. At Trendy Lime we envision a hybrid of TechCrunch for Coolness and Facebook for Jetsetters.
CASS: That’s definitely a HUGE goal, and very admirable. Good luck with everything, and congratulations on how far you’ve already come!
You can find Liana on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/lburtsava