I crossed paths with Christy this past April when she attended my social media workshop at Isari Flower Studio. Her smile and laugh caught my attention and, when I introduced myself, I could tell we were going to become friends. Christy is outgoing, positive, lives life to the fullest, and is a local female entrepreneur.
Christy is the owner of To La Lune, a speciality event design firm based out of Encinitas, California. Her office is within beach-cruising distance from my home in Cardiff, so we met up one afternoon to have an honest conversation about the journey of life and business. Here is our creative conversation:
What’s the story behind To La Lune? How did you end up here?
I fell into event coordination in 2010. I had always had an interest in the field but not for obvious reasons. In college, I pretty much exclusively worked for women who had their own businesses and I saw how they were able to create balance in their lives. That was definitely something I wanted. I also am really particular about my space – you know, the sense and feelings you get from a space – and I LOVE making lists and checking things off. That’s my jam! I wanted to somehow connect those totally different but related things. So, when I was looking to move back down to San Diego from Santa Barbara, I saw that Amorology (a wedding coordinator who’s blog I followed) was looking for an intern. I reached out to Heather and got the gig! I spent 4 months working for Heather as an intern and it just felt right. Shortly after, I transitioned to working full time with her for 3 years. It still blows my mind how quickly the time flew by! I learned so much from Heather and am very thankful for her giving me my start in this industry.
Who did you turn to for advice and/or resources about starting a business?
I am all about building relationships so having made deeper connections with the vendors I was working with was great! I could turn to all of these industry experts and ask them, “What made you successful in the wedding industry?” I have close relationships with photographers, caterers, florists – lots of people – who are allowed me to really understand their craft and gave me great advice on pricing, branding, finding the right clients.
What was the biggest piece of advice you were given when you started your business?
How to price my services. I got lots of encouragement to be true to what I am worth; that my time is valuable. Lots of people reminded me that I had made lots of effort and taken lots of time to hone my skill set and it was fantastic to hear “charge what you are worth.”
Have you always had a creative drive?
I feel like I am but I don’t necessarily have anything concrete to show for it. My mom paints surfboards for fun but won’t call herself an artist so maybe that’s where I get that! I have always wanted things to be aesthetically pleasing and have always been an out-of-the-box thinker.
What was your creative outlet as a kid? How about now?
I used to sell packets of stickers as a kid. I still have the box somewhere! I would get sheets of stickers, cut them down to the individual ones and package them in a ziplock bag tied with ribbon. I would go around the neighborhood and sell them to my neighbors and I knew who would buy them and who wouldn’t answer the door. I probably spent the money on candy! When I was in college, I learned that I loved writing stories. I went to school for communications but every class was so rigid; writing was formulaic. My favorite project was in a creative writing class where there weren’t any rules.
Where do you escape to? What do you bring?
Even though most people see me as an extrovert, I definitely escape within myself. I feel like I am more of an introvert at heart. Having “me time” in my own space, some peace and quiet is really rejuvenating for me. But there are a lot of things that I turn to when I need to escape: travel, exercise, the ocean. I am a big energy in/energy out type of person and exercise keeps me grounded. I love practicing yoga and running to clear my mind. The ocean is a huge place of escape that, unfortunately, I have been pushing to the side lately. But being in the water and surfing gives me so much. And traveling is super important.
How do you differentiate yourself from your peers?
My goal is to guide my clients through a more sensory experience when planning their event. My process is edited down to just the things that have purpose and reason and I want to help my clients create a purposeful experience for not only their guests but for themselves. To do this my clients’ priorities have to be very clear and I like to get to really know them – that’s the only way I can help tell their story. I love taking a yoga class or going on a walk with my clients; spending intimate time with them is how I make the process more personal.
Who do you admire?
My parents. They are the ultimate “chillers.” Both my mom and dad are really enjoying their lives and they find inspiration in random places and find happiness in the simple things. I want this to come through in not only how I live my life but how I work as well.
What motivates you?
My business allows me to have the lifestyle I want and that is a huge motivator. Being able to have the freedom to spend time with family and friends when I want or need to is priceless. Not missing out on the important personal moments because of work pulling me in the other direction motivates me everyday.
How have you seen yourself, your style, and your taste evolve since you started?
My taste and style have become much more streamlined and minimalist over the years. For me, cutting things out, tailoring things down, has made it so much easier for me to be happy in my own space and work with clients. I feel like my affinity for the simple makes me a clean slate and I want my brand to reflect that. I have learned how to work in trendy elements when they really add to the overall experience but, in the end, I much prefer to strip things down.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?
To have confidence in what you are doing! People choose to work with you because of your expertise so you have to know how to communicate that to them. And in order to do that without sounding arrogant, you have to have genuine confidence. If your clients are going to trust your creative eye, guidance and advice, you HAVE to be confident.
What are the top 3 things someone should consider before starting their own creative business?
- Know that it can be lonely but that you have to keep grinding through. You aren’t always going to get affirmation or confirmation that your work is on track.
- Know when to turn it on and off. You have to create and maintain boundaries with yourself and with your clients. Don’t get lost in feeling like you aren’t doing enough.
- Don’t play the comparison game! You’ll just end up feeling like shit. Grow your relationships with people in your industry and be excited for other people who are on the same journey as you are.
What are you most proud of?
Creating this business for myself. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it took a LOT of hard work and planning to build To La Lune. And I was terrified at the start. How am I going to book clients? Is this going to work? I overcame all of the uncertainty by creating a plan for myself and my business and worked hard to make it happen. I stayed true to what I wanted and focused on achieving my goals. That’s why I am super proud.
What does the next step look like for you?
I am always asking myself that question and I like to leave it open-ended. I always refer back to my business plan to make sure that I am taking the “right” next steps. In terms of the business, I am continuing to streamline my process so that I can focus even more on providing exceptional services to my clients. I have also been having a lot of fun prop styling for different types of photo shoots, so I hope to continue to grow & develop this side of the business. On the personal side, I love being a connector and a resource to people and would love to mentor young professionals in this industry more often. I have always felt that each person is a door to another world, so being able to meet with new creatives, learn about their goals/dreams, and help them grow in any-way-shape-or-form keeps me inspired & excited for new adventures that may come from building new relationships.
Favorite surf spot? Boneyards
Favorite coffee drink? Almond milk latte
Favorite thing in your home? Koa, my dog
The one thing you can’t live without? Family
The one thing you need to try? Traveling to every continent
To La Lune Events is a boutique wedding design, coordination, and styling studio passionate about making your big day one of a kind. We are located in the sunny beach town of Encinitas and serve all of Southern California. Rumor has it, we have a bit of a travel bug and an infatuation with airports, so no destination is too far!