life isn't average. neither are we.
Do Your Thing
Kristina Chau - Monday, July 22, 2013

Hey there party people,

I know it's been a long time since I've written but I'm excited to be back and writing once again! The reason I've been MIA is that over the past year, I took on a contract through Not Your Average Party to help launch a brand new event venue in the city called the Beer Academy.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Beer Academy features a small-batch craft brewery, and a tasting room/retail store where guests can relax with their favourite pint. The venue also features an experiential event space that includes a sensory tasting bar, a beer-lover’s library, which was my domain.

 
 
Launching an event venue is no easy task.  There are many things to consider when doing so, but the main items I assisted with were:

 Consulting on and establishing best practices for running a successful event venue.

 Conducting an RFP process to decide on the best-suited vendors to partner with – i.e. caterers, staffing company, rentals, etc.

 Creating a sales and marketing package to distribute to potential clients. You can check out the final event package here.

 Advising on social media plans, promotional events and identifying advertising platforms to help market the space.

 And overall managing the day-to-day event operations and bookings.


This position started out as a 3 month contract and was extended to almost a full year which is why I've been more than a little pre-occupied and had to shift my main focus away from Not Your Average Party, but I never lost sight of what's most important, and that is always doing what I love.

My time at the Beer Academy was a great experience as I have learned a lot and have a great addition to my portfolio.  I was also fortunate to work with an amazing team there and have built further relationships and partnerships that I know will only help me on my continued exciting and fulfilling journey of being an entrepreneur!

So remember party people, always "Do Your Thing" no matter what that is because:



And in that vain, here's my song of the day: 


Have a great week and stay tuned for my next edition where I feature some of the great vendors I got to work with during my time at the Beer Academy.

For the life of the party,




W.A.T.C.H. Out Now
Kristina Chau - Friday, April 13, 2012

Hey party peeps,

I hope you're enjoying the lovely spring that we are having.  I most definitely am!  I love this time of the year when everything is blooming and the days are becoming longer and everyone is out and about.

As a party guru, I'm constantly out on the scene.  While I'm planning several client events, I'm attending various others as well.  Last week I was kindly invited by Andrew Richard Designs Events to attend the second annual W.A.T.C.H. Chairman's Annual Fundraiser on Thursday April 12.

Established in 1997 with over 10,000 volunteers since its inception, W.A.T.C.H. has become one of downtown Toronto’s premier community service organizations. Working with a small group of youth in some of Toronto’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods, W.A.T.C.H. volunteers began the journey towards creating a brighter future for this vulnerable group. Initially, on a weekly basis and eventually daily, volunteers would interact on a one-to-one basis with the youth in such activities as tutoring, sports, music and the arts. As word increasingly spread of the work being done, so did the number of volunteers and supporters.

The event was a lot of fun!  I met so many new and interesting people who were there to support this great cause, and I bumped into so many unexpected friends there.  The evening raised approximately $15,000 which is fantastic!  Here are some photos highlights of the evening:

 

 

Your party guru with the lovely ladies of ARD Events - Elena (right) and Brianne (left)

Photo credit: Casey Cunningham Photography 

 

Chairman & Founder of W.A.T.C.H. Neilank Jha & dedicated volunteer Minjung

 

 

The talented artist Beckie DiLeo commisioning a piece to be auctioned off for W.A.T.C.H.

 

A sample of some of the great silent auction items that were up for bid.

Photo credit: Casey Cunningham Photography
 

 

Volunteer Minjung serves up tasty bite-sized treats courtesy of Toben Food By Design


Live band Everything That's Fly entertained everyone & got the dance floor going.

 

A big thanks goes out to the title sponsor Andrew Richard Designs for inviting me to this event.  I love their event space and I'm always happy to support a good cause.  W.A.T.C.H. is definitely a community organization that's doing great things in our city and one to definitely watch out for!

For the life of the party,

A (Not So) Grand Opening
Kristina Chau - Friday, March 02, 2012

Hey party peeps!

I hope all of you are keeping well in the new year.  I love that we have been having sunshine and mild days more often than not, and now spring is just around the corner so there's plenty to be happy about :)

Today's blog post is a review on a grand opening event I recently attended.  As an event professional, I'm invited to various events that promote venues and vendors in the industry.  This past Wednesday, I attended the grand opening of FOUNTAINBLU which is located in the Exhibition grounds.  Here's my review on the good, the bad and well...I hate to say it but the ugly:

  • Upon arriving at the Ex grounds we were pleasantly surprised to see directional signage.  Bonus points for this.
  • There was valet services available upon arrival; however we were not told it was complimentary until we couldn't find the self-parking lot and asked how much it cost.  *Remember, a nice-to-have service such as valet parking can go along way but you need to ensure that the service provider you use has front-line staff who can execute this with excellent service.
  • In the lobby there was a standard step and repeat banner for photo ops and there was complimentary coat check.  They also had Salon Daniel set up to give free hairstyling to women - it was raining that day so I really saw no point in getting my hair done.
  • The main space is on the second floor.  In the entrance way they handed out promotional bags with the venue's information package.  The venue is 5,500 square feet of indoor meeting space and can host events up to 600 people.  It would have been helpful if the capacity of the venue was broken down to showcase various event scenarios.  i.e. stand up cocktail reception vs. sit down dinner.
  • My first impression walking in to the main room was that it felt like a cheezy banquet hall.  I know that sounds harsh but it's the truth.  The beaded crystals hanging from the ceiling and the lighting created this effect for me.
  • I think it also had to do with the music selection as well.  First there was a sax player doing elevator-music like renditions, which was followed up by DJ'd music with live bongos playing over top.  It was really loud and obnoxious and it proved to be difficult to chat to anyone.  *Remember creating the right ambiance is definitely key to the success of your event.

  • Like most of these events, they had an open bar and caterers were set up on the peripheral of the room for them to showcase their tasty treats.  Here are some pics of my highlights:

Sashimi Tuna on a Crispy Pear & Avocado Salad with Toasted

Black Sesame in a Spicy Ponzu Dressing - Daniel et Daniel


Short Rib Barley Risotto Piattolini

Burgundy wine, winter greens, pearl barley, coffee-cocoa braised

short rib and gremolata - Seventh Heaven Event Catering

 


Curried Infusion Cone Stuffed with Roasted Chicken

and Corn Spicy Salsa - Artscape Event Services


Lila's Cocos


French Macaroon display by Cater Trendz

  • There was an ancillary room to the main space that housed a few other vendors and had an adjacent but very small patio. 
  • The one vendor that caught my eye was Richard Emanuel for his photo & video booth.  These days, photo booths are quite popular and often used at various events and weddings so the reason this one caught my eye is it has a small footprint and it was easy to use with a touch-screen. The self-sufficient booth prompts you take take 4 photos or a video.  Once this is complete you can either email them to yourself or post them directly to Facebook or Twitter.  Brilliant!  Also, if you're a company, you can get the booth branded with your logo.  Here's a photo of it:

  • I was also surprised to notice the lack of social media presence by the venue itself and a lot of the vendors.  In this day in age, social media plays a huge key into successfully promoting and interacting with your guests.  There's a great article on this by Mashablehttp://mashable.com/2009/04/29/events-social-media/
  • My last impression of the event was dealing with the valet service Northern Valet again.  I have to say this time around the front line staff we dealt with were speedy and efficient.  They also had large golf umbrellas to escort guests to their car in the rain, which definitely redeemed them in my eyes.
I will be honest and say that I don't know that I will use FOUNTAINBLU as a venue for my clients.  It feels like a banquet hall in downtown Toronto and as you know, I'm all about using "not your average" spaces and hosting unique ideas.  However, if you're interested in checking out this space for yourself, please contact Jorge Dias the Events Coordinator there at jorge@fountainblu.ca or 416.263.3290.

For the life of the party,





not your average party