planned to perfection…naseem Khalili of naseem events
NAME: naseem khalili
LOCATION: Bay Area, ca
Meet Naseem Khalili of Naseem Events
Can you give me a little background about your business and how it came to be?
This is a fun story. I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur or business owner. Back when I was 26 I ended up losing my job at a tech start up in SF (because that's just the name of the game) and during my time of job searching, my aunt presented me with the idea of starting my own event planning business! It was a casual brainstorm and we were chatting about the fact that I had been a bridesmaid around 8 times at that point so weddings were my jam. In addition to that, being an Iranian-American, hospitality and hosting are two values that are extremely engrained in my family's culture. My mom has totally passed that gene to me... we LOVE having people over and any chance to throw a themed party so it was almost like second nature. Pretty much why not make money off something we love and are good at anyways?! I did it on a whim and through the hustle, hard work, and God's grace it flourished even within the first 3 months of launching! I booked 7 weddings that summer.
What was the first event you planned, can you tell us a bit about it?
I first official Naseem Events event I planned was one of my best friend's law school grad party. We did it at a beautiful Persian restaurant and rented out a private room. I leaned heavily on gold, white, and black.. and it was my first time creating an epic candy bar with all black and gold candies. It was so special to me because she let me plan it as my first official portfolio-builder -- and it led to booking my first wedding a month later!
What do you think is the most helpful resource for event planners starting out?
1) Having a mentor alongside you to point you in the right direction, encourage you, and also challenge you as you grow in first starting out. I would not be where I am without the guidance of my friend, Satra (Events by Satra). There is so much unknown when you first start out; how much do I charge different clients? How do I set the right boundaries? How do I intake clients? Having a sounding board to help coach you through the initial season is crucial.
2) Another amazing resource is social media! I think building your aesthetic is absolutely essential when you're first starting out. Not only to showcase what you can do but who you are. The exposure, becoming more personable with your followers, and really building a brand that is YOU are all so important. Instagram, Yelp, and FB have been great for that.
What is something you need to keep in mind when planning events?
One of the biggest things I keep in mind when planning events is to consistently check in with my clients. As an event planner, it can be easy for some personalities to get so focused on the vision and the tasks that you forget about the client. I am always reminding myself that they might be stressed, worried, anxious, etc. It's really a gamut of emotions especially for your wedding! A huge value of my business hinges on developing that personal relationship with my clients. I always say I'm not just providing a service but really here for them in anything they need; dealing with family drama during the planning process or with a difficult vendor - the list is endless!
What is your favorite type of event to plan & why?
My favorite type of event to plan is one that gives me full creative freedom to dream and conceptualize fun visions (and of course, with that, events that have a big budget! ;) LOL). I love being able to channel my creative side and come up with unique ideas.. especially activities to do during the event. One girls' night event I planned incorporated a DIY floral jewelry station and that forever stands out as a favorite.
I think the healthy practice is choosing not to let others' success deter from your own and truly believing that you can celebrate others' wins while continuing to challenge yourself to grow too.
What's been the most challenging part of being a business owner, particularly within the events industry?
Honestly? The comparison. While social media does have its benefits I think it can be equally as detrimental if you make it into an idol. Within any industry, you obviously deal with a spectrum of talent. It's easy to get sucked into the comparison game and feel inadequate or like a failure if you see something better/ more/ etc. I think the healthy practice is choosing not to let others' success deter from your own and truly believing that you can celebrate others' wins while continuing to challenge yourself to grow too. There is no such thing as perfection and everything is so subjective!
What's a piece of advice you have for new business owners looking to build their voice & clientele?
100% shadow others in the field who are a little more seasoned than you. I think that's the best way to learn and grow as a business owner. HUSTLE hard. I would encourage you to push yourself to get your voice out there. I did close to 12 styled photo shoots within the first 1.5 years of launching Naseem Events and almost every single one was published on a national publication. I was so fearful at first to even reach out to vendors to see if they wanted to collaborate with me but there is something so liberating about believing in yourself, putting yourself out there, and bringing others on board with your vision because of YOUR confidence in it. Don't doubt that. I personally love coaching and mentoring others on all things life and business so even if you're reading this now and want to chat, I am here for you! Mean it!!