If you’ve ever planned an event you know how big of a headache it can be. There’s food, drinks, entertainment and decorations to consider. Oh, and guests–can’t forget about them. As crazy as event planning can be, not everyone needs to, or can afford to, hire a full-blown event planner.
This week’s Vancouver Entrepreneurs are Eventsage, a tech startup that brings the power of having an event planner on your side to your fingertips.
Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
My name is Kimberly Rohachuk and I’ve been a professional meeting and event planner for over 20 years. I’m the Co-Founder and President of Eventsage, a DIY meeting and event planning website and online resource that connects anyone or any organization planning a meeting or event with unique local event suppliers.
As a professional planner, I know how challenging and stressful it can be organizing a meeting or event. I found that more and more I was being asked for advice, suggestions, and for the trade secrets of the event planning industry. That’s why I created Eventsage.
There are thousands of events and meetings being planned each year by admin professionals, marketing teams, and social committees who have nowhere to turn for help and don’t have the resources to hire a professional planner. To create a successful event you need inspiration, a network of partners, and the right tools. I’m on a mission to share these with anyone and everyone who needs them and provide a one-stop shop to help others plan great events.
That’s what Eventsage is all about – a free, simple way to get creative ideas, trusted event suppliers and plan like a pro.
What has been the most challenging part about running this business and how have you addressed it?
The biggest challenge so far has been taking the vision I had for the site and making it come to life with very little development experience. Having to hear ‘No, it can’t be done that way‘ wasn’t something I was used to because in event planning finding solutions is the only answer. No just isn’t an option.
By collaborating with my team, and pushing boundaries we were able to find creative answers that worked not only for development but more importantly for our end user.
How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of Eventsage?
There are so many success stories coming out of Vancouver’s tech community, and we are surrounded by some breakthrough minds in the business. I’m inspired everyday by the creativity and drive from other local entrepreneurs. The startup community has been nothing but supportive through the growth of Eventsage. This support was vital during the construction of our website and continues today to be a valuable resource as we grow awareness of our offering. The foundation of Eventsage lies on building relationships with both quality suppliers and users in the city. We continue to support local businesses, suppliers, vendors and entrepreneurs through our business by connecting them with those who need their services. It’s this mutual support that makes the local startup community so successful.
What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
There are over 700,000 meetings planned a year in Canada, and our research has found that 84% of admin professionals plan their corporate events. This can be a stressful task for a professional let alone someone juggling other work responsibilities at the same time. We asked those in this position what their top challenges are when it comes to planning events and the results were:
#1 Finding new or creative ideas
#2 Sourcing a new venue
#3 Finding time
Eventsage is the first event planning website and online tool that is solely focused on delivering planning solutions for companies and individuals who don’t have the time, experience, or budget to hire a professional event planner.
Our curated database of trusted event suppliers offers solutions for finding and connecting with venues, caterers, entertainment, team building and much more all in one place. This saves users the hassle of spending extra time finding contact numbers, getting in touch with the right person and getting answers fast.
How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
If you think about it, every single event I’ve planned has been like starting a new business venture. Determining objectives, setting goals, and building the right team provides the foundation for success. Taking something from a concept and building it into reality is really what defines an entrepreneurial spirit. The difference lies in the fact that events have a clear beginning and end whereas Eventsage has no end in sight.
Taking the bold step of leaving the safety of a full-time career and jumping into the unknown world of a tech startup has been both exhilarating and unnerving for me. This was probably the biggest personal challenge I’ve had to overcome and I did so by believing in my vision and surrounding myself with the right experts to help in my journey.
What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
I’m most inspired by my business partner Jonathan Buchwald. Over 20 years ago he moved from Toronto to Vancouver and started the first professional meeting and event planning company in Western Canada. I had the privilege of working along side him to grow the business and saw the hard work and dedication it takes to make a company successful. It’s because of him that Eventsage is not just a website, but an idea that is innovating in the traditional event planning industry and streamlining the way events are planned and executed.
What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
I would be so excited to have Jillian Harris as a member of our team. Her creativity, unique sense of style, and multiple successes are very admirable. I identify with the fact that she is a determined businesswoman with so many projects on the go… Sounds like the perfect user for Eventsage!
In addition, Shahrzad Rafati is such a strong influencer in the tech industry, and one of the most creative women pushing boundaries in the startup community today. Having her work with Eventsage would be so valuable for the company, and she would be the perfect entrepreneurial role model.
Hey ladies, if you ever need an extra hand on an event, we’re here to help!
If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
I would quote one of my favourite authors: “It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share,” said Pema Chödrön. The unknown is terrifying, but look at what you can accomplish with a little bit of uncertainty, a great idea and the support of those in the know.
What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
There are plenty of associations, groups, and resources available for local entrepreneurs in this city. Connecting with as many as you can is absolutely integral. One that has been particularly useful for me is the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA). They are a not-for-profit organization that supports the development and success of technology companies in B.C., and they’ve done a great job fostering a sense of collaboration and community. BCTIA is good resource for tech entrepreneurs looking for mentors and connections to grow their business.
I once heard someone say, “Tell everyone that will listen about your company, even while in line at the grocery store, because you never know who can help”. This mantra has served me well and it’s a habit I still stick to today.
What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to reach out and connect with everyone you can. The local startup community is thriving, and this is because of the overwhelming desire to see it succeed. Valuable connections can be made just about anywhere, and Eventsage is a testament to that.
Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to casey(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.