Ingrid Mason is the founder of Upgrade Events by Ingrid, a premier event planning company committed to deliver world class service to all clients. As a Certified Wedding Planner, Ingrid meticulously designs every single idea and aspect of her client’s event. Being ahead of trends, Ingrid decided to open a furniture and décor rental company called Miami Lounge Rentals.
Ingrid is also the co-founder of Harvard International Academy, a private academic institution located in Pembroke Pines, FL. Accredited by the National Private Schools Accreditation Group, HIA’s mission is to foster intellectual curiosity, concern for others, physical development, creativity, and strong moral values for all students.
A product of being raised by a single mother who migrated from Haiti at an early age, Ingrid learned to be resilient and ambitious through her mother’s example. Under Ingrid’s leadership, Upgrade Events continues to make dreams become a reality; Harvard International Academy remains an academic achievement in producing bright students towards a competitive future; and Miami Lounge Rentals provides overall success for clients’ events.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Although we already own a business, which is a private school that has been going on for 10 years, I have always loved planning and creating projects. What I believe inspired me most to pursue my own business was when I was planning my own wedding and stag do. My friend had her stag do in Bratislava and that really inspired her to organise her own.
It’s amazing how you start to see everything in a different perspective. You know, when you realize the amount of time and how the OCD in you starts kicking in if it’s not perfect. But after receiving such rave reviews right after my photographer posted my wedding teasers on his site, and literally posting it with the caption saying I would be a great wedding planner, I started to receive calls during my honeymoon!
My husband knew that ever since, my heart was so into planning. He believed that I could take my passions and transform it into a business. And voila! Upgrade Events by Ingrid came to be.
Tell us about your business.
Upgrade Events caters to weddings and other events, working hand in hand with the clients in planning, organizing, coordinating and designing their event. Upgrade Events believe that the good things in life should be enjoyed and celebrated. We make sure that the weddings and events we touch, reflects that.
The team of professionals making up Upgrade Events are committed to meet the needs of our clients in upping the “WOW” factor of their event as we create an event that speaks to their style, priorities and taste. Skills, attention and professionalism at an affordable price.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
$500 off in our all-inclusive wedding packages.
Where is your business based?
Pembroke Pines, Florida.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I actually planned a wedding and utilized the images to gain response from other couples. It was like giving it a try before diving in. After receiving amazing feedback, I went ahead and incorporated my business and became a certified wedding planner.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word of mouth. Clients and guests from events we have handled rave about our work and tell their family and friends about us – these are the most real reviews you can get.
What have been your biggest challenge/s so far?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve had has been when prospective clients compare our prices to other planners in the wedding industry. We all know that the wedding industry is only getting bigger these days and competition is real. Competition is a real challenge to every business.
How did you overcome these challenge/s?
How we’re overcoming this is by referring our clients to our reviews. Our previous clients and event guests let them know that it’s all about the quality of the work, the time, and the intricate details that we put into a wedding/event, that makes it memorable for us all. That works like magic! In this industry, your work really speaks for your business.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Having a positive mindset throughout the planning stages is what keeps me motivated. Everyone goes through tough times, especially the couples. They go through family disagreements sometimes, budget is another, and so much more! Then, not only am I the planner, but I also become a counselor, a friend, a mediator. And I love being that person they come to. That motivates me!
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My personality and my work speak for the business. I focus on the details and on how I can make the guests and families walk into a wedding and automatically see the bride and groom’s style, the story of their life and their love – which is what the clients love about my work! I also put a lot of heart into what I do. I’m just simply unique like that!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Ahh this is a hard one. Haha I guess I would say, “To change only for the better.” I believe it means to always do my best wedding after wedding, event after event, and improving as I move up in the industry.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Your competitor list may grow, but that doesn’t mean you stop! Push harder. Find out what’s in. Be you and be creative!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
17hats is my lifesaver. It’s my halo. LOL!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Getting Things Done” by David Allen. It’s about time management methods. You know, as you get more bookings, the busier you get as well. So it is very important to have an effective time management strategy to not compromise the quality of work. I’m not done reading yet. HAHA!
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I plan on expanding my business so I have been checking out how Social Media Managers can help me maintain my social media accounts. I’m still hands-on, yes, but I’d like to have some help with photo editing, research, and some of the stuff I sometimes neglect to do because it’s getting busier because the business is growing. And social media these days, it is very important for the business!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving?
My goal? Book more clients! HAHA! With the help of my team, Upgrade Events just keep on growing. And I’m loving it!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
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