Laura Held dropped her fears and started her events and design business IDA ROSE after having her daughter at 23 and wanting to be the best role model while at the same time realizing that life is too short not to go after your dreams after her father was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Read our interview with the lovely Laura below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
The single most powerful influence for me is my daughter, London. I was 23 when I had my baby, and that is when my ambition kicked into high gear. I had my fears that life might get that much harder to achieve my goals, but my little girl made me want to be the best version of myself. I want to be an example to her, to show her that if you work hard, continue to educate yourself and chase your passion, you can be incredibly happy doing what you love. Another very important motivating factor for me has been my relationship with my father. He has early onset Alzheimer’s and has had this disease for a while now. Witnessing his battle woke me up in a very powerful way. Life is too short to not go after what you want.
Tell us about your business.
“IDA ROSE EVENTS is a full Service Event Planning + Design Firm, catering to the Washington DC area and beyond. From an intimate gathering to an elaborate extravaganza, IDA ROSE goes above and beyond to flawlessly curate, produce, and execute your dream event. Nothing makes us happier than a picturesque, impeccably organized and blissful celebration. We tailor each event to reflect the exceptional tastes and authentic style of our clients. IDA ROSE recognizes everyone’s unique vision and we are here to offer a wonderfully creative and encouraging planning experience.”
In summary, we help plan and design amazing events for wonderful people and companies, and have a blast doing it. We work incredibly hard and we care about every little detail. We have had the pleasure of planning weddings, business launch parties, special events and community gatherings. We also enjoy helping clients hone in on the importance of branding, for both events and business. Jordan, Danielle and I are very passionate about what we do.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Well, to be honest I did the “fun” part first. I branded. I mulled over a name for a while until I realized that the perfect company name had been there all along. Then I contacted my good friend, and graphic design wizard, Parisa Damian. She is the Art Director of Winking Fish, a stellar graphic design company, and she helped me realize what IDA ROSE is. I am a picky person, you have to be to succeed in this business, and Parisa worked with me for weeks until she had created the perfect design. She even painted the marbled backdrop that is featured on our business cards. I’ll tell you, those business cards were pretty enough to get us attention, even before we had a beautiful website. During this branding process, the tedious, but very important logistical work started. I do not miss those days!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word of mouth will always be important for our business. Testimonials from happy clients, friends and family are very precious to us. Instagram has also been helpful and I enjoy seeing the effect social media has on the event industry.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Business wise, starting a business in general in hard. Building up clientele and getting the word out about our company takes time, patience and a lot of strategy. I think one thing that has worked well for us is staying true to whom we are. We are friendly, honest and passionate and I think that the only reason all the cold calls and introduction emails helped is because all these wonderful people, clients and vendors could tell how genuine we are. I am learning to balance my personal life and work life which has been a struggle. When I do something, I go all in and so I actively have to make sure I remember to take a breath and take time to cater to myself sometimes. I have the most amazing daughter and husband, and spending quality time with them every day is extremely important to me. I also have incredible friends who believe in the company and me and who go out of their way to encourage me.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’m still overcoming them! I just keep learning and trying to improve our business and myself. We keep our goals in mind and continue to plan for the future, while taking it one day at a time. In regards to that work/life balance, my family keeps me in check. They are supportive but not afraid to call me out when need be.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The easiest answer is my family and friends. I am very grateful for my support system. My mother has been my biggest supporter and a constant pillar of strength. My team – Jordan and Danielle – are very special. We all work very well together and their faith in the business helps to motivate us all. Additionally, I never give up. I have learned over the last few years when and how to let go, but I am fairly persistent.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Well, as corny as it sounds I do not think of the other people in the industry as competitors, but as my community. Everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting has been kind and helpful. I do not like to compare myself or my business to others. I would rather focus on bettering myself and getting to know people.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Stop buying stuff.” Working on it!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Reach out to other entrepreneurs. Get used to the word “no,” but do not let it stop you. Maintain a sense of humor. Study your craft. Be yourself.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I count social media as a tool and a resource, and social media is incredibly important to a new business. We also use Honeybook, a fantastic tool for people in the creative industry and I really like it! I am also a fan of Social Tables.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am an avid reader, and reading continues to be my favorite hobby. I recently read the new Harry Potter. I am a Harry Potter super-fan. The love goes really deep. Owning multiple wands level.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am always looking to get advice from my peers. Two areas of focus for our company include spreading the word about IDA ROSE events and striving for excellence with each event we produce.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our continuous goal will be to constantly keep producing quality events for our clients, while growing our business. We are currently booking events for the holiday season and for 2017 and are so excited to get to work! I will go ahead and plug my business now. If you are looking for event planning, coordination and styling, give us a wave at firstname.lastname@example.org!