Bridelux talks exclusively to award winning event producer and designer Jes Gordon
You have worked with the biggest names in the music industry including Madonna, Barbara Streisand and Elton John. Does creating an event for an icon bring a special kind of pressure?
Believe it or not, no. When dealing with this type of client you are often working directly with their team and not really with them. Mainly, they are very direct in what they want/need so there isn’t a lot of guessing. The biggest hurdle is dealing with privacy and overall respect for their public/private lives. There is pressure in the way that if we messed something up with their event, it would of course be a very public mistake in most instances, but since we are so behind-the-scenes they would most likely take the public fall not us.You are known as much for your incredible corporate events as you are for creating dazzling weddings for brides and grooms. What is your advice for planners looking to do both?
Keep the same moral code and practices for both and don’t draw a line between the two. Often producers think that they can “relax” a bit when it comes to corporate events meaning that they aren’t doing as much hand-holding or emotional guidance, but often corporate clients are working out of fear that they could lose their jobs if an event isn’t a great success! Let’s face it; people are vulnerable creatures, and with the world’s very public Social Media outlets everywhere, event hosts are insecure and have anxiety about looking good to the world, to their families and bosses. Logistically there could be some differences though. When dealing with contract negotiations it varies when discussing changes with a father of a bride versus a whole team of high-powered lawyers that only huge corporations could afford. This is when you just need to simply pay attention, but keep an open mind to where your client is coming from financially and emotionally.Giving is close to your heart. Could you tell us a little about your philanthropic projects?
Not to sound overly mushy but if you don’t love to give, you should probably get out of this business! Aside from just being overly generous to my clients and to my team, I adore supporting the arts and anything to do with animals. We are very involved with DIFFA (Design Industry for Fighting AIDS) which is a brilliant organization that marries design and funding for AIDS research.
St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, which is as heart breaking as it sounds, is one of most magnificent organizations we have had the pleasure of supporting for obvious reasons. On a different level, we are highly involved in Fashion supported causes such as; L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Gala which supports outstanding women who are doing spectacular things in their communities after overcoming hardships themselves.
Overall, I just hope to be involved in things that focus upon turning negatives into positives. What is the most exciting part of your job? The most challenging?
Evolving as a designer, staying inspired and educating my team would probably be my answer for both parts of this question.What is your advice for new planners and vendors looking to stand out in what has become a saturated market?
This is a tough question and one I actually ask myself at times [laughs]. I tend to have a saying: “be awesome on social media, but be spectacular in real life.” I mean this very seriously because I feel that the art of communicating and giving real in-person attention to our clients is getting lost in the new way of doing things these days. Many of us can design or produce phenomenally, but are you memorable as a person, a team and as an experience? Longevity and sustainability as being someone and a service that your clients don’t want to live without should be your main focus.What are three things you have on you at all times during an event?
CBD, A Phone Charger and a Macro bar.Have you ever turned down a client? Why?
As a veteran in this industry I have something known as a great “red flag” indicator. It works every time in fact, we take bets on it in the office! Often, it’s just an instinct about someone, the way they treat us on the first call, or if they question our pricing and payment schedules extensively etc. Obviously, I have a business to run and people to pay so it’s hard to turn down money, but if I feel that the potential horrible experience out-weighs the profit, I will often pass on the client but at the same time, refer them to an associate I feel is a better fit if warranted. The other issue is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. If what a client is asking for is not within your expertise you should never take them on just for profitability. Know the services you should be offering and being paid for.What is the biggest myth you'd like to bust about luxury planning?
It’s important to know that even if your luxury client has an unlimited budget, it doesn’t mean that it’s a free fall of money with no questions asked or accountability. Also, luxury events often cost almost as much as you are charging so, it’s incredibly important to price accordingly so it’s not just a game of showing off, but rather a real business transaction. Who is someone you really look up to in this industry and why?
I am proud to say that I respect and look up to my 28-year-old associate Kait McGlynn. I love seeing the business through her eyes and how she applies her ideas to my creative chaos in order to keep me moving forward as a brand and as a designer. I respect and honour anyone who works hard which goes for a tremendous amount of people in our industry and to the local garbage man who cleans my New York street every day.You're a headlining speaker at the Bridelux Symposium in October. Why did you sign on to be a part of this event?
I love the level and the variety of brands whom Bridelux has partnered with. I also feel that James’s passion for Bridelux is infectious and that really puts a positive light on becoming part of this experience.See Jes Gordon at the Bridelux Symposium 30, 31st October, 1st November at The Savoy, London & The Langham, London.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you there!