Earlier this week, Candace Kalasky opened the doors to her beautiful new living room. Filled with thoughtful details and bold accents, the space is a relaxing haven that any design-fiend would love to kick back in. (Or at the very least, pin every last image.) As the Web Coordinator for Rue AND the owner and Creative Director of Lovestru.ck Weddings + Events, Candace truly lives and breathes design! Lovestru.ck is one of top event planning boutiques in the midwest, and for good reason. Her creative process involves personalizing every detail so that the end result is a true reflection of the client. As her business grew, so did her need for an official headquarters. Once again, she tackled a daunting renovation – but the finished product is just as fabulous as you’d expect. Natural light floods the light and airy studio, except for one bold corner -the statement wall to end all statement walls. Covered in Ellie Cashman’s dark & moody wallpaper, the area plays up the detail-oriented design that Candace is known for. While the office shows off her signature style, it’s still a place to be productive. Today, Candace tells us a little more about running her own business and what it’s like to be the boss:
Let’s talk business! You are a multi-talented lady! From event planning to website design and development, to decorating – you seem to be able to do it all. Tell us, how do these all work together for you in your business?
I love design whether it’s for weddings, websites, or interiors. It’s about creating an atmosphere, helping convey a brand, and/or telling a love story. There are similarities in each design process, but I truly enjoy creating something from nothing and having “spaces” (whether physical or digital) speak true to home owners, business owners, or couples.
How did you end up starting Lovestru.ck Events?
I became intrigued with event planning during my own engagement. After conducting some market research, I found that no one else in Omaha was offering event design and detailed coordination. Soon after, I started planning family and friends’ weddings for free. Over the years, word of mouth has helped build Lovestru.ck to a full service event design and planning company that produces about 25-30 weddings and events a year.
That’s incredible! In the process, what’s the hardest business lesson you had to learn?
When to say no! Over the last five years, I’ve learned my limitations and also when to say no to projects that don’t fit our scope and/or process.
We know from experience that you’re a very organized person. What are your top 5 tips for staying organized and staying on top of running a growing business?
- Develop processes – As I mentioned earlier, I thrive on projects that require creativity, but I also love strategic planning. Over the last few years, we’ve really focused on developing processes for every stage of event design and planning. We built a web application to track our progress with each event. We also developed customized tools on the app specific to our business, so that we can make sure every tiny variable with planning is accounted for and that no stone goes unturned when developing design plans. These processes ensure that each client receives quality service.
- Create a work schedule – My day-to-day tasks are very time consuming. I usually can’t stop and answer emails while developing design plans, so I’ll dedicate my Mondays (and sometimes my weekday evenings) to answering emails. This allows me to focus the rest of my work week on time-intensive tasks, and allows me to be more productive.
- Work with people who have different strengths than yours – When I hired my sister, Lindsay a few years ago, I was desperate for someone to help lessen the work load, but I soon found that Lindsay brought a set a strengths to Lovestru.ck much different than my own. She has a great energy, she finishes small tasks at rapid speed, and her compassion and genuine positivity is great for client interaction. (I can be a little too focused at times.)
- Start a business that allows you to personally invest in your work/clients – Bottom line: let your passion drive you. I couldn’t spend the amount of time required to run Lovestru.ck if I wasn’t passionate about producing events. Lovestru.ck allows me to meet couples and personally invest in their wedding day. I get to see an event from start to finish, and helping a couple enjoy their big day is what energizes me each morning.
- Make time for family – When I first started Lovestru.ck, I was still working at an advertising agency during the day, developing Lovestru.ck when I got home, and sleeping an average of three hours a night. I still work crazy hours, but each year, I try to develop more time-saving processes and delegate tasks, so that I can spend time with my husband and family. Being able to “turn off” even if it’s just one day a week, allows me to recharge and put my hard work into perspective.
You’re clearly a busy gal. What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up around 6:00 each morning to run, so I can I get to work by 8:00. Most of my day is filled with designing events and/or sourcing special design projects. I also oversee all of our events, so [my sister] and I spend a lot of time checking design and coordination details. Each week is sprinkled with with client and vendor meetings as well. I try to get home around 5:30. Rich and I take turns making dinner based on who gets home first. After we eat dinner together, I work on catching up on emails or finishing design projects until about 8:00 each night. Rich usually browses on his computer. Sometimes we have the TV on as background noise. We have our set of shows that we like to watch on Hulu, but we love to find new documentaries to watch on Netflix.
How many employees work for you?
Two. My sister, Lindsay is our lead coordinator/manages all logistics and we have a graphic designer that creates all of our special design projects. I feel really lucky to have both of them on my team.
Is it difficult managing a family member? How to you balance the “boss” and “employee” boundary?
Lindsay and I have always had open and honest communication. It was challenging when she first started working for Lovestru.ck because I wasn’t use to working with anyone else, and I had to provide a lot of training. We had many meetings brainstorming the best way to communicate with each other in our high-stress jobs as well as ways to delegate tasks that she can have complete ownership of. Now we’re able to work pretty independently of each other because she’s manages coordination and I manage design. I try to approach our relationship in a professional manner and provide constructive criticism when needed, but to be honest, I’m so thankful I can count on Lindsay to be personally invested in helping Lovestru.ck grow purely because she cares so much about me. I also love that she understands my humor, and she’s pretty good at reading my mind.
What’s the hardest part about being a boss?
The hardest part of owning a business is the financial side. I sometimes waste too much time worrying about the future, growth, sales, etc. I try to focus on continuing to develop a quality product and letting my work speak for itself.
And what about the best part?
The best part of owning a business is working with clients who appreciate and trust your skills and experience. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years.
When it comes to clients who appreciate you, we’re at the top of the list! Thank you for welcoming us into your office and showing off this part of your business. We’ll be dreaming of your workspace for weeks…
To learn more about Lovestru.ck Events, click here.