Student Success: Megan Davis
When she was younger, Megan Davis sketched fashion designs and wedding dress concepts in her spare time. Always passionate about the creative arts, she knew from a young age that she wanted to become an event designer, planning high end luxury events. Now a graduate of the New York Institute of Art and Design’s Online Wedding Planning Course, she is the founder and owner of Passion Weddings Colorado. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Megan about her feedback on the course, the work she’s doing now and her plans for the future. Here’s what we learned.
1. When did you realize that wedding planning was a field you wanted to pursue?
I have always been very creative. When I was younger I used to draw fashion designs, and they were mostly wedding dresses because you can add so many designs to them, and that’s what I loved to do. I wanted to become an event designer for high end luxury events. That then turned into weddings because of all the amazing designs you can add at a wedding versus a company party, etc. Its pure passion my love for designing and being creative, hence the name Passion Weddings Colorado, my own wedding planning and design company. I have an eye for colors, patterns, and putting together beautiful displays. It has always been a love of mine, and I am a firm believer of true love, and I think weddings are full of love, happiness, and beauty, which is everything I want in a career.
2. Have you always been interested in the creative arts?
I started off wanting to become an Interior Designer. I loved designing spaces with beautiful furniture, there's a lot of style choices and statements you can make by using decor like crystal chandeliers, glass top end tables, etc. It’s a lot of fun taking a blank or boring space and turning it into a beautiful work of art, really. Though interior design depends on the real estate market which is a more of an up and down industry, versus event planning and the wedding industry. Weddings happen year round, as do luxury events.
3. When did you enroll at NYIAD?
I enrolled in NYIAD September 2018. I was studying Hospitality Management at my local college, Colorado Mesa University, before I enrolled. I decided, to better serve my future career, to enroll in an online institution, where I can work at my own pace without relearning all the basics like when attending a college. I was particularly intrigued by the reviews! I am very big on google reviews, and to see it was almost a 5 star rating I was excited! Their website is great, it had a lot of information. When I saw the 14 day money back, that sealed the deal. I didn't want to pay out of pocket for something that wasn’t what I wanted. NYIAD was much more, and I couldn’t have gained this knowledge for my career without them.
4. What was your coursework like?
Coursework was a lot of fun! I am a vivid note taker, sometimes that slows you down, but I wasn’t in a hurry, I really wanted to absorb all the knowledge and study my hardest. There was a lot of hypothetical scenarios, and I think that is good for unit assignments. Handling hypothetical clients and their situations, problem solving and offering ideas.
5. Were your mentors helpful during the process?
I had several different mentors, I didn’t really communicate with them directly. When they would review my unit assignments they would have a detailed overview of their thoughts and what I could have done better, or what they really liked. Every time I needed something, there is a contact box you can write NYIAD and they get back to you within 48 hours, it’s very nice.
6. After graduation, how did you use this knowledge to help you with a real world career?
I have learned so much. I have met with 4 clients so far, and I am very confident in my knowledge! I have even had a phone conference, we talked for about an hour, and it went really well. Phone conferences can be kind of tricky, but it went smoothly. I have started my own business, I started it about a month or 2 before I graduated. I felt I had enough knowledge to start promoting my services, and Passion Weddings really took off! I am so glad they included a unit on business, because that is very important when you are trying to start your own, or even when you are working for someone else's, you can know how they operate. This course had everything I needed, and I have used every bit of the knowledge I’ve learned.
7. What did you learn working in the real world that you wish you could’ve learned at NYIAD?
I wish I saw more examples of vendor and venue contracts. It’s hard to know what to look for when you’ve never seen one before. To get a real knowledge of this, seeing several real ones would help. Besides that, I have had 4 clients, though none of them have made it official and signed a contract with me. Getting clients to follow through with your services would be a really good add on to this course, as you can make a great impression, but you're dealing with a slightly large financial choice for them, the couple, and their family will surely have a say in, and need to all be on board. It would help to know how to get the ball rolling and have them make the commitment to hiring you as a planner.
8. Tell us about the work you do with Passion Weddings!
I love invitation/stationary design. I offer my assistance in creating such, even if they are planning a wedding themselves and not using my services, more often than not they decide to use my services once they see my knowledge of weddings, (thanks to NYIAD!)
9. How do you find new clients in your area?
I market a lot on my website, my Instagram, as well as my Facebook. I have business cards and I also established a Google Business, so when you search me on google, there I am! In this aspect I try to have as many friends and family rate me on google so when you search, having so many google reviews even if it's just a star rating, really makes your business look good!
10. If you had to pick one, what was the most memorable project you’ve ever completed?
Unit 6. It had a lot of assignments, the final countdown to graduation! I really liked how all hypothetical situations were based on one couple, it helped really get the details I needed to do a great job on my assignment. Some of the previous assignments I feel didn’t have enough information to really do an amazing job- a good one? Sure, but I have always loved going beyond, and with not as much detail it’s hard to do so. I am a mom to a 2 year old, and in the last unit there is a hypothetical situation where their wedding was going to have a lot of kids at the wedding. They gave you a budget for the kids and their activities, and I worked my magic. Water sensory table for the little ones, Giant yard games like connect four. Custom label bubbles including the couples newly married status, and little mason jars also with custom labels with the couples names on it, filled with cotton candy! Just a brief overview of my ideas I submitted for that project, but that was a lot of fun!
11. Describe a day in your life at work!
I currently still have a fulltime job, though my business is high up there too. A lot of work to have both, thankfully I work in the hospitality industry, a hotel, working the front desk. Once all my duties are done I begin to market my business, I created my logo the other day! I made my website, I have the world wide web at my fingertips, and when it’s slow I can really work on my business. On my days off I network with local photographers and other vendors through Instagram, meet them for coffee and get my name out there. I have had a tough time with locals, most of them haven’t given me the time of day, I have offered free help just to gain experience, and they are not interested. So if you’re just starting off, and your locals in this industry are not giving you the time of day, forget them. You can do it by yourself, show them up! Work hard, advertise often, and you’ll prove your way. Something that’s funny...they all follow me on my Passion Weddings social media! Just focus on you and your business, and locals wanting to network will find you, I promise, just keep working and putting yourself and your name out there!
12. How has social media/ blogging helped you as a creative professional?
Social media is a great networking tool. When making a website I really suggest you use Go Daddy sites, one it isn’t expensive, and two, you can keep up with your website stats! Seeing how many people visit, click on your Instagram link and photos, it’s a great tool to have when seeing how your advertising is doing. On Instagram I am followed by over 100 people in the short month I’ve had it. You really have to keep up on good content, but I really love the out of state support and followers I have from others in the industry.
13. What’s the most rewarding part of your career?
Starting it all on my own, doing all my own advertising, marketing, networking. I design my own ads, logos, I answer my own calls and handle all the details one by one on my own. It’s very nice to have such confidence, you know your true value, and I know I will be big and successful in this career. Starting from scratch by myself, is the most rewarding thing I’ve done.
14. If you could give one piece of advice to our current and prospective students, what would it be?
Don’t doubt yourself, you can do anything. There are some times you’ll see your competition and step back and worry- but don’t. Find your confidence in you and your skills, and hold on tight to it. It’s a scary business world out there, but the knowledge I have learned from this school reassures me 100%, to know I will be great at what I do. Don’t give up on your dreams, it doesn’t matter who you were before, or where you come from, dreams can always come true, find the resources, do your research, work hard, there will be ups and downs in everything in life, just don’t quit.