Today our Damsels Who Inspire series returns with a truly dynamic individual. If ever there was a woman to inspire creative endeavors, Sandra Downie’s the one. In the following interview she shares the life-altering AHA moment that explains why she feels blessed every day – along with some tips and tidbits both brides and entrepreneurs can use!
1. Tell us what you do/create/design?
OMG where do I begin! First, I am a wedding & party designer and the Creative Director of Sandra Downie Event Designs, a boutique event and party design firm based in Connecticut. Additionally, I am very passionate about my role as Editor of The White Library blog (creative inspirations for chic entertaining). I also enjoy freelancing as a food/dessert and crafting stylist for select clients who want to create eye-catching photos that represent their brand in a way that will connect with their end users. No matter what day of the week it is, I am so lucky to have found my passion and am able to pursue it with love, energy and vitality.
2. What is your favorite aspect of the work you do?
My favorite aspect of what I do is having the ability to be creative on a daily basis. Weather I am picking out linen colors, patterned craft papers, organizing editorial content for my blog or approving digital design proofs, I feel so very blessed. The other wonderful aspect of what I enjoy doing is meeting new people and learning about different cultures and personalities. At the end of the day I get to look back and feel a sense of accomplishment on many different levels.
3. How did you get your business off the ground and the word out to your market?
I was fortunate enough to have been working in the wedding industry for a few years running a bridal beauty agency, but when I had a bought with cancer and had my ah-ha moment about life being to short, I decided to expand my company into event and party design, building on my reputation in the wedding business. I eventually started getting more into parties by word of mouth. Social media has played a major role in bringing awareness to o who I am and what I do. I am still learning every day about how to get the best out of it, but I would say it has helped tremendously to get my name out there for both my firm and my blog.
4. What should brides know/consider before choosing an event designer/wedding coordinator?
Brides need to know is the difference between wedding designers and coordinators. Designers create the overall vision and ensure there is a cohesive and uniform feel to the aesthetics of the day. Coordinators usually work on logistical efforts – working with banquet managers, dealing with transportation of guests, etc.. The bottom line is if you are looking for help in making your vision come to life on the big day, you need a wedding designer such as myself. If you are looking to make your wedding day runs smoothly, then a coordinator may suite your needs just fine.
5. What does 2011 have in store for Sandra Downie?
Well I can’t say anything yet, as I don’t have a contract, but let’s just say something big may be on the horizon. If it doesn’t happen, then it wasn’t meant to be and life goes on. We are also very excited to finally be launching the Sandra Downie Paperie Studio. It will be our online shop where we will be offering custom invitations, printable parties and other paper accessories and stationary. This has been a dream of mine since starting because this give me creative control over the paper goods and accessories used throughout my designs to better ensure that I deliver a cohesive and well put together look for my clients.
6. What’s the one fashion accessory you can’t do without and why?
My Louis Vuitton tote bag. I swear this thing is just over a year old and it looks like it has seen it’s day already. My life can often be very active and I am so often on the go, and it holds so much, that it truly is my “go-to, shove it all in, but still don’t I look chic?” bag. LOL!
Take a look at some of the awesomeness she’s created below and check back later today for a Real Wedding designed by Sandra. The details are out of this world!