Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Gail Clemonds.
Shannon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I come from a family of business owners and went to school for Finance, so it was always a matter of what type of company I would start, not who I would go to work for. I originally thought it would be some sort of financial advisory, but when I noticed that couples were often spending $100,000+ for their weddings in Chicago without any formal financial advice, I quickly realized there was a niche for me in the market. My family manages a golf course and event venue, and I worked in various wedding-related jobs when I was younger, so the blend of background and opportunity helped me make the decision to start SG when I was still just a senior in college.
Ten years later, SG has grown to one of Chicago’s leading event planning firms, producing 90+ events per year locally and across the United States, and has branched out to include both a corporate division and lifestyle social media brand, allowing us to stretch our portfolio of brands and clientele across the nation.
I see our company’s growth through the years as a series of incremental decisions; some unsuccessful, but the sum of which have proven to be advantageous to our overall success. I’ve really worked to keep the focus and commitment of my brand centered around the very same principles on which I started, and been careful to grow organically only when I could no longer meet our increasing demand. I’ve continued to build the SG team with individuals of varying backgrounds and incredible talents, and worked to maintain the personality and trend of a brand like Shannon Gail, while also keeping myself focused on the internal processes and development behind a healthy organization. I think the careful blend of the two has propelled us to where we are today.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Entrepreneurship is never a smooth road. You are constantly putting a lot of trust in yourself and others, and the risk of each decision is always magnified with a small company. I am always conscious that I could easily be one small mistake away from a detrimental set back, but I try to remember that I could also be one great decision away from a huge win as well. As I look back on our last 10 years, one of my largest struggles has been in building my team of planners, and often placing too much trust in the wrong individuals. I have truly learned a lot, but often not before the damage had been done. As an entrepreneur, you can never expect to be expert in all areas of running a company: marketing, finance, sales, social media, hiring, firing, etc. It took me a while to navigate which of those areas would be a struggle for me, and it’s a constant battle of where to direct your energy and how to mitigate consequence when, not if, a misstep takes place.
Shannon Gail Events – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Shannon Gail is a boutique event planning firm out of Chicago, Illinois that produces 90+ weddings and events per year locally and across the United States. The team is comprised of professionals with backgrounds in finance, marketing, design, venue management, hospitality, and catering and prides itself on being expert in all areas of event planning.
Our ideal client could be anyone from a corporation looking for assistance with a product launch to an engaged couple at any stage of wedding planning. We are equipped with a very skilled set of planners in varying backgrounds, meaning we have the broad ability to customize services for a wide array of clientele. We are known for attaining any goal while simultaneously maintaining the highest level of hospitality and customer care. Whether our clients are looking to achieve a certain aesthetic for their wedding ceremony or track the effect of an event on their annual revenue growth, we have the bandwidth and connections to successfully do so.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The parameters around my definition of success have changed as my business and I myself have matured. I find myself presented with differing needs with each year, and I have measured success by my ability to fulfill those changing needs as time has passed. For example, my first year of business was met with much lesser needs as a 19 year old college student renting an affordable apartment in the city than it is now with 8 full time contractors, a mortgage and a baby on the way. Currently, I mark success by maintaining a perfect track record of happy clients, and by a consistent positive growth trend in all areas of our business, from revenue and quantity of events to the career growth of each contractor on our team.
- Website: www.shannongail.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannongailweddings/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannongailweddings/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannon_gail
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/shannon-gail-weddings-and-events-chicago
Cristina G Photography
Amanda Megan Miller Photography
T&S Hughes Photography