Hi, friends! I hope you had a great weekend and are excited to get the new week started! In case you need a little inspiration (and who doesn’t?!), I interviewed an awesome woman entrepreneur for today’s CoChic Cool Chick feature. Sarah Deeke is the owner of Cheers! Chicago, a Chicago-based wedding and event planning business. Sarah took the plunge and started her own business after working in the event industry for someone else for several years. I love how energetic, down to earth and dedicated Sarah is. And those are the perfect characteristics of an event planner, in my opinion! Read on to find out what makes Cheers! Chicago unique and I think you’ll all agree that you might not only want to hire Sarah as your event planner but also become BFFs with her!
If you are new to CoChic Cool Chicks, welcome! CoChic Cool Chicks is an interview series, featuring inspirational women entrepreneurs who I am lucky enough to have in my girl boss network. These women are doing great things and whether you aspire to be an entrepreneur or not, I hope that they inspire you to do great things, too. I encourage you to check out their businesses, websites, and social media. And reach out to them, ask them questions, say hello. They’d love to hear from you!
Tell us about your business!
My business is Cheers! Chicago, and we are a full-service event planning company serving couples in Chicago and beyond that want to actually enjoy their engagement and the wedding planning process, have some fun (and maybe a few cocktails) with us along the way and truly celebrate their wedding day!
You can visit us at:
Web: www.cheerschicagoevents.com // Instagram: @cheerschicagoevents // Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CheersChicago/
What made you decide to start your own business?
Deep down, I always knew that someday I would own my own business and be an entrepreneur. It took me some time working in the wedding industry to finally feel confident enough to take that giant leap, but once I did, I’ve never looked back!
Photo by Orange2 PhotographyWho is your ideal client?
On a basic level, my ideal clients listen to me- they realize the significant value in hiring a professional planner, trust my knowledge and experience, and know I have their best interests at heart and am in their corner fighting for them. They understand my role is to simplify and organize their planning process and save them time, energy, and stress searching for the right vendors, accounting for expenses and costs, bringing their vision to life and accurately planning for the day-of logistics. My ideal clients are also genuinely crazy about each other, and want to share that love and happiness with those that matter most to them on their wedding day- they aren’t interested in “putting on a show”. All they want is for their guests to enjoy some delicious food, great drinks and PARTY all night long!
What got you into the event planning industry?
My senior year at the University of Illinois in Champaign, I interviewed local wedding planner, Gwen Wilson of Nuptiae, for a class project. Her passion was infectious, and I absolutely loved everything she had to say about her business and the wedding industry! Gwen recommended I find an internship back home in Chicago in any facet of the wedding industry, and emphasized that gaining experience and really understanding the work that goes on behind the scenes of a successful event was crucial to being a great planner. I sent my resume to every event planner listed on the Knot (which was pretty new at the time- there was only one page of planners!) and got my start with You Name It Events in Geneva that summer!
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Freedom. I love being able to make my own schedule, call the shots, grow and evolve the Cheers! brand, set ambitious goals for my company and being 100% responsible for reaching them!
What is the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Finding balance, or at least trying (I’m pretty sure “balance” is just a myth anyway)! When you love what you do, it is so easy to keep working until 10, 11, 12 at night. But besides being an entrepreneur and fulfilling all the roles that come with that title (saleswoman, accountant, marketer, designer, human resources, research & development, and, every now and then, therapist), I am also a wife, new mom, sister, daughter and friend. It’s important to take device-free time for the most important thing in my life: family.
What has been your proudest moment in business so far?
I value my relationships with my couples above all else- when my brides and grooms become close friends and I get the chance to watch their marriages strengthen and their families grow, it’s the BEST!
What is your best piece of business advice?
Don’t be afraid to fail! I use to think that the Sara Blakelys, Richard Bransons, and Mark Cubans of the world were successful because they never made mistakes. I’ve learned success doesn’t come from avoiding mistakes altogether- it comes from how you respond to your mistakes, learn from them, and bounce back.
Do you have any tricks of the trade you could share with us?
I love making wedding day pocket schedules for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and even parents! Just a simple little timeline that has the hair/makeup schedule for the ladies and a basic outline of when certain things will happen, such as the First Look, photos around Chicago, ceremony and reception times and so on. Your bridal party wants to know the plan for the wedding day, and I’ve found that giving your VIPs a straightforward schedule for the day puts everyone at ease, especially the bride!
How would you describe your personal style?
COLORFUL! I am drawn to bold prints, bright shades and classic styles with a modern touch that look sharp, chic, and professional yet still fun! I also love a great pair of heels or boots- the taller I look, the better I feel!
What does CoChic (comfortably chic) mean to you?
CoChic means feeling completely comfortable in your own skin while looking your best, and giving people a taste of who you are through what you wear! For me, it also means that my outfits easily and effortlessly transfer from client meetings to a networking cocktail party to coming home and rolling on the floor with my 7-month-old son, Kurt! That’s what mompreneur fashion is all about, right?
Anything else you’d like to share?
Stay tuned on our social media- we have two fun + fresh styled shoots this fall at the Drake Oak Brook and Chicago History Museum that I CANNOT wait to share with you!