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Entrepreneurial event planner gets creative

Industry News | April 1, 2008 | By:

Rain or shine, event planner Allison Jackson gives her clients their dream celebrations.

As a Capitol Hill staffer, Allison Jackson gained valuable experience in protocol, scheduling and operations. But she wanted the opportunity to be creative and entrepreneurial as well, so she parlayed her political skills into event planning.

“The one thing I did not anticipate is how much I would enjoy working with families,” she says. “Most of my clients are planning social celebrations, meaning they are families, not corporations, not political organizations. It’s been very gratifying for me.”

Jackson left behind a Senate office for a catering company, where she learned more about the hospitality industry and began to plan large-scale tented celebrations. Then she launched her own event planning company, Pineapple Productions.

“Most of the tented events that I’m involved with are taking place in unique settings, like private properties or historic homes, and I really like the charm and personality of [these] events….At least with my clients, the tent often becomes the canvas for creating a look that the client has always dreamed of.”

Most of her clients for tented celebrations intend to hold their event in a tent when they hire her, but many don’t know what the options are or understand tenting requirements. She’s able to advise her clients because of the education and assistance she has received from tent rental experts.

“Davis [Richardson, Sugarplum Tent Co., Boyds, Md.] really took me under his wing and taught me about tenting,” Jackson says. “The time he put into [explaining to me] the logistics of installation and the equipment involved was just so generous of him.”

Without question, the biggest challenge she faces with tented events is weather. “The way I deal with that is to create a rain plan that a client can love as much as a good weather plan,” she says.

Jill C. Lafferty is a freelance writer based in Burnsville, Minn.

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