Unlike most apprehensive first-time entrepreneurs, for interior designers Bie Magalong and Cookie Bombais of Scintilla Events, a home-based event coordinating company, the opportunity to create the business came naturally.
“It started back in early 2008,” says Magalong, one-half of Scintilla’s two-woman team.
As freelance interior designers, Magalong and Bombais were already familiar with planning and coordinating events.While studying interior design at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, event planning was part of the curriculum. [Learn how to start a home-based business in six steps here]
“Our mentors introduced us to handling events by let ting us assist them during their projects,” says Magalong. “It made me realize, ‘I think I’m liking this.’ And since Cookie is very creative as well, very hands-on and good in flower arranging, we decided to start something.”
The fact that their friends and families were already asking them both to coordinate their events helped as well. “We were getting more and more inquiries, so we said, ‘Let’s start it first as a home-based business,” says Magalong. “That’s where the idea began.”
And eventually, as both of them sheepishly admit, the events management gig slowly took over their day job as interior designers. “We really enjoy it,” says Magalong. [Find out how to lower costs without sacrificing quality here]
Using each other’s houses as their office and P20,000 of their own money, the two decided to first create a company website. “We really invested on the website and it paid off because that’s how we really got known.” The other office equipment such as phones, computers, and fax machines were sourced from their respective homes.
Scintilla Events handles everything from usual weddings, to birthday parties, as well as more offbeat events like bachelor and bachelorette parties, and even funerals. Together, the two serve as head coordinators and from there they divide themselves and form separate teams each performing a specific task depending on the event.
“For a wedding, for example, Cookie usually handles the reception and I handle the ceremony,” says Magalong. “We get our teams mostly from our classmates back in interior design because many of the services needed when planning events, like event styling or flower arranging, we had subjects for back when we were interior designers.” [See nine ideas for a good business location here]
When Scintilla Events began, they would plan four to five weddings within a six-month period. More than two years later, the two often find themselves in the situation of choosing an event project over an interior design project because, aside from the former paying well, “We get to meet different kinds of people and the problems you encounter are different everyday for every event,” says Magalong.
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