Cincy Chic: You started the company with two other women, Jayne Heekin and Lindsay Reynolds, so how did the three of you come together and end up with H&RS Event Planning and Consulting?
Andrea Schmidt, co-founder of H&RS: We have been friends since grade school, and our husbands have been friends since kindergarten. It has always been our dream to own an event planning company, so in 2006 we made our dreams into reality!
We were able to combine our individual talents to form our company and what has made it successful is that we each have something unique to offer. Whether it’s an event for the President or a small private dinner party, our individual strengths of creative perspective, savvy business sense, and an eye for detail and logistical planning allows us to work together to make every event a thriving success.
Our name is a combination of our initials. H for Heekin, R for Reynolds and S for Schmidt. It was a fun way to show our identity and play on the fact that we are a women-owned company.
Cincy Chic: I hear you have some presidential experience on your team. Can you tell Cincy Chic readers a little more about that?
Schmidt: Lindsay left her teaching job to pursue a political career to put her expertise in planning and executing events to work for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Once the election was over, she went to Washington and worked as the associate director of the White House Visitors‚Äô Office. Commuting from Washington to Cincinnati became too much, and she decided to move back home and that is when the discussions of opening an event business began. Lindsay’s background definitely provided us with some great political opportunities.
Cincy Chic: Embracing those White House-appropriate standards, how does your company provide added touches of excellence to an event?
Schmidt: These types of events are great for our business because it shows our range of skills and capabilities. By planning and executing an event for former presidents President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center International Freedom Conductor Award (IFCA) Gala, or a Fundraising event for John McCain and Sara Palin, we are able to showcase our organizational and logistical capabilities as well as meet the challenges and demands that come with being a part of a high-profile fundraiser.
Planning any high-profile event calls for extreme order and being prepared for anything, which keeps you on your toes. It is also extremely motivating to look back at the end of the event at the overall success of the evening by the appreciation from the guest of honor as well as the other guests attending. The opportunities we have been given has laid the foundation for our company, and whether it’s a fundraiser, wedding or corporate event, we pride ourselves on creating a solution for the most complex logistical challenges. Our favorite events are ones in which we’re able to navigate a difficult situation with a smile and help the client to have a successful, stress-free experience.
Cincy Chic: This is for our Wedding issue, so what unique or interesting trends have you seen with your clients?
Schmidt: Given the economic times, I would say that one of the biggest wedding trends currently is going back to the basics and focusing on more personal and memorable components. Decor is less coordinated and more personalized to really capture the essence and personalities of the bride and groom. This allows for more creativity and creates a more personal and intimate event. Brides are focusing on more unique and custom elements such as table cards that represent something specific about the bride and groom or homemade favors or candy and distinctive food stations.
Cincy Chic: What goes on in an event planner’s work day that people probably don’t realize?
Schmidt: Most days are spent meeting with current and prospective clients, as well as following up with existing clients. We also spend a great deal of time working with vendors and establishing relationships with them. This is a critical part of the business, so we are current on new venues and options for our clients.
Like with any business, there is a great deal of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done to keep the business afloat. Jayne handles the business financials as well as maintaining our Web site and other marketing resources. Event planners do not work a 9-to-5 job, so it’s important to be available to our clients and vendors around their schedule for meetings, phone calls, etc.
Cincy Chic: Once the bride and groom have said "I do," how do you let loose?
Schmidt: We really are not able to let loose until the cake is cut and the dancing has begun! The reception can be one of most stressful times of the event, as we want to ensure that the bride and groom are in absolute bliss and everything is the way that they envisioned it. We also want to make sure that the guests are enjoying themselves and have everything that they need. At that point, we are able to sit back, relax and enjoy all of our hard work!
Cincy Chic: What do you love most about Cincinnati?
Schmidt: One of the aspects that I love about Cincinnati is that it’s a wonderful place to grow up and now that we are all mothers, it’s a great place to raise a family. Another aspect that sets Cincinnati apart and makes it a lovable city is the overall convenience and the ability to be anywhere from downtown in 15 minutes — airport, Kenwood, Riverbend, etc. — which is a huge benefit from an event-planning perspective as well.
Photo courtesy of H&RS Events