Set of Skills to be a Fantastic Event Manager

increase-engagement-at-eventsTrain your eye

Whether you’re organizing a friend’s birthday party, a school reunion, a business conference or a high society wedding, as a successful event planner you’ll need to know what works and what doesn’t. An appetite for trying something different is essential. As the event manager, it’s your job to come up with unique and innovative ideas that will produce amazing events time after time. A keen eye can go a long way to help you stand out.

Understand your clients

As an exceptional event manager, you have to listen to your clients’ needs. Sometimes, you’ll even need to anticipate what your client wants before they even know them themselves!

If you’re planning corporate events, this is especially important. You must take the time to get to know the business so you can produce an event that’s right for your client’s sector. You could be organizing end of year parties, corporate training days, trade shows client presentations, product launches or awards ceremonies. To do this successfully, you have to understand what drives the company and their expectations. You may also be organizing social events, which present a different kind of challenge.

lasting-impressions-at-eventsGet ready for major planning and marketing

The world of an event manager never stands still. Whilst attending one event you’re likely to be taking calls and answering emails for others. You’ve got to be on top of things and plan ahead. Each event should be broken down into sections, such as venue, catering, decorations, entertainment and so on. You’ll also need to consider certifications, insurance, booking fees, tastings, guest lists and even promotion.

Then the event will need to be marketed – online and offline. A charity event will need advertising, a product launch may need press, a ball will need ticket sales, an awards ceremony will need PR. Whilst you may not be doing all the marketing you will certainly need to liaise with promotional staff to ensure the event is advertised successfully. A levelled head and well-organised lists will help you a great deal.

Dare to be different

To be the best event manager you need to be prepared to offer something really special to your clients. Your ideas need to be unique so clients choose you as their event manager over the competition. Be brave and stand out from the crowd. When putting together an event proposal take a step back and ask yourself what the client is expecting and how you can take it up a level.

How to become a master event manager

Know what makes an amazing event manager: This is our very first step because it’s tough to become an amazing event manager without knowing the qualities you need to have. There are always people who manage to stumble into it, but it’s easier to get to the top if you have a solid understanding of what you’ll need to get there.

event-planningSo, what makes an incredible event manager? What will get everyone talking about your events for the right reasons? Grab a pen and a piece of paper:

Organization – you love lists and detail. You leave nothing to chance and plan every aspect, from the boring (think cleaning of the toilets) to the glamorous (like sumptuous floral displays).

People management – as an event manager you have to be able to delegate tasks and trust the people you are working with. You’ll have a bank of reliable suppliers who won’t let you down and a team of helpers who you can rely on. You know how to get the best out of people.

increase-engagement-at-eventsGood listener – clients you arrange events for will have ideas and it’s your job to turn them into reality. This can be a challenge when you’re working within a budget, so it’s your duty to make them understand what the limits are. A professional event planner should know how to balance resources and imagination. You’ll also need to balance your expertise with your clients’ wishes.

Energy – an event manager needs boundless energy since this isn’t always a 9 to 5 job. You’ll be working long hours and weekends when there are events going on. Not to mention the off-hours phone calls. On the day of an event, you’ll be there early, finish late and likely be running from one side to the other all day long. But your enthusiasm to succeed and make the event happen will help you keep going. And maybe a cup of coffee or two (or three).

Branded Content Examples: The Improved Marketing

Branded content has become a trend — kind of like avocado — a buzzword every marketer loves to throw during their monthly review presentation to sound just a tad more professional, but — kind of like avocado — there’s really nothing new about it.

branded_contentWhat’s branded content?

Brand content is to create content of value to gather people’s attention. The theory being that because it’s entertaining then audiences will forgive the fact that they’re being sold a product. In the case of He-Man and the pastel-colored shrunken horses, that would be toys.

“The idea central to content marketing is that brands must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story. The value returned is often that people associate good things with – and return to engage with – the brand.”

What are companies doing now?

Like everything else marketing, branded content has gone online in recent years, with a recent trend towards short, snappy videos. Right now, advertisers are laser focused on online platforms. With the endless ocean that is the Internet, attention spans are limited. Viewers only pay attention to ads that really grab their attention, so brands have to be good at predicting what we want to see. And not only that, but users can also search for the content that truly interests them, forcing the marketers to adapt and make their content engaging.

Red-Bull-Logo-ImageRed Bull

The perfect example of how to run an effective branded content campaign. Nearly all of their marketing relies heavily on it — or did you happen to miss the Red Bull Stratos contest? What about their Air Race Championship? Or, really, any of their extreme sports world competitions? That’s all branded content!

The LEGO Movie

One of the best examples of entertainment produced by a brand that almost everyone loves. It amplified the emotional connection that the audience had with the brand by bringing to the life that magical world we all shared when we played with LEGOs. I reckon everyone could relate to at least one of the characters; my favourite was Benny!

Land-RoverLand Rover

Land Rover’s ‘biggest ever sponsorship’ for the Rugby World Cup is a fantastic example of branded content. They used the hashtag #WeDealInReal to feature the stories of 11 amateur rugby clubs from around the world. The stories were featured in both TV ads and across all of the brand’s social media channels. They also encouraged other amateur clubs to share their own stories using the hashtag!

Final words

These are all examples of how we want to have a closer relation with brands and see them as people and not just businesses. Using content generated by people from all over the world is one of the best ways to humanise a brand and that is where marketing is heading in the future.

The Ultimate Checklist for Planning The Perfect Party

Party planning is no easy task. While it can definitely be a fun one, there’s a reason that such a thing as a professional party planner exists. Sometimes, figuring out what you need to do to pull of the perfect bash can seem a bit overwhelming.

perfect-party-checklistThings You Must Check a Few Weeks Before

First of all, you’ll need to answer one very simple question: how big do you want your party to be? That’ll help you figure out what the exact type of party you’re planning. Of course, size isn’t everything – so when you’re thinking about how big your party is, you’ll also want to take into account another really important consideration: budget. It would be nice to have an unlimited budget, but sadly that isn’t the case for most people. You might find that your budget helps you figure out how big your party can realistically be.

how-to-plan-a-partyNext steps

Choose a theme if you like. Not every party has to have one, but a well-chosen concept can make a party a lot of fun! You could make your music, food and decorations all fall under the same conceptual umbrella. Your topic could be something related to a holiday or current event, or perhaps you’re throwing a party for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.

party-planningGetting closer: Make Sure You Don’t Forget Any of This

As the date nears, you’ll want to start shopping for the supplies you’ll need, including decorations, practical things like cutlery and napkins, and food and drinks. If you can buy stuff ahead of time, you’ll be relieved about it as the party date gets nearer and you get busier. Don’t forget to get supplies to clean up (extra trash bags, paper towels and sponges all come in handy).

party-planA few days before

Clean up and decorate your party location. Decorating is optional, cleaning really isn’t! You want things to look nice for your guests. Do you have enough of everything – chairs, glasses, cutlery, food, etc.? Do a count of what you have on hand to make sure you won’t get caught short. Consider letting your neighbors know you’re having a party. They might like to be prepared ahead of time. If you have especially nice neighbors, you might even consider inviting them!

christmas_party-e1353364459874The day of party

Do a last-minute tidy of the location. Get your trash cans ready to go, and make sure they’ll be easy for guests to find. Set up the tables and chairs and add flower arrangements, if you need to. Finish up any cooking if you still have things left to do. Plate your food in the serving dishes and start setting out food and drink. Don’t forget plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins.

The Last Stop

Relax and enjoy your party! The main point of a party is to have a good time, so don’t get too caught up in hoping everything will go perfectly. Even if things don’t go exactly to plan, your guests will probably have a great time anyway.

Qualities which makes a great event planner?

What different agencies and clients look for in an event planner varies greatly depending on the person and the occasion, of course, but there are some qualities that tend to be intrinsic to this profession.

event-planningFlexibility: It doesn’t matter how many months you spent planning or how many excel sheets you’ve created, there will always be last minute changes! It is also important to remain flexible when it comes to the needs of your customers.

People Skills: When working in the events industry you will not only work with your client and team, you’ll meet all sorts of folk, from vendors to speakers and anything in between. If meeting new people is not your thing, then maybe you should reconsider your choices.

Organisational skills: Event planners need to deal with many things simultaneously. It would be ideal if asking for permits, looking for venues, and contacting sponsors could all be done in neat, separate steps, but usually a professional in the field will find themselves juggling all at the same time. Thankfully, there are tools that will make the life of an event planner a lot easier. We wrote a post about that.

increase-engagement-at-eventsPassion: A good requisite for pretty much any job. Passion will give you that extra push you need when things get hard and you feel like giving up.

Time Management skills: Oh, time management. We’ve all heard of it. Specially me, not that I’ve ever missed a deadline, mind you *whistles*. As with organisation, time management is crucial to keep track of everything. Events require tight precision to be pulled off. Any delay could cause a domino effect of epic proportions.

Resourcefulness: If something can go wrong, then it will go wrong – some say. Event planners need to be able to solve any problem that may arise on the last minute quickly and creatively using the tools at his/her disposal.

Attention to details: One of the best teachers I ever had once told me: “The difference between a professional and an amateur is the attention to detail.” She was talking about graphic design, but I feel like it can apply to anything.

A levelled head: What HR loves to call being able to “work under pressure”. Again, here we have a quality that could apply to almost any job, but I feel like it is particularly important to event managers as they have to deal with many variables at the same time.

The Journey of an Event Planning

What do you want to do?

Are we talking about a sporting event? Something related to music? Though the main categories they consider are conferences and meetings, exhibitions and trade shows, incentive travel, corporate hospitality, outdoor events, festivals and cultural events, music events and sports events.

plan-eventWho do you want to do it with?

Unless you’re planning a globe trekking solo adventure, you might think about going away with someone – your mum, your dad, your grandparents, your mates, your other half…your pet fish? The same goes for organizing your event. If it’s going to be a success, you’re going to need a solid team behind you.

Set a date

So now you’ve got your dream team together and you’re raring to go, you’ve got to set a date. Be realistic. That goes for both your luxury break and your potential music festival – allow plenty of time to do the organizational things you need to do and remember that often the further you book in advance, the cheaper things can be.

budgeteWhere do want to end up?

This is an important element in your journey that you and your team should take into serious consideration. Best not to hire the town hall in a quiet residential area if you’re going to be giving away copious amounts of champagne and hiring a decent DJ. In much the same way as you probably wouldn’t hold a corporate event in a forest in the middle of nowhere – goodness knows where you’d get ice from in a crisis.

How much can you spend?

The million-dollar question, if you’ll forgive the monetary reference. Sometimes, the budget will be the first port of call on your journey.

Event PlanningHow will you get there?

Transport is often something you think of a little further down the road. Getting from airports to hotels, to attractions and even just to a decent bar is not something to be taken lightly. Not all holiday destinations and venues can be reached by public transport, just like not all cities are necessarily that well connected to wifi.

What do you need?

Will you need projectors? Sound equipment? What equipment will other people be bringing. My point is that you might not need to source everything, but you should make sure that all bases are covered. You might find that you have to change venues to accommodate technical needs.

wedding-event-plannersWhat’s your catering plan?

Package holiday? Full board or half board? Self-catering? a) food is a basic need and b) your catering plan, or lack thereof, can massively influence other aspects of your trip to success. Just ensure that whatever the plan, nobody gets hangry.

Where are you going to stay?

Often with organized events group bookings in hotels are required, just like with the family getaway and on a first come first served basis, unless you are working alongside an events company who has already made reservations. Remember to think about distance from the proposed activities, food requirements and group numbers.

How will you document your adventure?

Surprisingly, but will you consider going on holiday without your camera? Then it shouldn’t even cross your mind to not hire a photographer, or video-maker to document your success. It’s basic marketing. Instagram is as much as a personal marketing tool as it is a business one. Especially these days, it’s like if it’s not on Facebook then it didn’t happen.

Best Drinks for Each Type of Event

When hosting an event you need to get the refreshments you serve right. The finer detail, such as event beverages make the difference between a standard event and something that’s really special and memorable.

Let’s look at the more common events and which drinks are most suitable to wow your guests.

drinks-for-corporate-eventsCorporate events

Different kinds of corporate events require different drinks to be served. You may be throwing an end of year party to thank your employees for their hard work, launching a new business, exhibiting at a trade show, entertaining clients or hosting a conference.

All business events should serve soft drinks, such as water and juice. Tea and coffee may also be appropriate, depending on the time of day and type of event. If the event is early evening alcohol may be served, such as beer and wine. A glass of wine over lunch may also be suitable.

drinks-for-weddingsSpecial occasions

Weddings, birthdays, parties, anniversaries all require drinks that are a little bit special. As well as the standard beer, wine, champagne and soft drinks consider how you could serve something different such as, Pimms, mocktails (no alcohol cocktails), smoothies served in pineapples or coconuts, homemade lemonade, pink lemonade, punch, sangria, spirits with fruity ice cubes, buck’s fizz, margaritas …

Weddings need glamorous drinks to make guests feel special. It’s easy to get creative and serve up a welcome drink to remember. Cava or even fizzy water can be dressed up with fruit, ice cubes containing edible flowers, name tags, and pretty straws.

drinks-for-music-eventsMusic events

Most big concerts won’t allow you to take drinks in with you, except water. Inside you can usually buy beer, wine and soft drinks. It’s the same for music festivals, although many people will try and smuggle in drinks to save money. For the more sophisticated musical events like the theatre and the opera the interval is the time to sip a glass of something like wine or champagne, although you won’t have time for more than one!

Fundraising events

You can sell drinks at events like country fayres, open days and festivals to make money for charity. A locally produced beer or wine tent is a good example of this.

Drink tips for events

We have prepared this awesome list summarizing everything we’ve talked about above!

  • christmas_party-e1353364459874At business events sip, don’t gulp – getting inebriated just isn’t cool in business.
  • Think quality rather than quantity. A poor quality wine will tarnish your reputation. Serve a good wine at an event and you’ll be remembered as the host who wants to please their guests.
  • Consider whether to serve drinks in plastic or glass, depending on the event. At a corporate event, you should NEVER serve drinks in plastic whereas at a music event glass will probably break health and safety rules.
  • Always have plenty of water available to drink at any event. It rehydrates and many people like to drink water to balance their alcohol intake, particularly at lunch times.
  • Offer non-alcoholic cocktails and wine at business events so the professionals can remain professional but still have a glass of something in their hand when networking.

Pitfalls to starting a T-Shirt Line

“I got a great idea! Let’s make a t-shirt”

My name is Erik Mickelson and I am the Operations Manager at Northwest Custom Apparel. If I could have a dollar every time a person walked through our front doors and said, “I am putting a clothing line together” I would retire a rich man. The truth is to start a clothing line you need a bunch of money. I mean a BUNCH, like investors and millions of

Hawks 12th man shirt
Hawks 12 Design printed using a Kornit Storm 2 direct to garment printer.

dollars. Besides money you need to invest time effort and better have a great design for a t-shirt.  Many think a clothing line is coming up with some cool artwork that they PERSONALLY like and printing 2 dozen t-shirts. My first question is, “What do your friends think of this design?”. Of course the response is, “I love this design, how do I get a shirt from you”.  Reality is, the friends LOVE the design, but they don’t love it enough to release $20.00 from their wallet.  This is where t-shirt lines fail. They don’t do market research before deciding to start making t-shirts. If making a t-shirt line was easy, I would not be here typing this blog and would be found drinking cold IPA’s in Mexico.

Tip 1

Do market research on your design. Show it to people that are NOT your friends. Ask if they would pay for this shirt.

Tip 2

If you have a Blue Ribbon design, start small and order a dozen t-shirts. Sell them to people other than friends and family. If a stranger will buy it, you might have a good idea in the works.

Fife Junior Football Champions 2017
Fife Junior Flag Football Champions 2017, Fife, Washington

Tip 3

Will the design sustain over time or is it a Fad or a special event. Making a Seahawk Super Bowl t-shirt is a special event and not a clothing line. Make sure you can develop a brand.

Tip 4

Do not think you will make money on a t-shirt line. Do it for fun and if you make a couple of bucks, go buy a beer and ENJOY.


Erik Mickelson


6 Insider Tips to Screenprint Artwork

Tip 1

All artwork entering the art department for clean-up and print preparation MUST have an order number associated with it. This is to eliminate any confusion as to who is

Clean Artwork
Example of Clean Artwork for screenprinting.

writing the order and makes it much easier to reference the art if any changes need to be made or for future reorders. If a customer is providing art for a pricing quote on art charges before placing and order, please make sure this is clear when giving it to the art department.

Tip 2

The definition of” camera ready” art is different for the screenprint process than with embroidery. The first step art must go through in this process is to make a “positive” of the art. This can be achieved either by printing onto clear vellum on the laser printer or by shooting art with a camera in a darkroom and developing a positive. Positives are then used to bum the screens which the sceenprint ink will be printed through. Printing art onto vellums is less expensive than using a darkroom camera and requires much less set up time, so whenever possible this is the preferred method.

Tip 3

Full Back Embroidery
Full Back Embroidered logo by NW Custom Apparel

A good-looking logo on a t-shirt is only as good looking as the art printed on a positive. JPEGs are not camera ready artwork. Within the realm of embroidery, JPEGs work fine as a reference to be digitized from, but do not work very well for screenprinting. The JPEG format was originally created as a way to compress digital pictures so that they could be easily transmitted over the Internet for the primary purpose of on-screen viewing. While the resolution of JPEGs is perfect for computer monitors, it leaves blurry colors and choppy edges when printed. When a JPEG is received into the art department, it must be
redrawn and reformatted which will end up being charged at $40.00 dollars an hour. There is an exception to this if the JPEG is provided at a very high resolution (see paragraph below). The easiest way to eliminate this extra work is to ask customers to provide artwork that is best suited for the printing process.


Tip 4

Which formats are best for printing? Ideally, screenprint art will have crisp edges, black at its maximum opacity, and clear color separations (if more than one color). The formats that work best for this are CorelDRA W (CDR) and Adobe Illustrator (AI and EPS). We use PCs, so Mac files cannot be accepted unless they are converted to a useable PC format. All fonts should be converted to curves. We can also accept high-resolution .tif files, as long as the art provided in exact desired printing size and at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). High resolution GIF and JPEG files can also be accepted, but only if they are at a resolution of 300 dpi.

Embroidery Thumbs Up
Thumbs up on embroidery


Tip 5

Ad slicks are the best non-digital format we can accept. Ad slicks are professionally printed logos on high quality white backing. If a customer does not have a digital file, ad slicks are the next best thing (if the customer has them available). Also, high quality laser prints work well. The key factor is that the customer’s art has very opaque ink and clearly
defined edges. These make for clear scans when converted to computer files and thus creating better positives.


Tip 6

Color separations are best provided in the .AI, .EPS, or .CDR formats. Any other format will require are time to separate the colors and prepare them for printing. Another option is to provide pre-separated art in multiple TIFs ( or similar format), with a separate file for each color to be printed. We are capable only of spot printing, which is up to 6 separate colors. We cannot do process printing, which blends colors and is used for printing photographs and other graphics with many different colors.

Glossary of Embroidered Apparel Definitions

Custom Artwork Example by Randy Fountain

Randy Fountain artwork
Before and After. Drawn by Randy Fountain

A high activity sportswear fabric that absorbs, wicks and dries faster than average golfwear.

Duck Cloth

Tightly woven fabric that provides wind and snag resistance.

Gig Harbor Police
Gig Harbor embroidered police patch by Northwest Custom Apparel

Descriptions of Apparel



Describes buttons or trims that are the same color as the garment onto which they are sewn.

A cap style with a low slope that is more closely fitted to the head. Can be either structured or unstructured.

See Taslan but with a dull finish.

A mix of different colors of yarns knit together to create a

Erik Mickelson
Erik Mickelson from Northwest Custom Apparel

heathered effect.

A product that has gone through a process to produce a smooth, lustrous hand.

Similar to a pique knit, but with a more open texture for increased breathability. Larger knit than Cool Weave.

A high density, anti-pilling fleece made of knit micro-fibers that are brushed less than a regular fleece garment. It has a high capacity for warmth without the weight.

40th Anniversary
40th Anniversary with Northwest Custom Apparel

An ultra-fine stripe that is knit into the fabric.

Fabric that is tightly woven from a very fine poly thread and has a sueded finish for a luxurious, soft feel. Microfiber fabric is naturally water repellent due to its construction process and when specially treated, can also be waterproof.

A cap with a slope height in between that of a High Profile and Low Profile. It is most often structured with buckram.

Buttons made from Mother of Pearl, with a logo inscribed on them. A jacquard knitting pattern in which the jacquard forms a design similar to small nail heads.

The combination of a knitting and spinning process developed by JERZEES® for their blended fleece that helps prevent pilling.

A process in which yarn dyed fabrics or piece dyed garments are put through an additional dye color to create unique colors.

A type of fabric where the fibers are either cotton or blended man-made fibers.

A pocket attached to the outside of a garment. Buttons that have a pearl-colored hue.

Buttons that incorporate pewter and horn tone, usually one encompasses the other.

Buttons that have a dull, metallic hue.

A type of dye used to create a distressed or washed look. A process developed by Lee® to help prevent pilling on fleece garments.

A knitting method that creates a fine textured surface that appears similar to a birdsnest or waffle weave.


The part of a shirt or jacket where the garment fastens together. A warm polyester lining found in the body or sleeves of outerwear garments. It has more loft than a regular nylon lining.

PC90H Hoodie
Seattle Seahawks Hoodie. Style PC90H

Features similar characteristics to cotton and silk, has excellent luster and very little shrinkage.

Alternating rows of 2 different pique knits; one knit is a baby pique, while the other is a larger pique that resembles small circles knit closely together.

A high activity sportswear fabric that absorbs, wicks and dries faster than average golfwear.


Tightly woven fabric that provides wind and snag resistance.


 Describes buttons or trims that are the same color as the garment onto  which they are sewn.

A fleece outerwear fabric made from at least 50% materials reclaimed from recycled plastic soda pop bottles.

Edgemont Junior High School. Home of the Eagles.
Edgemont Junior High School. Home of the Eagles.

A 2-ply weave of different color yarns that run parallel against each other so that both colors are visible.

A laundering process in which a catalytic substance is added to create a chemical change in the fabric resulting in a very soft finish, smoother appearing surface and reduced shrinkage.

A more upscale horn tone button with an etched pattern. When the back portion of the garment is longer than the front. Assists in keeping the garment tucked in during normal activity.

Small holes or perforations made in a series to allow for breathability. Finished with either stitching or brass grommets.

Refers to a garment’s fit as being generous and roomy.

A dyeing process that occurs after the garment is assembled.

A wash process where softeners are added to finished garments to help the cotton fibers relax or bloom.

Fife Police Department Patch
Fife Washington Police Department Patch from early 2000’s

The result is a fabric with a thicker appearance, reduced shrinkage and a softer hand.

A chevron or zig-zag pattern, knit into fabric.

A cap style with a high slope structured with buckram-a stiff fabric lining. Less fitted to the head.

Buttons that appear to be manufactured from horn.

A medium sized broken check effect that is knit into the fabric.

A fabric that has two plys knit simultaneously to form one thicker and heavier ply. It has more natural stretch than a jersey knit, a soft hand, and the same appearance and feel on both sides.

Buttons with a lustrous, rainbow-like hue.

Puyallup Police
Arm Patch for the Puyallup Police Department

A pattern knit directly into the fabric during the manufacturing process. Typically, 2 or more colors are used.

Fabric has a definite smooth side, the outside, and a textured side, the inside.

A flat rib knit, with specified dimensions, that is used to function as a placket and placket facing.

A looped piece of fabric in the neck of a garment for the convenience of hanging the garment on a hook. Can also be located at the center of the back yoke on the inside or outside of a garment.

A semi-oval panel sewn into the inside back portion of a garment, just under the collar seam, to reinforce the garment and minimize stretching when hung on a hook. The patch also allows for the garment tag or label to be sewn below the neckline to help prevent irritation.