Young entrepreneur, Kelley Lee Gin, started her successful event-planning business, Picture Perfect Events, in 2003. This full service event planning and design studio specializes in creating stylish, thoughtfully-designed weddings and social events. Kelley is also recognized for her devotion to a cause near and dear to her heart, Make A Mark (MAM). MAM is a campaign Kelley founded that strives to educate tween girls about body image and self-esteem, as well as help mothers build positive relationships with their daughters. Kelley leads a team of women who strive to instill positive values and self-worth in the girls of today – women of tomorrow. In this 1:1, she sheds light on this success and her passion for helping other females, specifically young women.
Q: What compelled you to start your own business at such a young age?
Kelley Lee Gin: While I was in college, I interned for a few companies in the Entertainment Industry. The internship was great and I learned a lot, but I was less than content. I wanted to make a difference in the world and the only way I can change the perception of a business owner is to start a business. My age was not factor when I started the business, it was more about timing.
Q: What advice would you give other would-be entrepreneurs?
Kelley Lee Gin: My advice to women who aspire to be an entrepreneur is to align and surround yourself with people who will create a positive environment for you and your business. There are so many people out there who didn’t believe in my business and thought I would fail. It was important for me to prove to everyone that starting a business does not necessarily equal failure. I am a firm believer in brand recognition and creating a marketing plan. When I started the business seven years ago, I didn’t understand this concept since my major in college was Communication Studies and Journalism. Lastly, be yourself and personable. I noticed there are many business owners who don’t reach out to their clients on a personal level.
Q: How did you get the idea to found Make A Mark (MAM)?
Kelley Lee Gin: The idea for Make A Mark derived over three years ago when I realized a lot of tweens were struggling with their self- image. Make A Mark is a reflection of my life struggles and insecurities I went through as a tween. I wanted to bring a group of tweens of all different walks of life under one roof to educate them on body image and self-esteem.
Q: As a collaboration of women for women, how can other women get involved?
Kelley Lee Gin: There are many groups, campaigns, and events women can participate in to help other women. It’s important to research the group, before you join it, to ensure you are passionate about their cause.
Q: What tips can you offer women for creating a balance that accomplishes professional and philanthropic interests?
Kelley Lee Gin: Since I plan approximately 30-35 events per year, it is important for me to balance my professional career, personal life, and philanthropic interests. I had a hard time creating time slots for everything and it took me 5 years to realize my time is valuable and I can’t attend every social event or charitable cause. You ultimately have to pick and choose the people you want to surround yourself with. My tip to women who have the same lifestyle as mine is to be the best at a few things rather than spreading yourself too thin.