Owner, Events by Andre Wells
Describe your job.
I own an event design and planning firm in Washington, D.C, and work throughout the United States and abroad. We produce and design corporate, political, and social events, in addition to high-profile weddings.
How did you get started, and what got you from there to today?
I started in the fashion industry with a love for special events. When I began, event careers weren’t what they are now. I didn’t have the choices that are now available. I started by volunteering and doing the complex jobs no one wanted to do, and I learned so much. By volunteering within the industry with caterers, AV/sound, floral, and production companies, I learned the ins and outs of the industry and what it took to create a successful event.
Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan or do you like variety?
I like a variety of events. I never wanted to be just a wedding planner or a meeting planner. I wanted to be a special events designer and planner. There are so many transferable skill sets that relate to each type and style of event. I have been very fortunate to meet many smart, talented professionals. These relationships allow me the opportunity to bring my clients’ visions to life in the form of amazing and experiential events.
What’s your best experience of turning lemons into lemonade?
During the pandemic, we as event professionals still had the creative spirit to pivot and develop unique virtual events that blew our clients away and helped us make money. We curated gift boxes, produced celebrity-driven video messages, and had Broadway actors singing and dancing in our clients’ yards and driveways. If that isn’t how you make lemonade from lemons, I don’t know what is.
What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?
I am proud when our clients are happy with our work. I do not take for granted we are in people’s lives during great moments, such as product launches, campaign announcements, and weddings. When we can make people happy with our work, that’s an achievement for me, making me very proud.
How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?
We’ve had to become more creative and make sure our partners, clients, and stakeholders know that we are flexible and will work with them in many ways. There are things that, pre-pandemic, we may not have considered, but now we do all the time, such as multiple platforms, from live to virtual to hybrid.
How do you keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge developments in the convention and meeting business? What new event industry trends are you excited about?
Trends come and go, but I don’t buy into them. I am aware, and I listen to my surroundings and the time and tempo of life. However, I feel that we must listen to the nation’s beat and take cues from life. I’ve noticed after the last 19 months how life has become a bit more casual, and so have our events. We have had to adjust in ways that include a looser dress code, flexibility, and finding more ways to get out messages.
What are the essential skills every newcomer into the industry should possess?
Industry newcomers should possess listening skills. A lot goes into planning, designing, and coordinating. But you must listen to your client and make sure you know what their goals are for their event.
What is your main takeaway from navigating the events industry during a pandemic?
The pandemic gave me a moment to press the pause button, stop, rethink, and refigure. I am most thankful for that and am now uber-focused. I have aligned my business practices to what and where I want to be.
When you are not creating events for your clients, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my family and traveling to foreign countries and the Caribbean. I am a student of the world.