SHE describes herself as a spontaneous, fun-loving people-person with a flair for great fashion. And it is these attributes that 31-year-old event planner Tamar Brown-Paul is banking on to succeed in her latest venture, eventsbytamar.com.
Her business presents a modern approach to planning weddings and corporate events, where prospective clients can plan their activities with just the click of a mouse. With the Internet becoming more accessible and mobile phones now within reach of the average citizen, Brown-Paul sees more advantages than disadvantages to the dot com approach.
"It is easier, it is more convenient," she said. "You can reach us in like 24 hours versus when you have a store and you have to actually meet at a location and you have a closing time. On an online website, you don't have to be there all the time, because you try to respond to your clients as soon as possible. As you get that first email, you try to reply," she noted.
Brown-Paul decided to start her online business in 2009 after completing an event planning course at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication at the University of West Indies. Since that time she has tried to increase her knowledge of the industry by attending expos and reading everything she can about creating that perfect event for a client. Still, getting people to embrace something different from the traditional ways of doing things has not been easy.
"It has been rough so far because it is a different approach. It's a modern approach to doing business in Jamaica and as such, not a lot of people log on, but younger people are willing to log on," she said.
Brown-Paul, who planned her own wedding this past January, believes an event planner is crucial to making the big day extra special, by keeping the bride and groom's worries at bay.
"Getting married, you get to realise that there are certain little things that you'll need, and that you'll want somebody there who is looking about your interests. You are up on the platform, so you can't be there thinking about what is going on," she said.
Brown-Paul runs her business with the assistance of her husband who is an IT programmer and a graphic artist who customises her clients' invitations to their tastes. Each prospective client is required to fill out an online form detailing what they want for their special day. Face-to-face interaction follows after the details of the event are worked out.
Besides the fact that clients can access her online business faster than they would a brick and mortar store, Brown-Paul noted that eventsbytamar.com allows individuals to select from a variety of caterers, photographers, wedding designers and venues.
"When you already have a store, you tend to rely on keeping the business to yourself, but with a professional wedding planner what that person will do is that they will go out and get the best vendor for you," she pointed out.
Becoming an event planner is a far call from becoming a lawyer, the career Brown-Paul had hoped to pursue after developing an intense fascination with the television character Matlock during her childhood days. Instead of going to law school, she enrolled at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, however, where she pursued her first degree in sales and marketing.
With her qualifications and her desire to create the perfect atmosphere for every event, Brown-Paul is confident that it won't be long before more Jamaicans start logging on.