First Year of Business is in the Books for Bianchi Productions!

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My, what a year it’s been! To be honest, time has really flown so I had to look at our first official Instagram post to pick an anniversary date.  June 20th, 2017 it was. While I knew starting my own business wasn’t going to be easy, I had no idea a year ago how many ups and downs there would be, sometimes even daily. That said, I absolutely LOVE what I do and have no doubt that starting Bianchi Productions was the right decision. I’m extremely optimistic about the future and know this is just the first of many anniversaries our company will be celebrating. Woo hoo!

Here is a look at some of the incredible events we’ve been a part of thus far.

Our first official event took place in July of 2017. It was a wedding at the Oviatt Penthouse in Downtown LA for a former colleague from the Australian Consulate and his beautiful bride. This amazing art deco venue served as the perfect backdrop for their rooftop ceremony and reception.  Fun fact, it’s rumored Marylin Monroe and JFK used to rendezvous at this location.  Scandalous!

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After that was a freelance gig working on the 2017 Emmys Governors Ball and a milestone birthday for a friend and fellow Le Tip member at Malibu Cafe. If you haven’t been to this family-friendly Country Kitchen and Bar in the Malibu hills, be sure to add it to your list! Four-legged friends are welcome too 🙂

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Red carpet ready with one of my dearest friends ❤

Speaking of Le Tip, this was the first professional networking organization I ever joined as an entreprenuer, and I’m so glad I did. Besides making fantastic business connections, now I get to have breakfast with energetic, like-minded professionals once a week and have new forever friends because of it. Be sure to comment below if you want a fun fact about one of the deciding factors for going with this particular organization. You won’t be sorry, I promise.

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President of Le Tip of Calabasas, Devre Ross, Ross & Ross Law and Mandy Bianchi

Next up was a “Mommy’s Night Out” fundraiser for the 501c3 charity Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse (STS) we did in partnership with The Nanny League (TNL). TNL is an elite placement agency matching high-profile families with college educated nannies. STS is a vital organization whose mission is to expose and stop child sexual abuse and help survivors heal worldwide. For more information, click here.

During the event, guests enjoyed salon pampering, shopping, delicious food, plenty of drinks and a performance by the talented and hilarious Mommy Tonk. All proceeds raised went to STS and we were honored to be a part of this critical cause.

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Food provided by Kensington Catering, Hosted by WeVillage, Photo by Robin Randolph Photography
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Robyn Rhodes Jewelry, Photo by Robin Randolph Photography
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Bird & Vine Clothing, Photo by Robin Randolph Photography
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From left: Maria Sanson, Amy Davidson, Lindsay Thomason (Founder & Owner of The Nanny League), Willa Ford and Mandy Bianchi (Founder & Owner of Bianchi Productions). Photo by Robin Randolph Photography

Five days later we did an 800-person film screening and after party for Sony Music/Legacy Recordings, promoting the release of the Michael Jackson Estate’s latest album: Scream. Looking back, this is one of my favorite events as it involves both entertainment AND music, two of my biggest passions and the reason I moved out to LA.

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Emcee for the evening, Nick Cannon on the red carpet.

In addition to the array of events from the first few months, we’ve also managed Holiday Mixers, Grand Openings, Coaching Conferences, Fashion Shows, Galas, and an American Idol Wrap Party to name a few. The momentum is continuing to build, and this June has by far been our busiest month yet.

Image by Marvin Steindler (marvinsteindler.com)
Ribbon Cutting and Spring Fashion Show for Inspired by Yolanda Marie.
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A-1 Wholesale Flooring Grand Opening, Photo by Marvin Steindler
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Conejo Players Theatre 60th Anniversary Gala
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2018 American Idol Finale

Looking ahead to year two, we have some exciting things coming up: a re-vamped website and new video series  premiering this Fall, for starters. I can’t wait to bring these to fruition and know I couldn’t do it without the support of so many wonderful people in my life. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of making this dream possible. From former bosses and colleagues, to new friends, partners and clients, your support and encouragement has been amazing.

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And to the village who help at home so I can pursue this dream, THANK YOU doesn’t even begin to cover it. None of this would be possible without you and I am forever grateful for all that you do. Special shot out to the hubs, one of the best humans I know and an AMAZING FATHER who helps hold down the fort while I’m out building an empire. That’s right, I said it!

While we look forward to continued growth and new business opportunities, Bianchi Productions’ mission remains the same: to spread love, light and positivity by creating memorable and meaningful events. Cheers!

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Written by: Mandy Bianchi, Founder of Bianchi Productions

 

 

A New Type of Conference – The “Un-conference”

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In the event industry, clients are always looking to do something new and different, or at least put a unique twist on practices that are tried and true. Enter the Un-Conference.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending one of these in Orange County at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. The event was put on by SITE SoCal in partnership with Haute Dokimazo. SITE stands for Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and its mission is to strengthen and inspire the leaders of this amazing industry. Haute Dokimazo is a new kind of event conference that is fully participant driven. It is run by Corporate Event Marketer.

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The day was amazing, and not just because of the gorgeous property we were on.

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After valeting the car, guests were directed downstairs to the Sage Patio where a delicious brunch featuring freshly made quail egg breakfast sandwiches, a full seafood bar, fried chicken and waffles and a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar (among many other things) awaited. Needless to say, thanks to the amazing chefs and staff at The Ranch, this day was off to a FANTASTIC start.

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Once most guests had their food and were seated at one of the beautiful tables dressed by BBJ Linen, an announcement was made: “There is no agenda for this meeting, we are going to create that now.” Say whaaaa??? Immediately the planners in the room began to panic, but not for long.

Next everyone was asked to fill out at least one large post-it note and stick it on the glass window which happened to be located directly next to the donut wall. Don’t need to tell me twice!

IMG_20180501_120307_448    post its on window

We were instructed to use the pink post-its for something we felt like an expert in, my topic was Grand Openings (thank you Extraordinary Events and Simon Property Group). The other colors were to be used for topics or issues we wanted to learn more about, for me this was increasing my incentive business.

After about 45 minutes an agenda had been procured and the first of three sessions began. It was an incredibly unique twist on a traditional conference and everyone LOVED it.

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Why have a meeting like this you may ask? From Haute Dokimazu’s website: “Forget about your typical 8-hour day filled with keynotes, panels and non-stop networking. This takes the selling and buying out of the room and focuses on participatory education & thought development.” AKA, it’s something DIFFERENT. For more information please check out Haute Dokimazu’s website.

Speaking of different, I had the opportunity to tour the property after the event and discovered the most amazing boardroom I’ve experienced yet. Open, serene, well-equipped and with a view to die for.

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If you haven’t been to Laguna Beach in a while, now is the time. The Ranch at Laguna Beach is the perfect place for your leadership team to get away, reset and recharge without having to get on a plane or spend hours in the car. Speaking to the Angelenos in the audience anyway.

Get in touch so we can start planning your one-of-a-kind experience today!

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Thank you again to Heather and the BBJ Linen team for being such gracious hosts and for introducing all of us to your beautiful new Palm Beach Chic Collection. I can’t wait to start incorporating the line into our events!

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Written by: Mandy Bianchi, Founder of Bianchi Productions

Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend Event Recap

deborah kLast weekend I had the honor of managing the Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend (RYMWW), led by entrepreneur extraordinaire, Ms. Deborah Kagan. What exactly does that mean you may be asking? Deborah explains the mission like this:

“As a woman who lost her mojo and gained it back, I am on a mission to help other women do the same. Today, I am a successful entrepreneur, have a delicious relationship with the love of my life and have an enthusiasm for living that’s unparalleled. Those three things (the money, the honey and the vibrancy)—that’s my dream for you.”

it's your turnNot only did Deborah share her unique journey with attendees, but she also gave them a plethora of tools to start living their most “mojolicious life.” In addition, she brought in several speakers that complemented her wealth of knowledge.

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First up was Krisha Young, a “delicious life strategist and sabotage slayer” helping high-achieving women take back control of how they look and feel so that they can have the confidence and energy to go after what they truly want. For more information about this amazing entrepreneur who has walked the walk, check out here website here.

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Next, attendees heard the inspirational story of Ms. Theresa De Vera, a disability rights advocate and the current President of the Commission on Disability for the City of Los Angeles. Her unbelievable story is extremely motivating as she reminds us that no matter what our circumstances are, we can always take a stand and make a difference. For more information on this extraordinary woman, please check out this article featured on NBC News.

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Sunday morning, after Deborah kicked things off with another impactful morning session, we heard from LA Times & CBS Best of LA Personal Stylist, Laurie Brucker. From her website, “Laurie brings realistic and attainable style advice that she uses to create possibility and empowerment, and to promote personal growth and achievement.” Click here for more information on one of the most desired and decorated stylists around LA.

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That afternoon we got to hear from Matt Brauning, a master NLP trainer (neuro-linguistic programming) who speaks all over the world teaching people how to re-wire their brains. While Matt only took the stage for a short time, his impact was huge due to the way he relates to the audience and speaks from the heart. For more information on him and his many endeavors, please check out his website.

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Finally, rounding out the weekend, attendees were enlightened by Dr. Hepsharat Amadi, a renowned physician practicing holistic healthcare. Dr. Amadi believes in preventative care for women focusing on hormonal balance and has a wealth of knowledge in homeopathic practices and remedies. Cancer is big business so pharmaceutical companies don’t necessarily want you to know that there are many things you can do to prevent hormone-based cancers. Do yourself a favor and check out her website for more information.

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Not only was I honored to work with such an amazing group of people, but I also took away many lessons from the vast amount of knowledge that was dropped over the course of the three days. What resonated most with me is to not get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s great to have big goals, but the most important thing to do is just to take the next available step, even if you don’t know what comes after that. The universe will!

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From the Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend website:

“Women see themselves most clearly in the reflection of other women.

From the beginning of time, women gathered in circle.
To reflect. To learn. To see themselves more clearly.
They came to share stories, traditions, advice and secrets related to the feminine arts.

Rock Your Mojo Women’s Weekend brings the circle back.”

For more information about the next RYMWW, click here.

chakaTheme song of the weekend, Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman.”

 

 

Los Angeles Hotels You Should 100% Know About

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NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown LA

As an event planner, one of the key aspects I help my clients with is venue selection. Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know several different hotels across Los Angeles. Today I share with you my current favorites in each area of town.

We begin in the East with  NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown’s latest addition which opened its doors in early 2018. From their website: “Originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, the building’s gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling has been fully restored and serves as inspiration throughout. Honoring its rich history, NoMad naturally balances the integrity and character of the Neoclassical landmark with a contemporary California design sensibility.”

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NoMad Los Angeles, Downtown LA

The meeting space is limited but the rooftop pool overlooking Downtown LA is the perfect spot to host a small welcome reception or employee appreciation event. If you’re looking for a hotel in this area, I personally think this is an ideal spot to host any of your tech, sales or corporate staff. Oh! And the main restroom is located underground in the old bank vault, how cool is that??

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Next up we head west to Dream Hollywood, “a new breed of Los Angeles luxury hotel” according to Ann Abel, Contributor at Forbes.com. This property opened its doors in the summer of 2017 and recently finished its meeting space.

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This is a great hotel for guests looking for a relaxed but glamorous vibe in the heart of LA. Again, not very much meeting space, but they too have a great rooftop pool overlooking the city, as well as several eateries run by the popular Tao Group. Another one to get out and see if you haven’t done so already.

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Beauty & Essex, by Tao Group

Continuing west we stop at Sofitel Beverly Hills, a locale I love for more social type events. From their website: “Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is a stunning hotel in LA, offering elegant luxury accommodations and dramatic décor with an ambiance that combines see-and-be-seen excitement and the calm of an urban resort.”

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Sofitel Beverly Hills

I can’t wait to plan a bridal shower or birthday brunch on this outdoor garden patio, such a perfect space for those types of functions.

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Sofitel Beverly Hills

And now to the beach! According to their website: “Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel fuses classic sophistication and contemporary chic to create a thoroughly modern and uniquely luxurious Santa Monica, California boutique hotel and resort.” And I couldn’t agree more.

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Viceroy, Santa Monica

Like some of the other properties mentioned, I wouldn’t say this hotel is known for their event space. However, the pool area is a very popular wedding locale and hosts a tech mixer I’ve been attending lately. If you’ve never been here, or it’s been a while, I highly suggest you stop by for a drink in their lobby bar, you won’t regret it.

And finally, to round out the city, we head “over the hill” to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

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Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village

Unlike many of the hotels above, this property is covered in event space, great for both corporate clients and social. We all know the Four Seasons brand is synonymous with luxury, but this particular property also has an affinity for wellness as they house the California Health and Longevity Institute.

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California Health & Longevity Institute – Wellness Kitchen

While the property is equipped to handle all types of events, from high-end weddings and bar mitzvahs to mid-sized meetings and conferences, I think this is an exceptional venue for corporate retreats, team building activities and incentive trips.

The next time you venture out that way, be sure to stop in, get a cup of their fantastic coffee, and take a look around this pristine hotel.

that's all folks

Hopefully you discovered something new here today. Please comment and let me know what your favorite venues are, no matter what area you’re in. We’re always eager to learn about new, fabulous spaces.

Finding the Right Venue

When the time comes to start planning your big event, one of the first things you’ll need to lock down is the venue. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a romantic wedding locale or a hotel to host your corporate meeting, there are several key questions you’ll want to ask the venue rep before making your final decision.

I like to equate selecting a venue with choosing a romantic partner, initially there must be some sort of physical attraction, i.e., The pictures you’ve seen on the venue’s Insta are what dreams are made of, but once that’s been established, you’ll need to dig a little deeper to find out if this is really the one for you.

Key Questions to Ask Your Venue Rep

1. What is the capacity?

Before you start talking dates of availability and price, you’ll want to find out if your group will even fit in the space. Most venues have capacity charts online which will tell you how many people can be accommodated depending on the configuration of the room, ie. Classroom style set-up for a meeting or a reception style for a mixer.

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Once you’ve confirmed you’ll fit in the space, in the format you’d like, it’s on to the next question.

2. What are the dates of availability?

Depending on how flexible you are with your date, often times you can give the venue parameters and they will advise what’s available within them. You may be planning your annual sales meeting for some time next summer, but you’re flexible as long as it’s in the months of July or August, and takes place over two consecutive weekdays.

If you do have wiggle room, though I know that’s not always possible, one of the benefits is that you will usually end up seeing a decrease in the venue rental rate. For example, wedding venues always charge the most on Saturdays because that’s the most popular day for them. If you are willing to move to a Friday or Sunday (or weekday even better) you’ll typically see a significant cost savings. Good ol’ supply and demand.

3. What will it cost?

Once you’ve received answers on capacity and dates, the next big query is cost. Be sure to find out how many hours are included in the price you’ve been quoted and everything that comes with it, ie. Cleaning and maintenance fees, security, venue staff, power, etc. And remember, just because you’re given a price (similar to any purchasing situation in life), don’t assume it’s non-negotiable.

If you need help when it comes to venue contract negotiations, please reach out for tips and tricks of the trade (or stay tuned for that article, coming soon).

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4. Are there any required vendors and are they a Union house?

Often times, venues will require that you use their in-house caterer or AV company, this is not atypical. If you had your heart set on someone else, sometimes you can pay a fee to use the vendor you’d like, but you have to ask the question. Usually this isn’t a make it or break like the queries above, but good to have all of the information none the less.

Whether or not a venue is a union house matters because this effects price greatly:       (mo) union = mo $$

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Since budget is usually top of mind for most clients, I let them know the cost implications of going with a union venue right away. Again, not as much of a deal breaker as the top three, but could definitely be a deciding factor if you have both union and non-union houses as options.

5. What is the parking situation and are there any noise restrictions?

Like #4, these answers aren’t as imperative as the top three, but could play a key role in your decision making process. If you’ve got a venue that has no parking for guests (or not enough) you’ll need to anticipate the cost of bringing in a valet company or making other arrangements.

Similarly, if you were planning to keep the party going all night long, but your venue has a noise restriction after 10 o’clock, that could surely put a damper on the festivities.

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These are my top five questions but when speaking with your potential venues, please don’t stop there. Ask all the questions you want and be sure the answers align with your vision and budget.

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One of the great things about being an event planner is getting to see and experience the latest in hospitality, food and drink, entertainment and more. Over the last couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with several of Los Angeles’s newest and most popular venues, and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with you in the next article…stay tuned!

And Now for a Music Break

As we all know, music is key to any event, especially when you want people on the dance floor. Check out Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” (Remix) featuring Cardi B., a newer song that should definitely be on everyone’s “Let’s Boogie” playlist.

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For those of you who know me, you know I love me some 90’s hip-hop. This remix is amazing to me (not just because it’s Bruno and that’s obvi.) because it’s very reminiscent of some of my favorites from that era. That, and it’s a GREAT car dancing song.

So, no judgements if you see me on the road rocking out, just know I’m having FUN…and that’s what it’s all about! What’s your favorite song to rock out to in the car? I’d love to hear from you!

 

What Are You Bringing to the Party?

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It’s likely that by now you’ve got your viewing plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl locked in, but have you figured out what “bowl” you’ll be bringing to the party? Whether you’re going to watch the game, see the commercials or just for some plain ol’ good fun, one thing you don’t want to do is walk in empty handed. Check out this fresh and delicious recipe that is sure to leave you the hit of the party…and it’s easy!

Cowboy Caviar

use this

 

Mix together:

1 can of corn – drained

1 can of black beans – drained

2 tomatoes – chopped (Scrape out and discard inside juices and seeds)

1 bunch of green onions – chopped

Cilantro – chopped to taste

In a separate bowl mix:

1 teaspoon Tabasco

2 teaspoons salad oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Salt & pepper to taste

2 avocados – chopped (Check out this video for a little trick on getting the pit out)

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Combine the two bowls and lightly toss with a fork

Garnish with lime

Try not to eat the whole bowl before you get to the party 😊

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As a great compliment, I suggest stopping by Trader Joes and grabbing a bag of their blue corn tortilla chips for scooping.

I promise, this dip + your party pants = a great time!

And just in case you haven’t been following football this season but want to get up to speed, check out CBSSports.com’s “2018 Super Bowl: 52 things to know about Eagles vs. Patriots in Minnesota.” This way you’ll be able to talk about more than the delicious Cowboy Caviar you brought or Tom Brady’s amazing…arm 😊

Superbowl LLI Song Pick

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In honor of Justin Timberlake’s return to the Superbowl, and the release of his latest album, check out the track “Say Something” featuring country star (and winner of 3 Grammys this past weekend) Chris Stapleton. I have a feeling we may be hearing this on Sunday, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

 

New Year, New You – Get Organized

Hello, and happy New Year! I hope your 2018 is off to a great start thus far. I love the new year because it always provides an opportunity for a fresh start. Whether it’s restored energy for your business, renewed commitment to your health, or just the overwhelming feeling that NOW is your time, there’s something about a new year that is invigorating.

To help you tackle whatever it is you have in store for 2018, I suggest starting the new year off right…aka organized. My top three tips for achieving this are below.

Anyone who’s ever planned an event knows that it comes down to the details. Whether it’s a bride’s dream wedding day or a corporate client’s 5-star incentive trip, being well-organized and prepared is the key to a successful event. Well that and a great planner of course 😉

 

Step 1: Organize your inbox

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I know this seems daunting when you’ve got an inbox with literally thousands of emails, but I promise, you can do it! And once you do you’ll feel so much better. Here is a helpful article written by Alex Cavoulacos, President & Founder of The Muse, with a great guide to organizing your inbox.

Personally, I color code everything.

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Now this may only work if you use Outlook, but categories are crucial to my sanity. Each job has its own color as does each of my internal business categories, ie. Accounting, social media, operations, etc. This trick makes searching and sorting SO much more efficient.

In short, when it comes to the seemingly overwhelming task of organizing your inbox, be like Nike:

just do it

Step 2: Create a “to-do” list

Now this may seem obvious, but it’s all about what you put on your to-do list. Can you think of one task that would tick numerous boxes? If so, DO THAT.

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Here’s an insightful article published by Forbes with tips on creating your best to do list. Luckily everything remains relevant even though it’s dated 2014.

Step 3: Create a schedule (and stick to it)

Especially if you are your own boss, creating a schedule is vital. It can be easy to get side-tracked with other tasks. Carve out blocks of your time for the day and assign them different responsibilities, ie. Proposals, make phone calls, return emails, etc. And take breaks!

Here’s a great article from Jacquelyn Smith, Director of Content Strategy at FlexJobs, with tips on creating a schedule to maximize your productivity.

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I also really love Daymond John’s morning routine, starting the day on the offensive, take a look here. Daymond John is the CEO of FUBU and The Shark Group and is a major investor on ABC’s Shark Tank.

We all wish there were more hours in a day, especially if you’re trying to balance work, family, fitness, the list goes on, the key is being efficient with your time. To be efficient you must be organized. It will take a little work up front (like anything) but once you do it you will find yourself at a whole new level of productivity.

Just do it!

And to end on a fun note, (and because you’re probably ready for a break after all of this) here are a couple of songs I’ve been listening to on repeat lately to help keep me motivated and inspired as we wrap up week two of January 2018.

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Macklemore’s “Glorious” featuring Skylar Grey off of his latest album Gemini. Needless to say, I dance A LOT to this one.

Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder” from their latest album Evolve. I love the idea of being the lighting before the thunder.

Here’s wishing we can all make 2018 electric!! And thank you for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far down 🙂