Interviews with Planners - Sarah Sebastian

Sarah Sebastian has over 10 years experience working on the brand and agency side, creating events within the lifestyle and spirits industries. She has planned events globally, and specifically in the influencer and trade spaces. She has activated events alongside large platforms such as the US Open, Aspen Food and Wine and many more. Now, the owner of Rose Gold Collective, she works with brands and companies across industries delivering unique event experiences from conferences to launch events. Her eye to detail and bespoke creativity for each event helps elevate any events her boutique event agency, Rose Gold Collective touches. The idea of bringing in curated resources for each project is what sets her agency apart as well as the state of the art technology integration.

What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?
Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do today.

What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at? What was great, what was challenging?
One of the most unique venues was a previous 1800's church in New Orleans. It was great because of the natural patina, vintage stained glass and the overall ambiance of grand it embodied. However, an old 1800's church does not have the most state of the art facilities. From bathrooms to AC to kitchen necessities, all had to be brought in.

What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
Travel, and stay inspired. I take photos often of a font on a sign, or a unique display and archive it. You never know when you will go back and use it as an element in an event. Also, stay ahead of trends in general and technology. The more creative solutions you can offer a client, the better the product you will provide.

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge? 
One of the most challenging aspects of planning are your timelines. Every client, vendor, fabricator has them, and it is your job as a planner to ensure they all roll into YOUR timeline to make sure the program happens in a carefully curated way.

How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
Technology and overall trends within fashion, lifestyle and pop culture effect events. As our world evolves and depends even more on technology hacks and solutions through apps, the events industry will also include such trends. For example, the popular "escape rooms" you see popping up in every major city have made their way into event conferences and team building on a larger scale.

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What makes you successful as a planner?
I have a multi-faceted background coming from brand sides where I worked with many agencies and constantly keeping and designing a brand identity. I look at each event as a brand and consider the experience and the content at the center of the event.

In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year?
One of the best trends is how AI will be integrated into events and the immense data it can provide to planners. The worst trend is, although I don't see it as a trend, is a traditional photo booth. There are so many unique ways to elevate a photo experience, even a 3-d wall or a vignette. People take photos at every event, ensuring your photo capture is unique is important.

What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner?
An oldie but goodie, "Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable" by Set Godin. Although traditionally a marketing book, the takeaway of standing out in a field of cows is very important in the events industry as well.

Sarah Sebastian
Owner, Rose Gold Collective

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