We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellyette (Elly) Iverson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ellyette (Elly), how did you come up with the idea for your business?
That’s a great question! Santa Barbara (my home turf) is a place where many beautiful events happen, and as I started considering the idea of pursuing my own business venture in 2018, I was CONSTANTLY thinking about what someone like me had to offer in this established arena. Two of the main themes that kept popping up were creativity and innovation. I was just finishing my second year of planning events at an epic science museum, and I loved the “edginess” of utilizing technology and art in a way that would wow guests and create lasting memories. I also started hosting pop-up events with a friend in town which made me realize how much I loved working in new and unexpected venues. At that point, (let’s be honest) I was working two+ jobs and my side hustle was quickly becoming my full-time passion. With the pandemic throwing events into a tizzy last year, I leaned in to the unknown and started testing all sorts of virtual event platforms, starting with small digital gatherings (ranging from cocktail workshops to virtual variety shows) and growing to support corporate and non-profit clients as they navigate this new and ever-changing event environment. So part of the business concept came from my desire to do something different, and part of it came from the world changing and the pandemic making everyone approach events in a very different light.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Busy seems to be a way of life for me! Looking back, I have been ingrained in the event industry for quite some time. In high school, my friends and I managed to convince the city to let us set up a light-up raised dance floor under a clear tent in one of the most historic gardens downtown for our prom (something that hadn’t been done before or since!) In college, I started working odd jobs at a campus venue as a freshman and continued to manage different aspects of campus event life, from international dinner parties to sustainability-focused fashion shows and lectures with world-renowned speakers. As an adult, I’ve done (almost) every event job in the book in a wide range of locations – from bartending in the Hamptons to booking travel itineraries for international celebrities in D.C., photographing weddings in San Diego to waitressing exclusive club events in San Francisco. I’m proud that I have those experiences, and can bring that knowledge to any event I manage at this point in my career. I’m constantly learning, and love being able to connect with clients and vendors of a variety of different backgrounds. Colleagues and I joke that there is no such thing as an “easy event” – as there are always variables and more moving pieces to contend with than you initially expect! I would say that’s true of an event career as well. There is no straight line – especially for someone like myself who tends to always attempt the path less traveled. Some of the biggest pills of wisdom I am currently digesting are 1) imperfection is always part of the learning process and 2) that it is ok to ask for help! I really believe we ALL need some type of community support, whether we acknowledge it or not. In a nutshell, I want folks to know that even though these are unprecedented times, there are wonderful and creative ways to gather and share celebrations, performances, and knowledge. If anyone is looking for help or guidance with their own events – nothing would make me happier than connecting and learning your story!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh boy, Santa Barbara is truly the best city to share with travelers! In normal-times I have about 5 events a week I can share with visitors, but I am very proud of what this innovative community has made accessible with our current safety regulations. For some beautiful nature time, I love exploring the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, the San Marcos Preserve, and the Elwood Bluffs. For incredible cocktails, I recommend the parklets at The Good Lion Bar, Milk & Honey, the Pickle Room, the Bobcat Room, and Lab Social. For wine and beer, there are SO many choices, but some of my recent favorites are Deep Sea Tasting Room, Frequency Wines, Satellite SB, Draughtsmen Aleworks, or Night Lizard Brewing Company. For some favorite local food (outdoor dining or to-go orders) – I’d start by pointing you towards Little Kitchen, Foxtail, Roy’s, the Santa Barbara Public Market, Barb’s Pies at Venus in Furs, Mony’s Mexican Food, or Mosaic Locale. For safe entertainment, I recommend following Opera Santa Barbara’s pop-up concert series, the Drag Brunches at Wildcat Lounge, or catching the magical Bruce Goldish playing acoustic guitar under the Arlington Theater marquee. And finally, the team at Santa Barbara Beach Yoga offer the most wonderful yoga classes on the sand using silent disco headsets. If you check their monthly schedule – you may even catch one of our collaborative workshops with a live DJ set!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been a lot of ladies in my life who have helped me get to where I am now. From my mother (Jeanne Iverson) creating the most fantastical parties through my childhood with the most creative DIY budgets (a whale-themed birthday?! a sand-candle workshop?!) to the early mentors who gave me jobs, guidance, and confidence to lead (Christi Gilhoi, Stef Schmitz, Yulia Boyle, Florence Middleton, Katie McNab, Natalija Glusac, Nina Johnson, Elizabeth Alvarez, etc…) – I have so much gratitude to you all. I also think there’s also something to be said for the friends that will listen to your fears and celebrate your successes, regardless of how big or small they may be (Sydney Iverson, Camille Phillips, Michi Fried, Becca Horrigan, etc…) To authors like Isabel Allende and Elizabeth Gilbert who write about badass women making wild things happen against all odds – I’m a true sucker for your work and mainly blame you for my stubborness. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as it truly (truly!) takes a village. I would be a puddly mess without my partner, Davey, but I’ll leave that for another time….

Website: https://www.ejiexperiences.com/

Instagram: @ejiexperiences

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/ellyette-iverson-06324854

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ejiexperiences

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLsy7dwo7LmPzCmmUtPP49A

Image Credits
Zach Mendez (www.zmendez.com)

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