We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Lique Naitove and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hannah, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am originally from Keene, which is a small town in New Hampshire. From a young age, I always lived years older than I was. At the age of five, I was a figure skater and started figure skating with girls a lot older than me. I had a private coach and traveled 4-5 times a week. It was demanding and I didn’t have much time for friends but it taught me a lot about discipline and hard work and working towards a goal. I did that for about 13 years and then I started playing soccer. However, I didn’t want to just play soccer I wanted to be one of the best in my high school. Therefore, I put in many hours of training just like I did with my figure skating and made the Varsity soccer team as a Freshman. This was a big deal considering I came from a middle school of only twenty kids graduating in my eighth grade class to a high school of about 1800 students. Throughout high school I also worked. I had to find a balance between what I loved at the time which was soccer and working part-time. There was a lot of pressure from an early age to succeed and juggle everything. I was the only female in my family who had graduated from college and on top of that at the age of 27, I became a partner at a financial firm starting as an administrative assistant and working my way up. My upbringing impacted me a lot in the sense of my dedication, hard work, and tenacity to move forward even when things don’t always go according to plan because as we all know life isn’t fair. It also taught me to slow down and to remember where I am presently in my life and that money isn’t everything but that Time is very precious and that there is a balance to everything.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Project XO is a luxury date night planning and concierge service. We help design, plan, and curate exclusive date nights for couples and small groups. What sets us apart from others is we concentrate on exclusive intimate experiences between 2 – 20 people. We specialize in date nights where we create out-of-the box experiences to bring couples together and to keep the spark alive in their relationships. Additionally, we are community-based so we utilize a lot of local creatives to help create our exclusive experiences. The idea with our date nights is to make them customizable and personal to the couple or group so that no date night is ever the same. We really ensure that we are bringing a luxury service to our clients and that we accommodate them however, they may need in order to make their occasion extra special. I started Project XO because I always loved putting together events and bringing people together. I realized after lots of research, that there was nothing like this service in the area and that I wanted to create a niche market where I help put together date nights, birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, elopements and any other special occasion. With Project XO, I wanted to relieve the stress off of the client in putting these experiences together so that all they have to do is show up and enjoy their time with their loved ones, I don’t know how many times you have hosted an event at your house or for others but usually the host doesn’t get to enjoy the party as much as the individuals attending because they are always running around and by the time it is over are exhausted. Therefore, I wanted to create something where the person planning the experience is able to enjoy it as much as all the other guests but still gets all the recognition for putting together such an amazing experience. When I first started the business it was not easy because I was new to the area and no one knew who I was so I had to build trust and create a lot of new business relationships from scratch as well as educate others regarding my services since it is such a niche market, date night planning. I probably spent over a year and a half creating these relationships in order to create the exclusive experiences that my clients can enjoy. Also, it took some time for other couples to understand that I didn’t match individuals but rather worked with already established couples to create these date nights. In order to overcome some of these challenges of being such a niche service I had to work with others to create marketing material and video content to show how my services worked. Additionally, being a solo entrepreneur I have had to continue to grind and put myself out there and be vulnerable in order to make others aware of the brand. I have learned that continually to talk about your product and building relationships with both your vendors and clientele is so important and that word of mouth is huge in my business. Furthermore, I do everything with love which is such a crucial part about my business and a core value of mine. I hope to continue to spread love with Project XO, create jobs for others, and be a service that everyone can use no matter what city you are located as well as share my motto with the world which is “Date for Life.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Central Coast is a hidden gem and magical place. If my best friends were visiting for the weekend, the first night I would put them up at the SLO Brew Lofts which are lofts centrally located right downtown, San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA. and start their arrival with drinks at Sidecar that evening. I would then have a private chef come and cook breakfast for them in the morning and have KIN Coffee come and do a coffee demonstration and make everyone coffee right in the room. Then I would take them for a tour downtown to visit all the quaint shops. After that, I would have SLO Safe Rides pick us all up and take them wine tasting starting at Chamisal Vineyards and then going around Edna Valley. Once, wine tasting is over we would head back to the lofts and get ready for a special dinner at Ember. Before arriving at Ember, I would have everyone make a quick stop at the Cliffs Hotel to have a drink and watch the sunset. The next day we would get up and head to Cayucos a small beach town 20 minutes north of San Luis Obispo to have brunch at Lunada Garden Bistro. After brunch we would head to Morro Bay and have a yachting experience with Toast the Coast Tours. This yachting experience is one of kind so be sure to make reservations in advance. Then mid-afternoon we would all head to Paso Robles, CA where they would stay at the Allegretto Hotel and have dinner. Before going home I would make sure they explored downtown Paso as well as ate at some of their great restaurants such as Six Test Kitchen, Alchemist Garden, Les Petites Canailles, or Fish Gaucho. If you are ever visiting the area I highly recommend checking out Enjoy SLO newsletter as she has all the SLO Happenings.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to the Coffee Hour SLO group as they have been a group of women that have really supported me throughout this pandemic. Also, I would like to give a shoutout to Cooper, Rory & Kirsten, Anicah & Terrance for being my friends and family in an area where I didn’t know anyone. My brother Kaleb for stepping in when I needed a hand and Emma for being an amazing associate. Also, I would like to thank a few local vendors that have believed in Project XO since the beginning. Thank you to KIN Coffee, BYOB, Enjoy SLO, Idlewild floral, Sheila Kearns Chocolates, Dream Makers SLO, Fox Jump Cinematics, Stone Mountain Retreat, Avenue Twelve, Haute Sugar Co., Farm & Harvest, Chef Hector, Wayward Bakery, Bay Cruisers, and all the photographers I have worked with for being the ultimate creatives and amazing individuals who have helped me so much throughout my journey as an entrepreneur.
Other: Tik Tok – @datenightplanner
First Three Images: Photographer, Kacie Jones Photography Two images with the boat in it: Photographer, Patrick Ang Couple with her holding his face with the yellow head piece: Photographer, SLO Town Studios Couple sitting at picnic: Photographer, Richard Fusillo Picnic Setup with Charcuterie board: Photographer, Bria Stelfox Last two images of a picnic setup with girl holding umbrella and the champagne glasses with chocolate: Photographer, Alexandra Wallace