We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Esmond and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kim, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
One thing I have learned even prior to starting my business as it pertains to business of any kind is that mainly people just want to be heard. Any business owner or company will tell you for every compliment you get there are ten fold complaints not beacause your practices are flawed, but rather people are more apt to provide negative feedback than take the time to commend someone on services well done. It’s just human nature in the fast-paced world in which we live. I have taught my staff from the time they come on board here to really connect with their families, build a trust between them so when and if they DO have an issue, they feel comfortable sharing it with you. This is a good thing because without the trust and sharing we cannot address the issue, it remains unseen or tackled and that person will take their business elsewhere. If we take the time to listen to customers concerns and they feel heard, you cannot go wrong. Most of the time when customers complain, they aren’t even asking for anything in return other than to be “heard”. They want to know someone understands and will address the issue. Many times it doesn’t mean getting money back or changing a process but rather an open discussion of how your customer experiences or perceives something in your business. Perception many times is reality so to provide someone with a platform where there is a listening ear is all it takes to diffuse the issue. Additionally we always circle back to this person even if they don’t ask for feedback after their issue to show good follow through, that we DID in fact listen, that the issue or concern was address or raised to the appropriate people. It’s amazing the appreciation you see with that follow up as it is rare. We have been able to take many people who had an issue in the beginning to committed supporters of our company who come year and year and then tell their friends and neighbors. It’s a method that has yet to fail us as a team!

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?
I am most proud about the reputation and team we have built. This is also what sets us apart. We pride ourselves on professionalism and our incredibly talented team. Our team is special as we hire them not only for their talent but for their love of kids, someone I would like to call a role model for my own young daughters. We hear year after year how wonderful their child’s teacher and how much they look forward to seeing them each week. My business go to this point today by really striving for greatness not only in the service but the people who are providing that service. Our staff seems dedicated and connected to their families because they are and enjoy them as much as the children enjoy their class. We work really hard to keep a team environment even though we are only all together 4 times a year in the same room. We stress helping and supporting one another, leaning on one another and have never condoned behavior less than. In turn this has always attracted the right kind of team. I can’t tell you the last time I have had to advertise for a teacher when one moved or we added programming as our staff keeps referring their friends which makes it even better. I learned in my years of HR prior that you are only as good as the team that supports you. I like using the term, “we work together” and not “she works for ME”. That statement is uncomfortable for me as they need so much more credit than they ask for and I always want people to know that really it’s because of them and their trust in me that we have gotten to the place we are today in size and reputation. The important take away I feel for any company is if you hire the right people, always back and support them, thank and appreciate them (and really mean it), always use honesty with compassion and praise with gratitude from the heart you will create a team with motivation that will take you to the next level.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hands down I love Barton G, such a fun, crazy place to take people. Any time of the year the beach is great, but I prefer off season when it is a bit overcast and you can ride bikes, paddle board and anything else active in the area.

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?
A shoutout to our Programs Manager, Morgan Lunsford! She is a beautiful person inside and out, has dedicated more than ever necessary to us for years. Every employee and customer who connects with her cannot say enough about how wonderful she is and we owe so much to her. Also to our cities across OC, LA and Riverside! Through COVID -19 closures and mandates they have been incredibly supportive, helpful and encouraging to us. Especially City of Irvine Recreation who let us be their first company to hold classes and demonstrate that we can find a safe and effective balance to make families in our communities happy and healthy!

Website: ocdanceproductions.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ever_after_princess/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-downey-esmond-2371831/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OCDanceProductions/
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ever-after-princess-events-tustin
Other: sister company for characters and events: everafterprincess.com All under Ever After Event Productions, LLC

Image Credits
Cindy Neal photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.