We had the good fortune of connecting with Robb Thornsberry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robb, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The initial step towards starting my business was the result of a combination of perfectly timed circumstances that motivated my decision. It started with the birth of my daughter in early 2001 while working at a company that was unstable and held no promise for the future.
It was at this time that I decided to write a business plan for a company that would not only afford me the flexibility to work from home to be with my daughter but that would also offer a single, primary resource for event and meeting services that corporate clients were asking for but could not get at the previous companies I had worked at.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is a full service event production and management company that specializes in event design, full scale production, entertainment, meeting planning and overall turnkey project management for corporate clients worldwide.
When I started my company in 2001 I had to decide what services my company would offer. I also needed to know why a client would want to contract these services with my company instead of someone else. As it turned out, all I needed to do was listen. When I worked at other companies before starting my own, my clients would often ask if I could plan their entire conference instead of only decor or only entertainment however I had to decline because that wasn’t what the company that I worked for offered. Other clients would ask for me to travel and produce all of their meetings and events around the country and even globally but again I had to decline as this was not what the company I worked for at that time did.
I started to see a pattern emerging and it became clear that corporate meeting planners were overwhelmed and just wanted to work with someone with the resources and experience that could do it all. They needed someone with the knowledge and resources necessary to produce their entire meeting or event from concept to completion. And then 9/11 happened and many of the corporate in-house meeting planners were let go with all of the meetings and events they had been planning turned over to inexperienced administrative assistants who had no idea how to plan a meeting or event and already had a lot on their plate.
I decided that my company would not put limits on what we could provide or where we would go if this was what the client needed. The plan would be to offer unlimited resources for corporate meetings and events. Providing unlimited support and resources was a great business model but didn’t make for a very catchy business name so I typed the word unlimited into a thesaurus and the first word that popped up was INFINITY/infinite and that was it! My company name would be INFINITY EVENTS.
The hardest part in the beginning was convincing our clients that all they had to do was make one phone call and we could do the rest simply by becoming an extension of their team, learning their corporate culture and leveraging our extensive network of allied vendor partners around the world to bring their vision to life.
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.
It would depend if this best friend has ever been to the LA area before to know just how “touristy” the itinerary would be however to make sure we cover our bases, it might look something like this:
Day 1 – Downtown
Walking tour of historic theatres and architecture.
Lunch at Grand Central Market,
LA Live / Grammy Museum
See a game (Dodgers, Lakers or Kings)
End the day with dinner and drinks at Spire 73/Intercontinental Hotel
Day 2 – Mid City
Petersen’s Automotive Museum
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Lunch at Farmers Market
Shop at The Grove LA
Drive down Sunset & Hollywood Bvd
Dinner & Concert in a box suite at Greek Theatre
Day 3 – Disneyland
Day 4 – Catalina
Private helicopter to the Island
Golf car & hiking tour of the Island.
Lunch and Cocktails at Descanso Beach Club
Dinner and pub crawl in Avalon
Day 5 – Chill
Day at the Beach
Bonfire, BBQ & Beers
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?
The secret to my success (if this is the word we are using) is based on two overly used cliche’s. “It’s not what you know but who you know” and “always surround yourself around people who know more than you do”. For me the common thread in both of these statements is Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. consisting of over 14,000 members from nearly 70 chapters around the globe.
I joined the Orange County chapter of MPI in 1999 to simply be a part of an industry community and what I have gained since has been approximately 70% of my client base, relevant and cutting edge continued education, valuable vendor resources, leadership skills as the 2014-15 Chapter President and a lengthy list of allies and friends around the world.
Allure Ventures Photography, Gamma Photography Studio, Henry Sagalow Photography