The Mother-Daughter Duo Behind Monique Banks Party
When it’s time to party, Monique Banks and her daughter Ariel Banks Baker want to make sure every celebration is an unforgettable experience. While not every mother-daughter relationship can withstand the pressure of being in business together, this dynamic duo has figured out how to not only survive, but to thrive. I recently chatted with them (at an appropriate social distance) to learn how they’re faring during the current pandemic, especially since Ariel and her husband are currently living with Monique. They opened up about their unique working relationship, their approach to event planning and how they are staying focused as events are being rescheduled left and right.
Q: How has the current COVID-19 pandemic most impacted your business?
A: The pandemic has unfortunately pretty much decimated the event industry. All events from mid-March through June have had to be rescheduled. From a financial perspective (as by contract our final payments are due 10 business days prior to the event), all of our revenue from these scheduled events has been pushed to the Fall.
Q: How have you been spending your time while the event industry is on pause?
A: Really every minute since mid-March has been spent rescheduling all of our Spring events. There are multiple components to each event as there are multiple vendors involved, so making sure that each of the “pieces” are available on a particular date takes an enormous amount of time. And, of course, there is an entire emotional component to our business—we’ve been helping our clients manage all of the emotion that comes with the decision to have to reschedule.
Q: What are the successes and challenges working as a mother-daughter team?
A: The successes certainly outweigh the challenges…but there are challenges! We definitely compliment each other in our vision for our clients. What our partnership allows us to bring to our clients is our different experiences. I bring the additional wisdom of logistics and financial realities of decisions made. Ariel is a trendsetter and brings her gift of being on the upswing of trends, which allows us to always bring the newest and latest perspectives to the details of the event. Whether it is a mitzvah or a wedding, I bring the wisdom of experience and business savvy, and every mitzvah child and bride looks to Ariel as someone who can completely identify with their vision. The challenges are really about the generational differences…my needing to “chat” about everything and Ariel having a more digital approach to our meetings.
Q: How are you able to separate your personal and professional relationship?
A: Actually, quite easily. Ariel, her husband and their adorable dog are staying with us for the duration of this crazy, unprecedented crisis, so we are all business during the day…and we have a family happy hour that begins promptly at 5:30 each day.
Q: What are the highlights of the first and last events you planned together?
A: Well, planning Ariel and Ryan’s wedding would have to be the biggest highlight of our planning together. It was truly the most perfect weekend, planned and executed to perfection. I [Monique] remember leaving Westchester Country Club on Sunday after brunch and before we pulled away from the curb, asking Ariel if there was anything she would have wanted to do differently. We looked at each other and both said, “not a thing!” But other than that, we truly love what we do and the clients we do it with. Our hearts and souls are invested in each of our events, so whether it was our first or last events we planned, and everything in between, we leave each event incredibly joyously.
Q: What aspects of your events do you wish you could better control?
A: Admittedly, being control freaks, we don’t ever feel that we need to control anything better….but, boy, would it be nice to control the weather!
Q: What is the worst speech you ever heard delivered at an event?
A: A mother’s toast to her son at his Bar Mitzvah celebration. She had more to drink than she probably should have had prior to her toast and it went on endlessly. I remember being in the “wings,” desperately wanting to save her and the guests from it and just couldn’t…needless to say, I still cringe just thinking about it.
Q: What is the biggest compliment you’ve received from a client?
A: “It was perfect and we love you!” But we also take great pride in the compliments we get from vendors on how invested we are, and oddly enough, how hard we work on the day of the event.
Q: What advice do you have for other event professionals who may be struggling with the current situation?
A: Really, just to hang in there. The entire industry has been affected and we are all in this together. We are in constant contact with our peers and vendors, making sure we all feel supported.
To learn more about Monique Banks Party, please visit: http://www.partybymonique.com/.