Friday, October 7, 2011

how i got into my industry & why it's not easy

I've never explained how we got into our industry.

This is going to be long. Here goes...

Back in college my roommate and I would work at local events for extra money.
We wouldn't actually work for the event, we'd work at the event for another company.

Have you ever been to an event (maybe a concert or a sporting event) and there are tents set up, maybe large trailers? And people are trying to hand you a free stick of gum, a can of Monster or a sample of ice cream?


That's what I did/do... in a nutshell.

Or have you ever been to the mall at Christmastime and Santa's Village is set up in the middle?
That's what I did/do... in a nutshell.

I used to work these events as staff.
Now I run them.
Bryan and I manage the events from set-up to break-down.

We work for a marketing agency and represent their clients on a contract by contract basis, hence why we represent a different client/product every few months.

Okay, so lets start at the beginning...

I'd work at local events and was a liquor promo girl at bars back in college 10 years ago.

To graduate in my major you had to hold an internship.
So I interned one summer at a marketing agency in Manhattan Beach.
A promotional marketing agency who I had represented in the past at a special event.

Through this internship I learned that what I had been doing - working events and liquor promotions - could be parlayed into a career.

An actual career.

There were big companies with beautiful offices (and Fortune 500 clients) orchestrating these events from behind the scenes.

I knew I needed to do this after I graduated college.
This was my calling.
Special Events, that is.

Once I graduated I started sending out my resume to all of the companies I had worked with in the past.
I networked a lot.
I interviewed and got hired to manage my very 1st tour, NutriSoy.

It was amazing.

Not only did I gain and boat load of experience, I gained my sistafriend, Renee.

Renee and I traveled the country (just like Bryan and I do) for 3 years together.
And when I say travel, I mean WE DROVE!
In BIG trucks. Not pick up trucks, but 24-26 ft trucks. Or SUV's pulling BIG trailers.
We would eat, drive, work and hang out in our free time together.
We were with each other literally 24/7.
We were 24, 25, 26 year olds blowing into town and then blowing out of town a week later... and onto the next.
We were compared to a tornado more than once.
Many memories we have will go to the grave with us.
It was an amazing time in life!

* Baltimore

We worked our tails off, took our jobs very serious and made a name for ourselves in our industry.
During our free time we played hard.
But when it came to work, we worked even harder!

*Little Rock

We made friends everywhere we went, all over the country.
And we still have many of those friends in our lives today.

But after 3 years of living life on the road I decided that I had missed enough birthdays and holidays and that it was time to settle down and be near my family and friends.

After my final contract was up (again, we work on a contract by contract basis... still do) -- with Soft and Dri deodorant -- Renee and I were going to Susan G Komen breast cancer walks around the country and executing events.... I decided it was time to get off the road.


I started flying to events.
I was working for a marketing agency out of San Diego and was representing their client, Choice Hotels International, by flying to LPGA Tournaments every weekend to execute events on behalf of Choice.


This was so much easier on me because it wasn't at all what I had been doing before.
Before I'd be gone for 3-5 months at a time.
Driving everywhere.
With this, I was gone 4-5 days at a time.
Flying everywhere.
This was a piece of cake for me and I was able to have a normal home life.

I then transitioned in-house with that same marketing agency and worked as an Account Manager.
I was still in the same industry as I was in before, promotional marketing, but I was managing programs and clients from the office instead of from the field.
The clients I worked with were Choice Hotels International, Chiquita Bites and Coppertone sunscreen.

I loved my life in San Diego.
I was living downtown in Seaport Village with my best guy friend, who owns a condo just 5 blocks from the Gaslamp District.

I was back with my high school and college friends again (all of them live in SD) and was only an hour away from my family.
Life was great!

Then this hottie strutted into my life.

Bryan lived 2 hours from me.
Me in San Diego.
Him in north Orange County.

We saw each other on weekends.

Life was still great!

After explaining to him what I used to do for a living -- executing events, traveling the country, truly living life-- he pretty much said "What are we doing slaving away at desk jobs when we could be doing that together?"

He was right.

So he worked several events with me to gain experience (see the above Choice Hotels picture from AZ), updated our resumes and sent them out to dozens upon dozens of marketing agencies.

We got a bite.
And not just any ol' bite.
It was a bite from one of the most well respected agencies in the industry!

We nailed our interview.

Before we knew it we were quitting our office jobs, moving our stuff back into our parents garage, packing our suitcases and flying off to training to represent Oscar Mayer/Kraft for the summer.

This was May 2008... and we haven't stopped since!

Soooo, although I post a lot of the more fun pictures on my blog, I have worked really hard to make a name for myself in my industry and to work my way up the ladder.

I started at the bottom of the barrel - local staff.
I then interned.
Managed tours.
Was an Account Manager.
And now have managed tours for Fortune 100 clients and have worked with the most respected agencies in our industry.

This month I celebrate 10 years working in this industry!

I don't share many work related photos here, so you really only see what happens in our free time.

It looks all fun and games, but our work is highly labor intensive with extremely long hours outdoors in the elements and on our feet all day.
There is no sitting, ever.
And you always have to be peppy, friendly, outgoing and approachable.
As a manager we have to train our staff daily, keep them motivated, send them on breaks and make sure they're performing at their highest level... all with a smile plastered on their face and ours.
You can't EVER be tired, hot/cold, reserved or quiet.
There is no such thing as having an "off" day in our industry.
We must always be happy and social.
Needless to say, we're exhausted after a days work, but we love it more than anything!

*Live on Eyewitness News

* Sampled all of this to consumers

*radio promotions

I will never really explain what my job is like on a day to day basis or the details of it because... well, it's a lot of work.
Just like any job.
And who wants to hear about that?

What I will say is that it's a hard industry to get involved in and an even harder industry to stay afloat, and eventually excel, in.
Many people say that could do it, but most wouldn't last.

Every day.... week... month....... year... is a roller coaster of the unknown.
The highs are very high and the lows are oh-so low.

We sacrifice much -- births, birthdays, holidays, family get-togethers, weddings, friend time, etc. -- for our job.
But, for us, the rewards are well worth every bit of it.

And for those who say "you two are so lucky to be able to travel together" I say:
We work, not just travel.
We work hard.
And the travel is still work. Trust me.
You try living out of 1 suitcase for 4 months and 3 varying seasons.
That's work in my book.
So is loading and unloading that suitcase from the truck, switching hotels several times a week and sleeping on hotel pillows every night.
We are not lucky.
Well we are, but it's a strategic move.
We market ourselves as a team.
It's not luck that we work together. It's calculated.

But I must say, we love our jobs and our lifestyle and wouldn't trade our experiences for anything!

And off to the next city we go...


  1. amazing!!! what a freaking cool job and to realize it so quickly that it was your calling!!! :) you have had a lot of fabulous opportunities girl!

    have a nice weekend <3

  2. It is so awesome that you are doing a job that you LOVE and ENJOY. I wish I could say the same for myself but I cant. Good for you!

  3. I love that you partied hard! So many girls in their 20's worry about getting married and settling down and miss out on the BEST years to just have fun!

  4. Thank goodness you finallllly explained! We deal with liquor promo girls a lot, and I've heard the horror stories of how unreliable/unprofessional a lot of the girls are, so I can't even imagine having to manage those people on a daily basis! Kudos to you two for doing it all with a smile on your face and doing it well!

  5. Great post! I really enjoyed reading about your journey to where you are today!

  6. This is seriously SUCH a cool job! It's so nice to hear that someone actually loves their job. Now a days I hear people complaining about their job allllll the time.
    I've always wanted to do something like this! I'm in college right now and majoring in marketing, so hopefully once i intern and what not i'll get to have cool opportunities like you did!

  7. Wow, what an awesome story and great background! And I definitely have a much better picture of what you and your hubs do for a living!

    Its nice to hear about people that truly love their jobs and have a passion for them! I'm sure it has its ups and downs, but not everyone gets to see the whole country, make new friends and do what they love while getting paid for it!

  8. Awesome post, Kate. That is definitely a niche position, and not something that everyone could handle! I get bummed when I have to spend 2 or 4 nights in a row out sometimes, so props to you for leaving home for months at a time!

  9. wow! I always wondered what you did little lady! I must say it sounds amazing!!! I know you must work hard but would LOVE to do what you are doing. you and your hubs are just too cute!!

    thanks for explaining you job a bit and letting us into your world :)

  10. GREAT post! So interesting!! So awesome that you guys love your jobs too! Not many people can say that these days.
    I'm going to be honest.. I couldn't do it.
    I too, have worked really hard and partied very hard to get where I am too.
    Mine was spent in a TV newsroom for 10-years though! Now I work in corporate TV. Much better!

  11. Wow...I loved reading this post. You have never really explained it and its so interesting to know what you actually do and how you got into it :)
    sounds like so much work, so exhausting, but rewarding too!! :)
    i love that you two get to experience it all together and travel the country. what an awesome experience :)

  12. I am so happy you shared your work with us! My previous boss used to do the same thing when she was younger. Her stories were crazy. Nowadays it is rare to find someone who absolutely loves their job. It sounds like you are Brian are living your perfect life. Congrats!

  13. Great post! This definitely gave me a better idea of what you guys do. Work hard, play hard. That's my motto. :)

  14. Such an awesome job!!!
    Hey I am a new follower and blogger! Would love for you to check out my blog!

    Look forward to reading your blog!! :)

  15. amazing !! you worked so hard to get where you are!

  16. This was a great post Kate! Thanks for explaining. I'm seriously jealous of your job but it's so awesome that you love it!!I do promotions (like what you used to do in college) as a side gig and LOVE IT! definitly see what you do too

  17. thanks for explaining! sounds crazy but also sounds like you guys are perfect for the job you love!

  18. This was SO interesting to read!

  19. WOW! I've always wondered so thanks for sharing! Definitely sounds like you two work your butts off! What a a very unique industry to be in! Hope you get to enjoy the weekend =)

  20. Sounds like an exhaustigly awesome job! I work in sports television in the Bay Area, so I can relate to the long hours and lots of time away from family. Love that you get to work with the hubs!

    I'm your newest follower, and looking forward to what you crazy kids are up to next!
    xo Steph

  21. You go girl! Loved this post and props to you for putting your stamp on the industry. Clearly you and the hubs work your tails off....i love the pics of the work stuff ( the mounds of cans are hilarious). You be workinh hard for that money. Can one of those events bring you to ky? Damn...we could have tore lexington up back in those 24-26 years :-). Of course i still think we could have it in us.

  22. You. Are. Amazing! I finally understand what you do! It makes so much more sense now to me (totally was confused before). That industry is definitely NOT for me. I need routine, planning, schedule, not roller coasters. I'm very impressed by you though because you are someone that I aspire to be like. Thanks for sharing :)

  23. Your job seems so great.. what a blessing you're able to do what you love, and with your love (hubs)!

  24. This is such a great story! Your job sounds amazing! :)

  25. I don't know how I missed this entry, when it's exactly what I'd been hoping you'd explain for a while! Wow, how awesome! I am so happy for you two that you love your jobs and that you get to spend that time building upon your friendship/relationship/partnership and that you are thriving! Cheers to you and B!

  26. I am still very enticed I must say...

    I will hopefully get the opportunity to work more events at the ground floor then see what happens.

    Financially, I don't think I could handle an internship, but I definitely would like to pick your brain a bit.

  27. how awesome! stumbled on your blog tonight. love it. im from orange county and went to school in la. love finding blogs from people from so cal! happy thanksgiving!

  28. I love this post! I just found your blog and it is so nice to here what you do. I am studying event management and nonprofit management and I have always just thought locally. What a great perspective.

  29. this is inspiring! you guys are sure doing great and having the time of your life. Like you said, you've sacrificed a lot along the way but hey at the end of the day it's always good to say I did what I love to do. thanks for sharing!


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