Connecting The Dots

As a child, I loved connecting the dots and then colouring in the completed image.  I tried my best to stay within the lines, going from one dot to the other with relative ease.  Each dot was numbered, so as long as I could count far enough, there was an intended and definitive path to the final dot and thus to the completed image.  However, if I took one wrong turn, the completed image became distorted or gave light to a new interpretation of the image.  I remember spending hours on weekends working on these connect the dot books my mother would purchase from me, but as an adult, I realize they have a different significance today.

In business, sometimes it can feel like we are continually connecting the dots.  The difference is we don’t have any numbers (going from dot to dot) guiding us or a full understanding of the intended path to the completed ’image’.  The most difficult can be when you don’t know where the dots are supposed to lead you or even worse, when it can be difficult going from dot to dot.  It seems that experience, education, and clarity in your craft can make connecting the dots much simpler.  We all connect the dots differently, but most of us share a similar ‘intended image or outcome’: we want to lead lives of fulfillment and personal success.

I have come to appreciate the 20/20 in my journey thus far as a creative entrepreneur.  Earlier in my career, it was difficult to understand or appreciate the ‘necessity’ of the journey and all the experience and knowledge it would bring.  It was never my aim to see ‘success’ overnight, but I definitely had trouble being patient.  Sometimes, it felt like things were not moving fast enough, the recognition was not there, or perhaps the growth of the business seemed stagnant.  It was frustrating at times because I wanted to show my clients what I could do and demonstrate my real potential as a designer.  This meant I would occasionally go the extra mile at the cost of being financially irresponsible.

Connecting the dots is also about understanding who you are as a business owner and designer.  This perhaps, is where I see the greatest imbalance personally.  I have learned some very hard lessons on why this equilibrium is essential and how easy it is to lose your way even though the ‘next dot’ is often right in front of you.  I connect the dots differently today then I did eleven years ago.  The business seems much more complex, there are more moving parts, I have increased responsibilities and am accountable to many more people.  Suddenly, I find myself ‘managing’ and ‘operating’ more than ‘designing’.  I have come to appreciate the simplicity and innocence of my business in the early years as something to cherish and take insight from.

A part of connecting the dots is also about understanding the role your business plays in your life and managing that holy grail of work/life balance.  It’s easy to love what you do when everything is going right, but the true test of your resilience is your ability to overcome when things are not looking bright.  The next dot doesn’t seem so obvious then.  I keep reminding myself that quitting or accepting defeat turns back the clock on success.  I thank some of my closest friends (one in particular) and family for reminding me of how grateful and appreciative I should be of my journey thus far.  To keep on looking ahead in search of the ’next dot’ remembering along the way all the lessons learned, challenges overcome, and triumphs celebrated.

So, here we are, in search of our next ‘dot’.  Where will it take us?  How will life ‘connect the dots’ for us?  When will the dots be complete?  What is the intended ‘image’?  Time will only tell, but in the meantime, it’s important that we take command of our own journey so that the dots connect just the way we like.

How will you connect the dots in 2014?

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Paras

Photography by WebNeel.com

Design Trends 2014

For those of you who know me well, it’s no surprise when I mention that my passion for design is also what I like to call my ‘sixth sense’.  Design is a part of who I am.  I look at objects and environments beyond their conventional use.  To me, design is a universal language that has a profound effect on our lifestyle.  Good design should be accessible to all and remain ever evolving.

I am pleased to share my ’2014 Design Trends’ report with all of you today.  It is my forecast of the many design trends emerging in the weddings of this year.  Design trends in weddings are greatly influenced by the worlds of fashion, interior design, and architecture.  Event designers across the globe keep their pulse on all design industries to remain at the forefront of their craft, but more importantly, to continually fuel inspiration and creative ideation.

The following are my favourite design trends of 2014:

1) Colour.  I am particularly excited about the shift in colour palettes for 2014.  Referred to as the ‘new neutrals’, the muted, smoky tones of pastels evoke energy and lightheartedness.  Blush pink, soft yellow, mint green, and cornflower blue remind us of sunny meadows, spring blooms, and summer entertaining.  Fresh, airy colour palettes will continue to dominate the weddings of 2014.  In great contrast to this, the nostalgia of the 1990′s is evoked through the vibrant tones of green, purple, and deep blue.  Primary colours will begin to re-surface during the course of 2014 re-enforcing the dramatic art of colour blocking.

Pantone Colour of the Year: Radiant Orchid 18-3224.

2) Metallics.  Burnished brass and antique/distressed metals with weathered patina’s will emerge as the metallic of choice for weddings in 2014.  Rooted in tradition, the classical styling of metals lend themselves to an old world charm that brings warmth to a wedding design scheme.  An object that evokes history, adds character to an event environment and offers much room for personalization.

3) Pattern.  Pattern is a dynamic and impactful way to add depth, texture, and overall visual interest to a wedding design scheme.  The leading patterns in 2014 take inspiration from the outdoors and style icons from many of the leading design houses across the world.  I am particularly drawn to the beautiful pattens found in blue and white Chinese pottery, the French patterns of chinoiserie, the beauty of Mediterranean floral motifs, and the high contrast schemes of geometrics.  The foremost trend in pattern for weddings in 2014 leans towards whimsical botanicals/foliage prints; evoking memories of casual garden parties, sleepy summer afternoons, and our love for easy, outdoor entertaining.  The use of botanical/foliage prints will be most prevalent in linen and stationery design.  Updated trellis patterns, contemporary floral and foliage silhouettes, and topiaries (yes, topiaries!) encompass this trend in natural patterning.

4) Decor.  Although several design aesthetics will emerge and evolve over the course of the year, there are four that stand out for their versatility and ability to add character and personality to a wedding design.  These include:

a) The use of distressed furnishings.  Weather woods and distressed metals evoke a handmade, homespun quality to a wedding design.

b) The use of contemporary design and decor elements that are classically styled.  There is an inherent beauty to the contrast and visual tension created by combining contemporary and tradition decor elements, ultimately creating ‘transitional’ event spaces that appeal to all the senses.

c) The return and popularization of antique furnishings in decorating.

d) The re-interpretation of traditional wedding design schemes and spatial planning.  The weddings of 2014 (and moving forward) are viewed as elegant dinner parties and a natural extension to entertaining at home.  Head tables are replaced with beautiful harvest tables celebrating family and friends.  A central axis floor plan encourages inclusivity of all guests and places great emphasis on elegant entertaining.  The ‘cocktail’ style reception becomes more prevalent.

Customization continues to be the defining design tool in creating a distinctive wedding design scheme that is truly personal to the couple.

5) Floral Design.  Floral design continues to centre around floral artistry and floral installations.  The theory and principles of floral design are applied to built structures; creating ‘form’ in an event environment by defining space and establishing focal points.  Suspended floral design and floral ceiling treatments create dramatic floral statements.  Floral design moves beyond dining table design.

The use of foliage is my favourite design trend of 2014.  The natural textures of foliage add interest to a wedding design scheme and allow the form of a composition to stand out creating a sculptural quality that is quite dynamic.  The beautiful tints, tones, and shades of foliage enhance the overall design.

6) Design Themes.  Design themes continue to be a point of inspiration during the initial stages of the design process.  The prevalent design themes of 2014 take inspiration from nautical influences, botanical gardens around the world, resort lifestyle, and modern architecture including the many beautiful hotels around the world.

7) Hot or Not?  Hot: Beading, foliage, blue and white pottery, botanical patterns, colour blocking, natural fibres and distressed finishes, pastel colour stories, and laser cutting.  Not:  Crystals, pearls, stripes and chevron, mason jars, striped straws, and mirrored surfaces.

Hope you enjoyed my ’2014 Design Trends’ report!  Please comment below, what are your favourite design trends of 2014?  Do you agree with my forecast?  What do you see in wedding design for 2014?

Remember to join us for our twitter party on January 13, 2014 at 7:30pm EST!  Follow along with the hashtag #2014DesignTrends.  Co-hosts Christopher Confero (@conferotweets) and Cory Christopher (@artdesignliving) will be joining me as we discuss the most prevalent wedding design trends of 2014.

Have a wonderful week!

Paras (@paraskmehta)

Back To Basics

2013 has been a roller coaster of a year.  Like every year, a 12-month journey of continuing personal discovery and growth, both in business and in life.  2013 was a year of increased awareness of who I was, my resilience, my perceived limitations, my boundaries, my insecurities, my challenges, and my ability to persevere.  Most importantly, it was a year of evolution as I began to lay the foundation to self-transformation and truly understanding what I want.  Beyond all, 2013 was the year I vowed to ‘get real’.

2013 marked the tenth anniversary of PARAS Events.  I started when I was twenty years old, had just left school, and like many my age, had a vision for my future.

The business was started from scratch.  Our living room, basement, and garage became our inventory storage facility and the dining room was our consultation space.  I presented some of my very first weddings from this space and didn’t have a portfolio of work yet, so I rendered all of my concepts and used design boards to communicate my ideas.  I learned the fundamentals of managing and operating an event services business, the art of the presentation, and honed my design ability and aesthetic.  There was an innocence and air of simplicity to our small business that was truly ‘grass-roots’.

As I reflect upon those first few years, I begin to distinguish the key differences between my business today and how it was then, but more importantly my approach to the business and my role within it.  I am able to develop some key points, including: a) rediscovering the roots of why I am passionate about weddings and design, b) recapturing the innocence of my business and my true purpose as a creative person, c) rekindling the integrity with which I design for my clients and the self fulfillment it provides, and d) balancing the scale of ‘designer’ and ‘business owner’.

I used to operate my business thinking that the ‘big breaks’ in business were based solely on winning awards, being published in magazines, landing the ‘luxury’ clients, and fitting in.  Turns out, the greatest successes in business are fundamental: a) understanding your business, b) having your pulse on its health, c) establishing your unique signature and a recognizable brand, d) exercising your craft daily, e) nurturing your relationships and partnerships, and f) giving back.

In 2013, I gained some perspective on the next stages of my career.  These include education, sharing my experiences, and exploring international opportunities with my business.  I wrote about this in great detail in a post entitled ‘Lessons Learned’ highlighting my ‘Strategy for Change’ in 2014.

Part of going ‘back to basics’ is re-investing in yourself.  In 2013, I began to focus on my personal health (physical and mental).  I returned to the gym, managed a diet of healthy foods, and finally began a journal (all things that I didn’t make time for in the past).  I enjoyed a renewed sense of clarity, purpose, and fulfillment.  I slowly began to identify and differentiate the sources of happiness in my life.  By no means had I mastered the art of ‘living well’, but I tried my best and continued to strive to be the best version of myself that I could be.

I created a vision board to further communicate my personal and business goals for the year.

My new years resolution?  Go back to basics, learn from the past, and move ahead into 2014 with a renewed sense of direction for my business, where I want it to be, and understanding my universal role along the way.

Happy New Year everyone!  Wishing you immense success in 2014 and beyond.

Paras

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Newsletter-December 2013

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Envy In A ‘Crafted’ World

Let’s take a little quiz together:

1) Do you feel genuine happiness towards your colleagues when they reach a significant milestone in their business?

2) Do you become insecure when a new or emerging planner or designer see’s success much sooner than you did?  Or even before you?

3) Do you hesitate to check your social channels in fear of reading the success of others?  Or your competition?

4) Are you overcome by feelings of envy or resentment when a job goes to one of your colleagues or competitors?

Most creative professionals have experienced at least one (if not all) of these ‘symptoms’.  I admit, I’m guilty of experiencing all of the above at different points throughout my career.  It’s a tough feeling, especially when you don’t want to necessarily be feeling this way.  What’s worse is when you allow it to begin affecting your industry relationships.  Envy can stem from the many ‘cliques’ that naturally form in any industry.  Sometimes it seems like we revert back to the days of high school with our actions.  Turns out, I had a lot of growing up to do.

Here’s my take on it:

The universe gives you what you can handle.  What you deserve.  What you are destined to receive.  When you are destined to receive something, it will be yours, no matter what or whom. 

As a business owner you work tirelessly to build your business and your brand. Countless hours and effort go into managing a business and it’s operations, finances, press, client relations, and it’s core service/product offering.  As an entrepreneur, it’s a PERSONAL investment of time, energy, resources, and money.  So when that external recognition and/or praise is not present or (worse) goes to someone else, it can hurt, and consequently feed your inner envy (I’m a millennial…so it hurts my age group even more).

There’s a flip side to this, however.

Just like you, many of your colleagues have put in the same long hours and the same generous amounts of effort to build their own businesses and brands as well.  They are working on fulfilling their own dreams and aspirations.  They have had their own challenges to overcome.  How can we take that joy and prestige away from those who deserve it just as much as we do?  More importantly, does it really make sense to harbour envy towards a colleague who is trying his/her best to succeed as well?  This requires a complete switch in mindset on our part (difficult, I know).

Here’s how I overcame my insecurities (and continue to do so):

1) I embrace collaboration.  It’s really important to me to get to know my peers in the industry.  I’m not looking to conduct a business transaction or ‘pitch’ my services,  I’m simply looking for friendship and camaraderie.

2) I encourage a personal mindset of appreciation and gratitude for the success that I have seen.  When I am feeling discouraged, I remind myself of all that I have been able to achieve as a business owner and artist.

3) I re-enforce the notion that ‘it wasn’t my time, just yet’.

4) I motivate myself by taking these feelings and turning them into my ‘fuel’ for future business and personal goal achievement.

5) I focus on what brings me the most happiness.  I put things into perspective.

In today’s day and age, social media allows all of us to carefully ‘craft’ our presence in the world.  It is common place for many of us to publicize only the positive in our lives, not the negative -consequently skewing one’s perception of our reality.  We live in a world of perceived perfection.

WE ALL go through the same business challenges.

WE ALL share a passion for the industry in which we work.

WE ALL share a genuine interest in the success of our clients and their events.

We all have much more in common than we think.

How do you manage feelings on envy?  Let me know by commenting below.  Let’s get the conversation going.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Paras

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