11 Apr Creative Me – Andrew Lark
Under the Oak Tree is…
A meeting place for creative folk. Be inspired by their stories…
Andrew Lark, the founder of Imagination Event Hire, is a laid-back Kiwi with a keen eye for the details that make the difference between a stressful event and a successful event.
I may be a tad biased though… Andrew is also my other half. This year – on our 10th anniversary – readers, I will marry him!
He joins us Under the Oak Tree to talk Selfie Mirrors and staying creative on deadlines…
1. What are you working on now?
I’m hitting the phones – well, one (rather battered) phone – every day talking to event venue managers and wedding planners about my new flagship product: a gilt-framed Magic Selfie Mirror. After 13 years working as an event manager, creating events for clients, I launched my own company in March of this year. I rent event furniture and accessories with a difference – often quirky or one-off pieces. Every week brings a new list of people to call. Luckily, I love talking…maybe a bit too much sometimes!
2. Describe your desk or workspace?
Depending on where I sit down to answer my first emails (and then end up parked for the rest of the day), I am either at the kitchen table, at the warehouse in Littlehampton – on in the office at the bottom of our garden. Sometimes – usually during the school holidays when the volume level in our house rises significantly – I take myself off to a local café for some peace and quiet. As for my desk…ummm, what do they say about creative minds and messy desks? Whatever it is, I am living proof of it! I leave event spaces immaculate, my own workspace…not so much.
3. What’s the soundtrack to your work?
Normally Radio 2, because my other half (yeah you, Sian) insists I’m too old to listen to Radio 1. If I am in the garden office then my working day is punctuated by the sound of wood pigeons tap dancing across the roof.
4. Who or what inspires you?
Friends who have achieved a great work/life balance.
5. What do you need to create?
A deadline helps, especially if we are talking minutes not hours! Otherwise, I like to see how other people stage events – especially on a tight budget. Creating an event that will get people talking without spending a fortune often results in the most artistic solutions – like a ‘foodie street market’ instead of a sit-down dinner. Sometimes creativity in the events industry just means figuring out how to ensure 800 people get fed warm food on time, even though they all sit down late.
6. What time of day does your brain come alive?
5.30am. Unfortunately. Or 45 minutes before clients arrive for an event – that really focuses the brain!
7. What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?
Events are a lot of fun for clients and their guests – that’s what they pay me for. But, behind the scenes that ‘fun’ requires a lot of hard work. Be prepared to work long hours and to be adaptable – things rarely go to plan. Clients change their mind, the wonderful British weather works its magic – or a delivery doesn’t turn up. Whatever happens you have to keep smiling. At the end of the day it is a lot of fun – especially when your clients leave with a smile on their faces too.
8. What do you do when you lose sight of your inspiration?
If an event deadline is looming – then I take a few deep breaths and carry on. Otherwise, I go for a walk, go running or biking with friends in the South Downs. Or I cuddle my daughter – things always feel clearer and better after that.
9. Tell us one thing about yourself that no one would guess?
I’m getting married this autumn but I haven’t even got round to organising my own stag do. I’ve been too busy with launching my new business. Luckily, I have a really good friend who is going to ‘manage’ that event for me!
10. What’s next for you?
Making sure that the events we have booked in our diary, and the bookings we have for our event furniture and accessories, go smoothly. When I see smiles I know that I have done my job well. We are also going to exhibit at local wedding fairs this spring and I want to make sure that our stand shows off the very best of what we can do. Luckily my other (she would say ‘better’) half is a stylist. So, she’s in charge of that side of things!