Jess Jones had been waiting for the ‘right moment’ to start her own events management and styling business, so a couple of months into her pregnancy in the winter of 2012, she thought it was the perfect time to get the ball rolling. Having a firm deadline ahead to work with, Jess officially launched 2nd Avenue Events in February 2013 and hasn’t looked back. Jess’ work experience in the hospitality and events industry spans 15 years, with over 9 years in management roles leading teams of up to 20 staff. Since launching 2nd Avenue Events, she’s faced plenty of challenges but also had many achievements along the way. A highlight of 2014 has been founding her second business Soar Collective. Soar is a collaborative community for women in business on the Mornington Peninsula.
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2nd Avenue Events
2nd Avenue Events is all about delivering the best and most memorable weddings and events to the people of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. We are a creative and passionate team of wedding and event planners and stylists, dedicated to providing our clients with a very special and personal touch to ensure each event is everything they’ve dreamed of and more. Soar is a collaborative community for women in business on the Mornington Peninsula. Their goal is to support and empower women through authentic networking events. ‘Connect, Collaborate, Inspire.’
The name 2nd Avenue Events is a combination of loves for me. My grandmother (known as Mémée – Mauritian for grandma) who I was very close to, lived in 2nd Avenue. I also spent some time in NYC so the name really holds 2 things which are dear to me. Soar Collective is something I know has been brewing inside me for many years. When I first started my entrepreneurial journey (about 11 years ago) there was a real lack of resources and support out there for someone like myself. One of my first business ideas was around starting a network and community where those who had an interest in business and were just starting out had somewhere to go to get resources, attend workshops and gain support from likeminded people. It was always meant to be, it just had to happen at the right time.
My first full time job was doing a Retail Sales Traineeship at McDonalds and being paid $4.92 an hour.
It was really about timing knowing my little boy was on the way and that the opportunity was there to create the life that I wanted for myself and my family. I was about to become a new mum and knew I needed flexibility and to work on my own terms while I launched my business. I’d always wanted to start my own business, and being passionate about events and wanting to get to nurture my creative self, it was just a matter of timing and being ‘ready’ to implement all of the ideas I’d had in my head for so many years.
Because I launched my first business just before having a baby, the sacrifices have really been a combination of becoming a parent and running a new business. We also moved about an hour out of Melbourne late 2013 so it meant a whole change of lifestyle which has really complemented the business and the growth stage we’re at. Moving to the Mornington Peninsula has also allowed me to start my second business as there probably wouldn’t have been room in the market for it in Melbourne.
Receiving lovely feedback from clients and other vendors makes me very proud. Knowing I’ve created something special and memorable for a huge occasion in somebody’s life is a wonderful feeling. Being shortlisted for the ‘Emerging AusMumpreneur Award’ for the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business ‘Home Based Business’ Award both in 2014. Getting through the first few months of a new business and a new baby was a pretty huge achievement for me too!
Earlier this year I was asked to do a presentation to Business Victoria. It was about my business and my journey, my challenges as a business owner as well as my achievements. It was such an honour to be able to share my story, especially seeing as Business Vic has been a huge resource of mine for 10 years now, so it was also a little surreal getting to present to them. As part of my presentation, I had them making paper pinwheels so they could switch off their work brain for a moment and enjoy engaging the creative side of their brain and get crafty! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience it was a huge highlight of my 2nd Ave journey so far. Every wedding is very exciting to work on! I also had a lot of fun doing my son’s 1st birthday party as the guests attending were all of my lovely family and friends.
1. Don’t give up
2. Get a mentor early on
3. Don’t get distracted by the noise; whether it’s people not believing in you, or by things that aren’t relevant to your cause/the path you’re on
4. Always be grateful for everything you have, every day. Others aren’t as fortunate to have the opportunities and freedom we have.
1. A huge thing to remember is that it’s not enough for you to be passionate about what you do. You have to DO THE WORK and it’s hard work at times.
2. Ask for help and don’t try to do everything yourself. Besides the fact that you’ll burn yourself out, you can’t do everything!
3. Be clear about what you’re doing and why. You must be able to create a clear and measurable path for yourself to be able to reach your goals.
4. Stay away from/don’t listen to the negative people on your life. If they don’t believe in you, they don’t deserve your time
5. The 2 minute rule – if the task will take 2 minutes or less, do it as soon as you think of it. Don’t add it to the to-do list. Do it then.
After moving from St Kilda to the Mornington Peninsula, I’m working on positioning myself in this market. While I love to do the Melbourne events, I’d like to work within the talented Peninsula wedding community as much as I can too. Early next year we’re bringing creative workshops to Melbourne. As for Soar Collective, we’ll be introducing business workshops for next year which we’re very excited about.