We met Doyin Fashakin – the owner of Doyin Fash, an event planning company based in Houston, to get more insights about the business and the wedding industry. She is a seasoned wedding planner who enjoys giving back. We left with two key lessons: “Never sacrifice quality with quantity” and “It takes years of hard work, consistency, dedication and patience to grow a great brand”. From our interview, you will discover a lot about her, her business, the wedding industry and useful advice. Here is the full interview:
Please tell us about yourself and your business.
My name is Doyin Fashakin and I am the owner of Doyin Fash, an event planning and design company. I’ve been planning events for a little over 12 years. Doyin Fash is based in Houston, Texas but we plan events internationally. A few places where we’ve planned events are Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, and of course various states all over the US. The types of events we plan are weddings, corporate events and other kinds of social occasions.
How did you start and what inspired you to get into the industry?
So growing up in Nigeria, we had a lot of meetings and events in our house because of the nature of my dad’s work. We actually had a small ballroom in our basement. I was always the one assigned to help the caterers and set up the tables and chairs. Hosting events became a part of me from my teenage years. Fast forward, I moved to Atlanta for college and would always invite my friends over for dinners and small gatherings. The dinners/small gatherings will be color-coordinated or have a theme. A few of my friends who loved some of my design ideas asked for help with their birthdays and encouraged me to look into planning events professionally. In 2004, I had the privilege of helping a high school friend with her wedding. Word got out after the wedding and the rest is history..
Will you start Doyin Fash if you were to do it over again? What would you do differently?
I love and enjoy what I do so I will definitely start my business if I were to do it over again. If I had to do anything differently, it will be to help more up-and-coming event planners. Many reached out to me a few years after I got started but I didn’t believe I had enough expertise to be of help to them. I’m glad I still have that opportunity. After many more requests I founded the Doyin Fash workshop which is an intimate setting for new event planners or seasoned event planners wanting to take their business to the next level.
What has been your greatest motivation?
So my motivation comes from seeing others who have been at this for a long time. Seeing their work, where they got started, and where they are today inspires and gives me hope. What encourages me the most is that some of these people making a difference in the industry are people of color just like me. An industry giant I look up to is Preston Bailey who is based in New York. He started with nothing but has built a solid brand known all over the world. I hope to have a brand that solid someday.
What do you think of the Ghanaian/Nigerian wedding industry, has it changed over the years and how?
Oh wow!! Yes it has changed a whole lot. Years ago, weddings in Nigeria and Ghana were pretty simple and sometimes chaotic with so many aunties involved in the planning process. Now, these weddings are so organized and over the top with opulent ambiance. They are setting standards: people all over the world look at these weddings for inspiration through blogs like BellaNaija. In the US, you don’t have ushers, and you probably just have like one caterer for an event. In Nigeria and Ghana, you have an event with four caterers and at least 10 or more ushers. Some of my fellow planners in Houston who are American ask about weddings in Nigeria and how they can tap into that market.
What do you like about your business and working in the industry?
I like the flexibility of working at your pace. I’m my own boss and can set my own hours. I can work from home or from the office based on what I have going on. This allows me to spend more time with my family. I love the fact that I get to travel to different parts of the world and learn about other cultures. For the wedding industry, I love the fact that it’s an industry that is fun and you get to see extraordinary creations by different creatives from all over the world.
What differentiates Doyin Fash from other planners and what are your greatest strengths?
I’ll say one of my greatest strengths is my personality. I’m very personable and calm. I bring a lot of calm into the events which helps when you’re doing events for brides as they are likely nervous. When you have someone around that is very calm, that brings calm to all the nervousness going on and all the stress. It makes the clients happy. Each time I ask my clients what they like about me, their answer is always the patience and calmness I bring to the planning process.
One thing that differentiates Doyin Fash is our diverse team. We are very diverse, we deal with different ethnicities, and we plan weddings for different ethnic groups. We have done events for Brazilians, Mexicans, Middle Easterners, Europeans, and for people from all over the world.
What do you expect from your clients (brides and grooms) and what don’t you expect?
Well each client is different so I can’t really say that there is something I expect or don’t expect. Usually when I meet with clients, I expect them to at least have a vision. I don’t expect them to know everything because they are new to it; they are not the professionals, we are the professionals. I don’t usually expect them to come already organized and have everything set in stone. But at least I expect them to have a vision of what they want to do and how they want their wedding to look.
What is/are the most rewarding aspects of providing your service and what are the most frustrating aspects?
The most rewarding aspect is when my clients are happy on the event day. I’ve had some cry tears of joy because they were so blown away by what they saw. We went over and beyond their expectations.
I won’t say I have a frustrating aspect of the business but I would say working with vendors who are not flexible can be a bit challenging sometimes. We communicate with them and let them know it’s all about the client and they need to be happy on their event day. Once they see we are all working towards the same goal, things get better.
What advice do you have for future brides and grooms regarding planning?
Try to enjoy every moment of the planning process because it goes by so fast. Never sacrifice quality for quantity. You get what you pay for. There are great vendors who do a great job that are affordable. Work with a planner or other family members who have planned weddings before to direct you to professionals who produce quality work. Never go cheap on your photographer – everything you will remember will be captured by this vendor, so chose wisely.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming planners?
Be patient! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Many people doing well today in the industry had to put in a lot of hard work. It takes years of hard work, consistency, dedication and patience to grow a great brand. Find someone you admire in the industry and ask to learn from them. They may be able to share a thing or two with you on how they became successful. Keep working hard, don’t give up and you will eventually get to your desired destination.
What awards, if any, have you received?
I have received a few awards here in the US – Brides’ Choice awards by Weddings in Houston for about three years. Also WeddingWire Couples’ Choice awards for four years.
What would you like to share with our readers?
I enjoy traveling and spending time with family. I love food so I love to cook, and in fact I cook every day. I enjoy giving back and I always love when up-and-coming planners reach out to me for help. I am a firm believer to always put God first and he will crown all your efforts with success.
View Doyin Fash page to learn more and to contact vendor.