We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Oldeen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking has certainly been a huge part of my life. My company, Fête & Figs wouldn’t have happened without it. Before starting the company, I was working in a totally different field. I was an executive producer at a post-production agency for TV commercials here in Atlanta. I’d been working in post production for about 5-6 years and was making great money, but I was honestly pretty unhappy. The kind of unhappy that sneaks up on you over time until one day you realize you’re suddenly relating with all those internet memes about driving into work then instead jumping on a plane to start a new life. I wanted to get away from it, but I had no idea how. One night, I was at my friend Courtney’s house drinking wine and found out she wasn’t happy with her job either. The more the wine kept flowing, the more it sounded like a great idea to quit our jobs and do something else! Then the idea came..Boom..party planners! We absolutely loved throwing parties for our friends. We had a group of about 5 girlfriends and every time their birthday rolled around, we’d throw an elaborate party. The first one was a Marie Antionette theme complete with costumes, parasols, sweets and champagne. Next we held an outdoor fiesta with colorful banners, maracas and Mexican food. Then a Disney princess party with costumes. Then a pool party with flamingo floats, neon, donuts and cocktails. So, what could be more fun than throwing parties for a living?! Courtney was a graphic designer, and she created the website, instagram account and business cards for us. My goal was to try to find clients. We saw a bridal show coming into town, so we signed up. We created a portfolio, a beautiful wood backdrop, baked desserts, set up a photo booth and went all out. We ended up booking a few weddings and everything snowballed from there! For a little while, Courtney and I worked on building the company on the side while still working our full time jobs. Then after about 6 months, I was laid off from my post-production job. It turns out you’re not always good at your job if you don’t like what you do.. Fête & Figs was nowhere near bringing in enough income to go full-time, so I had a tough choice to make. Either get another job in TV, or put everything I had – savings included – into the company. I chose Option B: to invest all my time, money, and energy into a company we started after a drunken night. That was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make rent in 3 months, or if Fête and Figs would even be around that long. But I knew this was what I wanted to do, and I’d regret it if I didn’t give it a real shot. Thankfully, it worked out. I’ve never gone back into TV since I made that choice, and Fête & Figs is going on 5 years strong! Turns out, you can be really great at your job if you love what you do, and wedding planning is what I love to do. It was absolutely worth the risk, and I’m so glad I decided to believe and invest in myself rather than put myself back onto a track I knew was lucrative, but also made me miserable. Since my business is also a passion project for me, I think it really helps me excel and care about my clients and their events. I genuinely want my couples to have an amazing experience and to create gorgeous and unique weddings for them. It pumps me up to see a couple’s face light up when they walk into the reception room they’ve only ever dreamt about. I absolutely feed off the energy of orchestrating multiple things at once on wedding day and shouldering all the responsibilities and tasks, so my clients don’t have to. It pushes me to want to get creative and get better and keep growing all the time. At this point, I’ve planned over a 100 weddings, have tons of great reviews from amazing brides, and have been able to hire a tight knit group of incredible planners and assistants to help make it all happen. This company has truly enriched my life and given me a sense of happiness I never had before. To anyone who’s thinking about taking a big risk that may better their life, do it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’d say it wasn’t easy to get where I am today, but at the same time, it was. It was a huge risk to completely change my career path at the time that I did, but I love what I do so much that it almost feels like it came naturally. I’ve learned so much about what it means to be a business owner. You never really have time off, and you carry the sole responsibility of all the decisions you make, so it adds a lot of pressure. At the same time, it’s really rewarding because of that. I really love creating something of my own, building it, and being proud of what I’ve accomplished. I think what sets me apart and what I want people to know is how meaningful this work is to me. My team and I genuinely care about our clients and each wedding we produce. We plan each wedding like we’re planning for our best friends. I tend to get really close with my brides, and I know our other planners are the same way. Especially since we’re the ones who advocate and plann behalf of our couples, it’s important to know who they are, what makes them unique as a couple, and how we can incorporate that into their wedding to create something unique and special to them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Inman Park, so I’m partial to the area 🙂 Eat: Barcelona Wine Bar, Tiny Lou’s, Nina and Rafi, Golden Eagle, Sotto Sotto Drink: Little Spirit, The Albert, Ladybird, Lobby Bar at Hotel Clermont, East Atlanta bar hopping Places: Ponce City Market, Fetch Dog Park, Beltline, Plaza Theatre, Fox Theatre
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My former business partner Courtney Buchanan. She and I created the idea together, and I couldn’t have done it without her!
Audrey Wunderlich Lauren Bailey Photography Black Pine Photography, Cait Carr Theary Louneoubonh Someplace Wild, Christina DeVictor Karina Sely Photography Mary Claire Photography Four Corners Photography, Natalie Jackson, Crystal Anne Photography