We had the good fortune of connecting with Jan Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work-life balance… this is something that I have to consciously consider all of the time. It can be tough for entrepreneurs to take time for themselves, family, and friends. And I don’t mean doing things that you have to do or are obligated to do… I’m thinking about leisure and fun time. We get so bogged down and focused on our businesses and the urgency of making sure everything is running smoothly that we forget to eat, rest, and just take a breath. I’ve learned over the years that we must take time and care for ourselves or we won’t be any good for others or our business. Although I’m still busy and work abnormal hours, I’ve learned to set calendar appointments for myself and schedule and book vacation time so I can’t make excuses. Burnout is real and I definitely don’t want that to happen!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a young adult, I quickly became that “go-to” person for advice and design for my friends and family when they were planning events. In 2006, I decided to get a certification as a Professional Wedding and Event Planner as a foundation, wrote a business plan, and started marketing my services. I named my company La Fête Weddings and Events as an homage to my mother who speaks fluent French. She inspires me every day and I learned a lot about grace and etiquette from her. My first official professional wedding as the company turned into three additional weddings and the rest is history! I was in the corporate world for many years before going full-time with my business in 2011. It was exciting and scary at the same time. Challenges will always present themselves especially when you’re an entrepreneur, but it’s how you take them on that makes the difference. One of them is finding time for yourself. I have always been one to give lots of my time and energy to others to the point where sometimes I was taken advantage of and rarely take time for myself. When you work for yourself it feels like there is no stopping point. And because I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like work. I have learned that if I don’t schedule self-care time on my calendar, I run the risk of burn out and I want to be the best I can be for my family, friends, and clients. My personal style is transitional which is a blend of classic elegance and modern style that works together cohesively. I have found that most of the clients I work with have a similar aesthetic. They typically like to keep some traditional design elements, but we work together to come up with ways to incorporate unexpected details to make their event unique and personal to them. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to plan weddings and events all over the East Coast, Midwest, South, the Caribbean, and Mexico. I’ve been told that it’s my personality that sets me apart from others. I do my best to get to know my clients so I know which vendors are a good fit for them in terms of personality, style, and budget. I also like having a good relationship with my clients so if I need to make an executive decision on their behalf the day of the event, we will all be comfortable moving forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ponce City Market is one place that I like to take visitors. It’s also great for getting a little shopping in, you have your choice of cuisine with all of the different restaurants, and there is some fun entertainment at Skyline Park. And of course, the incredible views of the Atlanta Skyline. I also to grab a glass of wine at City Winery and if we’re lucky, a great performance might taking place in the theater!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank God for all of his many blessings including my talents. My mother has always been a huge influence on my career. She is the epitome of class and grace. I’ve loved planning events and weddings since I was literally a child. She indulged my interest by not only buying bride dolls on special occasions so I could plan their imaginary weddings, but also by doing things like enrolling me in etiquette class in second grade and being the 2nd hostess in command whenever we entertained guests at our house. I enjoyed seeing people feel at home and have a good time. I was able to translate those experiences into what I do in business. It means everything to me when I witness my clients and their guests have an amazing experience at the events I plan. I’d also like to shout out my dear friends and industry colleagues, Gail Johnson and Lisa Zachary. They both encouraged me at the very beginning of my professional event planning career and continue to push me to strive for the best. I would also like to thank my clients and supporters for trusting me with some of the most important times in their lives.
Inije Photography Munoz Photography