Co-Founders leverage complementary expertise for new event-focused start-up
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
There’s a new event planning and management firm based in Knoxville that brings together the complementary expertise of its two Co-Founders.
Holly Holloway, the former Events Manager at the Knoxville Chamber, and Brooke Cross Carper, most recently with a Washington, DC-based firm, have teamed-up to found EventShop Inc. The two met through community activities when Carper was coordinating events for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s (UT) Admissions Office about four years ago.
“We started dreaming up the company concept last winter,” Holloway said. “We have two different skill sets in terms of client types and our event passions.”
Holloway left the Chamber at the end of May after about four and one-half years. Carper completed commitments with her current DC based employer this summer.
“I’ve coordinated almost 500 events in that time, mostly corporate-and community-based,” Holloway says. Two annual signature projects were the Chamber’s “Pinnacle Awards” gala and the Endeavor Summit for Young Professionals.
Carper managed UT’s Skyboxes for Aramark and also worked at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair and for All Occasions Party Rentals. “I am able to speak to all aspects of the client’s needs,” she says.
The two feel like their complementary skills will be an asset as they focus mostly on the greater Knoxville market, at least initially, where their community knowledge and connections will be an asset.
“We are giving the majority of our attention to association, corporate, social and non-profit clients,” Holloway says. “We are also working to connect with national associations.”
For those types of organizations, the Co-Founders feel they have a good deal to offer beyond just their years of general experience that includes diversity of types and sizes of events managed.
“We can work with those clients as a non-overhead member of the team,” Carper says, noting that outsourcing event planning and management can be a savings to the enterprise. “We also work with clients on their overall event strategy on an annual basis.”
While big events will be a high priority, smaller projects like weddings and parties will also be a part of what the team at EventShop offers.
Carper notes that those types of events are one of Holloway’s specialties. The team has added a product line at EventShop called Epiphany Weddings that will market to and service brides.
Holloway and Carper have opened an office on West Jackson Avenue and, even though they’ve only been offering their services for a few months, Holloway says, “We are staying quite busy.”