‘Let me reintroduce myself’
For years, Shervonne Cash-Hollis would organise holidays and special events without charging people for her efforts.
Family and friends would come asking for help – she welcomed them all.
A couple years ago she decided that she enjoyed it so much she might as well pursue event planning as a career.
She went back to school, got a master's certificate in event management and launched a business, Unique Global Events & Services, in 2021.
“I was basically off and on the island so I really didn’t get much into really establishing my business,” she said.
“I am now moving into it fully. This is Unique Global Events & Services Reimagine 2.0: Let me reintroduce myself.
“I can do anything – from weddings, to social, to corporate. However, my niche market is galas, banquets, retreats.”
Originally from the Bahamas, she decided that her first effort would be a gift to her country. In July she organised a three-day celebration in Bermuda to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bahamas gaining independence from Britain.
A gala dinner with Frederick Mitchell, Bahamas’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and performances by a Bahamian Junkanoo group were part of the festivities held in advance of the official anniversary on July 10.
“I wanted Bahamians in Bermuda to be a part of the global celebration. We would have had events in just about every country that Bahamians reside in outside of the Bahamas and also back home, for about nine months or more,” Ms Cash-Hollis said.
“I totally took on and I led the planning and negotiation of all of that. And I also was able to get a great team of Bahamians from the Bahamian Association as part of our committee.”
A “lot of work” went into what ultimately was “an exchange of [Bermudian and Bahamian] cultures”.
“It went off well,” she said. “That was something I did as a gift back to my country. I didn't charge for that. I'm proud to be a Bahamian, I wanted to celebrate 50 years as a sovereign nation and I wanted the Bermuda sector to be a part of that. But that really propelled me and gave me even more spark and passion to go into the field of event planning and management.”
Being a “very creative” person helped. Ms Cash-Hollis is also grateful to be able to draw on her degree in business administration.
“I'm able to take a budget that a client gives me and break it down and be able to work with them,” she said.
“When I was in high school I took up art and that creative side of me always tends to come up. I’m very good at taking what a client may want and bringing it to light, bringing dreams to reality so to speak.”
For large events, anything complex or anything overseas, it is better that people contact her well in advance, she added.
“For a gala, you want to start planning for it six to nine months or more before. You don't want to plan a gala – if you want it to come off well – within a month of it happening.
“For a birthday party, a destination event would take probably 12 months or more because obviously you're dealing with two separate locations and all of your out-of-town guests.”
“Eco-friendly type events” are on her list of offerings along with themed parties – a 50 Shades of Grey was a hit as was a virtual 50th birthday held during one of the lockdowns of the pandemic.
“I've done lingerie parties. I did a murder mystery party for my birthday a few years ago. I also do unconventional events [such as] divorce parties,” said Ms Cash-Hollis, who previously worked in a managerial position in the beauty industry.
“I'm a risk taker when it comes to party planning. There's no event too big, too small, too complex that I would not attempt to do. I love themes because I'm very creative.”
She put her skills on show at Willowbank Resort & Conference Centre this past weekend. The two-day event, held by Women of Living Water Global Limited, included a panel discussion and brunch with Laterras Whitfield, an Emmy-nominated film-maker and host of the Dear Future Wifey podcast.
“As an event planner, you basically take the stress from the client. You negotiate on behalf of the client because you know what the market rate is in terms of the vendors. You get to put them in the setting with the right people to more or less match the event or what exactly they want. You get to be creative.
“I have a great networking team – if you need a deejay, if you need a musician, if you need a caterer, if you need decor or floral arrangements. I have a vast network that I work with and I negotiate on behalf of the client with them.”
For creative people who think a planner is unnecessary when YouTube is full of ideas and free, Ms Cash-Hollis advises: “The event planner has the expertise, the experience and the knowledge of how an event should occur as opposed to someone just doing it themselves.
“The event planner handles things that the client may not think about; things the client might not think are important to the event. It's hiring a professional. Would you represent yourself in a court matter?”
Should someone decide not to use her services to plan an event Ms Cash-Hollis also offers “day of co-ordination”. “They may not want to hire me for the full event due to their budget but then they might want me to come in on the day of [the event] to make sure everything is running right and running on time, basically executing oversight,” she said.
• Contact Unique Global Events & Services on Facebook, Instagram, email@example.com or 441-703-0789. Shervonne Cash-Hollis is offering new clients a 10 per cent discount for the month of December
UPDATE:this story has been amended with the correct phone number of Unique Global Events & Services