I have met the very glamorous Fikayo of Simply Kayo on a number of occasions and have wanted to get her on the blog for a while to talk about her special events 'empire'. She has organised a whole variety of weddings giving all of them her very stylish touch.
When and how did you come did you come up with the idea for Simply Kayo? I have always been into events; probably from my university days (so as far back as 2004/5) and planning my cousin’s wedding. The idea would come up time and time again, but I was too afraid to really branch out and start a business. So it wasn’t until 2010 when I travelled to Nigeria for a few family functions that it really became real. I saw how big the events industry was out there; and my initial idea was to be a planner and decorator out in Nigeria. When I came back, a friend who had been planning her own wedding had just gotten a new and more demanding job and she asked me to be her planner. The rest as they say, is history.
What do you enjoy the most about being a wedding planner? I love planning and organising. I love to do lists. I love putting things in place. I absolutely love that about the job. I really get a buzz on event day when things are happening quickly and decisions need to be made and there are loads of people around. I find it exciting! Being able to influence someone's special day positively and be a part of that memory is also a lovely feeling.
Tell me about your favourite wedding you planned? My first wedding was probably my favourite. I learned so much. I was extremely involved in every aspect of the wedding. It gave me a really good insight into exactly how much work went into making this beautiful day happen. Although the bride had a really good idea of what she wanted; I was given a lot of creative input. The colour scheme was navy and white with hints of light blue and silver. It was the first time I was introduced to chiavari chairs and I fell in love. My love affair with damask prints also began with the navy damask napkins. Décor wise it was an absolute dream. It was a large wedding with 500 guests; so a lot went into coordinating people and ensuring a smooth day. It was whilst waiting at the venue, the day before the wedding, as deliveries were arriving and feeling a buzz of excitement that I really realised that this was what I loved doing.
A décor job I did recently was also a wonderful experience; mainly because the couple were so nice. I totally fell in love with the bride’s sweet and relaxed nature. They had a vintage romantic venue style and I loved every aspect of designing their venue.
What services do you offer? The vision is to create an empire of events services where everything for an event can be purchased under the Simply Kayo roof and we are getting there. We now offer planning and coordination, venue styling and design, décor hire, African Caribbean catering, event stationery and venue cleaning. And within the majority of those services, there are a variety of packages to choose from to specifically meet our clients’ needs. You can find out more on the Our Services page on the website.
How do you work with couples, what’s the process? This very much depends on the service they require. Most couples know exactly what service they want and in most cases, I’ll speak to them over the phone to get an idea of their requirements. Then, service depending, we arrange a consultation. I go and meet them and we have an in-depth discussion about their requirements; I ask questions and provide prompts to get a better understanding of their vision. They ask me questions, bring pictures, fabrics etc. We generally chat and get to know each other. Then I go away and write a proposal.
Once sent to the couple, if they are happy to continue, we start work. The rest depends on the service they want. If it’s a planning and coordination package, I draw up a timeline for us to work with. If it is a venue styling and design package, I start work on the mood board/s.
Describe a typical day in your life? I still have a 9 to 5 job at the moment so a typical day for me would be going to work. A typical day if I’m working on an event (depending on the type of event) would begin with me going over my to-do list. I would most likely make calls or do research in the morning. Then everything else really does depend. Visits and appointments are typically in the evening or on the weekend. I tend to write proposals in the evening and so a lot of design ideas and brainstorming happens in the evenings as well. I have a BlackBerry, iPhone and an iPad so I am always contactable and will answer emails at almost any time of day (I may regret saying that).
What inspires you? Creatively, I’m inspired by everything. I could randomly be in a clothes shop and see an item of clothing and just love the colour combination; so I take a picture. I could be in Sainsbury’s and see some vases and take a picture or buy 30 : ) I follow a lot of the American blogs so I get inspiration from them as well. Everyday things inspire me; interesting or more unusual things inspire me. I tend to notice how shops are styled and take pictures.
What are your plans for the future? To continue building the Simply Kayo brand and empire; add more service lines. Continue to get better, do more and do better. I really want to test the boundaries of my creativity so I am looking forward to some challenges in that area. I’d like to venture into Interior Design sometime in the future; I think in some ways it’s an extension of venue styling and design. I’d probably study it first though.
What advice would you give to brides-to-be’s? I would say 3 things to brides to be. First, decide on the top 3 things are really important to you about your wedding day and then you can focus a lot of your energy on them. Everything else, you can afford to be slightly more relaxed about, more accommodating and therefore you’ll stress less and you’ll be able to involve others more.
Secondly, yes your wedding day is a massive day, and you’ve likely been dreaming about it for a long time, but do take time out every now and then to just be you, spend wedding talk free time with your hubby-to-be and just relax.
Finally, I’d say try as much as possible not to stress about things that are outside of your control; if there is a way to put a contingency in place then do so, otherwise, forget it and remember you’re getting married to your prince charming.