Ndidi Obioha, Chief Executive Officer of Enthyst Event Limited and Enthyst Fashion Klinik, whose experience in event planning spans several decades, recently added another feather to her cap with the launch of a first of its kind reality TV show in Nigeria titled ‘The Event Pros’, which exposes and reviews everything that makes event planning flawless and stylish. She spoke with Mary Ekah about the inspiration behind the show and more
What is the motive behind the launch of your TV show?
It is a dream comes true. It is an infotainment kind of show called ‘The Event Pros’. It is all about the event industry – the madness, the tension, and the entire craze that go on when putting together an event. It is a reality show. So, there is no holding back. It is seeing me in my elements planning events. The truth is that people seat there and say, ‘what does event planners really do? And they get to the venue and see a beautiful arrangement and they believe it doesn’t take much effort and that they don’t really need an event planner in most cases.
But when you watch this show and see the behind the scene efforts put into planning events, you would know it is unwise for any one planning a party not to employ the services of an event planner. There is so much pressure and uncertainty involved in putting up an event that you really need an event planner. What we do as event consultants is that we conceptualise, define, plan, mileage, execute, implement and finally coordinate the event according to the brief we are given and in doing this we totally rely on vendors.
One of the things that made me do this is because there are a handful of non-professionals in the industry. When the industry is full of non-professionals, they are gradually taking that industry to the doom era. Some come into the industry because of the money, some because they think the industry is booming. What happens then, they cut corners at the expense of their clients that have paid you to work for them. It is also an avenue to let those who like to come into the industry know what to expect and understand some of the skills they need to acquire.
That is what the show is all about. We want to make it as real as possible, entertaining as possible and informative. It is meant to help the industry. We will showcase some of the people we consider professionals. From vendors to event planners, they will share their experiences on the show. This is me giving people the opportunity to share their stories and for people to learn from them.
Can you take us through the content of the show?
It is called ‘The Event Pros’. Pros is a short form for professionals. It is a reality show. It is in different four parts. A camera will be following me wherever I work. There will be a diary section in each episode, where we relate everything that we have gone through, letting people to really understand what we are up to with this programme. There will be the interview session, where we would be interviewing different vendors from my colleagues to the some of the people that we get these services from. We also have a session where we will give people tips on what to look out for like the kind of music to play at birthdays, funerals and so on. We would showcase talents behind our industry like some people who are not in our industry but help things run properly for us like the artistes and DJs.
How many episodes have you recorded so far?
We have 13 episodes. It will run for 15 weeks and it will show on Africa Magic Urban from July. We are also online TV.
Having a TV show is not a child’s pay, so are you paying the bills or your sponsors?
For now, it is from our purse. We believe it will attract sponsors very soon. The reality show will give birth to a lot of other things. For Season 2, we will search for an event intern, just to make it exciting. The intern will work with me and other vendors. Whoever wins will go with me to Las Vegas, USA, in an all-expense paid trip. I attend conference there every year.
The winner will learn so much over there. It is really an avenue of giving back. We would retire some day. We need people to carry on. I am so passionate about the event industry. I love to do this, I mean, event planning is fun, although a very crazy profession but if you know what you are doing, it is fun! And I do not want to see it die. Someone should be able to carry on after us and it should be the right people.
Would there be startup funds for interns?
The truth is that, you don’t need any start off funds for event planning business. Clients pay you to start. All you need is creativity and that is one important thing you have to consider when starting. For every job you execute well will give you another job. I remember when I started, the first wedding I did gave me three other weddings. When you are starting, always start with your family. Start with those around you.
Have you always wanted to be an event planner?
I remember back then, I have always loved to host people. Every opportunity to host people, I jump at it. Let me say, being an event planner came naturally, I didn’t even think I would make money from it. It was passion first before the money. That has kept me going.
A lot of people will think you are trying to diversify because money isn’t coming as it used to or maybe you’re no longer getting clients?
To me honest wit you, it is even coming more for us. I did APC convention last year. It was one of our biggest jobs. It was huge and an amazing event. Funny enough, jobs have been coming despite the craziness of getting the job done. We are getting better and growing more even with all the madness. And for me, in everything I do, I always love taking it to the next level, so for me, this is the next level, which is the TV show. If I didn’t do TV, I probably would have written a book. The idea for me is sharing knowledge and passing on knowledge that for me is the next level. And one of the things I will probably end up doing in no time would be opening up my event academy and it is all about impacting knowledge on people.
How entertaining will the show be so that viewers will not be bored?
The entertainment part is seeing the drama. There are a lot of screaming and shouting. You will see a different side of me. Some vendors can drive you mad. Some will literally kill you. At times, I wish I could do everything by myself. There are a few good ones there too. They are good and they pay attention to details. I try my best to showcase them as well; some will short-change you instead of giving you the exact number of items, they bring less.
How do you manage difficult vendors?
I am particular when it comes to details. If a vendor wants to short-change me, I deduct his pay. I will give such a person hell as well because it will affect my brand. The client needs to know you through me; I must protect my client and my brand as well.
In your years as an event planner, have you ever had a poor outing?
No, I haven’t to be honest with you. I think I might close shop the day I do. It will kill me. That is how passionate I am about my job. I have had one or two not-too-good events, but they weren’t poor outings because of us. As much as we have vendors that can be challenging, the client can also be challenging as well. Event planners are like medical doctors. Clients need to tell them how much they have so that we can work with it. So usually we work with your budget.
On an average, how many events do you host in a month?
That’s between 20 and 25. I am always having fun while working. Once an event is successful, I am ready to start another one that same night. It is not difficult for me because I really love what I do.