Monday, April 30, 2012

Living the Bicoastal Life

Running a company can have its ups and downs. Running a bicoastal event production company can add a whole new set of ups and downs. The JG team came together to ask Jes some questions to get the skinny on being the owner of a bicoastal event planning and design company.

1. Did you always know that you wanted to branch out from NY? What this a long-term goal of yours? What was your reason to open a second office and become national?
No! I had no idea this was even an option! It all started when one of my NY-based clients (Victoria’s Secret) kept requesting that I produce events in LA for them and I got used to flying out there and enjoyed producing there. Other potential clients that attended these events that were West Coast based started asking for my services and I just said "yes."
I realized that the more I exposed myself to other markets, the more I could grow as an event producer and keep evolving creatively while opening more economic options for the company as well. I figured that when it was slow in NY, maybe it would be busy in LA and vice versa, so far they are on the same time schedule, I didn’t prepare for that! But it’s a good problem to have.

2. You had your business in NY for so long, what were some of your biggest frustrations when you opened in California? How did you handle that?
Well, the biggest issue was taking the time to really get the lay of the land and figure out what the venues and vendors were all about out there. I needed to take about six months and really tour the town and familiarize myself with what resources were available to me.
Another issue was that I was already well known in NY, but not so much in LA. It’s hard because other vendors already had formed their relationships with the folks that hire them so I had to convince people to give me a chance and try something different.
Also, the amount of time you spend in your car in LA is insane!! I was having a hard time answering emails while I was driving (not a good idea) and keeping up with my NY team and clients. I have figured out that its best to stay on NY time and get up REALLY early so I can keep up with the East Coast projects. I go to bed embarrassingly early in LA.

3. What is your biggest obstacle in running a bicoastal company? Why?
Well it’s physically exhausting with all of the traveling and time differences and I truly want to be at every one of my events, so that can be rough—if I have to be on two coasts at one time. It’s a lot less glamorous than it sounds.

4. How do you overcome that obstacle?
I am taking it one event at a time. I also plan my travel so I am physically comfortable and I have stopped taking the red eye flights! I tend to try and fly on off event days so I can take a moment to regroup and be stellar for the next project. Let’s just say that having WiFi available on flights is a blessing and a curse.
5. What do you love about having a bicoastal company?
Well it sounds cool ha!! Also it’s opened my eyes and rejuvenated my career a bit and forced me to reinvent myself and keep on my toes. I am the kind of person that needs this kind of constant “raising of the bar.” My feeling is, if I make it on one coast, I want to make it everywhere!
6. What is the toughest part about being an employer?
Dude I cant even go there ha!! We would need Dr. Drew for this one.
7. What is the best part?
Well I don’t need to have children of my own, I truly feel I have a family. :) I love being part of a team and going through the good and bad parts of business and life with them. I also love that if I don’t feel like "dazzling" someone or am having an off day, I have an incredible team to fall back on that can pick up the reigns and take over some of my creative and logistical exhaustion.
8. How does your style of design differ from coast to coast?
Well I am lot tanner on the west coast! Honestly it’s all about work for me on either coast but the biggest difference is the inspiration. I get inspired in NY by the people and being able to walk everywhere and see new things constantly. In LA, I am inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds me. I live by the beach so life is pretty gorgeous here. I also love the showbiz aspect out here, the fancy cars, the made up women and the metrosexual dudes.

{Graffiti Art and Street Source - One Extra Pixel}

9. Now the big one, which coast do you like better? Drum roll please…
Uuummm DUH. I will give you a hint: I prefer apples to oranges :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring is the air!

Arthur, you recently created some beautiful spring arrangements for clients of ours! They screamed SPRING and had such personality. I’d love to pick your brain about how you were able to come up with these ideas.

What were the first questions that came to mind when you were asked to create the arrangements?
Well, the first thing that I think about normally is the occasion or purpose of the arrangements; in this case I already knew that we were wishing our clients a Happy Spring. Then, I take into account the person or establishment that will be receiving the arrangement. Since this wasn’t an occasion where I knew the contact, I did research and looked at the company’s website to get an idea of the company’s taste, which I translated to the contact. For instance, for a loft venue, I assumed more of a modern taste. For a classic banquet hall, I assumed traditional and timeless. Lastly, I think of budget and floral availability at the flower market, both of which I revisit on the day that I purchase the flowers.

Do you normally stick to a certain color scheme?
No, if I don't need to stick to a color (based on client requests, etc), I prefer to use whatever floral speaks to me at the flower market.

What are some of your favorite spring blooms/foliage?
You know, I don’t have one favorite. The flowers that make me most happy are the flowers that are peaking when I visit the flower market. I have been in business a very long time, and peaking flowers always put a smile on my face. Currently, Lilacs are in their peak period.

What were some obstacles that you had to keep in mind when you created these arrangements?
Well, one obstacle that can trip anyone up is when packaging at the flower market gives flowers a different look. For instance, I am currently worked on an arrangement with Chincheree that appeared to be very tight when in the package. But when I took them out of the packaging they were much looser. Unfortunately, you can’t open packages at the flower market and you can’t return either. So I just take the idea that I had in my head and alter it. After all it is just an idea! Often, with a little alteration of the flowers and my idea, the arrangements turn out prettier than expected!

(Here is an example of what tight Chincheree should look like)

What goes on in your head when you are at the flower market?
As mentioned earlier, I think about budget and peak periods first and foremost. But after that, I like to factor in longevity. I want to make sure that I buy flowers that have approximately the same lifespan. I don’t want half of the arrangement to go bad in 4 days and the other half to go bad in 4 weeks! Also, I think about workload and prep time. If I know that I will be pressed for time, I try to choose flowers that don’t need a lot of grooming (i.e. no thorns) and also flowers that don’t need special treatment for “drinking.” For example, Lilacs need to be groomed and then put in extremely hot water before being placed in the arrangement. Other flowers can go directly in the arrangement with minimal grooming, like the Chincheree.

Can you provide a description about the arrangements featured below?
Sure! For the more masculine arrangements I like to stick to tropical flowers, they are actually season-less but work great for spring. They are less “petally” so give off less of a feminine vibe. This arrangement is composed of Beehive Heliconia and masculine textural elements, wrapped in a natural fiber fabric. These florals gave the arrangement an architectural element.
This romantic, feminine gift arrangement is composed of Astible, Thistle, and Anemone along with a textural fiber giftwrap. We wanted to create an organic yet soft feeling to the arrangement.

Arthur, you did such a fantastic job, we can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Event Rundown - AOL & Verizon Half Day Summit

Hey Rockstars!  Suzie here, eventsMANAGER for jesgordon/properFUN.  The JG Team wanted to give you an inside look into one of our recent events—an AOL sponsored Verizon Half-Day Summit.  AOL hosted the Verizon team to educate them about some exciting digital innovations and asked us to create décor to brand the space and give the Summit that layer of elegance that we like to add to every event we produce.

We took some of the event questions we are commonly asked and answered them here specifically for this event.

How did you hear about this event and how did it all come about?
We received an email late one night and a scheduled a call for the next day to learn about event details.  The initial information we like to collect includes: event time, venue (location), aesthetic style (modern, traditional, eclectic, etc), any color schemes that the client may have in mind, and any extra elements (special displays, vinyl, etc).  I then made sure that this event was on the entire team’s radar, we only had a 3 day turn around to get the information, brainstorm ideas, create a proposal complete with images, gain approval from the client, purchase materials and hire additional staff.  We scheduled a time to tour the venue and meet our client (we were able to do this less than 24 hours after the initial email).

For the next few questions, Christine, our designDIRECTOR, will guide you through décor questions and anxieties.   

Can you describe the process to get this job designed, proposed, approved, installed, and broken down?
When I received notice from Suzie that we were going to be working on a branding event, I immediately pre-notified our printing vendor because vinyl is a great tool to brand an event.  Next, I started work on our proposal.  Proposals are often a team effort: once my first draft is complete, I review the proposal with each team member to make sure that we are all on the same page and that we have incorporated everything that the client needs.  Once the team was in agreement, I sent the proposal to our client, anxiously awaited her approval, and then immediately placed our printing order.  Arthur, our productionDIRECTOR, hired delivery and freelance employees for load-in, set-up, and breakdown.  Once Arthur confirmed all of the staffing needs, we created a comprehensive list of everyone that would work the event, their arrival time, and responsibilities.

How did you brand the space most effectively?  
During the walkthrough we followed the path that guests would take and decided on the best surfaces for branding. We chose glass doors off the elevators, a white wall behind the check in table, and a white banquette that had a clear view from the entryway.  The eye was naturally drawn to these focal points. We used two different types of vinyl for compensate for the different surfaces—gloss laminated vinyl with a clear back for the glass doors and the white banquette, and adhesive fabric vinyl for the white walls.  Gloss laminated vinyl with clear backing helps blend the logo with the existing surface.  Fabric vinyl is easy to re-adjust and never ruins existing surfaces.  We selected linens to match the Verizon logo and recommended that the logo appear on the existing TV monitors in the space.

What flowers did you use for this event?
I used Phaleonopsis Orchid blooms for the large focal point arrangements.  They worked with the colors in Verizon’s logo, are especially gorgeous, and there was a surplus of blooms available after Easter/Passover.  I like to buy flowers with the season because the blooms are at their peak, and these orchids were definitely in season!  

During the casual breakfast I chose Ginger blossoms in a clear vase with red Lucite “ice” for the highboy tables.  I liked how the naturally pointy blossoms complemented the shade of red and the “V” in the Verizon logo.

For the more formal luncheon tables, I chose to use a single White Calla Lilly accented with a wire orb.  The wire orb gave the arrangement a more techy, futuristic vibe that fit the essence of the event—innovation.

Another element that I took into account when creating these arrangements, was the limited load in time (starting at 6am yikes!).  In order to be prepared, I made the arrangements on Friday and had to choose arrangements that would hold up over the weekend.   Also, it is important to know your audience: I knew that these floral arrangements were for an event that would be attended primarily by men.  I focused the design to be more masculine, architectural, and modern with clean straight lines.

Were you able to stay consistent with the branding in the flower arrangements?
In addition to the leaves of the Ginger bloom, I hand made some plexi-glass lattice forms to add to the giant orchid sprays in our large arrangements.  These plexi-glass forms actually mimicked the “V” in Verizon.  We used colors in line with Verizon’s iconic logo for the arrangements and vases. 

How do you stay original with your floral design?
I'd like to think that all of my designs are original.  I have been inspired by so much creativity from so many other creative people. I am inspired by everyone, everyday, everywhere.  All ideas come from somewhere and I have to give credit to so many others for their creative inspiration.

Were there any challenges during the installation?
Of course!  This is New York City and there are always challenges when getting anything from one place to another.  At 6am in Monday morning, our delivery van was not allowed in the loading dock due to parking restrictions. So we had to load-in the entire job from the street.  And sadly, we lost our best push-cart while loading in :-( 

Was there anything that made this event stand out from other events?
With production, all jobs are different.  This is what keeps them exciting!   

As you can see, an event, from conception to creation, is a long chain reaction full of obstacles, solutions, organization, and creative flourishes J  Each event is a team effort and communication is KEY.  At jesGORDON we know that we can rely on each other for help, creative solutions, and as a check and balance system that organically occurs because all of our worlds overlap.  This post will be one of many “Event Rundowns” to come, and we hope that you enjoyed hearing about our event process! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Fling

Blog Written by christineHAN,
designDIRECTOR, jesGORDON/properFUN

Growing up in Baltimore, Washington D.C. was just a place with history and old buildings. I remember going on a field trip to the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian in 8th grade. Many of my classmates were bored out of their minds and literally spent the day kicking and screaming. Over the years, as I matured as a person and as a designDIRECTOR, I developed an eye for interior design, architecture, flowers, and all the other elements that create an environment. I was finally able to see the beauty of the city's architecture and gardens, and therefore appreciated my time there much more. As an event designer, exploring new places also helps develop my sense of space and enhances my three dimensional renderings.

After my most recent weekend getaway to the capitol region, I've wanted to share some tips on planning short, fun trips to Washington D.C.

Finding just the right neighborhood for your Washington hotel stay makes all the difference.
Here are a few unique neighborhoods in DC:

The National Mall sits in the center of Washington's Downtown. Downtown is the most convenient neighborhood for visiting the museums and monuments that abound in the city. With its large selection of Metro stops, Downtown is never more than a short subway ride from the rest of Washington.

Dupont Circle
This neighborhood is located on north of the White House and George Washington University. Dupont Circle is chock full of fashionable boutiques, brasseries, and bars. Washington's largest concentration of international embassies lies along Massachusetts Avenue or Embassy Row. Therefore, the architectural structures of the buildings, restaurants, and cafes have a diverse flair.

I stayed at the QUINCY in Dupont Circle. It was very convenient (the location was superb), spacious, and affordable. If you want to experience both historic places and quality restaurants and nightlife, I highly recommend staying in Dupont Circle, you won't regret it. The hotel also has a private parking garage with a very reasonable $30 rate for 24 hours. On the weekends, you can find street free parking close to the hotel.

This neighborhood runs along the Potomac River west of the National Mall. Georgetown houses Washington's politicos as well as dozens of bistros, bars, antique stores, and designer boutiques. Georgetown's redbrick colonial architecture makes the trip worthwhile. I enjoy jogging along the Hudson River in the city. If you are a jogger, you should definitely try a jog along the C&O Canal Towpath or a stroll through Dumbarton Oaks.

Where to eat? Oh don't you worry! New York City has definitely spoiled me with quality food and drinks and I've become quite a restaurant snob, however Washington D.C. didn't disappoint me at all. The city offers a great selection of authentic and unique restaurants.

Scion: Try their delicious lobster reuben. DELICIOUS! (LINK)

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe: A great bookstore with a BAR - Enough said! (LINK)

Agora Restaurant: Great outdoor seating enhances your dining experience. You must try this Mediterranean, Greek, and Turkish restaurant on 17th st. Another must try, Chef's Borek (Crispy phyllo roll filled with goat cheese, and savory Maras pepper, served with tomato marmalade). Also try their Turkish tea with mint leaf. (LINK)

HText Colorere are some photos I took this weekend. Two full, sunny days in
Washington DC made for a perfect spring getaway trip ;)

{Corcoran Gallery of Art}

Happy SPRING everyone!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring in the City

As the weather gets warmer, the boots come off and the scarfs unravel. Temperatures above 65 allow those of us in New York to spend time outside of our tiny apartments or stale offices without freezing our cojones off. A walk to work, school, or play becomes even more pleasant as we soak up warm rays and increase our vitamin D! This is the perfect time to find some grass, a tree, or a patch of flowers and enjoy what little nature we have in the city. Parks arks are a great way to take a break from the busy event production and design lifestyle and gain inspiration. Several parks in New York CIty are favorites in our office.

Jes loves the Highline on Manhattan's west side. This elevated park, once the home of trains, was abandoned over 20 years ago. It has been revitalized and given an entirely different purpose filled with wildflowers, benches, and beautiful design. Visitors to the Highline float almost 3 stories above the busy streets of New York while appreciating some rare open space as well as the architecture and views from the unique vantage point. The Highline runs between 10th and 11th Avenues from Gavensevort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street with multiple access points - check their website: for more information. Jes walks this park almost everyday, watching the transformation of the plants and flowers while taking in the views.

Arthur enjoys the Conservatory and Shakespeare Garden in Central Park. The Central Park Conservatory has three distinct types of formal gardens within--English, French, and Italian--and can be accessed from the Vanderbilt gate on 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets. The formal garden has concentric rings of hedges and plants, and a large grassy opening that leads to a pool and fountain. "The Conservatory Garden is an officially designated Quiet Zone and offers a calm and colorful setting for a leisurely stroll, and intimate wedding, or an escape with a good book." The Shakespeare Garden in Central Park is much more quaint and organic. This four-acre oasis has rustic benches made of logs and tree branches and windy paths of slate. The garden features overflowing displays of plants and flowers that Shakespeare referenced in his poems and plays.

All three parks are a wonderful places to take some time out during lunch or on the weekend and get away from the noisy, bustling city. Some other favorite parks that are a little more removed include Fort Tryon Park in Inwood, and both the Brooklyn and NY Botanical Gardens. They may involve a little bit more of a hike, but it is definitely worth it!

Roll up your sleeves, download your favorite book, and find some green - enjoy spring in the city!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Get Up and Dance!

We are a company that loves to dance (no really, sometimes some of us don’t even realize we are dancing), but other people may need a little help coming out of their shells. Here are a few suggestions on how to get people up and moving!

(Courtesy of

Interactive video games that focus on dancing can be a great way to get any wallflower moving at your party. Since it will feel like they are playing a game and not simply dancing, their nerves will be eased. We suggest Just Dance for the Nintendo Wii or Dance Central for the XBOX Kinect. (The Kinect has new technology that can detect your movements without any use of a controller and you can see your avatar in the television as you are doing the movements!)

(Courtesy of
(Courtesy of

Karaoke! Karaoke is a great way to get guests to mingle with one another and if you really want to make sure that your guests are connecting, we suggest randomly pairings guests and songs by pulling names and songs out of a hat. There is no better way for your guests to bond over their mutual embarrassment about (or love of) signing than performing “Baby Got Back” in front of the rest of the party.

Some of the jesGORDON favorites are:
"Rolling in the Deep" - Adele
"Forget You" - Cee Lo Green
"Only The Good Die Young" - Billy Joel
"Don't Stop Believing" - Journey
"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - Wham!
"Like A Prayer" - Madonna

(Courtesy of

The perfect playlist is the last way to really get your guests blood pumping. It's good to know your audience and play to their likes and dislikes. Pay attention to trends, age and style. As a universal rule, if you don’t have that information, we suggest sticking to some old-time favorites combined with top 40s of the time.

Try these classics sprinkled with your favorite current songs:
"Celebrate" - Kool & The Gang
"Borderline" - Madonna
"Freeze Frame" - J. Geils Band
"We Are Family" - Sister Sledge
"Superstition" - Stevie Wonder
"Come On Eileen" - Dexy's Midnight Runners

Monday, April 2, 2012

Macy's Flower Show 2012: "Brasil: Gardens in Paradise"

Meet Paolo! Paolo is the latest addition to the cast of characters jesGORDON created specifically for the Macy's Flower Show. This year's theme is "Brasil: Gardens in Paradise" and as always Jes brought her signature style which is a little country and a little bit rock and roll to the occasion.

Paolo's rockin' afro is made of orchid heads and tropical leaves. Sculptor Matt Mikas helped make Jes's vision for Paulo come alive. Matt gave Paolo his other notable features-- a smirk, yellow Ray-Ban sunglasses and of course his fabulous headphones displaying the Brazilian flag.

Take a look at Paolo's transformation ;)

Large screens, depicting Brazilian favelas in Rio, appear behind the gorgeous display of lush tropical plants and Paolo. The photograph was taken by Ana Maria Russo, a photographer who lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

{Source: Fanartreview}

Several weeks of work and planning paid off. Our installation at 4 in the morning on Saturday, March 31st was a success and Paolo was very well received. Thanks to our production manager, Arthur B., for planning everything within an inch of its life!