Many women event planners have changed the face of the events industry over the past ten years. How? Well, it isn’t all that simple to explain. But what we do know is that April Knight-Copeland has brought fresh, innovative creations to the event management industry and have made dreams come true for a variety of people around the world.
April Knight-Copeland is a highly energetic and detail-oriented Global Event Executive with over ten years of event experience in hospitality, entertainment, and television. In 2012 April wanted to go into business for herself where she could take her event experience to large organizations and thus, created Platinum Events by April LLC. Platinum Events by April LLC missions is to help small businesses, non-profits, corporations, and growing firms ensure that all messaging flows throughout the event for everyone effortlessly.
Facts: April was Born and raised in the Washington DC Metro, after college she decided to leave and move to New York City where she has been for the past 10 years. A Taurus, traveler, white wine loving, certified mixologist and one of the coolest chicks you will ever know! Currently, she’s a newlywed and a new puppy parent. When she’s not working, you can catch her on someone’s beach.
Why event management?
It started when I was an intern in college. I was blessed (and highly favored won’t he do it!) with the opportunity to intern for BET Networks when it headquartered in Washington, DC. I was in the Special Events department and had zero ideas of what I was doing, but I knew I was interested in learning something different than doing a regular ole business internship, no shade. The team that I was a part of had been with BET for 10+ years and most of them were women which was impressive to me because at the time I never saw women in a leadership role with so much power and confidence.
I remember the very first task I had to do was organize the list of attendees to upcoming BET Awards as well as the Bobby Jones Gospel concert. I was scarrreeeddd lol. But I learned a lot and from there became more hungry to learn more about what exactly went on behind the scenes of these large scale events. I think the thing that has always stuck with me was the fact that I was able to take my creativity, mess it with an existing concept and curate experiences that are one of a kind and leave a lasting impression on people. Also, I’m very organized, and event management allows me to take my skills and help people master the art of storytelling through a different lens then they have thought of before.
Your company grew quickly and is now a well-respected player in the event industry. What did you focus on to stand out from the competition?
I always focus on the ‘why.’ Why am I doing this, why am I helping people and why do I want them to win. It’s not just about planning events for me; it’s more about why a client or company needs help. I’m able to help a company more effectively flow their messaging throughout an event, and that is not something that comes easy, it takes time, research, care and respect for the company and process. That is what I believe has allowed us to be seven-plus years in the game and remain stronger than ever.
What were your biggest mistakes when building etc. venues? How did you eventually overcome them?
My biggest mistake when it came to creating venue spaces was thinking too small or thinking too big and not having a concept or idea as a starting point. I would get so excited to work with a client that I would throw everything and the kitchen sink at them about what we could do, not thinking about cost, labor or even if its possible. For example, I was working with a client that wanted 2,000 balloons, everything had to be in rose gold, and the head table had to be ivory and rose gold. At the time I didn’t know how to get them, what type of balloons would work in the venue or if outside furniture was allowed. I just knew this what they wanted and didn’t think through what it would take to get this done.
On top of that, I “yes” them so much that once I realized a lot of this we couldn’t execute because of their budget, I was too far gone in the process and had to find ways to come close to what they envisioned. It worked out, but it was a nightmare! Thank goodness I had old professors and internship managers who helped me along the way with the execution of the event with the venue and managing the client but I learned a lot from that experience. Now, I make sure to manage expectations based on budget and work with the site and any other vendors and partners on what we can and can’t do so that we can accomplish the client’s goals but within reason.
What inspired you to start Platinum Events by April, LLC?
My grandmother and mother.
Let’s start with my mom. Growing up with an entrepreneur in the household you learn what it takes to be a boss, and you learn from day one. I remember going to the office with my mom as she would close multi-million dollar contracts. She is the boss! My younger sister and I would be in one room, and she would be in another. Throughout my whole life I told myself, I saw my mom be a boss and that is what I want to do with my life and bam! I made it happen. Even now, she is still in the business of helping other companies grow, and it’s such an inspiration to have that type daily example in my life.
Next, person that made me start my business is my grandmother. She was the queen of event planning (and didn’t even know it), and I wanted to be just like her. After she retired from working in the government, she worked at a senior community center called Camp Springs Senior Center in Maryland where she coordinated all of the activities, trips you name it for everyone who came there. Her attention to detail when it came to the trips was unheard of, and she was the queen of getting passport stamps. She was able to grow the center to be one of the top places to go to over a short period. She was well respected and one of the reasons why I go as hard as I do because I want to make her proud especially since she is guiding me through her angelic wings. She is missed, and I hope I’m making her proud.
What are your goals currently? As in vision and mission? What problem are you trying to solve?
My current goal is to bring out everyone’s inner event planner by providing easy to follow tips, tricks along with my first-hand lessons that I talk about via my Youtube channel (Platinum Events by April), podcast (All Things Event Planning with April) and blog (April Event Diaries).
My mission has always been to help people. I know how it feels to no feel supported or validated in your ideas and dreams and with event planning, it’s one vehicle of manifesting your vision for the day into reality and its such an honor to do that for others and something that I take great pride in doing for people.
Did you start all by yourself?
Yes, I did. It was something that I knew I had to do. I always knew that I didn’t want to work in corporate America forever so I had to start somewhere and I knew it would have to me, myself and I. So at 26 years old I formed my company and haven’t had any regrets! Being a solopreneur has challenges but its 100% worth it. I’ve been able to build a community with other entrepreneurs like myself, and being a woman business is one of the greatest honors I have.
What do you have to keep in mind BEFORE getting into entrepreneurship?
I always tell people you have to think about your end game and what you want out of your life because being an entrepreneur a life commitment. There will be times when you are alone; you are working 9-5 and 5-9. You will miss important family events, you will cry, YOU WILL FAIL, and sometimes fail bad, but if you are willing to be comfortable for a little while, then you will have a lifetime of happiness which is just on the other side of the groundwork.
What investment did you need to start Platinum Events by April, LLC?
Well, when I first wanted to make my company, I had to file with my state and fill out all the paperwork which at the time, seven years ago, was about $3,000. That was to ensure that I was a legal entity and there was a record of me in their system. After that, the only other significant investment that I needed was to have some money in a business bank account (started with $100) and then I was off. Everything else I accumulated over time.
Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?
I believe it’s a healthy mix of both. “Faith without works is DEAD!” and I think that 100%. You can be destined for success, but if you are not strategic about how to get and stay there, then it will never happen for you. What is for you “is for you” and what is not for you is not so as long as you are humble you will have everything that is destined for you and more.
What is your favorite aspect of becoming an entrepreneur?
My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is being able to be the boss, doing what I love and not feeling like I have to do something to survive but doing something that I feel like I am called to do. Sometimes I felt like working in corporate was very limiting. I would work the same job in and out and never felt 100% appreciated or that I was working for my full value. Being an entrepreneur, I know I’m getting what I’m worth, and that is so rewarding.