This attorney enlists the help of one of Chicago’s highly sought after event planners. He entrusted the young go-getter with the task of putting on the New Years Eve party of the year. She and her team completely transform the night club into a whimsical escape from the city.
Guests are completely immersed into another world as they make their way through the venue. Lining the entrance are elegantly draped fabrics. Festive balloons hover over the crowd as they decorate an entire ceiling. A bar made entirely of ice sits across the opulent venue. Sitting behind that ice cool bar is a judge that mixes and stirs the delicious libations for the evening.
A smorgasbord of delectable treats from fruits, candies, and meats sits on top of a massive ornate table. One has to stand on their tippy toes in order to reach for the heavenly feast.
Well-dressed servers pass around the finest cigars as party favors. Bubbles galore fill the flutes of pristine crystal champagne glasses.
The countdown begins and everyone welcomes the new year in pure opulence. Guests part with custom Martini glasses with all of the accouterments needed to make the guest of honor’s favorite drink, a Pink Martini.
It was on this night that Chicago became acquainted with none other than Nicole Marie Pittmon of Nicole Marie Events.
What’s interesting about this story is this elaborate soirée was the first major event for Nicole Marie Pittmon. Through networking, she met a prominent attorney. 2 months ahead of the event he asks the novice event planner if her company could put on the soirée of the year. Little did he know that Nicole and her business partner didn’t have an actual company. However, not one to pass up an opportunity, they rose to the occasion, hence, the much raved about extravaganza. For all you entrepreneurs, let this been a lesson in always being ready to take on the task regardless of where you are in life.
Be ready to take on the task regardless of where you are in life.
I first learned of Nicole like I do many of my interview subjects, via Instagram. She was tagged in one of my friend’s photos. I go to her profile and what I find is a sea of inspiration. I was in awe of the elegant place settings and luxe party favors. One particular post that caught my eye were the appetizers that featured the book cover of none other than Cookie Johnson. I had never seen anything like it before. I thought to myself, only a true visionary would use appetizers as a marketing opportunity. From that realization, I knew that I had to learn more about the woman behind Nicole Marie Events.
The ProcessBased on what I know, it’s unfair to describe Nicole as simply an event planner. Because of her memorable themed cocktails, decadent food spreads, elegant décor and of course the event take away, this cements Nicole’s status as a world class creator of experiences.
“I come from a place of yes and I always try to make it happen”
It’s that wow factor that separates Nicole from her peers. Her event spaces are non-traditional so she’s always looking to take her clients out of this world. Her keen eye for detail allows her to focus on a cohesive theme. Everything from the decor to the appetizers will tie into Nicole and the client’s vision. When entering a Nicole created space, there will always be some type of focal point whether it be a table that requires you to stand on your tippy toes or green foliage centerpieces that reach towards the ceiling.
As a self-professed lover of cupcakes, you can always see her working these delectable treats into her experiences. Only she would give each guest at the BET Holiday party their own decadent miniature cake.
She finds inspiration from just about anywhere from eye-catching window displays to colorful Instagram feeds. However, don’t expect her to peruse often on Pinterest. Nicole strives to always create a unique and custom experience for her clients.
A must for a creator of experiences, Nicole has a plan a, b,c,d, and e. Most importantly, she plans ahead for what could happen before it happens. She compares the preparation of an event to the task of a conductor of an orchestra. Like a conductor, the event planner must know what pieces of the event are next and figure out how they can shape the experience accordingly.
It’s this skill set that has many of Chicago and the nation’s finest flocking to Nicole Marie Events. Nicole herself shares “I come from a place of yes and I always try to make it happen” Rarely will Nicole say no because she goes out of her to way to make sure even the most elaborate visions can come to life.
Because of her incredible work ethic, Nicole has had clients such as BET, CBS, The Obama Foundation, and Cookie Johnson.
The JourneySo how did Nicole become one of the most sought after event planners? For one, it started with a platinum blonde haircut that she dubbed the Nicole Marie. She knew she wanted to stand out so what better way to do that with an edgy and chic haircut. Her charismatic personality and can-do attitude immediately became a draw for prospective clients.
Nicole became a fixture around Chicago by volunteering and by being intentional about where she networked. She may have been a social butterfly but she wasn’t trying to be present at any and every party. Because she was willing to give her time to many notable causes this separated her from her peers.
“On June 15, 2015, was when I was pushed off the ledge and God said I got you, now fly, go do it.
Like most entrepreneurs, she abided by the famous quote of “living a few years like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.– Anonymous” And now Nicole Marie Events is thriving because of this.
By making her presence known, it didn’t take long for her event company to get off the ground.
However, getting on the path to event planning wasn’t always clear. Nicole describes her educational experience to Goldilocks and The Three Bears. It was at Columbia College of Chicago where she eventually found her footing in an event planning course. Despite the uncertainty that comes with youth, Nicole realized early on that “I knew I was going to do something great. I just didn’t know what”.
While Nicole has been perfecting her craft for well over a decade, it wasn’t until the last 5-6 years that Nicole knew that what she was creating was more than a hobby. She shares “On June 15, 2015, was when I was pushed off the ledge and God said I got you, now fly, go do it. I’ve been doing this 100 percent on my own ever since then”.
Throughout Nicole’s 15-year journey towards becoming a formidable creator of experiences she has gained many valuable insights and learnings. She shared with me that it’s important to know that success isn’t going to happen overnight. A common mistake many entrepreneurs make is thinking that success is a sprint and not a marathon. Be prepared to hone and work on your craft for 15-20 before you truly become a success.
“Be confident in who you are”
The evolution of Nicole has truly been remarkable, however, if she could tell her younger self anything it would be “be confident in who you are”.
As you start to make strides with your business, it can be tempting to volunteer yourself for every opportunity to get your name out there. Sometimes this can result in you undervaluing your worth. However, Nicole shares that you must stay consistent and stay the course regardless of the price point.
Throughout her career, Nicole has not only grown her client base but also a list of trusted vendors that help make her clients vision become a reality. According to Nicole “you’re only as good as your vendors” In other words, there is power in collaboration.
Nicole’s events have provided her vendors with an amazing opportunity to showcase their talents among her exceptional work. She’s worked with notable Chicago companies such as Cake Life Chicago and celebrity Chef Judson Todd Allen.
However, another standout trait of Nicole is her willingness to help other’s succeed. On the one hand, event planning is a oversaturated field hence the fierce competitive nature of the industry, but, Nicole knows and understands there’s plenty of room for everyone to succeed. She mentions that “What I have is not going to hurt you because at the end of the day, I’m not you and you’re not me” Nicole throughout her career has continued to have a spirit of giving. That remains one of the keys to her success to this day.
Nicole’s Guide to ChicagoNow that we know more about Nicole, her journey, and her process, let’s discover how she likes to spend her time in the city, in which she continuously seeks inspiration.
Favorite Place to Grab Drinks
If it’s our first time in the city, where should we go and grab a bite to eat?
My favorite upon favorite upon favorite of restaurants is Bandera. The food is always consistent. The customer service is bar none the best. The wine list is superb. Live jazz and you can’t beat the location right there on the mag mile.
When all else fails, what’s always a good bet for a good time in Chicago?
Depending on if it’s hot or cold. You can never go wrong with going up and down Hubbard, Rush or Randolph Street.
Best place for a staycation?
Use the app Hotel Tonight and see what deals they have going on. You can never go wrong with The Peninsula or The Langham.
Describe a typical weekend with Nicole.
Getting as many kisses from my young daughter. Working out and spending time with my family and friends. Going out and hanging out. I’m so used to planning so sometimes I just like to go with the flow.
Huge thanks to Nicole for agreeing to be a part of this feature. I hope that her story and words of advice are encouraging to you all. She’s an inspiration to me and I can’t wait to see what she does next. To keep up with Nicole’s adventures follow her Instagram and see more of her work at PartySlate.com
Photo Credit: Miss Motley Photography
Cake Designer: Cake Life Chicago
Paper Goods: AGD Studio