12 Apr Influencer Interview – Benita Kam, Event Planner
Everybody loves a party, especially those that combine a wonderful event with design, style and flourish. It takes a special skill to create an exquisite, memorable event, and I am delighted to have the chance to talk about that with one of Australia’s best party makers, Benita Kam of BNT management. Benita excels in making the ordinary extraordinary and has a wealth of experience behind her, so I asked her to share some of her story, her style and her advice for spectacular events.
MS | You co-ordinate and style events that range from corporate to charity to private events. Do you have a favourite type of event? I imagine charity events are rewarding.
BK | I don’t have a favourite type of event as each event has its own special meaning to me due to the relationship formed and the mix of imagination and design between my client and me. Charity events are very rewarding.
MS | You have said that a successful event does not just come down to one element, but if you could nominate one critical factor in a successful event, what would that be?
BK | That the client and I are on the same wavelength and in agreement conceptually and in terms of the style of the event.
MS | What advice can you give someone to bring ‘event style’ to their home event (say, a dinner)?
BK | I like to create a sumptuous and opulent setting so that all my guests know how important I believe they are. Whether the setting is casual or formal, the layers such as fine crockery and cutlery, good quality glassware, beautiful napery and decorative candles or votives need to create the ambience and should all form part of the home event. Of course flowers and food should be generously spread out over the table setting.
MS | Designing an event is an important part of executing an event – how do you get inspiration for the ‘design’ phase?
BK | This is all client and event dependent. In the initial meeting I ask more questions than I answer and once I understand their wants, visions, and expectations for the event I am inspired me to start the design phase.
MS | Can you tell us about one of your favourite events to date.
BK | We did a birthday party in a private home that remains a signature event. Mirrored tables filled with flowers were turned into cat ramps at dessert time and models and dancers then moved through the guests in beautiful clothes culminating in a fashion show with a difference.
MS | Tell us how you got into the events industry – where did you get your start?
BK | I began with all of my three children’s birthday parties in South Africa many years ago. It was then I realised that no vision of an event is ‘too much’ or ‘incorrect’ – unless it is too much for you. Every party was themed and ‘over the top’ but I continued to love designing and creating. Then I immigrated to Australia 17 years ago and started assisting friends with their functions. This developed into the formation of my business.
MS | What would you say are the key attributes needed to be a great event planner?
BK | I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to ‘listen’ to your clients. To understand their interests, their passions, their likes and dislikes, their personalities, and their budgets. This listening enables you to design and deliver an event that will thrill them. In addition, being organised and informing them of all aspects of the event is important so that there are no unknowns and so that they will feel safe at their event, and know that whatever they want will be implemented. Lastly, good acting skills are important as many events have crises that happen behind the scenes and it is imperative your client never knows this and that the planner appears calm and in control at all times during the event.
MS | What does a typical day involve for Benita Kam?
BK | There is no typical day and there is no rule of thumb. I’m just generally very hands on, speaking or meeting with a host of clients, and sub-contractors e.g. florists, caterers, musicians, and hiring and production companies each and every day. The large scale events I am involved with require a great deal of advance preparation and planning in order for the execution of them to be perfect.
MS | Is your flair for style in events reflected in your home?
BK | Repetition, contrast and texture provide an intriguing yet understated elegant effect in my home. I like to believe my events follow the same pattern.
MS | When you entertain at home, do you bring the same creativity and attention to detail to its organisation?
BK | I’m told I do and I like to believe this is so. I am fortunate, though, that suppliers are at my fingertips and that it is effortless for me to organise the caterer, florist, etc.
MS | Can you imagine doing anything other than events? What would that be?
BK | At this moment in time – no, I can’t. I still get that exhilarating feeling when an event comes to life and when my clients walk in and I see the happiness on their faces.
Follow Benita on instagram: @bntmanagement or visit her website: web: www.bntmanagement.com.au
All images courtesy of BNT Management