From Ontario Health Case Manager to International Wedding Producer, here’s how Nicole shot for the stars and hit a few galaxies along the way…
Entrepreneurship is so much better with friends by your side! If you’ve ever been curious about how the small businesses in your community have gotten to where they are today, you are in the right place. In this series, you’ll get to meet your fellow YEG Entrepreneurs and hear their stories of launching a business, overcoming obstacles, and building a career they love.
Today, I’m sitting down with Nicole Konkin of Sugar Plum Events. Pour a cup of coffee and join us as we learn more about her business journey.
Hi everyone! I’m Nicole Konkin, Certified Wedding Producer and Certified Wedding and Event Designer of Sugar Plum Events.
I plan, design and produce storyteller weddings across the globe.
My passion is creating a journey for the guests by honouring the couples stories; both as individuals and as a couple. This experience begins from the second they open their invitation, all the way through thank you notes. My goal is to create an environment where friends become family and family become friends. This is not as simple as a beautifully designed space, blooms and shiny dancefloor. We need to create opportunity for community, empathy, understanding and loyalty.
Weddings for me, are not a one day event. This is a lifetime commitment, strategy and foundation for everything to come. I believe peace begins at home, so creating a space where we can build the next line to be in its most empathetic and understanding position, I believe we will achieve so much more than a memorable day.
Q. Tell us more about you! We’d love to know about your business today and the story of how you got there.
Today, I produce weddings globally. The majority of the weddings are Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario based but the rest (about 30%) are international. These are not just destination weddings (meaning couples are from Alberta but marrying over sees), the majority of these international weddings are off the beaten path for couples that live elsewhere in the world. This side of mu business began with backpacking the world. I met so many people along the way. Lifelong friends. And as they began their lives, they called me. I have been very fortunate about these serendipitous connections.
As for a wedding producer, this began when I was working for a politician in Toronto. I needed to bill him and he needed to pay a business, so- Sugar Plum Events was born! I started with community events, press conferences, galas and fundraisers thinking this is where I would create the most impact improving the quality of life for others. It wasn’t until 2014 when I realised I wanted to focus on weddings only and create impact on a more subconscious level that would then carry through to special events where they themselves, would be making an impact.
It was my way of being a part of a much bigger picture, in a broader, more influential position.
Q. Let’s dive more into the specifics of your business. What products/services do you offer? What do you do for your clients that sets you apart?
I am an inclusive wedding production firm that offers full planning, partial planning, design, consultations and wedding day management.
What sets me apart is my immersive planning style which digs much deeper than overall aesthetic and shows up as a purposeful and impactful experience.
Q. What inspired or influenced you to create your business?
I have always wanted to be in the wedding industry. When I was about 5 years old, my dad started bringing home wedding magazines for me. By the cases. I don’t know where he got them all from.. likely outdated copies from some store. I would flip through those pages and daydream about everything from the texture of the attire to the personality of the couple wearing the clothes.
As a kid we would go to weddings and I would love seeing the families coming together, the live music, games, weekend softball tournaments, camp outs and food. It was when every single person in the room was their happiest, and I wanted this to be my lifestyle.. not just an event.
Q. What are you most proud of in your work?
I am most proud of my relationships with other wedding professionals and couples. It has nothing to do with good reviews or referrals. It has everything to do with community and the connections we have. I don’t have any superficial relationships. I care deeply for each one and know without a doubt that if I ever needed someone, they’d be there and visa versa. This to me is a legacy.
Q. What is one challenge you’ve overcome as a business owner, and what did you learn from it that you can share with others?
One challenge I have faced heavily up until 2020 was discrimination. This may have felt as though it ended in 2020 with the rise, calling for social change or it may have been because I shed the idea that this would have any power over me or dictate my future. Either way, it was a struggle for the 13 years I have been in business and for as long as I can remember before that. Today, I do still face this, but it affects me very little.
I am a “white” person, with “brown” skin. I am asked constantly what my nationality is by those that are curious and at times (and subsequently opportunities given solely based on this) and snubbed and treated poorly by those that assume then acted accordingly based on their own racisms and discrimination.
Since moving to Edmonton, I felt that if I wasn’t “skinny, blond and rich” I would never make it to the level I wanted to be. When 2020 hit, relationships changed. Conversations changed. Connections changed. The power shifted. All of a sudden, people began to look toward solutions. They wanted to find the “good people” to build with.. and I found my place with so many powerhouses that had felt the same way in the past, to whatever degree that was.
To be white, but discriminated because I am brown, look young or am female, made me feel so many layers of angry. What I would tell others, is to let it go. To never let your assumption of why someone treats you one way to affect how you treat yourself or how you dream. Face it, call them out on it in an awkward, polite, way. That has been the most rewarding practice of it all. Leaving them with something to think about, even if all that it is, is why you would not have felt squashed by their comments or assumptions. Just go out and do better. Better ALWAYS wins. In the end, at least you will know that you didn’t hold yourself back with what was maybe- your own assumptions too, becoming your own worst enemy.
Get out of your own way and certainly don’t let others jump in to replace.
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
I have two favourite parts. One is the second each of the couple is about to step onto the aisle. My heart skips a beat every single time. Their entire worlds are about to change. Ripples effects will be put into motion that create history and I feel it so profoundly.
Second, is at the end of the night when you can see that something you created, just left every single person better than you found them.
Q. What is one thing you do to set yourself up for success every week?
I keep my inbox clean and a to do list on the go. If I do something that isn’t on that list, I even add it then cross it off! It makes me feel like I am in control of my days and anxiety or stress doesn’t creep up because I know that I have everything accounted for and I just need to keep my head down and get the next thing done.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
That what you think about, you bring about. I was about 20 when someone told me this and I think this through about 200x a day. As a business owner with dreams yet to achieve- we call this manifesting.
Q. Where can people find you to learn more? (Leave your email, website, social media handles, etc.!)
Choosing your location early is important to be sure you can book the location you love. It’s also important to keep the vibe of your session in mind when choosing your location.
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A passion project of mine is to help others, not just business owners but anyone wanting to do or have more in this life, achieve their biggest dreams and goals. Over the past decade, I have developed some great goal-setting worksheets.
These worksheets will give you the tools you need to get a good start in the direction you want to go and how to get there. They will help you to feel less overwhelmed and give you some tools to use when you are feeling like you have a little too much on your mind.