First up, meet one of our founders, Samantha Weinglass or as her friends like to call her, Sami Rae. She tells all via a casual convo over milkshakes and french fries with her co-founder and partner in crime, Pauli.
P: What is one of the funniest moments you can remember onsite at an event?
S: Honestly, there are so many! One that sticks out to me right now is when my boss and I were checking an executive's hotel room prior to his arrival (we always made sure the room was freshly made, the tv and lights worked, the amenity we sent him was there with the personalized card from us, etc.), and unbeknownst to us, he had arrived 4 hours earlier than expected. We were still in the room when we heard the door unlock and saw him enter. Luckily, we were in the bedroom and not the living room where the door opened up into...and LUCKILY he was in a suite that had its own kitchen with a back door for hotel staff to come in and out. I remember doing somersaults, rolling over the bed, and doing a high jump to the door to get out of there as fast as humanly possible. The HARDEST thing I had to do was swallow my laughter and not make a sound during those 10 seconds - that by the way, seemed like an ETERNITY. We were hysterical.
P: That’s hilarious! What about your most mortifying event experience?
S: I have about a million. The one that I don’t think I will ever live down was at an executive offsite at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Fl. On the second day of the offsite, we had set up activities for everyone; some went to the spa, the beach, some played tennis, and others played golf. My responsibilities that day was to oversee golf - make sure all the foursomes got out ok, set out directional signage and gifts along the course, ensure the photographer knew what holes to get shots from. My only other responsibility that day (outside of my golf duties) was to make it back to our team’s production office for our staff meeting at like 4 o’clock. The golf clubhouse gave me a golf cart to drive around the course in order to do everything I needed to. I was driving around making my stops and all was going great; I felt super cool, like I owned the place! [laughs] And then, all of sudden, I guess I made a wrong turn and found myself stopped at a red light! I said to myself “why the f*** am I stopped at a red light in a golf cart?” Somehow I had made my way off the course and onto the HIGHWAY. And to top it off, I looked to my right while stopped at this light and (passed the life size care next to me) I see my CEO at the time on the green, HYSTERICAL laughing at me with his foursome, I’m sure wondering why the hell I was on the highway. With my beyond sweaty palms, beat red face, and still completely disoriented, I somehow made it back to the clubhouse to return the cart. I ran back to the hotel and stormed into the staff meeting. I was 30-minutes late to the meeting because of my “joy” ride - MORTIFIED. Everyone was asking me where I had been out of concern. It was a mistake telling them because to this day, it’s their favorite story to tell about me over drinks for a good laugh. Luckily, I can laugh with them now.
P: [Laughs] I really do love this story, never gets old. Although I wasn’t there for this, I find myself telling it like I was there.
P: You just had your second baby - beautiful Ellyot Drew. How are you managing with two under two?
S: Lol. Depends on the day, honestly. Today happens to be a good day! It’s extremely hard and exhausting having a newborn; nonetheless a newborn and a “Ty” who is only 19 months. I hear it gets easier after the first 6 months, so just 1 more month to go!! It’s certainly been a challenge finding the balance between work and family life too - I am fortunate enough to have a great nanny and an extremely supportive husband, and my family is close by to help too. So just taking it one day at a time and reminding myself I’m not superwoman and that’s okay. Ugh, now I’m all choked up!
P: On a lighter note, CREW EVENTS - what made you take the plunge and leave your corporate job to start your own business? Asides wanting to work with me everyday, of course. [Laughs]
S: At the risk of repeating myself, my new family of four. I have always wanted to go out on my own, but I guess one big change led to another. It gave me the drive and lit the fire under my ass to finally do it. Also, my BFF (wink wink) asked me to go into business with her!
P: Any regrets in your career?
S: Not one. Each step of the way was part of the journey. I have been so fortunate in my career to work with and learn from some of the best in the business, co-workers and vendors alike. The past 11 years have been incredible and have led me here - nothing bad about that!
P: What inspires you?
S: The world around me - NYC. It’s window displays, street art, store displays, its crazy style. Our ‘idea of the week’ sessions we have every week too! Bizbash, instagram of course, my crazy son. Everything inspires me - as long as I am in the mood to be inspired. Lol.
P: What are some of the coolest places your work and events have taken you?
S: We went to Scotland for a client golf event with AOL, which was pretty cool. We did a European roadshow which I loved too. Doing events at Cannes was always pretty unbelievable. And honestly, here in NYC. I know it’s home, but to me, it’s the best city in the world. And it has some of the most unique event spaces, the most talented and creative vendors, and the fact that it’s the city that never sleeps is really quite fitting for me right now (thank you Ellyot and the 4 month sleep regression).
P: Piece of advice for anyone starting out in this crazy world of events that we love and hold so dear?
S: There are so many more opportunities now in events than even 10 years ago when I was starting out. Events and experiential marketing are where it’s at now. So don’t let anyone tell you event planning or event management isn’t a real job. It is, and it’s probably one of the hardest jobs out there - iIt takes a whole lot of skill, it takes passion, and it takes a certain kind of (type A) personality. So if you think you have it, GO FOR IT.
P: What do you do on your spare time, between running after your kiddos and creating FOMO-inducing events?
S: [Laughs] I don’t have much spare time these days, BUT I have started running again, in the morning, before the kids wake up. I missed it! I’d love to run the NY and Chicago marathons again one day… and I’ve heard the Big Sur Marathon is unreal. So running for sure.. I love the beach, lounging by the pool, and my husband and I love to make pizza and sushi.
P: Okay last question, but maybe the most important one: favorite food?
S: I have a few that I literally cannot choose between...but they all serve their own purpose. Fro Yo with rainbow sprinkles, soft pretzels, chicken parm, and sour gummy watermelon.... Ohhh, and this peanut butter milkshake from Shake Shack which is life. [Laughs]