CrowdInk had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Yael Barkhan, an event stylist based in Sydney who has worked with some huge names. She talks through how she started with a stand in front of a car wash and has grown her business into a sustainable (both creatively and financially) business.
CrowdInk: Tell us about your brand. How did you get started? What was your inspiration?
Yael Barkhan: I grew up in a family of very creative and eccentric aunts. Some were artists, landscape gardeners who were more like the women from the Bloomsbury era, each living a very bohemian lifestyle. My father was a clothing manufacturer of high end menswear. I was always exposed to fashion and textiles from when I was very young. My mum was a natural creative and is able to make simple objects looks special. She is the ultimate at cluster bombing!
My business grew completely organically! I have no formal training in events or floral design. I did however have a fantastic contact at Sydneys’ Flemington Flower Market – which started me thinking about who I could sell fresh flowers to. With blind faith, I walked into the Crystal Carwash in RoseBay which is owned by the ‘infamous’ Anthony Sahede and asked if I could set up a small flower stand outside his carwash. This truly birthed my love of flowers and design. During that time I was able to create beautiful arrangments for passing clients. From one seed to another – a client asked me to help with her product display at a beauty expo. This opened up my ‘creative eye’ and my passion for events began!
CI: What exactly does event styling involve?
YB: The first step of styling an event is meeting up with a client and understand their exact ‘wish list.’ I always try and infuse my events with elements that represent my clients. For example, if they are are passionate about travel, I will try to source something that is related to their unique style and tastes.
From our first meet up, I usually do an onsite of where the event/launch/wedding will be held as this is where I start to garner all my inspiration. I am passionate about transforming spaces and I am lucky that I can see the picture in my mind of how it’s all going to flow. I also act as a liaison between suppliers, be it caterers, entertainment, photographers, and so forth. Ultimately my style of event styling is to interpret my client’s vision and infuse the event with all my special touches. This is where I really excel!
CI: What’s your number 1 tip for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
YB: My number one tip for entrepreneurs is ‘persistence.’ That is truly one of my strongest attributes! And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! “Feel the fear” and do it anyway is my mantra! It may sound crazy to some, but just do it anyway! When I did the styling for celebrity radio host Jackie O’s daughter’s party – I heard her talking about it on the radio – this immediately got my attention and I phoned the radio station. I followed up with emails and further messages. I eventually got the job through sheer persistence. Most businesses will have their obstacles. However if you love what you do just keep persisting and it will happen! Talk to everyone you know and keep talking – from banter comes business! You never know who will be your next client!
CI: How do you like to spend your spare time?
YB: As we are always time poor and life is so chaotic, my solace is really doing simple things like spending time with my four boys and one furry baby! I am a soccer mum and I have come to love my weekend games when I am not styling fabulous events! We are a big foodie family and love exploring and finding new eateries in Sydney! As I am also a compulsive creative, I do spend probably more time than I should on Pinterest and Instagram looking for the latest trends and inspiration!
CI: What’s your favourite fashion accessory?
YB: I’m obsessed with bracelets. I wear a stack of them on my arm. It’s a mix and match situation. I love girly things. Being in a male-dominated household, everyone gets accessorised including the dog! I often find myself dressing to the style of each event. This started perfectly innocently. Now, I deliberately pick my look so if it’s a nautical theme I would wear blue and white stripes. It’s become a bit of a superstition now!
Check out Yael’s facebook page here.