Heather Coday of Heather Lane Events works out of her high-rise apartment in downtown Dallas, but her office is neither her kitchen table nor a stale desk in the corner. Instead of settling for a typical home office or simply opening her laptop on the couch, Heather created the ultimate creative home office where her business can truly thrive. We are touring the bright and beautiful space on IBT today as we chat with Heather about how she got here. From big city to big city and beyond, she’s been planning incredible events and there’s no stopping her now that she has a rad space to do it from…
Let’s start at the beginning! What was your first job? When did you discover a passion for event planning?
I started my career as a Marketing & Events Intern in the fashion industry in Kansas City. I interned there for three summers while in college and was graciously offered a full-time position on the Events team after graduating. I had no idea going into my internship the first summer that I would end up wanting to be an event planner. I was talking to my supervisor during my second summer interning and still remember the discussion we had of my career goals and telling her I wanted to be an event planner. This career path has opened me up to a world of creativity, design and some rewarding perks like international travel.
Tell us a little bit about the history of Heather Lane Events! When did it launch and how did you get to where you are now?
After moving to Dallas in late 2016 and starting a corporate position in event logistics planning, I felt that I was losing my creative edge and feared that if I couldn’t find the right corporate job to fill me creatively, then I would have to build my own. That is where Heather Lane Events evolved into what it is today. I already knew how to plan events and weddings, but I wasn’t capitalizing on the opportunity to turn it into a profitable business. I put a ton of sleepless nights and money into my business the first year to create content, build a website, and advertise to the world that I was up and running and taking clients in 2018. I booked my first wedding a few months before I officially launched in January 2018.
OK, we know “Lane” isn’t your middle name—can you tell us the story behind ‘Heather Lane Events’?
Heather Lane is the street my mother grew up on as a child and the street my grandmother still lives on to this day, over 50 years now. Some of my greatest childhood memories are playing on Heather Lane with my siblings and cousins. My grandparents live in a small town in rural Montana where my family owns a pizza restaurant and my grandmother still works full-time as the cook at our family restaurant at age 82. My mother swears she didn’t name me Heather because of the street she lived on most of her life, but I have a hard time believing that!
What has been the most challenging part of running your own business? Anything surprise you?
Being your own boss while managing all of the roles as an individual business owner is definitely the most challenging part for me. You have to be the CEO, CFO, CMO, COO, the list goes on and on. I’ve had to teach myself a lot over the past two years and have sought advice from fellow business owners and experts where I lack in experience or knowledge. Automation and operationalizing my business has saved my life. It shocked me how much time I was spending on building things like email templates, invoices and proposals when I could have been using a software to automate all of those tasks for me! It has changed the way I operate my business and frees my schedule to work on key projects and spending more time with my clients.
Alright, let’s talk about your cute office! How did you decide on an aesthetic for the space?
Having an open floor plan apartment as well as floor to ceiling windows doesn’t offer your typical office setup. I wanted to break up my living spaces between my living room, kitchen, dining and office. I knew I needed to have a dedicated office so I settled on having no dining table in my space and instead eating at my kitchen island or couch in exchange for a killer work space. Having the two shelves behind my desk was crucial to anchor the space and act as a “wall” for me decorate with pretty décor, travel souvenirs and books. I live for bright colors so when I found this rug from Urban Outfitters Home, it was a perfect fit with my colorful décor. Keeping my desk and office chair neutral as well as the clean lines of the white shelves make the space really pop without being too visually busy. I think it’s the perfect blend and I often find myself admiring it while I cook dinner in my kitchen, it is definitely my favorite place in my apartment.
We love all the cute accessories and live for a good #shelfie. Where did you shop for decor? Do you have a favorite piece?
Most of my décor comes from Home Goods, CB2, Nordstrom home and pieces I’ve collected over my travels. I love the versatility of affordable décor from Home Goods because it allows replacing décor from season to season without the price tag. My favorite pieces are items I’ve found at flea markets while traveling in Paris and Greece, but also here in the states. If I had to choose, it would be my “press for champagne” button hanging over my bar cart. I found this little gem at a flea market in Show Low, Arizona while visiting my grandparents and it’s still my favorite find of all time. It was three dollars! And bonus…the button actually rings a beautiful chime, exactly what I think of when I want a crisp glass of bubbly.
What does your typical day here look like, do you have a normal routine to get into work-mode?
I can’t say it’s every day, but most days I wake up and open all of my curtains and admire the city and the landscape below me. I sit down at my desk with a cup of tea and put on a chill work playlist and bust out projects and emails. I pause frequently and watch a man walking his dog, a couple biking down the street, and the construction workers building a new complex right beside me. It’s the ultimate people watching and surprisingly I get so much done with all the chaos and distractions, it feeds me and gives me energy.
You are based in both Dallas & Kansas City – how does that work? Do you focus on specific services in each area?
When I moved to Dallas three years ago from Kansas City, MO, I had yet to launch Heather Lane Events. After I launched, and the requests started to come in, the majority were referrals from friends and family in KC, so I decided to operate out of both cities. Ultimately, I can work anywhere in the world and offer destination wedding & event planning, so working out of both KC and Dallas has worked great thus far. Especially as I was building up my clientele and relationships with vendors and friends in Dallas. My business has definitely shifted to more work in Dallas the longer I’ve been living here and associating myself with local networking circles and wedding/event professionals, but I will always go back to KC to work if I book a client there, because there’s no place like home!
If you could plan a celebration for one celebrity who would it be, and why?
I would throw a combined birthday bash for celebrity BFF’s Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. They seem like the most down-to-earth and cool women who would be a blast to party with. I adore their friendship and work individually and look forward to the day they make a movie together. If and when they do, I’ll be ready to plan a premiere party!
We know picking a favorite event can be like choosing a favorite child, but is there a favorite theme or type of celebration you have worked on that stands out?
Yes! This past January I worked on a 25th birthday party for a good friend and business bestie centered around Champagne. Because what’s a party without champagne!? It was my dream theme, both creatively and aesthetically. Each place setting for the tablescape had a mini “press for champagne” button and a mini bottle of champs. I would plan it again tomorrow if I could.
Coffee Order: Vanilla latte with almond milk
Words to Live by: You are the energy you put out to the world
Favorite Flower: Ranunculus
Most Recent Podcast Listened to: WorkParty by Jaclyn Johnson (of Create & Cultivate)