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Etsy success spurs event planning business

Rachel Murphy grew a fan base by launching an Etsy store for her jewelry and décor, such as personalized wire letters, hair accessories and wedding favors while she worked full-time at a consuming nonprofit position. When she launched Rachel Lynn Studio, an event planning business, she decided to try to join the two customer bases.

“I don’t do catering, entertainment or photography, and I don’t rent out facilities,” she says, but it takes her a minute to come up with that list because there are so many services she does provide.

Unlike a typical event or wedding planner, Murphy will not only meet with individuals or groups to choose a theme, set colors, coordinate vendors and be there on the big day, she also makes many of the props and decorative elements these events require. Murphy offers her services a la carte—think bouquets or centerpieces—or at a flat rate for corporate events, weddings and other happenings.

Murphy says she enjoys working with couples who don’t want a cookie-cutter event. “I wish people knew that anything is possible,” she says of wedding planning in particular. “People get so nervous they’re not going to fit a certain mold of what they expect to see at traditional weddings.”

One tip Murphy says she offers for weddings and corporate events alike is to create a schedule that keeps moving and isn’t expected. Getting married at 6 p.m.? Offer a cocktail hour before the ceremony, or even some live music and dancing. “Make sure there’s not time when people are just standing around waiting,” she says.

To keep a wedding’s timeline flowing, Murphy advises couples to take pictures before the wedding, which she says limits the pre-dinner lull. “It can also take away some of the nerves to see each other beforehand,” she says.

And while she can craft invitations, bouquets and centerpieces, Murphy doesn’t shy away from special requests. For example, when a lesbian couple wanted a wedding with only vendors open to their relationship, Murphy vetted each one. Whether she’s designing earrings for the bride, running the show or tracking down vendors, there are few tasks this planner won’t tackle.

By Robin Donovan
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