Rebecca Foster made her dream job a reality thanks to Thumbtack. Wanting more work to life balance, Rebecca left her former career to pursue her passion for event decorating and planning by starting Parties and Events NW. She used Thumbtack from the start and now has a flourishing business that fits her life, sourcing 95 percent of her work this way. Here’s how to she used Thumbtack to follow her dreams.
How much has Thumbtack contributed to your success?
All of it. Thumbtack has completely made my dream reality. It has grown my business 100 percent.
When did you start using Thumbtack?
I started Thumbtack in December 2015, when I launched my business. I’ve always loved throwing parties—particularly the decorating—but I never thought it was possible to turn it into a business. In 2015, I was working elsewhere and it was hard while being a mom. I sat and thought, what’s my dream job? My dream was to be a wedding and event decorator and planner, but it seemed so out of reach. My husband suggested Thumbtack.
Thumbtack has worked! I have been blown away with the responses I’ve gotten. Thumbtack made my dream come true.
What have you learned since starting?
How to nail down pricing. Event pricing varies so much. The quantity and type of decoration, backdrop, lighting, archways, everything depends. In the beginning, I started quoting without enough information. I found I wasn’t getting a lot of business. But when I gave specific prices with starting services, breaking down options, that helped get more clients. To be as specific as possible with clients on price is something I wish I knew from the start.
What percentage of your work now is from Thumbtack?
Ninety five percent of my work is from Thumbtack. It would be 100 percent, but I get referrals from Thumbtack clients. Also, friends and family hire me.
How can other event planners expand their business via Thumbtack?
- Get really good photos for your profile. Ours is a visual career, you need to show the work you do. In the beginning I didn’t have a lot of great photographs. Since then, I’ve partnered with photographers to show the work I’ve done
- Make sure you have good, competitive rates
- Making sure you’re specific with pricing
- Respond right away, respond thoroughly, and then follow up and let the client know you’re still there if they need you
- Treat each client and event as unique, help them bring their vision to life
What do you think makes a winning quote?
Being friendly and specific. I respond to requests for quotes as specifically as possible. For example, if I have an anniversary request and the couple wants black and white colors, I let them know how much I love celebrating a couple’s longevity and their marriage. Then I show them photos of other black and white parties I’ve done, I show them photos of other anniversary parties I’ve done. I provide specific examples.
Also, being quick to respond. That’s why I use the mobile app. I am constantly on the go, designing and doing consultations—I can respond right away.
Share a special Thumbtack event you’ve planned…
I loved working with my latest bride. She was a self-proclaimed procrastinator who was having real trouble figuring out what she wanted her wedding to look like. I was able to draw out her vision and help make it a reality. The result was a beautiful, fun, vibrant wedding with a coral, gold, black, and white color scheme. The centerpieces were coral peonies and black and white anemone flowers surrounded in the subtle glow of candlelight. The dessert table was a 3 tiered wedding cake surrounded by a vibrant candy buffet, all of which was framed by a phenomenal backdrop with draped white crushed taffeta and floral accents. After the wedding the bride told me all the decorations were more beautiful than she had hoped for or envisioned! It’s so rewarding to help remove a bride’s stress, and make one of the most important days of her life look and feel exactly like she always wanted!
What advice do you have for others who want to go Top Pro?
Be persistent! Keep quoting, keep being specific with your pricing, be quick to quote, and be quick to get back to customers and respond.
[Photos via Rebecca Foster]