my little rhino studios

The Bambini Soiree - {Long}


One of my business goals this year was to aggressively network. Back in April, Bambini Soirée announced they were producing a summit especially for businesses who catered to children’s events. In a word, I was stoked! I talked myself out of the ARA’s February conference and was in need of some networking and sharing of ideas from people in my industry. I paid half of the reservation fee the same week it was announced and anxiously waited for the first week of August. 

I flew into Fort Lauderdale, Florida thinking I would save a few bucks on my flight, not considering I would be spending about $80 on Uber. See what happens when you try to be cheap?!


While at the conference I sat in 8 workshops, each giving me insightful advice on moving my business forward.  The conference, themed “Let’s gather and soar!”, was held at the upscale Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel. I arrived at the hotel and was in awe of the vibrant colors of the registration setup. Check out the images below:


Source It! {First Day Registration}

Event: @bambinisoireesummit                       

Venue: @edenrocmiamibeach

Decor & Rentals: @bambinisoiree                 

Event Planning & Styling: @oneinspiredparty

Production: @maxon_productions               

Photography: @infinitecreations

Videography:  @mylittlerhinostudios           

Cake Stand Rentals: @nicksandmay

Printing @whatever_loquesea                       

Balloons @qualatex @funnyballoons

Portrait Salon: @manolodoreste                   

Swag Bags: @talkingoutofturn

Bunting Station: @designplanplay & @monicapardoevents for @onceuponaroom

Make up station : @lovelylocksparties         

Cookies: @chocolatibar

Water bottle: @christyandcophoto       

Sparkling Water: @sparklingice         

Ice Cream: @lollifruit

Below is a recap of my notes taken at each workshop: 

Introductory Message from Johanna Dilone, founder of Bambini Soiree Summit

The MC for the introductory convocation was Manolo Doreste, luxury wedding photographer and good friend of Johanna. He spoke briefly and in a compelling inauguration speech he shared his admiration for Bambini Soiree founder, Johanna. He ended his address with, “Step forward into growth or step backward into safety”.

Johanna offered her ABCs on being an entrepreneur. As she went through the 26 letters of the alphabet infused with her adept entrepreneurship experience. Here are a few words of advice she bestowed upon us to jumpstart the conference:

  • Make sure your work speaks for itself AND it’s loud enough! You have to standout!

  • You have to think of yourself as a business — it’s its own entity.

  • Being different adds value to your brand.

  • Put things in place to automate how clients reach you. — There is value in a phone call.

  • Stress, a problem, a mistake, that’s a phone call — Texting doesn’t convey emotions.

  • Make it a point to connect with your clients after their events.

  • When you see that the market doesn’t want to pay you for what you are offering — Shift it!

  • Commit to quality!

  • Treat your business like a business and it will pay you as a business. Treat it as a hobby . . .

  • Sacrifice - what are you willing to give up to have what you want.

  • The biggest failure you can have in life is making the mistake of never trying at all.

  • Kids need experiences to be better humans. {in reference to closing of Toys’R’Us}

  • We are in the business of wow!


The first night, we experienced the design + styling prowess of the Bambini Soiree team with the production of the Unicorn Dreams Welcome Party!

Source It!
Event @bambinisoireesummit

Venue @edenrocmiamibeach

Decor & Balloons @bambinisoiree

Linens & Stools @atlaseventrentals

Event Planning & Styling @oneinspiredparty

Production & aerialist structure @maxon_productions

Catering @cateringincolor

Photography @infinitecreations

Videography  @mylittlerhinostudios

Cake Stand Rentals @nicksandmay

Printing @whatever_loquesea

Balloons @universalballoonsusa

Unicorn Poop Cookies  and Sweets @msbunniescakes

Bunting Station @designplanplay & @monicapardoevents for @onceuponaroom

Glitter make up station @lovelylocksparties

Candy boxes @miamicandies @sewsweetcrafts

Vodka @voli305vodka

Mixers @qdrinks

Rum @atlanticorum

Ice Sculpture: @sculptured_ice

Wholesale Flower Distributor @continentalflowers

Wait Staff @liloshands 

Photobooth @capturepod

DJ & Violinist @alventoentertainment

Entertainment @fairytalefavorites

Paper Goods @talkingtablesparty

Apparel & Embroidery @miamimixedmadia

Champagne Station @penthouserw  

Julia Harper, PhD — Blame It On The Brain


  • Response vs. Reaction — Respond don’t React

  • Our brain requires discomfort for change.

  • Discomfort is the birthplace of change!

  • You are reacting more than you know {~80%}.

  • You can’t bring success to a business by reacting.

  • Giving kids an explanation {trying to give them certainly} breeds anxiety in children.

  • SEE — CHANGE — DO!


Sandy —  You Can Call Me Sweetie | Go Ahead + Jump! : Taking the leap from corporate job to purse your passion!

  • Undercutting the industry — by charging cheap price

  • Getting paid for what you are worth

  • Anything custom there should be a set limit

  • Go ahead and jump!

  • Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!

  • Stand behind your product.

Rob Suarez, Esq. | Intellectual Property Lawyer | Intellectual Property: Understanding Your Rights And Respecting Those Of Others

  • Copyright - Any tangible expression of your creativity

  • Enforce your intellectual property rights

  • To register a trademark {attorney fee $975 + federal government fee} — Takes about 3 months {leg work} — 6-9 months processing time in U.S.

  • A trademark is a trademark where you effect commerce.

  • Photography contract - “As photos made at this event are assigned to Petite Seats.”

TSB + Jenn {HWTM} + Astrid {Paper Playground} | Putting Your Best You Forward: Branding Tips + Tricks To Set You Apart

  • Post what you want to attract

  • Branding is not just a logo — It’s how your customers see you. {Create an avatar — Know your client}

  • “A brand is simply TRUST!” - Steve Jobs

  • Use Instagram {IG} as a gallery portfolio

  • HWTM mentioned most of her business is generated via Pinterest

  • “Bespoke”

  • Make sure to have a complete IG bio. — Have a “tagline”.

  • Showcase your work properly — These images are all you have left after a function. Post 4-5 + 15 second feature

  • Not engaging customers on DM not good.

  • Don’t put your whole business into IG — You don’t own the content.

  • Use new platforms like PARTY SLATE

  • Branding your outfit while setting up an event

  • Use IG Stories to show the behind the scenes.

Edgar of Revelry Event Designers + Sonia of Sonia Sharwa Events | Selling the Invisible: How to Present + Sell Creative Ideas

  • In a conceptual design presentation include the following: {1} Design Sheets, {2} Floor plans/CAD Drawings, {3} Event Images — All should be done in Keynotes or Power Point

  • Protect your inventory

  • Edgar’s Six Business Rules

    • Invest in your staff with training, loyalty, and opportunities.

    • Reinvest your profits whenever possible.

    • When buying product look for versatility, quality, and longevity.

    • Invest in property— buy the building you are working in as soon as possible.

    • Don’t be afraid to say NO to opportunities that are costly.

    • Don’t let your clients budget determine the quality of your product.

One Inspired Party | Earth + Sugar | Nathalie Cadet-James | Jackie Ohh Events | Do The Math: Let’s Talk Money And What Your Time Is Worth!

  • You have to structure yourself to make money.

  • Example 1: Event Planning/Styling

    • $850 Day Off

    • $2250 Styling + 10% of total decor budget {greater than or equal to $22.5k}

    • $3000 Full Planning + Styling or 15% of final budget {greater than or equal to $20k}

    • $875 Design + Style Dessert Table

  • Example 2: Wedding Planning 15-20% of final budget

  • Be Bold! Price What You Are Worth

  • I provide an “Intangible Luxury Service”. I charge a flat rate, keeping in mind everything is custom. {Jackie Ohh}

  • Don’t undercut the market, it’s unfair.

  • Collect money like so:

    • Initial 50% when contract is signed

    • 25%

    • Final 25% — 30 Days before event

  • Intangible Luxury {Earth + Sugar}

    • Make relationships with planners — grassroots

    • Itemized list of products is sent {Fee = For Time + Design}

    • Case Studies are on website

      • Budget

      • Items + Service

      • Estimate of Cost

    • Team

      • Studio Manager

      • Event Designer

      • Biller

  • Read the book, The Business Of Being Creative by Sean Lowe

Manolo Doreste, Photographer | Enhancing The Client Experience

  • Manolo does only 25 wedding per year

  • We are in the industry of creating experiences—Event professionals who a luxury experience

  • PRE — Before Consult

  • PRESENT — Creating Connections

  • POST — Standing out + Following up

  • PRE {Supermarket vs. Saks}

    • Phone, Email, Verbiage, Collateral {Language}

      • Phone {2-3 Rings} | Undivided Attention | Voicemail {call back}

      • Greeting {Speed, Pitch, + Tone} - Short, Sweet + Informative

      • Acknowledge | Actively listen + take notes

      • Closing | My Pleasure

      • My sample voicemail: “Thank you for contacting PS, it is our pleasure to provide …”


    • Education

      • Reply times/methods

      • 72 Hour/Hold

      • Your process/time invested

      • Operating Times

      • Let them know your process. Explain via email on website.

      • Ask for what’s needed

        • Typeform

        • Custom Draft Emails

        • PDF Samples

        • Guilty Pleasures

      • Lawyer Up

        • Research your prospective clients like you are going to trial {Venue, Referral + Social Media}

      • Send Reminder

        • We all need them {email + courtesy calls + text via email + link for direction/parking}

      • Studio Space — Wow them at the Door!

        • Make them feel at home | Welcome by name | Offer drinks + Snacks {Ask: What are you drinking?} | Small talk | Leave alone

        • Lounging - Smell + Sight + Sound + Touch {Give wifi password}

      • Initial Consultation — Lead meeting

        • Interview client - not rushed

        • Explain your meeting agenda {wedding/pros/ideas/collections}

        • Listen, ask, and take notes

        • Lead the conversation

        • State this is a BIG investment.

          • Go over how to reserve services

          • Ask “How Does That Sound?”

          • Excuse Yourself

        • Explain how to move forward— Typeform + Contract Details

      • Questions to ask clients to learn more about them:

        • Tell me your child’s favorite pass time? Favorite snack?

        • Favorite TV Show?

        • Where can I find you on the weekend?

        • Ask about child? | Collect party details | inquire about preferences | review services/pricing

        • Start with highest price first

      • Change the wording from “package” to “collection”

  • POST

    • Make it genuine — Card or Email + Ask referral source

    • Change the wording from “Contract” to “Letter of Engagement”

    • Ask how would you like us to send it to you — fax, email, etc.

    • Gifting — Keep on brand and make it personal!

      • Give a candle

      • Box with wine + sealed with a hug

      • Gourmet snacks

      • Photo @ event with frame

      • Tiara

  • Use Typeform {Custom Form} + Calendly {Appointments}

Julie Roth-Novak | Party Slate | Your Guide to Event Pro SEO: 5 Easy Ways to Earn Traffic + Leads

  • 95% of people start their search on Google

      Five Best SEO Practices

  • 1.Target local keywords {descriptive terms}

    2. Write event descriptions {200+ words, unique copy}

    3. Marking Gold - tag + describe each photo

    1. Tag with keywords — photos

    2. Optimize for mobile {Most people use mobile 1st!}

      4. Get authoritative link-backs {Platforms + directories}

  • No FLASH!

  • Party Slate — A marketing platform

    • 100,000 unique visits per month

    • Each profile - 12 full events + >20 photos

    • Can add video

    • PS algorithm rewards crediting, saving, recent uploads


Successful Mompreneuring: Real Moms + Their Secrets to Running Creative Businesses


I did not take notes during this session because this is something I live and breath everyday! Just listening to how other mompreneurs juggle was encouraging, but no trade secrets were shared.

  • Plan dates nights for both your hubbie + one with each of your children

TSB + Jackie Ohh… + Design, Plan, Play | The Ugly Truth About Event Planning: Managing, Vendors, Clients + Growth

  • Jackie Ohh does 12-16 events per year

  • Having a substantial network is vital — aid your business

  • Take the time in the beginning to sit + learn — shadow a vendor you admire — equal exchange free labor for knowledge

  • “If you stay ready, you don’t ever have to be ready.” TSB

  • Align yourself with people who can aid your growth

HWTM + Party Slate + Paper Playground | Trend Talk

During this workshop the panel shared their thoughts on the trends in kids’ parties. The one issue I had with their list was children’s chairs where not included on the list. Go figure! Anywho here is their list:

  • Balloons Galore {@paulfuentes_design @anythingbutgrayevents @thetreasureroom}

    • Balloon Garlands + Ceiling Decor

    • @brookylnballooncompany ~$500 per balloon {said to last 4 months}

  • Color Trends {@hallmarkcreative @illuminationeventsstudio @acharmingfete @ohhappyday @thesweetestoccasion }

    • Ombre Pastels

    • Brights on white

  • Food + Drinks {@littlesootievents @brit+co}

    • Colorful + Fun Foods

    • Dressed Up Kids Lunches

    • Mocktails for Kids {@theflavorbender @bhc @thesuburbansoapbox @utryit}

  • Elements of Design + Decor {@sweettoothblog @desigua @personalizedpaperie @ilanaashleyevents @studiodiy @homesthetics @thecreativeheartstudio @balloonmosaics }

    • Fringe Installations

    • Disguise

    • Surprise Factor

    • Jumbo Letters

    • Fun-Filled Acrylics

  • Activities With A Twist

    • Playful DIY Games

    • Custom Coloring Activities {personalized coloring book}

  • Social Influence

    • Look for organization that can use balloons/flowers after the event


Would I attend next year?

I’ve decided not to attend next year. Here are my reasons:

—No measurable ROI for Petite Seats. I’m such an introvert that being at a summit is more about me gain knowledge from the presenters and less about networking. Many of the attendants were Florida based event planners, so making a connection wasn’t high on my list. Most of the presentations I attended relayed business journeys, but no real meat, no tangible business practices I felt were transferable.

—The ambience and decor were out of this world amazing! However, the meals provided sucked. I had to supplement each meal and that blew my budget set for the trip. The meals looked nice but were not filling, or they were just not foods I eat. Too much sugar. Several of the meal stations were created to illustrate what would be appropriate for a children’s event, but honey I wanted adult foods.

—Overall, I felt like I could have invested 25% of what I spent on PodCasts and gained more knowledge. 🤷🏾‍♀️The summit was ripe for photo ops though!