Two decades on, it’s incredible to realise that event management company director Juliet Shenderey had a whole other career before actually venturing into the events world. Originally trained as a solicitor in London, Juliet fell into her dream job as an events planner by accidentally voicing her opinion to the law firm’s senior partner about that year’s dull annual party: “Basically no one ever wanted to go and it cost the firm a fortune… So they handed me a budget of a quarter of a million pounds to create something better next year!”
“I managed to get the event in for under £100,000 and everyone had the best time. I knew then that I loved doing that more than I loved practicing law.”
And with that Shenderey Events was born. Purposely trading under her own name means that every event is truly a reflection of her own creativity and exceptional service. With her pristine reputation on show at every occasion she creates, many businesses have turned to Juliet over the years to deliver their events.
Balancing “a thousand things” at once is the norm for Juliet, putting it down to practice and her legal background for being able to prioritise what needs to be organised in the run-up to an event… meaning her clients can sit back and enjoy the results. Frequently meeting briefs across the UK and into Europe, Juliet reveals amusing stories of having to calculate the weight of wine crates to transport them along the canals of Venice to reach an event venue: “We always tell our clients that everything is possible. Although the only time we were unable to deliver that promise was for a client in the south of France who wanted a real live giraffe at an event. Luckily they settled for a unicorn instead!”
With a heaving book of trusted suppliers and venue contacts, Juliet and her team are ideally placed to produce an event that is everything you dreamed of and more – even if you don’t know exactly what it is you want: “There’s a lot of reading between the lines and getting to know the client and what they like in order to truly understand what they are after. The beauty of not being tied to any venues or suppliers is that we can hire what’s best for the client.”
The experienced events manager has definitely noticed a change in tide for corporate events however: “When I first started some of the big banks and law firms would almost give a blank cheque for their event plans. Nowadays the budgets are often much smaller, but the expectations are definitely higher.
“However, there are ways and means of getting your vision without having that big budget. I work with charities and small to medium-sized businesses who might just need a Christmas party planning for 50 guests or an exclusive product launch.”
The former legal eagle has also noticed a rise in ensuring the utmost privacy when dealing with hosting events for high-flying clients and businesses, something which Shenderey Events is happy to provide. Some brands would prefer their event spending to understandably stay under the radar, or for exclusive VIPs to feel comfortable attending a corporate function without getting too much press or public attention afterwards. Non-Disclosure Agreements are more prevalent now for all suppliers. But sometimes the events are so closely guarded that even Juliet has struggled to get in – hilariously once getting a swiftly overturned parking ticket when delivering an event for a visiting member of the Royal Family!
The Leeds and London-based event prof has also amassed a hardworking team of professionals around her who also share her ethos for exceptional creativity and service. With the next generation waiting in the wings for their opportunity to work in the industry, Juliet is also proud of the invaluable training she has provided to young people who have joined her team over the years to learn from the best too: “I would not employ people I didn’t trust to run my own events,” Juliet says plainly. “I have strict guidelines and very strict levels of expertise that they have to take on. However, if the client would like to me to be present, I will always make sure that I am there to ensure the smooth running of the event. Every stage of the planning and execution is a face-to-face process with the client.”
With budgets being slashed and in-house event planners working exclusively at many venues, some might not see the value in hiring Shenderey Events to handle it all, but Juliet warns against trying to cut corners: “We can do everything from the initial meetings to the design, the production and the management. We have great relationships with our suppliers meaning in the long run you’ll get much better deals instead of going direct. By hiring Shenderey Events you can actually save money! At the end of the day, we take away the pressure and that’s invaluable.
“And with us there’s no such thing as a carbon-copy event. Everything is bespoke and uniquely special.”