Carline Beaubrun - Conversations with Artists
What is the art of what you do?
I vibe off of people’s energy and that’s everything when it’s comes to the creative side of planning and designing events. Every client has different energy — which in turn impacts my creativity differently making each event unique.
The real art what I do is getting to know the client that I'm working with on a personal level. I don’t just set up tables and chairs and put flowers on the table. Every part of what I do is tailored to who my client is and to the energy that we create together. Every detail has to do with their story. I ask tons of questions so I get to know them pretty well. By the end I know everybody's grandmother, uncle and cousins. It's just a matter of really getting personal with it -- and to me that's an art. Not everybody is able to connect on that kind of deep level and bring very personal things to life.
How do you connect?
I feel that we all bring something new and different into each others' lives. I love life and I love watching and observing people. To me that's an art unto itself -- just noticing different peoples’ character, their personality, what makes them laugh. It’s about personal attention - being able to reach people, helping them focus on what's important and letting the other things go. I help them move away from drama and focus on making their day really special, and I work to help my clients know that they can trust me. Trust is so important; being able to trust that I'm in your corner. Things might get stressful but we're in it together and this is how we're going to do it.
What are some of the challenges?
As an event planner you turn into a therapist trying to reach people at one of the most stressful times in their lives even though it's supposed to be a happy time. The vision for what they want is in their head — they may not even know what it is, but they know that they're celebrating something and they can't do it themselves. You’re also a bit of a fortune teller, because you're trying to tell them what the future holds. You’re also a magician, trying to make their vision reality. So you're wearing a thousand different hats, doing a thousand jobs.
Stress is contagious, how do you keep calm?
Knowing yourself and knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important — especially as a business owner. I also try to make decisions that don’t bring unnecessary pressure. For example, I don't take last minute clients, or people that I feel I won’t vibe well with.
What would you say to people who think you have to take every job that comes along?
It's ok to say no. When I first took this on as a professional role, I was saying yes to every job. I quickly learned that it wasn’t ok for my mental well-being or my business structure. I came to realize that I don't have to work with everyone. Why? Because it's my choice, it's my business; I'm the boss and that's ok.
I also trust in the universe; if I put out good, good will come back. For me to take something on that's not going to help me put out positivity, then that's not something I want to do. Because I want positivity to come back - and it always does.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the clients… they’re number one - they’re the center. I take who they are and circle around that. Then, if we're doing a theme I throw that into the mix.
When did you first start to recognize your connection with energy?
I went through a very traumatic experience in life. I was married to my childhood sweetheart - whom I knew since I was 8, and we had a terrible breakup. For me, marriage and family were everything. Then my whole world as I knew it, fell apart — as if glass had shattered to a point that it became powder. I lost friends, I lost family because our lives were so intertwined. There I was with three children, they were 5 years, 3 years and 8 months old at the time. I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. One day in the darkest period, I sat and talked with my mom and my sister for hours, and afterwards I said ‘God I can't even pray at this moment, so I need you to talk to me because I can't talk to you now.’ I opened the Bible to a random page, and from the moment I opened it up - scripture after scripture began talking to me. I wrote a letter to God, putting everything that I wanted on paper. I folded it up and I stuck it in the Bible, and I said ‘God, now this is on you.’ Everything I wrote down on that paper came into reality. Everything. Once I dropped that into God's hands the way that I did - it was as if a weight was lifted off of me. Every day I got better, I started coming into who I wanted to be, reconnecting with myself.
How did you do that with 3 kids?
I dove deep into being a mother. I had to connect with myself, I had to connect with my kids. I had to find joy every day and to help make them happy and find focus. I dove so deep I even lost part of me, being a mother in that way because I had to stop thinking about me and start thinking about them. Every day I got to see them become better and grow - it connected me to myself again. I don't think I really came into my moment until my son turned 14 two years ago. That was a lightbulb moment where I realized I had made it through all those years, and I made some amazing people. Going through all that helped me see that ok, life is what you make it. No one gives it to you— you have to actually shape it. Everyone goes through things - I always give myself five minutes to cry - then pick myself up and get over it, figure out what's the next move, what are we doing next, how are we going to fix this?
Where there's a will, there's a way. That’s my mentality, and I’ve discovered I have the ability turn negativity into something positive because I don’t just sit there and cry. I get up every day and work hard. I made a plan and I stuck to it. I heard ‘no’ more than ‘yes,’ but my spirit wasn’t broken. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I found I had a talent that grew into a passion that grew into a profession. How we deal with adversity is really what makes us who we are. I love learning from people so I'm always wiling to share my story. I feel that if I make myself vulnerable to you, you'll allow yourself to be vulnerable to me and then I'll be able to see who you really are.
Being vulnerable — there’s an art to that.
Tell us about that dress.
A friend of mine made this dress, she's a Nigerian designer , she designs and makes ethnic dresses. She's an amazing person and her designs are phenomenal. I love the color and the way it flows. Her name is Adebankeye and her clothing line is Made with Ife. When you wear her pieces you're wearing history from a culture that you don’t have to necessarily be from — yet you can walk around feeling amazing.
If you could return to 8 year-old you, before you met your future husband and you could whisper something into her ear what would you tell her?
I would tell her ‘you're amazing, and don't you ever forget that.’
Did you forget that for a little while?
I forgot it because I was going through so much. And the people you think are going to love you and see you through - sometimes they are not the people who end up in your corner.
Who's in your corner now?
My mom, my sisters, my kids. They're the most amazing group of people in my life.
Who are you choosing to be now?
Just me. I think I took my adulthood seriously at a very early age. When I claimed my adulthood, I claimed the fact that I don't need to lie to you. I'm going to tell you the truth. Some people are not strong enough to receive truth so they resist. I can be who I am because I became ok with myself and the truth.. I knew I was amazing because of what I came from and what I could've been. And... you know.... I raised three kids by myself!
That's something to be proud of.
I had to feed them, I had to clothe them, give them everything that they needed - by myself. I didn't put the weight on my parents, I didn't put the weight on my sisters, on family -- it was my responsibility. My family loved and supported me through it all, and that's huge. If I needed to talk to somebody, they were there to listen. Sometimes I didn't want to burden them so I'd just get into the closet or a headspace for a little bit -- and then I'd come out and say "ok bitch, let's do it." That was my five minutes - five minutes to cry and then, let's go.
Are you living life without doubt at this point?
I am. I still go through things, but every single moment I say "Trust the process. Trust the process, because you've been here before. You know that door is going to open. Trust the process. What are you worried about?”
So you don't bang on the door, you just wait for it to open?
Oh, I bang on the door for five minutes. And then it opens. That's the process.