I had the opportunity to sit down with Cheri and talk for an hour about her business, her experience in the wedding industry and her journey as an entrepreneur. After getting to know Cheri, even for a short time, it is apparent that she is an intentional and inspiring woman in the industry. After working years at a corporate job in healthcare administration, she started her journey as an entrepreneur with a floral business named after her mother called "Adele's Affairs". She quickly realized her passion for design went beyond floral and then expanded her services by creating "Cheri Denise Events". Dive deeper into her story by reading her full interview below.
Q: Tell us about Cheri Denise Events?
"Well it started as a floral design company after I went back to school at Milwaukee School of Floral Design after leaving the corporate world. I did that for 3 years and started attending bridal shows and expos in the area trying to build clientele when I realize there are missing pieces in the design elements of wedding set up. "
Soon after, she transitioned her business to the event planning business that we know today; Cheri Denise Events. She primarily focuses on weddings, but is hoping to dive into business events in the future. The business offers event planning, event design and event production to ensure. She has been a trailblazer in the Milwaukee wedding industry for the BIPOC community and continues to make that a priority by having a diverse team of 5 other incredible individuals along side of her. And if you have seen her work, you know that her dedication to quality, details and service are imperative to both her and her team.
Q: What inspired you to start Cheri Denise Events?
"I have always had a love for design. As a child my mom always curated a beautiful home. She instilled a creative engine in me and my siblings from a young age. We are all creatives. But my passion and interest for design just merged into something new when I knew it was time for me to leave my job and try something new."
Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
"Yes, I always knew there was something more out there and working for someone else just wasn't for me!"
Q: What is the hardest challenge that you had to overcome while building your business?
"Definitely learning how to market to the client that I desire. What I had to learn is that it starts with me and my personal brand. Do I have good character? How do I carry myself? Do I have integrity? Am I personable or approachable?"
I can definitely attest to how well Cheri has built her personal and businesses brand. The way she walks, speaks, dresses and perceives herself to others totally captures her brand. We expanded upon this and began talking about upholding a brand as a small business and she expressed such gratitude for her amazing team and how well they also represent and lived out the brand.
Q: What does your everyday routine look like as a business owner?
"I'm an early bird, I hydrate right away, 90 min gym session, breakfast, pray, journal, review my calendar for the day, shower, get dressed and then I get to work!"
Every day her work looks different for her depending on the clients, the time of year, the type of event, etc. She also spends timing volunteering as the Creative Director of Stepping with the Stars.
If you could share one piece of advice to other entrepreneurs just starting a business, what would it be?
"Invest in your education."
Cheri is dedicated to customer service and making the experience authentic and special for each of her clients. It is her passion to help make their vision come to life. It struck me how dedicated she was to creating this foundation for her business. "You are doing your client a disservice if you aren't knowledgable" she said.
What is your favorite memory?
"One of my favorite events was a small vow renewal in Jamaica that I was able to help . It was amazing to see the value of such an intimate event compared to a larger wedding. Seeing those emotions and the love that surrounded that event was impactful."
What change or impact do you hope your business brings to the community?
"I hope my business can bring cultural awareness. Milwaukee has made many strides recognizing diverse cultures but diverse businesses and cultural experiences still get overlooked. I want to help people recognize that small businesses can do great things!"
Wow. Isn't that the truth? Small businesses do great things for communities and communities do great things for small businesses. Cheri has impacted so many people in her 16+ years as a business owner.
In need of a planner? Check out Cheri Denise Events!
At the end of this conversation, I couldn't help but feel so inspired and grateful that we have someone as amazing as Cheri serving brides in our community. If you are in need of wedding planning services, you should definitely check out the amazing things Cheri and her team create. You can learn more about how to book her services on her website, Cheri Denise Events.
Interviewed and written by: