Joe Moller Events (JME) is an experiential agency with over a decade of experience in identifying, implementing, and executing both large- and small-scale events ranging from the Special Olympics to Dr. Dre. Since our inception, JME has had the opportunity to partner with leading luxury brands across most consumer industries, including: Lexus, Urban Land Institute, Alison Brod PR, British Airways, Coca Cola, Variety Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Lanvin, Absolut, Heineken, and Piper-Heidsieck, to highlight a few. Our services include festival programming, award shows, galas, brand activations, non-profit programming, and premiere/ launch events.
Our approach to each project begins by securing a deep understanding of our Client’s primary business goals and ROI, which we use as team to influence the creative direction applied to every unique guest experience. All proposed elements are suggested with the goal of exceeding our clients’ expectations.
JME has a proven track record of creating engaging, award winning, well-defined guest experiences on behalf of our clients. We do this while being as socially and environmentally responsible as possible.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
To create elegant and memorable events on a tight budget make sure the guest experience is seamless. No one remembers the couches you picked out, no one cares about the flowers after the event, and lastly no one remembers the lighting package. We recommend clients focus on service and the guest experience from the moment they are escorted from their car to the last person saying good bye, we make sure our staff understands they are the most important element in any successful event. Make sure guests don’t have to wait any longer than necessary for a cocktail, make sure the valet is quick to return with their vehicle, and never let a staff member say “no” or “I don’t know” to a guest and everyone is guaranteed to feel like a celebrity whatever the budget is. Also buy orchids, everyone thinks they are fancy.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Your vendors are everything! I joke with clients that I have over 150 years of experience because I have 3 vendors that are over 50 years old. I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for having the best team in every state we work in. From NYC to Austin to Chicago, JME can execute events with a seamless guest experience because we have an extremely well-developed professional network in all those markets. I constantly stay in touch with vendors in states I don’t have projects in to let them know they are important to me even when we aren’t working together. I also reply on them to keep me abreast of any local innovations, services and experiences that they think would add value to JME’s events. The most important tool I use is transparency, if a vendor has a great idea I make sure my clients know where it came from and from whom it came so that person can be credited.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Start by identifying your goals and what success means to the organization planning the fundraiser. You cannot get into the end zone if you don’t know where it is. Secondly understand your resources, how to optimize their engagement and what you need from them in addition to what you can offer them. Then work on your creative direction, and remember, as someone who has made a career out of renting couches, it’s never about the furniture! Think through your guest experience, the expectations of your staff and how you can organize everything to accomplish those goals.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
For me the most exciting “thing” is still getting to wake up every day and do what I love. As corny as it sounds, my excitement and zest for ideating, implementing and executing experiential marketing activations and events gets me as excited as it did when I started. Overcoming the unique challenges each event presents honestly gives me a feeling of accomplishment every time. Sure, there are marquee clients and projects that are in production that I am SUPER EXCITED about, but until they are executed I cannot share them unfortunately. I can say the project we are working on in LA in mid-Sept is very, very exciting for us because we happen to be fans of this client. Trust me when I say everyone will know what I am talking about after September 18th!
What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I left reality show and cable network television production to join an existing event production company. I literally worked my way through every vendor and department until I learned how it all worked. I frequently leverage the lessons I learned over a decade ago to this day & still work with many of those companies. I wanted the production company I was then a partner in to focus on business clients, however my then partner was more interested in the entertainment community so we split up. Having a transparent invoicing policy absent any mark ups and including design services in our project administration charges allowed for rapid growth during a down economy. To this day those practices are still used at JME and we still have consistent growth year after year.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
My first solo event after splitting off from my former business partner was a major award show after party in Beverly Hills. As I knew the client from my previous company I was able to anticipate her needs, expectations and vision. However, having to do everything myself presented some challenges in how I managed my time. Suffice to say after a few sleepless nights, the event was a huge success. In fact, the Beverly Hilton used an overhead image of that event for their next year’s Emmy advertisement. Suffice to say someone liked my style back then.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
I wish someone had told me to find the best accountant I can who understands event production and experiential marketing and to collaborate with them on getting taxes done and booking handled. In the beginning like most start-ups, I had limited resources and far less revenue and expenses, as both grew rapidly it became clear to me that I was a horrible accountant. Now I have a team that I absolutely love who gets what I do and as a result has been able to offer guidance, strategy and most importantly handle all my taxes like professionals!
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
The most unusual request we have had to deal with lately involved securing several Scottish Terrier puppies for an event that took place simultaneously at 2 conference rooms in NYC. Both conference rooms were in buildings that housed only media and publishing companies. While not extreme by most standards, having conversations with other adults about the pee schedule of puppies certainly wasn’t our usual. And for those of you wondering, no we didn’t end up moving forward with the puppies…. For the past 5 years, Joe Moller Events, Inc (JME) has worked exclusively with members of the Skid Row Community, to create over 500 job hours for those currently experiencing homelessness. We have no barriers to entry, pay a fair market wage & have collaborated with this community repeatedly on a variety of events outside of Skid Row. Many of our corporate clients are pleasantly surprised to learn the team that kept their event immaculate is comprised of individuals from that community.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
For the past 5 years, Joe Moller Events, Inc (JME) has worked exclusively with members of the Skid Row Community, to create over 500 job hours for those currently experiencing homelessness. We have no barriers to entry, pay a fair market wage & have collaborated with this community repeatedly on a variety of events outside of Skid Row. Many of our corporate clients are pleasantly surprised to learn the team that kept their event immaculate is comprised of individuals from that community.