Jodi Cohen and Sarah Lowy officially launched JOWY Productions in June 2009. Jodi + Sarah bring you the passion, experience, and dedication of two innovative event management professionals for the price of one. The dynamic duo, and the talented team behind them, will provide you with the personal attention you will need to create a unique and memorable event. Unlike other companies, Jodi + Sarah use their experience and creativity to design your event, and they work closely with vendors to make sure that the concept becomes a reality. JOWY Productions does not just coordinate, they create. With over a combined 35+ years of event planning experience and both formerly with Colin Cowie Lifestyle, Jodi and Sarah provide their clients with the research, recommendations, and resources to throw a memorable fête without spending the ultimate budget and without sacrificing the overall aesthetic. With JOWY Productions, you will have double the design power, double the production, double the experience, double the attention and more. JOWY Productions delivers unique and unforgettable events, creating memorable experiences for you and your guests for any occasion.
During their careers in the event industry, Jodi + Sarah produced notable events all over the world including: the Opening of the Atlantis Dubai Hotel and Jumeirah Island in Dubai; the Opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa; Oprah Winfrey’s Legend’s Ball; Cash Money Records’ Grammy Party; Mattel’s Barbie’s 50th Anniversary/Birthday Party; Royal wedding for 2000 in Qatar; The Cove Atlantis hotel opening in the Bahamas and many more.
JOWY Productions’ clients include: Warner Bros. Pictures, OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK, Universal Pictures, Silver Pictures, National Geographic, InStyle, Absolut Elyx, Jimmy Fallon, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, Los Angeles Family Housing, The Gabriella Foundation, Zimmer Children’s Museum, LACMA, PTTOW!, and many high-profile private clients.
JOWY Productions was awarded the 2014 Event Style Awards for Best Conference and the 2012 L.A. Readers’ Choice Awards for Social Event Planner of the Year.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
Being prepared is key so we can act fast with anything that arises. In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a destination group from Dallas, Texas had an unfortunate incident occur when the Client’s elderly father fell down a flight of stairs and was injured. The Client was enjoying the evening (and weekend) and left it to us to figure out his emergency care, plan of attack, and an eventual plan to travel him back home, to Dallas.
By being buttoned up for a weekend of events abroad, and having a strong team, enabled us to cater to the injured guest and handle everything so the Client and group could still entertain and focus on their celebration.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
Checking guests’ phones at the door to unplug. We create and curate an experience, not just an event so setting up guests to engage and be present is key. From “youngins” to seniors, it is rare that one does not have their phone to check for a period of time, so we want to set our guests up to maximize their experience. This also gives clients an extra layer of privacy during their most intimate moments in the digital age.
Sourcing nontraditional venues. Hosting your guests outside the traditional ballroom makes the event feel more special and unique. Whether it’s a rooftop or a polo field, a parking lot in the middle of an urban arts district or an empty warehouse – the possibilities are endless! A venue with history adds character, texture, and interest to any event that we can design with and capitalize on each venue’s personality.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
In terms of design, it’s all in the details. Any event can be special and memorable by adding personal touches. Details, details, details.
We also design with multiple scenarios for tablescapes, both for receptions and seated events so ½ of the setups can be more intricate with florals while the second ½ can be an accent from the first half – votives in the same coloration with a single bud vase of florals that tie into the aesthetic of the rest of the event. It’s a cost-effective, yet interesting way to design and save money too.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
A dream client would be one that trusts our experience, design vision and process. An over the top design does not always mean elegant, beautiful and classy. With unlimited resources, we can truly create and produce a one-of-a-kind experience where all senses are touched and enables our creative juices to flow which yields the best outcome.
Sometimes a highly produced event does not look to be the most “expensive” but it’s in the back of house production and details, that a guest doesn’t necessarily “see” or realize, that can bring an experience to the next level.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Our relationship with our vendors is everything. Respect, trust, and accountability are key. We rely on our extended team to represent JOWY Productions as they are an extension of us. Events and production are a collective, team effort and our team, together, brings the vision to life.
Clear communication to outline expectations is critical to a successful relationship and no surprises. We also love what we do and want to enjoy the planning and production journey with our team. We are only as good as our team is and we have fun with our creative partners.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Focus on the cause, mission, and brand, and hone in on the biggest takeaways first—what you want each attendee to feel and experience – then brainstorm the “how”.
Next, the venue, budget, entertainment, photographer/videographer are key components in moving any event along.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Professionally, after almost 11 years of business, we are excited to see where existing clients take us, as well as use our momentum to continue to grow our client base. Creatively, we are expanding our capabilities and are excited to continue to create experiences that create lasting memories for each attendee.
Personally, we are thrilled to continue to travel, both professionally and personally, and see our kids thrive by surrounding them with exciting opportunities and travel, as well.
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?
After working together at Colin Cowie Lifestyle for about 5 years, in the height of the economy, designing and producing the top events worldwide, the recession hit and JOWY Productions launched in 2009. We hit the ground running and haven’t looked back since. We have clients from our “past life” and clients who have been with us since we started our own company almost 11 years ago. Relationship and trust are everything to us.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
One of our first events was a wedding for 350 people at a private residence in Malibu. It was a very detailed wedding with a lot of movement (ceremony oceanside, cocktails in the same location and reception on the tennis court). Since it was at a private residence, we were limited with space and needed to ensure that our guests did not wander around the Client’s home and were entertained in the “designated event areas”. We made sure we were heavily staffed so that we were able to ensure that everything ran seamlessly and that our guests had a wonderful experience from the time they arrived through the time they got in their cars to depart at the end of the night.
The event was perfect! Our client and their guests still say (11 years later) that it was the best event they have ever been to.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
Need to know when to get out of a bad situation with a Client and/or turn down a potential job, even when you’d like to take the business. Knowing when to stay and when to walk away… this is the hardest decision to make as at the end of the day, it’s a mutual planning journey, so we should like and respect a client as much as they do us.
How to “select” the right client. While we are able to handle all types of people, sometimes, it would be best to hand them a questionnaire to see if they are the right fit for us and vice versa.
The work is never-ending. There is always something to do, whether it’s updating the website, accounting, HR. There is no such thing as a “day off”.
Growth is a slow process. Patience is key.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
We once had a bride who wanted to surprise her groom by having his all-time favorites singer, Elvis Costello, perform at their destination wedding reception. The groom’s face was PRICELESS.