techsytalk LIVE 2016

NYC & back in less than 24 hours – we’d only do it for the best event ever.

techsytalk LIVE, folks! Last year Nicole & Ciera headed up north for the all-day conference and loved it so much they decided Pelonkey had to play a bigger part. This year Pelonkey was techsytalk’s official Entertainment Sponsor, Nicole gave a kickass 10-minute Pelonkey presentation, and we had a swag-filled table at which we chatted up the event prof attendees. We may not have slept, but… when in New York, right?

5:45 Wakeup call

6:45 Uber to Midtown from Harlem

7:30 Arrive & Begin table setup – We brought the swag, yo! Temporary tattoos, bumper stickers, sunglasses, cell phone adhesive pockets, info cards, and more fun stuff for a giveaway!

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We held a social media raffle – tag us in a post online & you would be entered to win – and the prize was a bag of goodies including a Pelonkey tee, notebook, varied of stickers and aforementioned swag, and an Amazon gift card! (Congrats to Regina for winning!)

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8:30 Breakfast – You guys, food was bomb. Just…so bomb. We have no photographic proof because we were too busy eating the evidence.

9:00 Attendees start arriving

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9:30 Speakers begin speaking – It was a full house! Liz King Events (lovely techsytalk host) goes all out, and this 8th year was no different. Attendees were there ready for speakers, presentations, fireside chats, case studies, and more.

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11:00 Entertainment break! – We invited our friends from Fun E Folk to take the stage and wow us with their laughtastic energy. OK, that sounds really cheesy, but they seriously did knock us out of our seats with their hilarity. [Eagle Eye here – I am very picky when it comes to comedy, and it’s very difficult to make me genuinely belly-laugh out loud, but these guys delivered.] They brought some volunteers to the stage, played a few games, and the crowd really enjoyed their energy and wit.

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12:00 Lunch – Again, no pix, but we promise we were well fed.

1:00 Speakers resume

3:00 Entertainment break! – Our second entertainment surprise of the day came in the form of BAILEN, a sibling group of folk harmony magic. I’ll let the music speak for itself. But really, if you are in the NYC area, hire these guys.

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3:30 Pelonkey Case-Study – Our fabulous CEO Nicole took the stage for a 10-minute presentation all about the ins and outs of Pelonkey. Or at least as much inning and outing she could squeeze into 600 seconds. We’re always so proud to see her up there speaking her truth and representing the company she has poured all her blood, sweat, and tears into.

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5:30 Cocktail Hour – Over hors d’oeuvres and the final wave of visitors to our table, we closed out the event in 8th place of the top RTs/Replies on Twitter, the only real goal of attending anyway… 😉

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6:30 Depart for DC – New York saw us off in style (you know how we love a good sunset/sky scape), and we left buzzed from the day instead of drained (OK, we were drained when we finally hit the pillow that night). A huge thank you to everyone involved in techsytalk (looking at you Liz King Events), and a giant Congrats to another successful event (you again, Liz). Can’t wait til 2017!

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Meet BlueCart

Ah, BlueCart. BlueCart + Pelonkey. A friendship lovechild of the magical fairyland that is SXSW via Nicole & Andrew’s chance meeting. Two chatty folks who, well, chatted until they were the best of startup friends. They realized there are a lot of ways we could cross-market, and so this blog feature was born. Ok, some other stuff happened in there, too, because both companies are mega-busy, but you get the idea.

BlueCart & Pelonkey swapped Q’s, and below are one half of the A’s. A cool group of people with a cool mission. I’ll let them tell you what they do.vendor2.0What is BlueCart?

BlueCart is a communication platform for the hospitality industry. Our app streamlines the ordering process between restaurants and their suppliers so that a restaurant can place orders to all their different vendors (produce, meat, alcohol, seafood, linens, etc.) in just one click. Suppliers then get those orders automatically organized on the other side, and everyone sees the whole thing go down in real time. It’s a huge leap forward from managing orders via text messages, emails, and phone calls, and best of all, it’s free.

How long have you been around?

BlueCart first launched in July 2014.

How big is your team?

We’re 27 stunning colleagues strong.

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Who can benefit from signing up with you?

Really anyone who handles orders in the hospitality industry and has access to a computer or smartphone can use BlueCart. That’s the beautiful thing about the app, it’s incredibly simple and easy to get the hang of. Anyone from huge restaurant groups in NYC to a small farmer in Kansas can use BlueCart to simplify their ordering. We believe that everyone in this industry, no matter how big or small, should have access to technology that makes their lives easier by making their business run more smoothly. [Us, too!]

What makes you unique?

Hmm. There are many things that make us unique. One of the ways we’re unique is our approach to customer service. Literally everyone is a customer service rep at BlueCart. We make quarterly calls to all our clients to gain feedback and see if we can help with any problems. We’re still young and agile enough that we can make changes to the app based on the feedback we get. Everyone makes those calls, too, from our CEO to our interns. [Hearing from an actual person makes a big difference. Especially when that person is the CEO? Talk about quality assurance.]

If we were to walk in to the BlueCart HQ/office what are the first three things we would notice?

Hmm, that’s a great question. If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have said the ping pong table. But that’s a little cliché for a startup, and honestly we had to get rid of ours anyway because we are growing so quickly. So, to answer your question, one of the first things you would see is the coatrack where a fake wolf’s head sits on top of a hoodie that hasn’t left since Christian wore it for Halloween. After the big bad wolf, you would most likely see a portrait of Chester (a photo of a squirrel dressed up in a turtleneck), which for no reason at all is on our award shelf – and next to that, either because of or in spite of Chester, depending on your perspective, is our award for coolest DC company. [Definitely because of. Can we get a copy?]

Where are you located?

We started in D.C., and now have permanent offices in San Francisco and NYC, with staff in Austin.

What events do you have coming up?

We’re actually hosting an event on menu engineering and how to get the most profits out of your menu in early June. We have the master of menu design, Gregg Rapp, coming to share his tips on crafting a menu. He’s worked with some high-level, diverse clients like IHOP and the Kennedy Center. So, if you know anyone in the bay area that might be interested, let them know. It’s on June 6th and you can get tickets here. [It’s not too late!]

How can BlueCart help the events industry?

BlueCart can help in two ways. First, with logistics. BlueCart allows hotels hosting an event to order all their supplies including linens, silverware, and food all in one place. It’s kind of a one stop shop, but for ordering. Second, we can recommend some fantastic entertainment folks, like Pelonkey…

Food suppliers, food buyers, go check ’em out! With an easy-to-use interface and FREE access, why wouldn’t you want to take a gander?

We heart you, BlueCart.

 

Event Planner Appreciation

Last week we met with some of our event planners to show them a little appreciation the best way we know how: with food, drink, and entertainment, duh.

A number of our event planner clients gathered at Sugar to be wowed by the likes of Alain Nu, Robert Mac, Michael Rosman, and DJ Dirty Hands. These are some unique and very talented performers  and come highly recommended by Yours Truly… OK, and some other super cool event planners who have hired them for fantastic events.

Each of the performers has been striving and working with Pelonkey to reach more people, make suggestions, give feedback, and improve the online platform (which, in turn, improves their personal experience as an entertainer on the site, so hello killing two birds with one stone), BUT each of these performers is also uniquely invested in elevating the way we as an industry book talent. Just like us, they want to stabilize this sometimes very (read: too) opaque booking culture.

So we chatted and listened and watched and altogether boozed & schmoozed, and it was as lovely a time as ever.

A giant thank you to Sugar for hosting and to our attendees for, well, attending! Getting to know you means getting to know your events means getting to know the best talent to recommend for those events means getting all kinds of new talent signed up on the system! *and breathe*

Til the next one!

[Sorry some of the pictures are quite dark; we had too much fun mingling to double-check our photos!]

To learn more about each performer, and hello, book them, visit their Pelonkey pages below!

Alain Nu, The Man Who Knows (yes, that is his trademarked name) – Mentalist & Magician

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Robert Mac – Comedian

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Michael Rosman – Juggler, Circus Performer, Comedian, et al

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DJ Dirty Hands – um, DJ

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Pelonkey Grand Launch Video

That’s right, it’s business video time! Our grand launch video is finally here, and we would shout the YouTube link from the rooftops if we could! Since we cannot do that (roof access is blocked from our floor), you can help us metaphorically scream the web address by sharing the link with everyone you know and their mothers! (Feel free to share it across all social media networks, we’re on ’em all.)

If you didn’t make it to the launch party, you can read a full recap here. And if after reading you’re still dying to attend such a party, fear not! We plan to take this shindig to cities up and down the East Coast before moving west. Sign up for free on www.pelonkey.com to get involved & invited. And to help you manage and plan ALL your entertainment events. (OK, sales pitch over.)

Now go watch, ya silly!

Big thanks to Skipper Films for putting together this masterpiece! We think they captured the high energy perfectly, but you’ll have to watch and see for yourself…

A wordy (but not overly wordy) and super helpful guide to using the Pelonkey site because sometimes we all need a few tips, right?

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Before you can learn to use the site, you need to sign up. Done that already? Excellent.

Let’s go.

1. Update. Yo. Profile.

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Because when your profile is not customized, and people go to search for you, you look like a ghost, and ghosting is only good for Halloween, not entertainment marketplace profiles, business, or dating.

2. Promote your Pelonkey profile

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(Say that five times fast.) Share your page across social media, link it to a flashing “Book Me!” banner on your website, tape it to your car bumper. Get it out there. This is your career. Rapper or wedding planner, your events are your livelihood.

3. Invite new users for points

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Finally, the swag. With our new ‘Invitation’ feature, we are tracking how many clients and colleagues you invite to the site, which will culminate in points you can trade for perks later.

4. Send a contract to outside clients

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Entertainers, you can now send a contract to a contact/Event Planner who is not yet signed up with Pelonkey. Rejoice! After you send the contract, they will receive an email asking them to sign up on Pelonkey (for free, of course), and after doing so they’ll be able to review and sign the contract. We so fancy, huh?

5. Use the Discussion box to your advantage

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This is your “C.Y.A.” Anytime you and your client discuss something about the upcoming event, especially if it’s outside the Pelonkey platform, you should stick the info in the Discussion box. Just in case. Additionally, if no one has responded to your inquiry or contract yet, send them a message in the Discussion box. They will receive a notification and an email letting them know they have something to respond to.

6. Read the FAQs

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Chances are we’ve anticipated some of your questions even before you have them. Didn’t we tell you we’re mind readers in addition to entertainment business mavens? Learn somethin’ new every day…

7. Make sure your payment information is correct

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Entertainers, if your bank account is not linked right – just one number off – you don’t get paid. And we don’t need to get into that, do we? Event Planners, if your credit card is not in place, you can’t even receive a contract or send an inquiry. Kinda puts a damper on the whole event planning part.

8. Include custom terms from both parties in the contract

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You may not have any other custom terms to include in the contract, but the Event Planner might. Be sure to ask them what kind of language they would like included in the contract, if they have their own text they want pasted in, etc. Chat early and chat often because once you have both signed the contract, you can’t make any changes unless you cancel, and cancellation fees will incur.

9. Leave reviews

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This is helpful and a courtesy. Entertainers and Event Planners both have the chance to leave a review of the other’s performance on the day of the event. Leave constructive tips for next time or sing your praises. Help future gigs succeed. Feedback is invaluable.

10. Send Pelonkey your feedback

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Speaking of helpful reviews, send us your thoughts on the site. Let us know what has worked smoothly. Let us know what’s been a little bumpier. We want to hear your ideas for improvements, future updates, necessary features, anything to help us make the site better. Is there a reason you can’t use us to book your events? Tell us so we can make fixing that roadblock our #1 priority. Email admin@pelonkey.com.

MES: Most Extraordinary Stars? Or…

MES: Many Excellent Successes. MES: Master Entrepreneur Supporters. (<– Hey, that was actually a pretty good one.)

MES: Metro Event Specialists, aka our homedawgs. Our peeps. A real swell group of hardworking event tycoons.

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We have introduced you to lots of heavy hitters in the events world (shoutout to our ab-FAB Pelonkey Launch sponsors!), but there’s one group we want to throw in the spotlight for a hot minute. MES holds a special place in our hearts as our good friends Max Major & Troy Francis are the ones that run it, and our CEO Nicole is on the board. Max & Troy and the rest of the MES gang have a finger on many crucial events that take place in DC, and they have been nice enough to toss us countless tips, tricks, and advice on our path to entertainment marketplace stardom (that’s a thing, right?).

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You’ve already heard a little about them through our MES Mixer coverage (we sponsored all the entertainment at their August mixer at the National Archives), but we want to urge all of you in the events industry to take a closer look. Get involved with them. They are a network of event professionals in the DMV area. They are 100% free (um, yes, really), AND they host super fun events with food and drink and talking and laughing and mixing and photo booths and fun and, well, now I’m just rambling.

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They were well-represented at our launch party, and we wanna throw ’em some love. Some mushy, mushy event lurrvvve. They are such a force in the area, and we are glad to call them partners. Get on their list, and don’t miss their next event! No, don’t miss it. Don’t do it. Don’t make us come over there…

Pelonkey Grand Launch Party

Last Wednesday. September 16. LIVE at 10th & G.

Were you there? Have you recovered yet?

Did you miss it? Are you still crying yourself to sleep?

Our Grand Launch Party was aMAHzing. What a night. What an awesome group of people and unbelievable support. Who’s down for a little recap?

If you were at the party, you either met me, your Pelonkey Eagle Eye, or saw me walk awkwardly on stage to accept Nicole’s thanks and give her flowers – I’m not on on-stage person, I’m a BTS, other-side-of-the-computer person – and this was my day-long Grand Launch experience.

6:03 am

Early morning reveille. Especially considering last night’s office work lasted til 10 pm. Not including my 1.5 hour commute back to VA.

6:47 am

Showered, hair prepped, bags packed for later.

7:00 am

Have to finish making name tags using a template that doesn’t work. The bane of my Grand Launch prep so far. Found out my color printer at home is working again, so I don’t need to rush to the office to print the leftover tags.

Simultaneously scheduling a Staples run for extra name tags, Costco run for green room beverages, pickup of the Step & Repeat, printing more signs, scheduling social media posts on Hootsuite, and finalizing a slideshow. Oh, and my gas tank is chilling on Empty.

8:49 am

I was wrong; color printer not working. Name tags took way longer than expected (everyone better wear these). Plan B!

9:15 am

Out the door with everything stuffed into my car in record time considering 20 minutes ago I wasn’t wearing pants.

9:32 am

Step & Repeat acquired! Success #1 of the day.

10:30 am

The rest of my errands went smoothly, and I can take off for DC.

11:04 am

For the first time maybe ever, I am actually relieved to find traffic on route 66 because it is the first time I’ve been forced to slow down in about a week. Here I have my second freakout of the day; the first was that damn printer, the second was the enormity of the impending event. Nbd.

12:37 pm

I will skip over the boring details of arriving at the office, receiving two packages, running out of ink the second I finished printing my last name tag, and getting a $16 parking ticket for only one hour in the garage.

1:00 pm

It’s venue time, baby! All eerily quiet so far because an event is going on upstairs, and we can’t start setting up yet.

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1:14 pm

I am trying unsuccessfully to iron table cloths and runners on a plastic table with an iron sans water on low heat. Machines: 1, Eagle Eye: 0.

1:30 pm

Setup can begin. We are tackling the Step & Repeat first, which was a workaround to begin with, so trying to construct our own stand has been an ordeal. And when I say “we,” I mean Nicole and her friend Cenk, while I sit at a nearby table assembling name tags (seriously, everyone better keep these forever). Ciera is running around like a crazy person and it’s not even 2 pm.

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3 pm

So far, so good! Setup flowing smoothly, vendors should be arriving now.

3:02 pm

Chaos. Vendor load-in times never end up how you originally scheduled.

4:41 pm

This place is actually looking like a party site. Some performers are starting to arrive, green room is looking lived-in, and Ciera is officially going to put holes in her shoes with her running back & forth.

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5:00 pm

Nicole’s makeup is almost done, downstairs & registration are set up, photo booth looks amazeballs, red carpet has been rolled out, and we are making sure vendors have what they need.

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5:20 pm

Holy crap, no one has chilled any of the white wine yet. To the freezer!

5:35 pm

If we leave this in the freezer too long will it explode? We may find out…

5:41 pm

Somewhere in here I have managed to throw on some makeup, curl my hair, and put on my dress.

5:59 pm

I have my comm device (think secret service agent meets trench soldier) hooked up, and it’s off to the races. Eagle Eye to Unicorn, do you have eyes on Neekola? Over. 

6:00 pm

Doors open. Let’s do this.

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6:20 pm

So. many. people! So many, in fact, that I have already found and lost half our performers three times trying to get them to the green room. I’m checking on current entertainers, chatting with guests, making sure the kitchen isn’t on fire, the usual. Ciera has flown by me at least twice on one mission or another. I sigh again with relief because what would we do without her? Perish, surely.

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7:30 pm

A lot of guest networking and problem-solving later, and it’s time to relinquish my comm. My life will never be the same. But the sound manager for the theater needs it more than I do, I guess… Theater doors also open at this time, and guests are being pulled in by the sounds of LJ MTX and the sexy DystRucXion dancers.

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7:50 pm

A word from our sponsors… And let me take a minute here to thank them. Each of them. For our success was due to them.

VeeKast, for providing the performance slide show and live tweeting action. Travelling Bean, for the specialty barista station of our caffeinated dreams. Eco Caters, for organic, fresh food that is still making our mouths water. SkipperFilms, for making sure we didn’t miss a minute of the magic. OM Digital, for the best party favor ever. Sugar Rim Bar, for sangria and stellar service. Zelos Trading, for beer (three cheers!). Event Farm, for the ticketing service from which you all received our beautimous emails. Beat Refinery, for appointing two DJs to the battle and partnering with us always. Carlos, for an unbelievable sound & lighting setup. And Tommy McFly, for Emceeing our event and lending his charisma and energy to the show.

Before the show even began, Nicole took the stage to welcome everyone, and before she could get a word out, she was met with a standing ovation. A testament to how beloved she is in this community. And for good reason. That woman is a rockstar. 

8:03 pm

A little behind schedule (if we’re being picky, which Ciera is), but I can promise nobody in the crowd cares because the best show ever is about to start. Max Major to take it away, followed by an epic lineup of DC talent we also want to thank now. You guys have no idea how amazing these folks were. Over the next few weeks, we will be spotlighting each performer who took the stage (or party room) and represented themselves and Pelonkey. Look for that on our social platforms.

Max Major – Mentalist, Kelly Jo Stull – Circus Performer & Dancer, Chicago City Limits – NYC Improv Troupe, Ben Hoyt – Violinist, DJ Sean J, DJ As-One, Michael Rosman – Comedy Circus, Chip Han – Beatboxer

DJ Foster, Anna Pineapple – Circus Performer & Dancer, DJ Gavin Holland, DJ Phlipz, Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio, Brian Curry – Magician, DJ Heather Femia, Joe Goldman – Voice Artist & Announcer, Rajan – Artist, David Meneses – Magician

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9:09 pm

Party time! The show was great, everyone is having so much fun, and Ciera, Nicole, and I can finally take a breath, have a drink, and talk with our guests.

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10:13 pm

I’ve been giving the VIP room some love, marveling at the Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio & Ben Hoyt transform the upstairs into the classiest act ever. Schmoozing is not my middle name, but when in Rome (and when it’s my party), I do as the Romans do… 😉 When in Rome, I also consume more than my fair share of Duck Confit Johnny Cakes c/o Eco Caters. These things were heavenly. And made fresh by Chef Robbie. Just like the rest of the bomb food.

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11:13 pm

The time, it flies. I have had so much fun, met so many wonderful people, and rubbed so many blisters onto my feet. The latter is usually a huge indication of the former.

11:48 pm

All the guests have left – reluctantly, I may add – and it’s breakdown time. The party may have been glamorous, but I’m looking around at all these trash bags knowing the next steps will not be.

12:52 am

Thanks to helping hands from our vendors and friends, we have finally gathered all the trash bags into the kitchen. The venue looks a little like a frat party came through, but I’m taking that as a successful sign. Except for the trash cans that look like beer troughs. I was really hoping I left that in my freshman year of college, but alas…

1:22 am

During load-out, we have managed to lock ourselves into the garage. Let me paint you a word picture. The glass door into the elevator room is shut, the gate to exit the garage is shut and only opened with a parking ticket, we are three floors below ground with no cell service, I have run through a maze of stairs only to lose myself in a neighboring building, and we have decided to cram three of ourselves (one ex-football player included) into the front seat of Ciera’s teeny car in order to bust ourselves out. Finally Nicole comes down to find out what the hell happened to us, and we are freed. Exhausting doesn’t cover it. Slaphappy might.

1:44 am

The venue is empty, the car is loaded, our eyelids are heavy, and it’s time to leave. What is a great party without a calamity of events before and after?

1:46 am

What was that tip my drivers’ ed teacher told us to do when we were tired and driving? Sing along to the radio? I did. To every song that played from the corner of 10th & G St. to my driveway.

2:12 am

I don’t remember getting out of my car or into bed, but I do remember falling asleep with the sounds of Pelonkey ringing in my ears. (Not trying to be cheesy; I was seriously delirious from fatigue and could only remember that something big regarding Pelonkey had just happened, but I couldn’t tell you what.)

I wish I had had the sense to take photos throughout the whole day to illustrate every tiny detail of the party, but I didn’t know I was going to write a diary account of the launch until after the fact. Like many of my great ideas, this one occurred to me too late.

We want to take this launch party city to city as Pelonkey grows. After doing it once, I can promise that the second, third, tenth times will be just as hectic and crazy. And thank god for that. Because the alternative is downright boring. And Pelonkey doesn’t do boring.

Ps. The wine never exploded in the freezer. Take that, science.

Pps. Thanks to Shimeng Tong, Alexander Morozov, and Vithaya for the photography.

Ppps. 82% of the name tags ended up in the trash. Mine is displayed proudly above my bed.

TL;DR – The show and party were a great success. Be super jealous you weren’t there. Or proud that you were. Either way, don’t miss the next one.

We spy a Pelonkey ninja at the 5th Anniversary MES Masquerade mixer!

Modified from Ciera Gallub‘s post on DJ Neekola’s blog on November 6th, 2014.

Being keen as ever, Pelonkey CEO DJ Neekola hopped around the Metro Events Specialists 5th Anniversary Masquerade party without anyone knowing who she was until her reveal!

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The MES event did not disappoint! Taking place at the beautiful Carnegie Library at Mt Vernon Square, the venue was completely decked out for the occasion.

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Beautiful lights and draping landscaped the rooms and halls, and strange but brilliant masked creatures turned up around every corner, making the night take on a mythical vibe!

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Neekola had an incredible time munching on tasty little treats and morsels, dancing to the band, enjoying a libation or two from the open bar, getting her picture snapped left and right from the Umbrella Syndicate, socializing with friends, and networking Pelonkey with the best professionals the DMV events industry has to offer.

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Here’s to the next amazing MES mixer and five more spectacular years!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Eddie Fam

Written by Ciera Gallub, COO and Staff Writer

Meet Eddie Fam, one of our awesome Pelonkey Advisory Board Members! Eddie is also the President of IMPACT Marketing and Events, the founder of the Meant 2 Live Foundation, and the Marketing Director at the Winery at Bull Run. All these activities, you would think he’d be exhausted! Not Eddie; he is always lively, spirited, encouraging, and ready for the next challenge!

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With all of his great insight and experience, Eddie likes to connect private event clients to Pelonkey‘s many talented entertainers, whether for a wedding, corporate event, festival, or charity fundraiser, to name a few. Eddie has a real passion for Pelonkey and the company’s future impact. Pelonkey is going to change the way clients and entertainers do business together, making both sides more easily accessible to each other within a secure, trusted environment. For Eddie, this streamlined process will make the client’s event that much more wonderful and special!

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In his spare time, Eddie enjoys drinking wine, going to awesome rock concerts (here’s to U2!), and traveling the world. One of his favorite places to travel to is Africa.

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Every year, Eddie and the Meant 2 Live Foundation go out to Africa on a missions trip. In his most recent trip this past July, Eddie reunited with his brother, a Mission Priest who has dedicated his life to care for more than 220 orphans in Zambia. He is already hard at work planning next year’s trip to Zambia! M2L plans on continuing the expansion of their orphans project into three more communities.

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If you’d like to go on the next missions trip to Zambia, book your wedding at the Winery at Bull Run, or just have a smashing conversation with a genuinely happy, passionate guy, do not hesitate to introduce yourself to Eddie Fam! After all, humans are his favorite animal. They can impact every other animal out there! We are so proud to have someone like Eddie Fam on our Pelonkey Board of Advisors! Catch Eddie at any upcoming Networking For Good event!