Careerfodder: How Vanessa Ohayon Kept Her Events Company Afloat During The Pandemic
Updated: May 9
Vanessa Ohayon of Vanessa & Co. Events & Hospitality has had to radically make changes to her way of doing business due to the pandemic. Just like millions of business owners across the globe, adjusting is a paramount priority. One of the most affected industries is hospitality and events, but Vanessa had to look for a viable option rather than resolving to shut down.
Before the pandemic hit, Vanessa worked with high-profile clients in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, France, Spain, Morocco, UK, Germany, and Canada. Since her brand deals with hospitality, bespoke tours, and events, human capital and interaction are gold for her. It’s where the money comes from.
As you’ll read in the interview, you’ll be amazed by how thinking outside the box can save your business even in the most trying times. Read on and be inspired.
Career Fodder: There have been unprecedented changes in how events are planned and conducted due to the pandemic. Having been in the industry for over two decades, how does the future of events look like, in relation to current events?
Vanessa Ohayon: The pandemic forced the entire planet into isolation, and society at large quickly adapted – learning how to exchange ideas, teach, learn, workout, play and even relax on a digital platform. Zoom became a household fixture and our dining room tables became our boardrooms.
As the bulk of the world became comfortable with online gatherings, we inadvertently added another vertical to how we celebrate together. Events are going to come back strong! History shows us that post-war, post-pandemic, post-crisis – people fiercely turn to unite together and celebrate!
Going forward, the future of events will always have a digital element, as there will always be individuals whom we want in attendance that cannot for one reason or another.
The marriage between the physical world and the digital world will find its balance and then continue to evolve, and up its game, as we blaze forward in progress, with the pandemic only present in the rearview mirror.
CF: What are some of the innovative ways you used to keep your business afloat during the pandemic?
VO: Truly, it took me a minute. I didn’t believe that my industry, being the first to go down, and likely the last to re-emerge, had a possibility to stay afloat. I resisted pivoting my business, I didn’t trust that the interaction among attendees could be redesigned in a way to invoke a dynamic exchange on a digital platform.
My magic has always been in the presence and interaction of the quality human capital at the event. However, my clients had a real need that required solving. I had to get centered and move away from the fear and dance towards the music.
Life was continuing and people still needed interaction with one another – I would argue to say, even more now than ever! A dear friend of mine, and now more recently my business partner, and I were on the phone, and within 24 hours @Box.Bash was born. In simple terms, it is a Party in a Box.
We offer customized boxes to your attendees ranging from miniature wedding cakes and bottles of champagne to materials needed to participate in an online basketball tournament. We offer high-quality video storytelling to make the guests dialing-in feel like they are in the room with the individuals being celebrated! Making the experience stand out from just another zoom call, that we often (un-admittedly) have running in the background.
CF: Running a business that depends on human capital and interactions during a restrictive pandemic can be challenging emotionally. How have you managed to stay on track despite the hard times?
VO: It was certainly challenging emotionally! Clients having to cancel something we have spent countless hours and many months with loads of love was completely heartbreaking. It was also devastating to my suppliers who were like me, losing one event after another.