Expert Tips from a Professional Event Designer and Stylist

I met Ona a year ago at Kunbi's Baby Shower in Hudson, NY (Kunbi, one of my favorite clients and the Owner of Legally Set and Perfete).

Ona was kind, sweet, and truly talented. We immediately clicked, and since then we have worked together on multiple baby showers.

She has an eye for chic, elegant, and modern designs that use color to tell a story. But truly, what stands out is her good nature as a human. When you work with Ona you get a hard-working woman, who is humble and overall nice! She is professional and will go above and beyond to make her clients' events a total success.

I asked Ona to share her thoughts on designing and styling. These are her expert tips.

The 3 Main Concepts to Approach Styling and Designing

by Ona Odum

When designing an event, there are so many elements to consider. Largely, the details depend on the client so the initial consultation is extremely important. For me, I approach styling and design using 3 main concepts

-Who is my client?

-What do they desire most from their event?

-What characteristic do I possess that made them choose me?

Who is my client

I take this into consideration because for Project Olili it is important to infuse the client's personality into their event. For instance, if I was contacted to style a birthday celebration I would ask: Is this for a more feminine client? Does she prefer soft palettes? How does she typically dress? Is she soft, edgy, bright, or bold? What does she intend on wearing to her event? Is this an intimate gathering for her? How much of an investment is she willing to take on this event? All these questions help us set the mood, and ideally present the prospective client with a proposal they can identify with. Tailoring the event to the client's personality and my perception of them from the inquiry process usually ensures that I am not showing them things they don't care about. As opposed to designing MY dream event for them, I style THEIRS.

What do they desire most from their event?

A question I ask during every discovery call is "Tell me what you envision seeing when you walk into your event?" Why? Because I believe everyone dreams of their perfect event in some capacity. I believe client satisfaction is optimal when they have that 'Deja Vu feel walking into a space that they invested time and money into decorating. Most times the client is not initially clear on what this vision looks like, but that is why I am here. We help them streamline their random thoughts and inspirations into a cohesive look.

What characteristics do I possess that made them choose me?

To me, this is the most important part. I don't take it for granted that I am selected out of thousands of event professionals in the tri-state to style milestone events, so I ensure that I answer this question myself during the design process. A lot of our events today tend to look similar, so it is important for me to remain true to my differentiating factor. I think for me it would have to be the attention to detail and my take on color stories. I also have a 'look' for balloon design that I take pride in. When designing I try to remember that my clients prefer my aesthetic and trust that I will produce on a level consistent with the portfolio I have curated online.

There is a lot of growth left, especially have done this for only two years. As I grow, learn and refine I am sure my process will change. For now, I am immensely grateful for every opportunity to create a truly memorable event!

a bokeh of a floral arrangement with fuscia roses, pink flowers and greenery with blurred tablescape background
a detail close up view of colored glasses with a background of flowers and candles in pink hues by Paula Ortiz NY Family
a detail close up view of pink flowers of different types photographed by Paula Ortiz NY Family Photographer
front vertical view of a floral arrangement with roses and greenery in pink hues, a red plate and pink napkin
an overhead view of a decorated red plate with pink menu and pink flowers captured by NY Family Photographer
a lateral vertical view of a sitting area with pink pillows, a pink chair and a grey couch with beautiful light
a lateral view of a baby shower decorated table with flowers and candles in pink hues, and a burnt orange backdrop
a vertical view of a martini, champagne and short glass with different shades of pink drinks by NY Family Photographer
a cardboard illustrated character of a pregnant black woman wearing a pink dress and holding a balloon by Paula Ortiz
a wide vertical view of a baby shower decorated tablescape with flowers and balloons in pink, white and fucsia hues

Contact Ona

Event Stylist and Designer

Ona Odum

Creative Lead

Project Olili, LLC 

Woodbridge, NJ

Tel: (201) 844-7676

All rights reserved. Copyright 2022 Photography by Paula Ortiz. New York City Family Photography

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