#WhereAreTheyNow: Atiya Charley
Atiya Charley has always been creative. From a young age she loved to craft and create. While attending Regis College she began to get into event planning. Simultaneously she took a job while finishing up her degree as a wedding consultant at David’s Bridal (and worked as a junior coordinator at Regis College Campus and Conference Events Department). With a bit of experience coordinating events under her belt her cousin approached her asking if she could plan her baby shower. Atiya did not shy away from this challenge, in fact she embraced it. Her cousin asked her for a diaper cake. Never having heard of that before Atiya quickly Googled and came across a YouTube video where she taught herself how to make one. This was the perfect opportunity where her passion for creating was met with a challenge to deliver and she thrived. That initial event was the impetus for starting her own company, PurpleFox Events, in November 2008 thanks to the encouragement of family and close friends.
Atiya was motivated to create a moderately priced event coordination company with high end aesthetics and delivery. She felt that it was imperative that moderate and middle income customers had the option to have their celebrations professionally planned and a seamless experience. She saw there was an opening in the market to service this clientele as more traditional event planners are out of reach for many.
It has now been eight years since inception and the business continues to grow. This year PurpleFox Events has reached its peak, beating their previous annual records. She attributes her success to her ability to deeply listen to her customers desires and concerns. These skills have allowed her to establish trust with her clients, which has contributed to repeat customers. She is currently working with one family on their third event, a third wedding! She credits her team for her success as well, which she has worked to recruit, retain and train to go above and beyond for their customers. As a growing business owner she has come to learn how critical her team is for her success and the role they play in her businesses sustainability. Part of that process has been establishing a foundational brand and vision that her team can execute on without her. She reflected how recently at the Community Basketball program fundraiser that she and her team coordinated was able to take in how far PurpleFox Events has come since its inception. It was in 2012, almost five years since beginning her business she had secured her first non-family client, planning a wedding in Newport, Rhode Island Among other milestones has been getting onto the list of approved vendors at both The Villa and the Quincy Marriott.
In 2016 PurpleFox Events was accepted into #AccelerateBOS, a six month MBA style accelerator program for local creatives.
It was a valuable experience and the knowledge she acquired from the speakers that contributed her business acumen. Most importantly, she says she learned the value of self care and the need to take care of yourself. She says that if you’re not okay, your business will not be okay either. With such a focus and resources allocated towards the tech space, she was grateful to find a home for creative entrepreneurs such as herself. It allowed her to get over the fear of taking her business to the next level. Her flourishing business is a testament to her ability to move past that fear while building the road as she walks it.
She is a certified wedding planner, but many of her skills are self taught. If her clients cannot afford a florist, not a problem. Those types of challenges are her sweet spots. Her love for creating and crafts matched with Pinterest and YouTube allow her to deliver for her clients. She can do floral designs, center pieces, and almost anything made out of diapers for the expectant mothers and fathers!
If she was granted with a magic wand at this point in her business it would be for her own storefront location which would allow her enough room for an extensive inventory for event products such as backdrops, linens, chair covers and the latest trend, flower walls!
Atiya is the epitome of perseverance and passion. She has been building her business at a slow and steady rate the past eight years while balancing a full time job. When I asked her what advice she would have for other entrepreneurs who are in a similar position she said, “Keep going after achieving your goals. Try not to get discouraged when life comes at you. Just focus.”