We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Edgar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, what role has risk played in your life or career?
For fear of sounding cliché, life is risk. Living, going out each and every day is risk. Daily, we have to take risks by stepping out into the unknown. Trying a new skill, making a new friend, attempting something you didn’t think you could, each of these are risks. I have always been a risk-taker in this sense. I have never jumped into a situation blindly, but I have always been willing to put myself out there by taking calculated risks. As a student, I took risks that I knew would benefit my future. Rather than worry what others thought of me, I pushed myself to the very top (though speaking technically, my twin sister was the Valedictorian and I was the Salutatorian). I put myself out there and interviewed for scholarships. By God’s grace and other’s generosity, I got them. In college, I worked hard and I studied Spanish in school. I took a risk in studying a subject I had no previous background in whatsoever and I loved it. Learning another language and culture intimately was the best gift I have ever given myself. During school I met an amazing man and committed myself to him at the tender age of 21. It was a big risk, and it was the best decision of my life. After graduation, I took the risk of becoming a teacher to middle school kids, and I loved it. When I was an educator, my risk-taking presented itself by teaching varied subjects and becoming an expert in each. I took risks when I, gained a master’s degree, and reached out to attain multiple leadership positions. When I became a mother, my risk-taking took on a new role as I attempted to throw myself into a completely different world of self-sacrifice and joy to a level I had never known. It was hard, but I love it. Then, I took one of the largest risks I had ever taken. I started a business.
Motherhood helped me to see the importance of celebrating special milestones with loved ones and doing it in a way that helped to create beautiful memories. After having thrown my daughter’s first birthday, I saw a place for myself in the event business as a bridge between the party worlds. Between DIY Pinteresting and full-scale event planning. A place where you could rent elements to DIY an event or hire every piece of it out. My heart wanted to help friends and families have beautiful events and memories without all of the stress involved. So, I created Rara Avis Occasions hoping to be the “rare bird” (literal meaning of the Latin term “rara avis”) of the party scene. I took a big risk, and I am absolutely loving it. I love being there for each person’s special moments. I love creating beautiful memories for people. I have a job where it feels like I get to bring the “Christmas morning” feeling each and every time, and I could not be more honored to get to do so.
Risks have made me who I am and have led to the biggest blessings in my life. Risks can be scary, but when well thought-out, they almost always lead somewhere amazing.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business, Rara Avis Occasions, has been committed to being the “rara avis” of the party business from the very beginning. Different is in our DNA. Rara Avis is a Latin term literally meaning “rare bird”. In English, we use the term to mean something that is unique, one of a kind, different. At Rara Avis Occasions we offer more than the typical event-planning experience. Of course, we can plan, design, decorate, and coordinate your event. But we also offer you the ability to “do it yourself”. With over 36 pre-packaged themes to choose from, we give our customers the ability to rent everything they would need to throw a fabulous party without the stress of sourcing, crafting, and storing it all after the event. These packages include not only specialty hand-crafted décor, but also backdrops, linens, servingware, and premium items (such as vintage high chairs or boho queen chairs). From the planning of your event to the decorating and executing, we offer every option one could need to throw the event desired how it is desired. Another element we are proud of is the fact that our parties help to minimize the waste that happens with most events. We carefully reuse and repurpose items to ensure that things aren’t carelessly thrown into the trash and can be reused by another for another event. We are also careful to do our balloon installations with biodegradable balloons to ensure that our impact on the environment is minimal.
From the beginning to the end, we want to make sure that your experience with Rara Avis Occasions helps you to throw a beautiful party with zero stress involved so you can be present in the moments that matter.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh my goodness, what wouldn’t we do?! Houston is such a fun and diverse city with a million options, but here are a few of my favorites.
– NASA/Space Center Houston (it’s touristy and we take it for granted because we’ve been near it our whole lives, but it is a cool thing to do for the history of space travel. We’d also be sure to do the trolley tour so you can see mission control etc.) Afterward, you can stop by the Kemah boardwalk for lunch/supper.
– (museum district) Houston Art Museum. Other fun museums that are free is the Menil and Rothko chapel. Or for another awesome paid experience is the Houston Museum of Science (I personally like this one better than the one in New York).
-Japanese Gardens (a great place for a tranquil walk after the museum).
-Take in a free show and eat a picnic supper at the Miller Outdoor Theater (bring mosquito spray).
-Rice Village (outdoor shopping) not far from the museum district. Good food and a fun walkaround.
-Houston Texan’s Football Game or Astros Baseball game at Minute Maid Stadium (if we’re still in the series). It’s definitely a fun experience.
-San Jacinto Monument (the battle field where Texas won her independence- yee haw!) & the Battleship Texas (WWII battleship).
-Houston is a foodie city, lots and lots of fantastic places to eat. Of course, this is Texas, so we love Tex-Mex, Country Cooking, and BBQ.
-For Tex-Mex, we’d do Ninfa’s (the original location), El Real, or Pappacitos.
-My favorite Washington Heights restaurant is hands-down Urban Eats.
-For country cooking, definitely the Wunsche Brothers in Old Town Spring. It has the sweetest old-school and new-school feel after the updates and keeps the spirit of the old saloon alive.
-And of course, this area has two of the top 10 BBQ joints in Texas, so either Tejas Barbeque or Corkscrew Barbeque.
– At some point I would also drive us out to see a fun movie at the Showboat Drive-In. When the weather is nice it is the best way to watch a movie.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My darling husband, Joel. He has been there with me every step of the way in realizing this business. He has been my supporter and cheerleader as I navigated the unfamiliar waters of entrepreneurship. He has been my rock and is the love of my life. I’m so very lucky to have him as a partner in every way. From the very beginning, he has been my sounding board for ideas and has lent a hand any time I needed him to. In short, he’s awesome and deserves as much credit as I do.