We had the good fortune of connecting with SELENA BRITTON and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi SELENA, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I cultivated a passion for event design at a young age working with my parents in the catering/ foodservice industry, Food, Family, Friends & Fun was our family mantra. I wasn’t much of a cook, but I enjoyed the process of watching an empty room transform into a beautifully designed space. I still wasn’t convinced that I was ready to be an Entrepreneur. I grew up in a household of two minority-owned business owners, and I knew the sacrifices. I started planning and designing my daughter Zoe’s birthday parties, and it slowly grew the passion I had somehow suppressed in working my 9-5. Birthdays were a big deal in our home, and we both looked forward to planning. I thought of planning and designing as something I just enjoyed, similar to a hobby. But I was good at it. It was my sister who encouraged me to move forward with starting my business. She reminded me that my life did not start or end with being a mom. I could be both a mom and an Entrepreneur. It ignited my fire and strengthened my bond with my daughter. She always found love in designing.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Aura Decor Events curates lush events with artistry and exclusivity in mind. Cutting-edge technology, luxury décor, and eye-catching aesthetics allow guests to partake in an immersive experience. Through my services, I create viable solutions utilizing event CRM organizational tools and effectively communicating with a network of established vendors. Clients entrust their confidence in my ability to provide over 20 successful events, leading to increased profitability and product visibility.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
I’m most proud of how we have incorporated family and community into our business. A big part of who we are is to support the people around us. Family and community go hand in hand. We love to give back to our local schools and churches in the area.
I’m excited about how we have fused balloon design into our business. When I first started my business, I had no intention of creating balloon installs. My business plan only included event design and party rentals, but in this business, you have to learn what the market needs, revisit your business plan and get creative,
How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Hard work, prayer, and commitment! Entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart. There is no such thing as guaranteed income, sick leave, or fixed shifts. When you work for yourself it is the hardest job you will ever work.
I started my business in 2019 so we were a fairly new company before COVID. I invested lots of money and time into starting this business, and the pandemic forced me to level up. I was so proud of all the accomplishments I made in my first year of business. I gained the trust of clients, booked events and then all of a sudden everyone canceled. It was a huge hit to my pockets. Clients were requesting refunds with no new event date in mind and it was the scariest feeling I’ve felt. I thought for sure we were going to go out of business. I had no idea what to do. I had to quickly pivot my business plan and create some innovative ways to continue our business.
I started learning how to design balloons. I studied different techniques from different balloon stylists and stumbled across a company in Toronto, Canada, that offered online classes. I ended up talking with the owner for hours offline, about start-up cost, and profitability, marketing and somehow ended the conversation on family businesses. Talk about divine direction!
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is making sure your health is your #1 priority. If you’re not well then your company suffers. The second lesson would be to make sure business is structured properly, stay organized and hire an accountant. I learned that you always have to take care of your health and your business. Third, there is power in connecting and communicating with customers. Social media can create somewhat of a disconnect in human connections. Simple handwritten thank you cards or Just checking on your emails went a long way for business, especially during COVID.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
We are not just a business; we are a family! Family extends beyond your blood; it’s about relationships.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So, when we are not planning someone else’s event we like to party!!! When I say party, it’s mostly centered around food, family, and friends.
Food: Steak48 & Loch Bar, Mad
Drinks: Lawless, Post Oak Hotel
Hangout: Museum District, Galleria,
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is absolutely nothing like having God as your intuitive guide, the prayers of your parents, the support of your immediate family, and your very own vision of facilitating fun.
This shoutout is to my parents! My parents have owned and operated a minority-owned catering business for over 30 years. I grew up in the event industry, so food and togetherness have played a big part in developing my own company. I would work in the kitchen for countless hours, prepping food, cleaning kitchens, loading trucks, doing office work; I mean you name it I did it. There was no such thing as a job title in my parent’s business. As a child, I was completely annoyed with spending so much time catering events but it taught me a lot about entrepreneurship. I couldn’t see the value of the lessons my parents were instilling in me but, I’m so grateful that they included me in their dreams.
Now, I get a complete thrill out of planning and executing events. There is the immense joy you receive when people walk into a room you designed and stand in awe. The togetherness of laughter amongst families and friends is exhilarating. The pandemic has especially taught us to appreciate these moments. I find it liberating to create lasting memories for others.
Photographer: Mark Gail