I’m Adrienne Brink, founder of Uncommon Camellia, the wild business adventure I thought only existed in movies.
When I was 10 my parents took me and my 2 younger siblings to a lawyer’s cocktail party at a historical railroad museum in Baltimore, Maryland. I recall the large circular ballroom, with rail cars and engines lining the perimeter. At the center were the guest tables and a live jazz band. The lights were dimmed with spotlights on the band and railcars. The wait staff served us soft drinks in glass bottles and offered us hors d’oeuvres that our palettes weren’t ready to appreciate. I felt completely immersed in the adventure and charm of the old railroads. In that moment I understood how a well designed event could invoke emotion to create lasting memories. I knew I wanted more and decided to become … an attorney. (so I missed the mark quite a bit, but wait there’s more)
Fast forward 8 years to when I entered college as a pre-law student. In no time flat I recognized that I was more interested in the events my parents attended than the actual work of attorneys! One visit to the career advisor’s office, a change in my major, and I was back on track. I was set to finish my degree in record time with plans to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism. But in that last semester of undergrad, I took a sobering look at the life ahead of me and questioned whether it was the career I was truly meant to pursue. Would I be able to have a family working mostly weekends, would I be fulfilled by “throwing parties”, would there be a job for me upon graduation?
I inventoried my abilities and interests and decided my strengths lied in the field of counseling. I made events my hobby and set my career goals on becoming a professional therapist. One master’s degree, a professional license and 11 years later, the events industry continued to call me.
In 2016, propelled by the birth of my second daughter as well as the shocking news that my mother had begun her fight with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, I was no longer willing to settle for anything other than my true calling. I decidedly marched into the beautiful and exciting unknown of entrepreneurial life. I went to great lengths to meticulously design every element of the business to harness the gifts my life had given me.
Within one year of hanging my sign as a wedding planner, I was fully booked and began inviting other women to work alongside me. They were never my employees, but instead my colleagues. I taught and still teach each team member my proven processes and provide them with the tools they need to excel and enjoy their work as wedding coordinators, planners and designers. Each woman books her own work under the umbrella of the company of Uncommon Camellia. There is no one principal designer, planner or coordinator here, but instead a collective team of independent wedding professionals. We are a family of women that know love and support each other.
The team has advanced the work of the business exponentially. Not only can we serve more clients, but we can also serve them better. Our collective knowledge allows us deep insight into the New Orleans market. Between our team, we routinely work with over 1,000 vendors and venues per year, without stretching or overworking any one team member. Though our clients have one dedicated Lead Planner or Lead Coordinator, the creative and logistical expertise of the entire team is extended to every couple. The real heroes of my career story are the couples who entrust me and my colleagues with their weddings. So we make certain that those heroes remain at the heart of how we make each business decision and how we run the company overall.
I’m still writing this story, but so far, I like where it’s going. Thank you for taking the time to read it!