MunaLuchi Coterie member and elite event planner Imagine Design Concepts (Imagine DC) is "a boutique event planning company specializing in full service event planning and design for Corporate, Charity, and Life Events." With over ten years experience as a Business Development Manager, company founder, Ijeoma Azubuko has taken that knowledge, experience, and her passion for event planning and applied it to the wedding industry. Imagine DC measures success by "the smiles on our client's faces at the end of the night" seeking to create "memorable moments for our clients that they can reflect on for a lifetime."
Learn all about Imagine DC in this insightful in-depth interview.
Name: Ijeoma Azubuko (IJay)
Business Name: Imagine Design Concepts (Imagine DC)
Founded: January 6th, 2015
Describe your business. Imagine DC is a boutique event planning company specializing in full service event planning and design for Corporate, Charity, and Life Events. Weddings are categorized under our Life Event Services. We pride ourselves on being innovative and ensuring our customers that no matter where they are in the world they are still able to connect with us through our interactive planning portal, which allows us to always maintain a level of transparency and work realtime with our clients and vendors.
What did you do before starting your business in the wedding industry? I worked in Corporate America as a Business Development Manager as well as a Project Manager for a number of projects. I’ve taken my passion for event planning and my over 10 years of experience managing various projects and merged them. Project Management is essential when it comes to wedding planning, it is the key to ensure your client’s big day runs smoothly. That and my keen eye for aesthetic design have made for a winning combination.
How long have you been in the wedding industry? What’s funny is that my friends would jokingly call me a professional bridesmaid; a real life 27 dresses, I’ve been in more weddings then I can count, and in the process have been there to help a number of friends and family members that were planning their own weddings. I know and understand the highs and lows a bride goes through during the planning process and how stressful it can be for them, even when they do have a more then capable planner. I say all that to say this, when I originally started Imagine DC, I did not start it in the hopes of becoming a wedding planner, my initial focus was more on working intimate milestone events like birthdays and showers, as well as working larger scale corporate and charity events. I am very invested in the things I am passionate about, and I was scared of the mere possibility of disappointing a bride on one of the biggest days of their lives. It wasn’t until I spoke to my mentor and good friend Chioma of Dure Events at a friend’s wedding in which I was the Maid of Honor that Chioma was planning per usual. Chioma blatantly asked me why I wasn’t doing weddings and told me I was wasting my talents by missing out on that market, because I had an eye for the beauty weddings entail and my caring nature would be something brides would appreciate. She literally spoke life into that dream, and literally a few weeks later I was contacted out of nowhere from a client to do my first wedding December 2015, from that moment on God has blessed me beyond what I could have ever imagined. I have had some of the most amazing couples, and the experience has far exceeded what I ever thought it would be, to the point where weddings are currently my biggest market!
How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as timeless elegance. I pride myself on ensuring that each of my couple’s personality and style shine through on their wedding day, no two couples are the same and their weddings shouldn’t be either. When you look at the weddings I have done in the past, you will see that the one thing they do have in common is a level of elegance, and the design is one where you can look back on years from now with a sense of pride.
What motivates you? I am motivated by the passion God has placed within me and the trust my couples have for me.
Why should brides/grooms choose you? I am passionate about what I do. I find pleasure in bringing people together in celebration and life, my client’s vision is my vision and I am as invested in their big day as they are. My clients are my priority and they know that! I make it a point to ensure that my clients’ personalities and style shine through on their wedding day.
How does your company define and measure success? By the smiles on our clients faces at the end of the night, we seek to create memorable moments for our clients that they can reflect on for a lifetime. We also measure our success by their referrals.
What do you enjoy most about your work? Turning a concept into reality, I love working with clients to help them realize their vision even when they feel they don’t have one, and taking that vision from just a thought on paper, to pulling together the right team to bring it to life!
Describe a proud moment while working in the wedding industry. Proudest moment in the industry for me, I can’t choose just one. When I get calls and texts from my clients after their weddings in aww of their special day wanting to relive the moment all over again those are my proudest moments. When I’ve had a long and stressful day but I see the look of pure bliss on my clients’ faces that makes it all worthwhile in the end and makes me proud!
What’s the best compliment you’ve received for your work? The best compliment I have received from a client for my work was for my client to tell me I made them feel like they were the only person that mattered despite the fact that I was planning multiple weddings all within weeks of each other, that their wedding was the most beautiful and perfect day they had ever experienced! Also, for a groom that didn’t understand the need for a wedding planner, to tell me that hiring me was the best investment they could have ever made for their wedding.
What are your business goals? My business goals are to become a premier event planning and design firm not just in the Washington DC Metro area, but globally, open up my own event space both in the DC area and Houston, and expand to have a team of event planners that can work independently on their own with their own team providing the same level of professionalism and care that I would for my clients.
What’s your favorite part of the wedding industry? My favorite part of the wedding industry is working with the bride, planning a wedding can be a stressful process and I want to be there to help them focus on preparing for the marriage, while I focus on preparing them for the wedding of their dreams. The relationships I build with my brides are priceless and being able to be a part of such a milestone moment brings me pure joy!
What’s your least favorite part of the wedding industry? Hmm… least favorite part of the wedding industry is the fact that people have turned weddings into such a big business, I know that sounds weird coming from a wedding planner right? But, the reason I feel this way is because some people have begun to get a sour taste in their mouth when you mention weddings, because they see it as more of a production for the guest, than a moment of celebration for the bride and groom! My intent is to erase that stigma, and allow my clients to see that their wedding is all about those moments, and that those moments are what the guests are looking for when they attend their wedding. It sounds cliche, yet it is so true, a wedding is just a day, your marriage God willing is for a lifetime, but your wedding day is a representation of your love and should be celebrated.
Describe your vision of the “perfect” wedding. A wedding should be a reflection of the bride and groom, the “perfect” wedding to me is one where the guest are able to experience the love that the couple has for one another. The most fun and memorable weddings are those in which you feel the love all around from the exchange of vows to first dance, were the couple and their guests live in the moment.
Where do you find the most inspiration? From God, since the inception of Imagine DC when I prayed to God to help me find my passion, to work in my purpose and he literally revealed to me in plain site Imagine DC and has been carrying me ever since. In terms of design my inspiration comes from my clients as I get to know them and their personalities, which dictates their style.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know? I am currently running a special for 2017 brides that book our Full Planning Visionary Package. They can contact us on our website by filling out the inquiry form for additional information. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @ImagineDC_ SnapChat @ImagineDC and Facebook and Pinterest @ Imagine Design Concepts!
Follow Imagine DC here!