One of the ultimate resources in meeting like-minded women has been through Facebook. As creepy as that sounds there are so many incredible Facebook groups where women entrepreneurs can share ideas, ask questions or post jobs. It was in Dreamers//Doers that I connected with Miraya Berke. When meeting Miraya in person I was blown how young she actually is. The voice behind her emails evoked wisdom beyond her years as did her impressive resume and client list including the new-age The Alchemist’s Kitchen, Airbnb and the Feast. As a mid-twenty something, California raised Miraya was able to transform her skill and dedication into creating and successfully running Pop Productions. Read more about her journey into building an event empire.
1. As an events person I’m blown away by your company’s growth in the past year. Can you tell us a bit more what inspired you to start Pop Productions?
I’ve loved planning events since I was 10 years old and would host the most elaborate birthday parties. When I moved to New York from California to pursue my dream I realized that most events agencies really categorize employees as designers or producers. I enjoy all aspects of event planning, especially when I get to design the experience from the moment a guest walks in the room and I also being the person to produce it and make it happen. I started Pop Productions so I could work with fun companies who value delighting their guests with the experience. Events can be really stressful and I try to make the whole planning fun with my clients, which has been really successful so far and resulted in opportunities to continue working with companies on multiple events.
2. You’ve worked with some incredible clients, can you share with us what some of your favorite events have been to work on?
One of my favorite events this year was working with Airbnb on a series of community events leading up to the New York Marathon, which they were a sponsor of. I helped the community team organize five events, one in each borough, that consisted of a park community project, run and a party at a local business. I got to do everything from scout out restaurants in Queens to map out the park run in Staten Island – was a really fun way to explore the boroughs and loved seeing the happy Airbnb community come together. I also just designed and produced the Kiva NYC launch where President Bill Clinton spoke, was pretty epic doing walkthroughs with secret service! Another big event I do is The ShopUp, a live kid’s shopping event which started in London and I organize in LA and NY. It’s seriously the cutest kids who come with their parents and it makes me so happy seeing smiling faces. I really work on a range of events with a range of clients which I like right now, with the diversity always something different. Eventually I may have to define my client scope more but for now it’s exciting getting to work on a launch party one month and a shopping event the next.
3. What’s the best part about being your own boss? What have been your biggest challenges?
Creating my own schedule is definitely the best part but also the biggest challenge. I tend to do a lot of work late at night, so then I let myself sleep in some mornings or go to the gym in the afternoon. My weekly schedule is always really random which sort of works for me but my goal this year is to make a bit of a better structure where I have meetings only on certain days and work on research and planning other days with no distractions.
4. Talk to us about Whiskey Waffles Workshops? What was it and how did you get such incredible coverage?
I love making things and I really like meeting people over an activity. I go to a lot of events and meet so many people and sometimes I really just don’t know what to say at networking events so I wanted to create an event where people are making something together and that way when you leave even if you don’t make a new friend you have a cool project you created. Whiskey Waffles Workshops is hosted at NY Distilling Co and includes whiskey and a tour of the distillery, homemade waffles, and a hands on workshop. I’ve only hosted one so far but it was a hit and everyone asked when the next will be, so looking to plan another soon – hopefully even with Six Degrees Society! I don’t really have any PR experience but I just emailed the info and tips email to a bunch of online publications like Gothamist, Brooklyn Mag and Village Voice and got the event featured which was really exciting and brought a diverse group of attendees to the event.
5. I know you just hired your first part-time help! Where do you envision the brand in the next 5 years?
My goal is to make Pop Productions more than an event design and production agency, but also a resource for events, from planning to attending. My friends always ask me about fun events going on in New York so I recently launched Pop Curated, a bi-weekly newsletter that curates the top 5-10 events in New York. There are many event guides that exist but they are massive lists of events that come out every day and can be overwhelming. I like to plan my week out in advance and hope for Pop Curated to be a resource for others to include unique activities on their weekly schedule. This year I’m also looking to build out my blog and include event planning tips such as finding the perfect venue, music playlists, DIY projects and other useful information to make it a hub for anyone to plan their own “pop” event. As for the events that I’m planning, I’m looking to provide my clients more services and to build out an in-house marketing and PR arm so we can be a one stop shop to design, produce and promote events. Lots to do and excited to build out my team with people I trust to help make it all a reality.