Start-up enterprise puts the ‘special’ in special events

Stacey Clark
Stacey Clark (Courtesy of Stacey Clark)

Fledgling boutique company Fabulously Authentic may not be a small operation all that much longer. Into its second year, the operation shows a trademark sign of success — razor-sharp event planner Stacey Clark at the helm, specializing in tailor-made client satisfaction.

If you have an investment in putting a product or organization in the public eye, more so than merely going through run-of-the-mill motions to punch a clock, Clark’s priority is to reflect your specific image and aesthetic to maximum, personalized effect. Taking in a sunny morning on a South Minneapolis coffee shop patio, Clark states, “Our goal in everything is [being] authentic to clients’ vision, what they want to portray.”

She has skillfully coordinated a range of events from program showcases to weddings and bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, even military retreats and festivities for sports teams. Anyone surprised at a woman being skilled at organizing athletic events should consider the rise of Minnesota’s most successful team these days, the Lynx.

Indeed, Clark readily attests that she is “a tomboy at heart. I love all things sports. Planning sporting events is where my career in events began. I managed the men’s basketball team in college [Hawaii Pacific University (HPU)]. So I took care of all game-day preparation and activities.”

She adds, “My first job out of college was at the Hyatt Regency in sales and catering, where I helped plan, organize and run pro team stays. I worked at NBA City at the Target Center where I was the PR and events manager.” Her degree from HPU is in communications with a sports concentration.

To be sure, there is more call for her talents outside the realm of sports, a call Stacey Clark’s company answered to the great delight of Neda Kellogg in April for Project DIVA’s 9th Annual Style Show “She’s Worthy of It All” at Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts.

Kellogg recalls, “The past seven years I had put on our annual end-of-year event by myself and was exhausted in even thinking about working on one detail of it for this past April’s show. In connecting with Fabulously Authentic, I was wowed from the day we met to discuss my idea to the standing-room-only event day.

“I commend her attention to detail and standard of excellence and am excited to see what she comes up with for our upcoming show next year.”

This sort of word of mouth is certainly helping the company to grow. Clark is also in the process of setting up a website and creating a Facebook page. “It’s been really good, getting off the ground,” Clark says.

Things started out organically, simply as passionate pastime. “I have always loved planning things for people. My friends call me the ‘Birthday, Holiday & Special Events Fanatic’ because I am serious about making each of these events special in the lives of my family and friends all the time.

“There were years of questions like, ‘Where did you buy that? Can you help me with my closet? Can you go shopping with me? Can you help me plan this or that? Do you have a card?’

“Then finally a client friend said she had grown tired of seeing me provide such a rare and amazing service for free. She encouraged me be a stylist-event planner and bring my gift to the world.”

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. At the beginning of 2011 she was diagnosed with a kidney ailment, Thin Basement Membrane Disease (TBMD), which while not life-threatening and readily treatable is a health issue that she was forced to contend with.

“You have a lot of things that happen body-wise,” she explains. She found herself having to adapt to weight change, even a skin discoloration about the eyes that she felt detracted from her professional appearance. On more than one occasion she needed to explain to people that she wasn’t a victim of domestic violence but simply experiencing symptoms of TBMD.

“The disease is an auto-immune disease, and one of the side effects is swelling and edema,” explains Clark. “When I sleep, fluid comes through the soft tissues of my face. It kills the red blood cells, so the skin underneath my eyes is permanently dark.” At length, with the help of a makeup kit and her ingenuity applying it, she was able to cope with the hand life dealt her.

Today, she continues taking life on life’s terms — readily acknowledging the grace of God — while going forth with her business. “My goal, when I started, was never the celebrity but the average everyday person like myself. Those, who no matter the budget or circumstance, are trying to find or brand their authentic self and conquer the world.”

To connect with Clark, visit her Facebook page.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.