Business Story: Brandi Lanee’ Events, San Francisco

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Brandi Parks Lane graduated from Friends University with a master’s degree in Organizational Development in 2014. She attended the University of Arkansas as well as Arkansas Tech University with degrees in Journalism and Public Relations. Her education set her up well for an entrepreneurial journey to business ownership.

Here’s how she’s weathering the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Brandi Lanee’ Events is an event management company located in San Francisco that hosts and manages fitness and corporate events. They create strategic plans with attention to detail and provide a comprehensive blueprint to deliver a memorable finished project.

Brandi says, “My cousin and I have been working hand-in-hand and founded the company to help people and give back. It took off from there.” Brandi and her cousin started a non-profit organization for unfortunate kids like those who don’t get to have birthday parties.

Shortly, she funded her event management business with personal money. “I had a bit of savings and began marketing on Facebook – no old school door-to-door. Word-of-mouth has worked best for us.”

Brandi reports that running her Black owned business has been both exciting and challenging. She says, “On one hand you know it requires extreme dedication and perseverance and on the other hand knowing that it’s harder to succeed due to lack of business funding for black owned businesses. It’s frustrating to say the least.” However she reports that during the economic downturn, it’s has been enlightening to see corporations acknowledge the lack of funding needed for black-owned businesses to succeed.

Like many small businesses across the U.S., the COVID-19 shelter in place order has prevented her from planning any events.

“We’ve lost past revenue and potential revenue due to this order. I’ve pivoted my business into a distance service, dropping off and leaving event decorations, food, and beverages.” Due to these events, she has been able to add to her staff.

Brandi applied for the SmartBiz(r) Boost a Small Business in Need Grant Program, created to empower Black and Minority-Owned Businesses in Austin and San Francisco. The four $1,000 grants were awarded to Black and Minority-owned businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Austin Area.

Applications were based on criteria designed to prioritize particularly challenged businesses, and the final grantees were randomly selected from top scoring applicants.

“This grant will help us pivot our services and continue a scaled down offering for smaller single person events. We’ve created “events in a box” where we prepackage all the items needed for an individual to setup their own personal celebration.”

Brandi is extremely positive about the future. She faces challenges of childcare for her two children while education is remote. However, she’s strong and persistent. In 2004 Brandi participated in her first marathon, and has been hooked with the sport of running and overall physical fitness.

Brandi is married with two children. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, and traveling.

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