IN THE BIZ - DEJUAN STROUD
At Events by RHC, we pride ourselves on the industry partners we work with and the relationships we have built with them. Through this blog series, In The Biz, we will sit down with a select few industry leaders who each bring something unique to the table. Welcome to the first installment of In The Biz! We had the pleasure of speaking with DeJuan Stroud, President of DeJuan Stroud, Inc. Event Designer.
RHC: DeJuan, thank you so much for sitting down with us today. Let’s start simple. How long have you been working in the events industry and what was the journey of entering the industry?
DS: We started our business in 1996, first being inspired by the work of French florist, Christian Tortu. I hated working on Wall Street in compliance, so along with my wife’s support, we started our design business in the basement of our home in New Jersey and in a short time opened a small design studio in NYC.
RHC: In your experience, what role does food play in the success of an event?
DS: I am a foodie, so delicious food with innovative presentations elevates a guest’s experience at any event.
RHC: We love that answer! Next, at Events by RHC we have a focus on highlighting each season’s freshest produce and ingredients. How do you encourage clients to use seasonality to their benefit?
DS: Being mindful when designing to focus on flowers in season which means you get the best quality and best specimens of the season.
RHC: Do you suggest different kinds of flowers for different seasons?
DS: Yes! ALWAYS! Ranunculus, tulips and blooming branches in early Spring; peonies and roses in late Spring; roses, dahlias, hydrangeas, lisianthus in Summer, celosia, garden roses, dutch hybrid hydrangeas, orchids and calla lilies for Fall.
RHC: What is your favorite part of the planning process?
DS: The collaboration between me and the client.
RHC: What are some qualities in a dream client?
DS: That they have some understanding of design references such as art/artists, notable venues/hotels/restaurants, historical locations, design icons, design periods and styles. I like working with smart people with perspective.
RHC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
DS: Design – listen to your mind, heart and instincts. Business – Watch your money.
RHC: Who were some of your inspirations/mentors in the events industry?
DS: Inspirations are Christian Tortu and Robert Isabell. Mentors are interior designer Charlotte Moss and Harriette Rose Katz, founder of Gourmet Advisory Services.
RHC: Last question, do you have a favorite event you’ve ever worked on?
DS: My two daughters’ weddings.