Amanda Becker says her childhood in Mars prepared her for where she is today. It’s almost as if it was all planned.
Amanda Becker, Appleseed Events
“I grew up in the best neighborhood, it was full of kids,” says Becker, who now owns Appleseed Events. “There were kids everywhere and I was planning how we would play. I was planning the themes of our Barbie fashion shows, and our kickball games. Everything. I always tell everyone I was born to do this. My parents had their own business, and I saw how helpful events could be and realized business owners can’t do it all on their own”
Five years after leaving a development position with a local non-profit, Appleseed has blossomed into a full-service special events company that plans events big or small, during winter, spring, summer, and fall. With Memorial Day here, it’s the busiest of seasons for Becker and Appleseed.
Among the events on which she and her staff are working are the Mars New Year Festival and Moraine State Park Regatta. She counts Quality Gardens & Bloom Cafe in Mars and Pittsburgh’s Light of Life Ministries among her portfolio of clients and has coordinated and managed many other events.
In June, Becker and Appleseed will be presenting a workshop, “Event Planning 101,” for members of the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau.
I always tell everyone I was born to do this. My parents had their own business, and I saw how helpful events could be and realized business owners can’t do it all on their own.
Network to Success
The key to building an events business so quickly for Becker is, she says, networking.
Amanda Becker, Moraine State Park Regatta
“When I left my full-time job I knew I didn’t want to sit behind a computer,” Becker says. “And I knew that a lot of small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to do events but want to do them.”
One of the first members of her network was Mike Hall at General Rental Center, who was on the Board of the Moraine State Park Regatta and contacted Appleseed for help. Becker has been able to tap into many vendors and providers from the Regatta for other events. The comfort level and familiarity of trusted vendors pay dividends for future events.
“Once you work with someone and it’s a positive experience it makes it easy to work with them again,” she says. “It shortens the curve, so to speak. We understand timelines better and can replicate success faster. Plus, I really enjoy connecting people with each other”
Managing Planning Stress
Understanding the capabilities of your partners, Becker points out, is invaluable.
“Part of the value we provide is knowing what our partners can do and how well they do things. It’s that way with Mike and General Rental. They always do a great job and so the stress level is consistently lower.”
And stress, in the events planning world, definitely needs to be lowered.
Event Planning was rated as the third most stressful job, according to a 2023 study by World Scholarship Vault. For businesses that don’t usually plan or hold events regularly, the anxiety associated with holding or planning one can be off the charts.
Years ago a consultant recommended to Quality Gardens that hosting events would benefit its retail garden center and gift shop. Already having Becker and Appleseed in its network, Quality Gardens and Appleseed have begun a series of community events and workshops. In fact, just this year, Appleseed is planning four events, including Quality Gardens’ upcoming Plant Palooza, Saturday, July 29.
“Sometimes the event itself can be profitable,” said Becker. “But there are so many benefits to hosting events – they educate your customers about your products, allow you to tell your story, and establish your business and employees as experts.”
There have been a lot of changes since Becker started Appleseed in 2018. But the biggest has been the impact of the pandemic which, she believes, has changed decisions on how events are supported.
“The public and the sponsors have become a bit slower to commit.” she says. “Before you would have a good idea about six months out on the success of an event. But sponsors wait longer now and people seem to wait before committing to attend an event.”
Still, now with two young children of her own, Becker has no regrets about her career choice and would encourage anyone to get into the industry.
“I would tell them to not overthink it and go for it,” she says. “There are many reasons why, but there is a huge need because many businesses can’t do it themselves.”
But there are so many benefits to hosting events – they educate your customers about your products, allow you to tell your story, and establish your business and employees as experts.