Comfortable Chic Mom on the Street Brandee Gaar has her hands full as a mom, event planner, and business coach. But even with everything she has going on, she handles her life with grace and balance.
Read on to learn all about how Brandee navigates work-life balance, running her own businesses, and business coaching.
Brandee Gaar is a luxury event planner, thought leader, educational speaker, and host of the "She Who Dares" Podcast. As a lifelong lover of all things events, Brandee spent 7 years as a corporate event planner with the prestigious Gaylord Hotels brand before opening her own event consulting firm. Blush by Brandee Gaar and Eleven Events by Blush has quickly become known for their over-the-top events and high-touch standard of customer service.
Brandee Gaar is the go-to business coach and resource for wedding professionals and creative business owners who want to transform their small business from an expensive hobby into a thriving and successful career that gives them the financial and time freedom they deserve.
What inspired you to go into events and business?
I have wanted to be an event planner since I can remember. When I was 6, I planned my first event, an anniversary dinner party for my parents. I got my babysitter to help, and it was amazing! Of course, my skills have been refined since then! I've never wanted to do anything else, and when I realized in high school that I could actually major in party planning (hospitality), I was SOLD!
You have been in the wedding events industry for a while. When and why did you decide to create your own events business?
I was a corporate event planner for Gaylord Hotels and got to open the Gaylord Palms here in Orlando. I LOVED it! But after I had our first daughter, our whole world changed and I just hated being away from her for such long hours and often went days at a time without seeing her awake. Gaylord was an incredible company to work for and encouraged us to have downtime after long shows, but for me, I was missing huge chunks of her life. So with the support of my husband, I decided to leave my cushy job and strike out on my own when she was 1.5. She's now a few weeks away from being 16, and we have 2 additional daughters. We call our girls the #gaargoyles:-)
When and why did you take the leap into creating your own coaching business for other wedding professionals?
I have been teaching students and mentoring up-and-coming planners for a long time. In 2019 I realized that I had a lot of knowledge from doing things the hard way, and if people knew now what I didn't know, they could build and scale so much faster! The wedding industry is ROUGH! We wear exhaustion like a badge of honor, and it's rare that "balance" or any semblance of it is praised. I had reached the stage where I am able to have a successful business AND enjoy a life with more freedom, and I knew it was my mission to help more wedding pros build a business that allowed them these same freedoms.
You also have your own podcast, "She Who Dares Podcast." What motivated you to start it, and what are your favorite parts about having one?
Oh gosh! This one is funny because I didn't want to do a podcast, but my husband and our brand manager at the time really thought it would be a great way to start educating others and helping them build their businesses. I reluctantly said yes and recorded 3 episodes. They were TERRIBLE. Like, will never see the light of day terrible, and I had a total breakdown. I spent so much time on them, and I knew I couldn't keep up that pace. So, I spent one afternoon at a volleyball tournament for our middle daughter brainstorming 52 guests I would want to interview about their own journey into entrepreneurship. I figured if I could come up with 52 people, that was a year of content, and I was much more comfortable interviewing than going solo.
Today, we're over 100 episodes in, and we've never made it through that initial list because we keep getting introduced to even more people!!! We did end up releasing 1 of the 3 original episodes, and it's episode #1 of the podcast "Finding your why….and a little about mine". Now the podcast is genuinely my very favorite part of my business. I get to interview the coolest people and learn myself while teaching and encouraging others in their own journey!!
What are the biggest challenges and rewards of owning two businesses?
Creating brain space for both! I utilize blocking and try to schedule different parts of the businesses for different days. But the thing that makes it all possible is my amazing husband and my team! They are literally the most amazing humans and work so hard to own their role and grow their part of the business so that I can focus on vision and overall growth. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that so many amazing women choose to work with us!
What is your number 1 piece of advice to other business owners?
Know your numbers. Too many business owners guess at how much they make, or they kind of know how much they make but don't know how much they spend. I can't stress enough how important it is to know where every single dollar goes in your business!!! AND which tasks you do that return the greatest ROI so you can continue doing more of those!
How has your business and events style evolved through the years? Between working, raising a family, and other hobbies?
Now, I am so much more laid back! I know what needs my eyes and what can be delegated. I do not stress over things my team is handling unless they tell me they need me. Realizing that other people can do things better than you when you give them the tools to be amazing has been one of the best things I've learned!
Do your family, friends, and husband support you in your business endeavors?
How so? Oh gosh, yes! My husband is my #1 encourager, cheerleader, and "heavenly sandpaper." Sometimes he needs to tell me the hard truth, and I don't always love it, but his truth refines me and makes me better. Our girls have always been a huge support in the business as well. They know when mom will be SUPER busy and when to expect more of my time. They encourage me to be amazing when I'm working and expect my full attention when I'm in mom mode:-).
What are your businesses, and where can people find them on social media?
Which three words best describe your style? Comfortable, chic, fun
What are your favorite places to shop? American Eagle (I wear jeans every day and I LOVE theirs), Francesca's (for cute tops), Target (for t-shirts).
Who's your favorite style icon? I don't think I have one. I am a jeans and t-shirt girl and love that I can wear the same jeans and t with tennis shoes and go to the girls' school, or lunch then slip on heels and great earrings and be ready for a networker.
What's your best style advice? Be you! But don't forget what impression you're making. If you want people to believe you can plan a 6-figure event, you need to dress like it. Dress the part; just do it in your own unique style!
What are 5 things you are likely to have in your purse at all times? Burts vanilla chapstick, lip gloss, hand lotion, Advil, and my phone.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? Ripped jeans
Which trend would you want to make a comeback? Skinny jeans (though I'm not giving mine up no matter what gen Z says!)
What should NEVER make a comeback? Bell bottoms ( though I think they're already here!)
What fashion/style did you love at the time but now cringe when you see old photos? Tight rolled jeans!
What's your best style secret? Always wear heels in a professional setting. They make you stand up straight and carry yourself more confidently. Flats make you shuffle.
Stilettos or flats? ALWAYS stilettos.
What's your favorite way to spend time with your family?
Our local Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I don't even go for the fresh produce, but when I worked every Saturday building my business, I would see people posting pics of them at the market on a gorgeous Saturday with their kids, and I would be SO jealous!!! So now I feel like I'm living my dream when we go!
What's been your best family vacation?
We took a month off this summer and RV'd up the east coast and back, and it was AMAZING!!!
Best parenting advice:
Never stop talking to your kids. Especially when they're teens. The late nights, the chats when you're trying to meet a deadline. Stop what you're doing, look at them and listen. Be involved. Know their friends. Have hard conversations. Let them tell you things without immediate judgment. My mom was like this for me, and it allowed me to tell her anything and everything and learn what was right and wrong. My favorite stage of my girls' lives so far is this teen stage. There have been lots of tears. Lots of drama. Lots of talking. But I wouldn't trade any second of it!!!
Parenting true confession:
I do not like the baby stage and always looked forward to my kids hitting 5 years old. I just think babies are boring. Cute, but I don't miss the baby stage.
What's your go-to family dinner?
Chick-fil-a or Orlando Ale House. Hahaha! I loathe cooking. But if you asked my girls what their favorite thing I do make is, it would be spaghetti or beef stroganoff (both from scratch).
What's your favorite family restaurant?
Soupa Saiyan. All 5 of us LOVE real ramen!
What's your favorite show to binge-watch?
Shark Tank. Or Gilmore Girls. I can re-watch both over and over.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be?
What's your favorite beach read?
Hmmm…. I'm an audiobook girl, and the beach gives me PTSD (I loathe sand). I love business books (Profit First, Start with Why, Clockwork are some of my favs), but books for fun would be "Dad is Fat," by Jim Gaffigan, or Things Pondered by Beth Moore.
What song would you dance to when nobody's watching?
I do NOT even care if people are watching!!! I LOVE to dance and have no rhythm whatsoever. Hahaha! But my girls and I are known to turn it up and dance it out while we're in the car. Literally anything by Megan Trainor, the Pitch Perfect soundtrack (all 3 movies), or Happy by Pharrell.
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be?
Living would be Sara Blakely or Marc Cuban. Deceased would be Truett Cathy or Ray Kroc.
What's at the top of your travel bucket list?
Hawaii and Alaska in summer (I've been in winter).
What's your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day?
Cocktail with my husband on our back porch.
We are inspired by the way Brandee runs two successful businesses while still making quality time for family relationships. Her stylish and adaptive approach to life helps her family, businesses, and clients. Be sure to check out Brandee and her event planning business on Instagram.
For more interesting and inspiring moms, be sure to check out FamilyApp's Mom on the Street page!