Inspired by an internship with a catering company, Kaelyn Query began her event planning business when she was still in high school.
“I really enjoyed [the internship] and learned all the ins and outs of catering, setting up events and more. I started doing events on the side and the business grew from there,” Query said.
In the beginning, she ran 10 or fewer events a year “as a side gig,” she said, and later worked in many other positions in the hospitality industry.
But Query was good at event planning, and happy clients referred others. In 2013, she created her own company, LexEffect Events + Management. In 2019, she founded Lexington Event Co., which produces an array of events for clients across the United States, from multiple-day corporate meetings with thousands of participants to intimate weddings and everything in between.
Query also started her own podcast, “Big Ideas, Small Business,” which she describes as “an unfiltered, educational and inspirational look at the ins and outs of starting, running and owning a small business—mixed in with a few short stories and a lot of sarcasm.” She is also involved in multiple community organizations and serves on the board of directors of Commerce Lexington and Lexington Children’s Museum.
Query shared more of her story for this month’s Small Business Snapshot.
The Lane Report: What services/products do you provide?
Kaelyn Query: We are an event management, planning and consulting firm. We offer customized services for our clients ranging from conferences, tradeshows, festivals and fundraisers to weddings, social events and more.
TLR: How many employees do you have?
KQ: We have four full-time employees [as of December 2021]. Once the busy season comes back around, we will bring back our contractors and normally have anywhere between 10 to 15-plus.
TLR: When you meet someone new, how do you describe your job?
KQ: Chaos. We are the coordinators of chaos. We have to prepare for the worst and work towards the best. We are ready for Plan A, but always have Plan B and C ready to go when needed. It’s a tough job, and hard work, but it can be so rewarding!
TLR: Tell us about a recent project or development that you are proud of.
KQ: We’ve been working with a lot of clients to get more creative in the way they run their conferences, meetings and events. Between hybrid models, unique activation, experiential touches and more, we’ve been thinking outside of the box and it has been so fun to build new details into their events.
TLR: What has been your biggest challenge as a company and how did you overcome it?
KQ: COVID-19 has been the most recent challenge. Like most businesses, we’ve experienced workforce shortages, increased pricing on supplies (and delays in getting said supplies), and challenges with regulations and mandate changes. Our industry has been flexible and jumped over hurdle after hurdle.
TLR: Is your company involved in the community? How so?
KQ: We are! We feel being community-minded is so important. We offer reduced and pro-bono event management services for nonprofit organizations. We encourage our team to get involved in the community in a number of ways, and we serve on several boards and committees for charitable organizations in the area.
TLR: What’s the best thing about operating a small business?
KQ: We are able to offer more flexible work environments—days off, vacation, sick time, and regular schedules—and we can give our team the ability to do what they need to do while also living their lives. A small business is like a family, so we celebrate the successes and face the challenges together.