Event insider – Andrew Lark

Event insider – Andrew Lark

Image shows - Andrew Lark, the founder of Imagination Event Hire.
Andrew Lark, the founder of Imagination Event Hire.

Event Insider is a peek behind the scenes with experts from the world of events…

They will share tips on how to host the perfect event – big or small.

Let’s start with Andrew Lark, the founder of Imagination Event Hire.  Andrew is a laid-back Kiwi with a keen eye for the details that make the difference between a stressful event and a successful event.

1. What are you working on now?

I’m hitting the phones – well, one (rather battered) phone – every day talking to event venue managers and wedding planners about my new flagship product: a gilt-framed Magic Selfie Mirror. After 13 years working as an event manager, creating events for clients, I launched my own company in March of this year. I rent event furniture and accessories with a difference – often quirky or one-off pieces. Every week brings a new list of people to call. Luckily, I love talking…maybe a bit too much sometimes!

Image shows - The Magic Selfie Mirror from Imagination Event Hire.
The Magic Selfie Mirror from Imagination Event Hire.

2. Describe your desk or workspace?

Depending on where I sit down to answer my first emails (and then end up parked for the rest of the day), I am either at the kitchen table, at the warehouse in Littlehampton – on in the office at the bottom of our garden. Sometimes – usually during the school holidays when the volume level in our house rises significantly – I take myself off to a local café for some peace and quiet. As for my desk…ummm, what do they say about creative minds and messy desks? Whatever it is, I am living proof of it! I leave event spaces immaculate, my own workspace…not so much.

3. What’s the soundtrack to your work?

Normally Radio 2, because my other half (yeah you, Sian) insists I’m too old to listen to Radio 1. If I am in the garden office then my working day is punctuated by the sound of wood pigeons tap dancing across the roof.

Image shows - Chesterfield sofas, storm lanterns and wicker hampers - all available to hire from Imagination Event Hire.
Chesterfield sofas, storm lanterns and wicker hampers - all available to hire from Imagination Event Hire.

4. Who or what inspires you?

Friends who have achieved a great work/life balance.

5. What do you need to create?

A deadline helps, especially if we are talking minutes not hours! Otherwise, I like to see how other people stage events – especially on a tight budget. Creating an event that will get people talking without spending a fortune often results in the most artistic solutions – like a ‘foodie street market’ instead of a sit-down dinner. Sometimes creativity in the events industry just means figuring out how to ensure 800 people get fed warm food on time, even though they all sit down late.

Image shows - Vintage delivery tricycle with chiller cabinet available to hire from Imagination Event Hire. What will you put in yours?
Vintage delivery tricycle with chiller cabinet available to hire from Imagination Event Hire. What will you put in yours?

6. What time of day does your brain come alive?

5.30am. Unfortunately. Or 45 minutes before clients arrive for an event – that really focuses the brain!

7. What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?

Events are a lot of fun for clients and their guests – that’s what they pay me for. But, behind the scenes that ‘fun’ requires a lot of hard work. Be prepared to work long hours and to be adaptable – things rarely go to plan. Clients change their mind, the wonderful British weather works its magic – or a delivery doesn’t turn up. Whatever happens you have to keep smiling. At the end of the day it is a lot of fun – especially when your clients leave with a smile on their faces too.

Image shows - Andrew Lark, founder of Imagination Event Hire, hitting the South Downs on his bike.
Andrew Lark, founder of Imagination Event Hire, hitting the South Downs on his bike.

8. What do you do when you lose sight of your inspiration?

If an event deadline is looming – then I take a few deep breaths and carry on. Otherwise, I go for a walk, go running or biking with friends in the South Downs. Or I cuddle my daughter – things always feel clearer and better after that.

9. Tell us one thing about yourself that no one would guess?

I’m getting married this autumn but I haven’t even got round to organising my own stag do. I’ve been too busy with launching my new business. Luckily, I have a really good friend who is going to ‘manage’ that event for me!

The Brix modular stacking storage, from Imagination Event Hire, can be used to make a vintage industrial-chic bar, for drinks storage or to display photos of a happy couple. The possibilities are endless…
The Brix modular stacking storage, from Imagination Event Hire, can be used to make a vintage industrial-chic bar, for drinks storage or to display photos of a happy couple. The possibilities are endless…

10. What’s next for you?

Making sure that the events we have booked in our diary, and the bookings we have for our event furniture and accessories, go smoothly. When I see smiles I know that I have done my job well. We are also going to exhibit at local wedding fairs this spring. We are at Field Place in Worthing on Sunday 22nd April and  Fontwell Park, Arundel on Sunday 29th April. I want to make sure that our stands show off the very best of what we can do. Luckily my other (she would say ‘better’) half is a stylist. So, she’s in charge of that side of things!