We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Schwandt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I have been lucky to have my business in some capacity for 15 years. For many of those it was a side hustle, then became my full time focus about 6 years ago. In the beginning, planning was my hobby. Don’t get me wrong, it was a legitimate business, but it was small in scale and done in my free time outside of my 9-5. When I made the transition to Serendipity Events full time, suddenly my passion, hobby, and 9-5 merged into one. I found myself working around the clock (as many business owners do), and the lines between work and play became very blurred. I was slowly getting to a point of overworked and potential burn out without even knowing it. I was working late into the night and as soon as my eyes opened in the morning. I was pushing at full force all day everyday and wasn’t recognizing that self care and personal days were no longer a thing. I’ll never forget the day my husband looked at me and told me I needed to take some time for myself. He was and always has been my number one supporter, but I was working hours that weren’t sustainable. He told me I needed to take time for myself and just give myself some hours to focus on hobbies. I stopped in my tracks and had a moment of emotion pour over me. What were my hobbies? What did I love to do for me? Why couldn’t I think of anything? Then it hit me – events, celebrations, entrepreneurship was my hobby. It had been for years and fulfilled that piece of me when I had other work and priorities happening throughout the day. When I stepped into full time business ownership those two worlds collided. Now, first, I’ll say this is a huge blessing! What a dream that I get to make a career out of something that gives me so much joy and fulfillment. But, what had evolved was 24/7 focus and attention, which was not proving to be the best way to be successful professionally or personally. From that moment on I was determined to create time for self care and balance. As a business owner there is definitely an element of always being “on”, but finding ways to shut off, or focus attention appropriately is key. It’s now been 6 years and finding balance is still something I have to strategically think through and focus on. Time blocking has become my best friend. Some days/ weeks I’m better at it than others, but blocking out time for my daily tasks, work time, self time, family time, etc. gives me my most productive and balanced days. And now, with a 2-year-old at home and a family I adore, finding balance is more important than ever. I believe strongly in not living to work, but working to live. I happened to have found a career that I absolutely love, but I have a life I love as well. Planning well, staying focused, recognizing the benefit of off days, and strategically time blocking my days is how I have helped myself through the transition into entrepreneurship. I will continue to find the right balance in different seasons of life. I believe constant self checks are essential. Just as seasons in life change, so do our needs in both our work and personal worlds. Recognizing those changes and personal needs and redefining what balance looks like in each of those seasons is the key to successful balance.
What should our readers know about your business?
Serendipity Events is a full-service boutique event planning and design company. Why boutique? Because we believe in quality over quantity. We believe in details, stress free planning, and creating beautiful memories. We’ve got an incredible team of planners & designers that are passionate about our work, our couples, and our celebrations. Serendipity offers the best tools and resources in the industry and as a team we continue to educate ourselves with trends and standards in order to offer top quality services year after year. Our company has been executing events for 15 years and we have continued to elevate our packages each year to what we believe is the perfect planning experience. 2021 is no exception as we’re gearing up to launch our new and improved packages, offering a more refined process and customized services. We are our couples advocates throughout the planning process and care about all the details, designs, logistics, and emotions that go into planning a wedding day. We’re not your average wedding planners! We’ve learned from our past and continue to build a customized platform for our couples event after event to offer a perfect planning system for a perfect wedding day!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am born and raised in San Diego and absolutely love this city! I often take for granted the opportunities we have at our fingertips, but love to explore as a tourist from time to time. In the summer months the beach is a given. While I tend to enjoy the warmer months poolside, there is something exciting about beach days, BBQ’s, bonfires, and building sand castles. Not wanting to get sandy? Grabbing a latte at The Prado coffee cart, walking around Balboa Park, visiting museums, and finishing with a beer at Panama 66 is the makings of a perfect San Diego Day. In my favorite fall months I love a drive to Julian to enjoy a day walking the shops, apple picking, and enjoying the apple pie. Rounding out the day stopping by my favorite Dudley’s Bakery is a must! A recent visit to Bate’s Nut Farm was a great reminder that even when the San Diego weather hasn’t quite caught up to the season, exploring a traditional pumpkin patch is a must in October and Bate’s definitely does it right! Year round, we love to support local and visit all the great spots in our South Park neighborhood. Whether it’s dining at one of our amazing restaurants, watching a game at South Park Brewing Company, or grabbing sandwiches to go and enjoying a picnic at Bird Park, the day will never disappoint or lack charm. As San Diego Zoo/ Safari Park pass holders, we love visiting the animals on a regular basis. Liberty Station has also become a family favorite over the past few years. Watching a movie at The Lot, walking along the water at the park, or visiting Liberty Public Market can be a fun quick trip or a whole day activity. With countless activities and businesses, Liberty Station has become a staple in everyday experiences for us – whether work or play! My husband has been a chef in San Diego for over 10 years, so when friends and family come into town it’s a must to share some of our favorite local breweries and restaurants. We love to be out and about, but we love entertaining in our own home as well. A good mix of the city hustle-bustle and backyard entertainment is what makes us love living in this beautiful city!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband! My number one supporter, partner, friend, and love! His support and confidence has never wavered. He was the push that encouraged me to go full-time 6 years ago. He has been never doubted a decision I’ve made, has always had full trust in my process, but challenged me in all the right ways. He has never given up, even when I’ve had times of self doubt. I know I would not be where I am now without him!
Other: https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/serendipity-events-san-diego-ca-962445 https://www.weddingwire.com/biz/serendipity-events-san-diego/152d5cbe6f9f0db9.html
Brooke Ziegler Photography Shane and Lauren Photography Leetal Photo By Amy Lynn Photography Leo Cabal Photography Dear Lovers Photography (All photos were not allowing me to load. Sent directly to Patrick Harris)