Over the past two days, floral & event designer and recent author Joe Mineo filled our Instagram feed with vibrant & glamorous images of his events. Joe has a very unique approach to event planning & design, and I absolutely love the way he describes how he envisions an event as if it were a theatrical production in his interview below. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the man behind Joe Mineo Creative, and don’t forget to snag a copy of his new book that’s been long in the making, It’s My Party!
So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the floral & event industry!
After leaving New York City while attending NYU with a degree in theater, I moved back home for a short while–at least I thought it was a short while. I needed to start making money just to live so I took a job at a local flower shop. In that one year time, I learned as much as I could and then opened up my company a year and a half later. We were a typical flower shop with accessories, etc., but we specialized in events. Of course, events in 1987 were very different from where they are today. What was attractive to me was the fact that we had some of the most important days of people’s lives in our hands. It was our job to make it extra special for them.
I love your sentiment that “Events are theater.” Can you expand on that a little more, and walk us through your creative process when it comes to designing and executing an event and the flowers?
Theater has always been a big part of my life and my heart has always been drawn to the stage. Many people ask me why I am not an actor these days. While I can’t even imagine at this point in my busy career, working the crazy hours that I do, what it would be like to be cast in a show and then have to attend nightly rehearsals and memorize lines, theatre is still a huge part of who I am. Every event that I create is theater. I treat each party like a production and elements of theater are obvious throughout every time line. Each production includes direction and acting, scripts and cues, an eager audience, and hopefully good reviews. The pre-show is like the cocktail hour, when guests arrive and mingle with the anticipation of what is to come. The opening of the curtain is our grand entrance into the party space. Intermission is after dinner, when guests get time to interact with each other. Act two is a dance number, when people let loose and dessert is displayed. The “11 O’Clock Number” is the big show-stopping song and it reminds me of the event’s late night snack, an unexpected surprise that always puts a smile on the faces in the audience. The final curtain is exactly that: time to recap what an amazing night it has been and take a bow.
What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?
The trends we are seeing right now in the event design are steering towards loss of a contemporary structured look and much more a soft romantic, natural feel. This is portrayed throughout flowers, linens, draping and for room transformations. All of the texture and colors steer towards a much more organic feeling and style. We are doing far less acrylic and many more stained wooden boxes! Even if the client is asking for a more contemporary feel, there is some element of nature in the design.
How would you describe your style, and where do you draw inspiration from?
Personally, my style is very chic, streamline, less fussy. I like things that are very structured and linear. That certainly does not mean that that’s what you see Joe Mineo Creative producing every week. Our job is to look into the minds and hearts of our clients and create what’s in their head. As for inspiration, I know it sounds cliché but, inspiration is everywhere! I find myself observing at all times. Some of my favorite places to pull inspiration from are window displays, restaurants and hotels. Being that all of those are referenced from interior design, I certainly find that we are focused on creating environments that prove much more livable rather than something that we have created that only needs the last four or five hours, during the duration of an event.
Let’s talk about your new book, It’s My Party! Tell us a little bit about it, and what readers can expect from it.
The book is inspiration! How do we create an event for our clients, where does the inspiration come from, what are our biggest challenges, and what do we learn from every event we product. The book outlines 18 chapters of some of the creative events that we have designed at JMC over the last 29 years. Not only is it filled with fantastic photos, but it truly tells a story that will guide the reader through the process of an event designer and his talented team.
A book is quite a big undertaking, especially when you seem to be rather busy with events and other industry happenings! What made you decide to write one in the first place?
I have talked about writing a book for many years. A publisher approached us a few years ago and it helped open the door to making it happen. It was a very long endeavor. Over two years we worked on the book and had to put it on hold a few times just because of our schedule. Looking back, it was a blessing that the book did not come out until February of this year for many reasons. I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and this book is certainly no exception. I wanted to write a book because I wanted something that would not just be a beautiful coffee table book but you really let the reader experience all of the challenges and rewards of producing events. Many people think that event designing and producing is a very glamorous job, and sometimes it is, but like many other professions, it certainly comes with its challenges. That’s probably why I’ve seen event planning named one of the top five most stressful jobs of 2016 right under brain surgeon!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourself during your first years in the industry?
I think the one thing I would like to tell myself if I could, back when I began in 1987, is to dream big and push hard. I needed that in many different ways. Dream big to grow the company to the place that I would want to be and not be intimidated by what other people were doing around me. Push hard to grow the business, and expand the event industry into much more of the unknown. As I said before, event design has changed drastically over the last 29 years. We never thought so many years ago that we would be producing events as we do today. Honestly, I don’t think any of us really thought event design would ever turn into $1 billion a year industry. I guess I just wish I saw what the future would hold more quickly than usual. But as I mentioned before everything happens for a reason in its own time!