Blog

Tips to plan your year end function

Year end functions can be tricky… Who has the responsibility of planning them? Usually it is someone in the admin department when this person may have year end deadlines to deal with already. so, lets make sure your colleagues have the tolls to plan a super year end function! Here are some tips to help you plan an awesome function….

End of year venue

2016-10-10-ACCA-253
Make sure your event venue is accessible to all employees (disabilities and location). If it is an external venue be sure that it is in close proximity to the office as well as safe location for your guests to get home (well lit roads). The end of year function venue needs to serve the purpose for the event (Celebration) but as it is an annual event that does not happen regularly, you’ll want something interesting and quirky. Think gallery, music venue, garden, woodland, tent etc

Catering for an end of year function

img_4033
Always ensure all dietary requirements are met when selecting your menu. If you are unsure, ask your colleagues to tell you any specific requirements they would like you to consider. Also, as it is a celebration and people will be having a good time, make sure the portions are sizable to fill the bellies of your drinking colleagues. It would be wise to make sure that the food is not served too late. People will begin celebrating from late afternoon so 7.30 – 8pm is the a great time to serve food to make sure everyone has had a sufficient meal to see them through the evening

End of year drinks 


Well now, this is all up top you as an organisation. I would suggest steering clear of providing alcohol all night long however, that decision will be up to management and budget constraints. There are various ways you can provide drinks:

-complimentary drinks all night
-a certain amount behind the bar
-drinks vouchers
-cash bar

Either way, experience has taught me that you always need to provide a selection of beer and wine as well as soft drinks. That way, you are covering your bases with everyone.

Décor

My favourite topic. It doesn’t have to be theme related but it must be fun!!! Everyone will cringe at a dress up party but when it comes to it, everyone has a blast. I once decided to have a DJ and dance floor and a organisations internal conference. Everyone thought I was crazy! It is supposed to be all formal but I stuck with my guns. In the end, the CEO was the last person on the dance floor at 2am and it was hailed the BEST one yet! People want to let their hair down no matter how the year has gone for the company. If it has been a hard year, everyone wants to feel motivated for the coming year and still part of a team that sticks together, or if the year has been amazing, saying “thank you” and showing your employees you value them is a sure fine way to keep them motivated!

Safety

Please, please make sure your employees get home safe! Planning events in Europe is easy as the public transport system is reliable and safe. SA is not the same. Get them to car pool and have a designated driver, hire a coach or maybe even cover their expenses for Ubers but encourage them NOT to drink and drive. It is not worth the risk!

The Mkono team is standing by for any queries or if you would like us to help you plan your year end function. Get in touch!

We hope that the last querter of 2019 is a successful one and that 2020 is everything you can hoipe for and more with your business!

The Mkono Team

 

Tips on finding your perfect Wedding photographer

When all is done, the flowers have wilted, the fairy lights switched off and the venue cleared… when the honeymoon is over and normal life resumes, the only reminder you have of your amazing day, what it looked like and how you felt, is your photographs. I literally want to cry when I hear brides who want “cheap” photographers for their wedding. After all is said and done, your photographs are your only visual memento of your special day. Make sure your photographer knows what they are doing and that he/she can capture the essence of your day. Here are some tips on how to secure the best photographer possible.

Do your research
When searching for a photographer, make sure you do your research before booking and paying the deposit. Check their social media pages, websites and testimonials. Arrange a meeting with the photographer and ask to see their portfolio (any decent photographer will have one). Have a look and see if the photographer has been used for styled shoots or has been mentioned on social media posts. This way you can get an authentic feel for their work ethic.

Arrange a meeting
ALWAYS meet with your photographer before booking them. You can never be sure if you are going to “click”. Although the photographer may be amazing, if their is no easy vibe between you, your shoot will feel staged and uneasy. You want your photographer to “get” you as a couple and understand what you are hoping to achieve with your private shoot. At the end of the meeting, if you are not excited, then the photographer is not for you.

When looking at their portfolio look for the following:

Depth of field
Ensure there are a number of images within the portfolio that reflects good depth of field. This is when elements of the photograph are out of focus making the subject of the photo the focal point. 

accessories-adult-beautiful-725458beautiful-beauty-bouquet-1875422

Candid group shots
Make sure that your photographer has some candid group images of various wedding guests within their portfolio. While you are swept away in the moment, you will miss the reaction of your guests throughout the day, you will want your photographer to capture those sweet, funny or emotional moments for you.

applauding-applauds-attending-1484211IMG_6703

Bad lighting
Taking photos in bad light is extremely tricky and it takes a real professional to get the right balance of light to make the image beautiful. When looking at the portfolio, make sure your photographer knows how to take amazing shots in the dark. You will want to see beautiful images with interesting characteristics and light. 

Their style and “colour”
Make sure their style of photography are matched with the effect you are trying to achieve. Are they minimalist and clean with a fresh look and feel? Or are they moody, with an interestingly darker characteristic to the lighting they use making your photos feel mystical? Or perhaps their style is more traditional with great uses of light and reflections? Each photographer has a particular style that appeals to them and a great way to see the style of images you can expect to receive, is to find their Instagram account and look at their grid. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Your wedding day will be one of the most special days of your life. You will want to capture the beautiful, special moments with flare so be sure that the photographer you choose has your best interests at heart! I hope you have found these tips insightful. If you have any other hints or tips on how to pick your perfect photographer, please do leave a comment below! I would love to hear!

Happy searching!

Candace
X

 

5 ways to warm up a winter wedding

Are you planning a winter wedding this year? Mkono has a few ideas for you to make sure your guests stay cosy throughout your special day. Depending on your location, it can get really chilly during the winter months and it is vital to make sure your guests are well looked after.

Hot chocolate bar

With Booze of course! Offering your guests a delicious warming drink during your reception is a wonderful way to not only thaw those cold aching muscles but also leave your guests feeling like you have thought of every small detail, putting them and their experience at the forefront of your planning! Create a beautiful space for your guests to create a warm chocolaty drink to their exact specifications. A few delicious boozy additions to your chocolate drink would not go amiss either. suggestions would be Amarula, port, brandy, chocolate liqueur, mint liqueur or Cointreau because chocolate and orange were made for each other! Add a few extra bits for toppings such a whipped cream, marshmallows, shaved chocolate or even broken bits if chocolate bars to melt in at the bottom of the cup! OK… I’m done! I am off to make a hot chocolate right now!!!

Provide beautiful, soft blankets for your guests to wrap up

The church can be a cold place guys! and while you are viewing your dream church or venue in the middle of the summer heat, take note of how cold it could get on the actual day of your wedding! It may not seem like it while you are melting as you walk around and talk about where you want your mom to sit… but giving a bit of extra thought will certainly go a long way. I attended my nephews christening in an ice cold church in the Wine Valley of the Western Cape. It got so cold, I went outside to thaw! yes!! OUTSIDE! If you planning a winter wedding, have a few pretty blankets scattered around your ceremony venue to help your guests stay warm and focus on the most important part of the ceremony… YOU!! You can even take the opportunity and personalise the blankets for people to take home as a memento of your day!

Pick your reception venue carefully

You are overwhelmed with all the planning of the day and the small details sometimes get over looked (this is where we can help!) However, when you are searching for a winter reception venue, be sure to think about what amenities the venue has to keep your guests warm. Is it carpeted? Do they have an internal heating system or perhaps they have a gorgeous fireplace that you can use? If they do have a fireplace be sure to double check it is open and usable and not just there to look pretty!

Think about potential rentals

So the venue doesn’t have a fire place or carpets….well, you may have to consider hiring heaters for your venue. I know that this may seem like a silly addition to your budget but I promise you, it is worth it! Think about your venue and the type of heating that is required. You may not need massive mushroom heaters and there are many varieties out there so do a bit of digging to find the solution that suits you!

Adorn your bridal party!

Yes!!! No bride wants photos of her bridal party wearing miss matched coats or worse, no warm clothes with a grimace on their face! Why not allocate some gorgeous faux fur shoulder wraps to keep them warm but looking just gorgeous at the same time! I just love this idea and it gives a sense of luxury and unity to your tribe and your day!

So, with these items ticked off, your winter wedding will be a huge hit! and your guests will thank you, I promise!

Do get in touch of you are looking for more ideas or help with planning your special day because, at the end of the day, your day is our passion!

Love

Candace x

*photo credit – Pinterest

Instagram & Phoneography event

It all started at the first Flatlay workshop! The ladies and I were so inspired by the images we took that morning and how they would transform our Instagram feeds that we discussed how amazing and insightful it would be to have an event that covered many areas of Instagram and how to effectively monetise your brand right from your phone.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Christina Masureik and I

My co-host Christina Masureik and I got to work almost immediately to make this vision a reality. First things first, we had to secure a venue and Shared Cape Town was willing to collaborate with us on this great venture.

We then brainstormed on who we wanted to headline this event, I remember saying in passing, it would be amazing to have Lauren Dallas as a key note. Lauren Dallas is Founder of the growth academy, a South African-based e learning platform that gives entrepreneurs the skills and strategies they need to start and grow their business. The growth academy was named as one of Fast company’s most innovative companies of 2017. We asked her if she would be interested and she said YES!!! A perfect example of asking for what you want!

img_4007

We were equally amazed that Genevieve Beyleveld agreed to do a key note for our event too! She is a former TV producer for DSTV but decided to throw in the corporate towel and develop her own brand centred around her extravagant life. She has been extremely successful and has a passion on talking about monetising your brand and how to go about it. She is known globally and lives between New York city and South Africa.

Our workshop experts were finalised and we secured
Abigail K – to talk on “Your confident personal brand”
Annene van Eeden – to talk on “The art and ease of Phoneography”
Olya Keinhans – to talk on “How to sell on Instagram” and finally
Christina Masureik – to talk about “Know your Strategy”

I learnt so much during the planning of this event. Although I have over a decade of international event management experience, I honestly believe you are never too old or too experienced to learn something new. The planning process, as with many things, came with it’s ups and downs however, the result was worth every second!

The evening started with a bang! our delegation were welcomed into the venue with wine, food and amazing music by the fabulous Kyle Chowles! And before I knew it… in walked Jo-ann Strauss!! Yes… the former miss SA saw value enough in this event that she bought a ticket and came along! I was so over the moon to see her! I can still recall watching her win her title! This was one of those moments you will never forget.

img_4044

Our key note speakers took to the stage and nailed it!! Gen was authentic, humorous, and very generous with her information. Lauren was inspiring, knowledgeable and practical with her content. I had so many ideas I wanted to implement after her talk!

The audience moved into their workshops and rotated until everyone had a chance to hear from each workshop leader. We ended the night with a super hamper giveaway, networking, more fabulous wine and great food!

I have to say, my inbox was inundated after the event with thank you notes. It was truly a magical evening and I was so inspired to see it all come together so beautifully!

img_4009

A massive thank you to all our speakers as well as our sponsors who were so generous to this event! If you missed out on the event, keep your eyes peeled for the next one. We hope to see you there!

X
Candace

Thank you to our sponsors:
Valens Leather @valensleather
Culture Lab Kombucha @culturelab_kombucha
Zang Chocolate @zangchocolate
Grow Marketing @growmarketingsa
Flatlay SA @flatlayboards_sa
Esperer Designs @espererdesigns17
Sugarbird Gin @sugarbirdgin
Tora Grace @toragrace
Pure Beginnings @purebeginnings
Tree of Life Bakery @thetreeoflifebakery
Kyle Chowles @kylechowles
Shared Office Space @sharedcapetown
Jaqueline Day Photography @jacquelinedaysa
Ben Wren Wine @benwrenwine
Future Females @futurefemales

Why support local?

Is local Lekker_ (1)
Really, why? Surely I can get my goods and services much cheaper from larger companies? They sell goods in bulk and therefore are able to hand a reduction on price to their customers. It is a win-win, surely?!

Well in my opinion, no. Do I look for a great deal? Of course! We all do however, there are many fabulous deals to be had with local, smaller businesses too. 

According to this article from entrepreneur.com these are some of the advantages to supporting local businesses. The reasoning behind supporting local is a valid one. Particularly for a country like South Africa. Our economy is driven by the small guy and without the local entrepreneur, our economy would crash! According to Business Tech, 98.5% of the country’s economy is supported by SME’s! Guys!!! 98.5% that is insane! However, SME’s are only contributing to 28% of jobs for the economy! That is staggeringly low! There are many factors contributing to this and I encourage you to read the article but for me, I believe it is due to the fact the these SME’s do not have the adequate support to GROW! And I am not only referring to investment and mentorship of these individuals but also the local support where people engage with these companies and buy their goods and services. 

But why?? Why are people purchasing goods and services from other companies rather than supporting the local guy? Well, I don’t have the answer exactly but I believe it may have something to do with these 2 factors, education and quality. People need to know about you in order to buy from you! This requires a rigorous advertising campaign, investment and mentorship. However, quality also play a big role. I get the impression that people are worried about using the local guy because they believe they will get better quality somewhere else. Sadly, in some cases this is true and local companies have let their customers down but with a little bit or research from the customers point of view, it will very quickly reveal the companies you do and do not want to do business with. The media online talks about quality and changing the narrative. Now more than ever, people want quality so if you are an SME, always have your customer experience and quality at the forefront of what you do! 

From Mkono’s point of view, we know and understand the challenges of getting yourself out there and generating the support to drive business! I get it! I really do! So, if you want to support local, really support local, use us for your next event! Book a place at a workshop and when you do and you experience the quality that Mkono has to offer, talk about us, refer us, support us! If you are a SME that is struggling to get yourself out there, get in touch! Working together, collaborating and encouraging each other is not only good business, it is essential for the heart and soul of our companies and our country. Because at the end of the day, Local truly is lekker!

Candace