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Conversations with Alex Cantrell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Cantrell.

Hi Alex, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have always been super interested in and inspired by spatial design.

Growing up, I always thought I’d be an Interior Designer. College ended up taking a little bit of a different path for me, and I found myself with a Studio Arts degree… I had planned to transfer colleges halfway through my bachelor’s degree, but I loved creating art and learning about different mediums, so I decided to stay where I was.

I met my husband while in school and we ended up getting married right around 6 months after I graduated. While planning our wedding, were working on a somewhat limited (but still very generous) budget, and the venue was basically a blank slate. I let my imagination run wild.

I ended up making a lot of the decor. We used a lot of unconventional items as well as items I could forage to make the space feel complete. After our wedding, I started having several people ask me to help them figure out how to decorate their wedding. At that point, I was pretty torn on what I was going to do career-wise.

I decided I didn’t really have anything to lose… so I launched my event planning business. We launched originally under the name Alexandrea Cantrell Events. After a few years in business, and after I had a better understanding of some different directions my business could go, I rebranded to the name The New Eclectic.

We still primarily focus on events but also create installations, and art pieces, and also have started working in interiors and real estate as well. I feel like I’m juggling several different things at the moment, but I am really excited to see where this goes and how it grows.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Oh man, it’s been a whirlwind. In the seven and a half years I’ve been in business, I have welcomed three kids into my life. This has been the biggest challenge for me. Being a woman, running a business while raising kids can be super challenging… that being said, I want my kids to see me working hard.

I want them the see that owning a business, while it’s so rewarding and fulfilling, can be really challenging. I think it’s important for my kids to see what I do. Occasionally, my husband will bring them by on an event day so that we can say hi for just a few minutes and so that they can see what’s going on. My oldest loves it. I also try to involve them whenever I’m building an installation or art piece. They love it.

Trailing off from that, one of the best things I did soon after I started my business was to talk to other entrepreneurs. I asked them about failure…because I was so afraid of failing or messing up (still am). Almost everyone, I talked to told me it was inevitable that I would fail (in some aspect) or mess up at some point, and I have!

Each mess up, although really hard to swallow, has been such a learning experience for me. Failure and mess-ups can either break us or cause us to learn and be better. I choose to learn and be better.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We primarily focus on design first and foremost. Although there are a million logistics that go into an event, design has so much to do with you and your guest experience.

That’s what I love doing… creating an experience. I want you to walk away from your event feeling like you just got a big, warm hug. I want your event to feel personalized, unique to you, to speak into your passions, and to be a day you will remember fondly forever… I want your guests to leave feeling the same way.

We work with budgets all across the board. I love thinking of innovative ways to make tighter budgets work, but I also love to dream BIG. Because of my background in studio art (and also my internship at Anthropologie making window displays).

I feel I have a unique perspective on how to make spaces feel personal, design-forward, and complete within different price ranges. I am not afraid of a challenge, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I love talking to creatives… to be honest, I find SO much inspiration from creatives who are older and more experienced than me. I love talking to people who made business before the days of social media. Today, social media has taken the world by storm.

While it’s great for showcasing work and making online connections, I personally believe that face-to-face relationship goes so much further. I love to see what creatives who aren’t social media-focused are doing because something about it seems more raw and pure.

I definitely recommend making relationships within the community that relates to your business. Online networking is great, but a referral from someone that knows you or someone who has personally worked with you goes so much further.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Eden Ingle Photo

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