I simply desire that each Snapdragon London project is diverse, challenging and great fun!”

Julia Dowling, founder, Snapdragon London

The founder of Snapdragon London, Julia Dowling, spent fifteen years in the city climbing the corporate ladder, assuming increasingly senior positions, then made the pivotal decision to embark on a completely new path. Julia believed she’d identified a gap within the events industry ie that in order to produce truly exceptional events, a fusion of creativity, passion for evoking emotions, and grand spectacle needed to be combined with rigorous disciplines such as meticulous attention to detail, strong business and commercial acumen, and thorough ‘military-style’ contingency planning. It was this integration of hard and soft skills that served as the foundational concept for Snapdragon…”

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Morgan

It was an integration of hard and soft skills that served as the foundational concept for Snapdragon…”

Julia Dowling, founder, Snapdragon London

C&B: “Julia, you have a fantastic reputation within the events industry; has your original vision stayed the same and who were your first clients?”

JD: “Yes, throughout the past 15 years since we launched, we’ve established a reputation for successfully executing large and intricate events while remaining true to our original vision. Our inaugural client happened to be a hedge fund CEO who, prior to entrusting me with the planning of his high society wedding, sought to gauge the scale of budgets I had previously managed. He chose to hire me once he comprehended that I possessed commercial acumen and approached the responsibility of handling his finances with utmost seriousness. It was large and complex and we delivered within 8 weeks…”

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Behr; Holly Clark

C&B: “After that amazing first wedding you organised, what was your next major event and were there challenges?”

JD: “We’ve consistently taken on similarly large and intricate events, each surpassing the complexity of the last! One major event which followed was orchestrating an unprecedented event that demanded the transformation of an abandoned factory on an island into a breathtaking wedding venue. Over the course of 8 days, we managed a workforce of over 300 crew members, navigating through unexpected challenges such as a rare and tempestuous storm that arose. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in our line of work!”

C&B: “With your city background, do you have a typical client profile of financial high-flyers or do you extend into the luxury goods arena as well?”

JD: “Yes, we collaborate with prestigious luxury brands to produce captivating product launches and also on behalf of high net worth clients celebrating their significant life ‘milestones’. Our clients – who have all experienced a multitude of events – turn to us in search of truly unique and extraordinary celebrations, appreciating our creativity, meticulous attention to detail, and penchant for exclusivity. Most of our events are in the UK and across Europe, and we serve a considerable number of clients from the United States…”

PHOTO CREDIT: Pippa Mackenzie

C&B: “Who and what inspires you most for event themes, decor, cuisine and so on?”

JD: “Inspiration flows from a myriad of sources – art, fashion, and nature. Ultimately, it’s our client’s unique stories which ignite our creativity, and their celebrations are crafted to reflect their individuality. Moreover, the exhilarating camaraderie shared among event suppliers is an indescribable source of inspiration and fulfilment. It is during those awe-inspiring moments, when we unite to orchestrate a meticulously planned spectacle, months in the making, that we find profound inspiration and immense satisfaction in our collaborative achievement!”

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Morgan

C&B: “From what we’ve learned through showcasing various top-end suppliers in the online magazine, one motivating factor is the sense of team effort that goes into producing a sensational event and it’s really important that everyone on board has a clear sense of the end vision to be achieved. What would you say are the qualities that the very best suppliers have?”

JD: “We’ve obviously developed a roster of individuals we trust and have worked with many times; we select suppliers based on what and where it is we’re intending to deliver, so we don’t always use the same team. We value suppliers who consistently deliver exceptional quality, demonstrate reliability, provide outstanding service, and offer innovative solutions. It’s the combination of all these factors that enables us to create unforgettable experiences for our clients…”

C&B: “You mentioned that you managed to stage one of your initial events in only eight weeks; how much lead time do you generally require – in an ideal scenario?”

JD: “Ideally, we prefer to have as much lead time as possible; most of our clients plan their milestone events much further ahead, with 4 – 12 months being ideal. This timeframe allows us to get to know our clients, capture their vision, and ensure we exceed their expectations. However, we’ve also delivered large events in as little as 10 days, although that is undoubtedly a wild ride. We do pride ourselves on our ability to work with shorter timelines and still deliver exceptional results!”

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Morgan

C&B: “One of the perks of operating at the top end of the events business is that it can take you to fabulous destinations around the world. Have you found that in the case of Snapdragon?”

JD: “Our work does take us on incredible journeys across the globe, yet there is a particular demand for our services in London, as well as throughout France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Among these enchanting destinations, I’ve discovered a handful of beloved locations, each adorned with captivating hidden gems. These unique spaces allow us to craft extraordinary experiences for our clients, far from the ordinary and well-known venues…”

C&B: “Of all the projects Snapdragon has staged, which have been your most interesting projects and why?”

JD: “Every project we undertake unfurls a tapestry of captivating challenges and boundless possibilities – from orchestrating enchanting destination weddings in exotic locations through to spearheading grand launches for renowned brands, the realm of events is an ever-evolving canvas of excitement. It is this kaleidoscope of diversity that ignites my passion—an ever-unfolding mosaic of inspiration. Among these cherished experiences, a surrealistic soiree bursting with ceaseless moments of wonder – and the exhilarating pursuit of turning the seemingly impossible into a tangible reality – for a client in France holds a special place in my heart…”

PHOTO CREDIT: Pippa Mackenzie

CB: “Have you had any major challenges to overcome during the production of your events?”

JD: “Our Snapdragon events unfold as theatre productions, captivating and brimming with anticipation and energy… yet there’s no luxury of advance rehearsals. While grand state occasions such as the Coronation are granted the privilege of six weeks of meticulous preparation, the realm of private clients necessitates a different approach. Detailed planning, orchestrating the seamless coordination among suppliers, encompassing contingency strategies, and the indispensable presence of an experienced onsite event coordination team define the essence of success. This expertise serves as an unwavering pillar, adeptly navigating any unforeseen circumstances that may arise, ensuring that every moment is flawlessly executed. We encountered one such challenge amidst the tempestuous chaos of a sudden hurricane storm which wreaked havoc upon our international event site – a moment that would have spelled defeat for many – however, we harnessed our unwavering determination and collective expertise. With resolute spirit, we transformed adversity into opportunity, weaving together our skills and experience to fashion an outcome that surpassed even the bounds of imagination. In the face of the impossible, we emerged delivering nothing short of extraordinary!”

WEBSITE: http://www.snapdragonlondon.com

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