Interview with Drew D’Andrea, Director of Sales
He’s leading the way as designer8* Event Furniture Rental expands to both coasts. Today we take a look at what brought him here and what is in store for the future.
1) Briefly describe your history in the event world; how it started, what kept you motivated and where you see it going from this point onward?
I started in the event industry working for some of the top caterers in LA, who orchestrated many high profile events. Being a piece of the puzzle that brought to life a creative vision, made me realize this industry was one I wanted to be apart of. From catering, I moved into event production then to Restaurant/Venue management and now with designer8*. What kept me motivated was the incredible people I have had the pleasure of working for and with.
In this industry, the best education is watching the masters at work, and I’ve had a lot of masters to learn from and still do to this day. The event industry is one of the most progressive industries. It is always at the helm of creativity, with so many innovators and trendsetters leading the way, there is no other direction but, up.
2) What pieces in your portfolio of work are you most proud of and why makes them so pertinent/relevant to your position now?
Working with Cirque du Soleil on the Iris Premiere at the Kodak Theatre. Shutting down Hollywood Blvd and seeing, within a 24-hour time span, an incredible masterpiece of design unfold. This will always be a pivotal moment for me. That experience opened my eyes to what was possible with the design. Joining designer8* was the perfect marriage of all of my experiences. This one in particular because I saw first hand what lounge furniture and custom made designs could do to enhance a space and make an event unforgettable.
3) What has changed now that you have your new role?
My role as Director of Sales with designer8* has allowed me to take all of my previous experiences and use them in ways I never thought were possible. I still get to work with an amazing team of people who empower me to be my best. I still have a master as a leader that I get to learn from every day. I would say nothing has changed, I have embarked on a new and better adventure within the industry that still excites me and allows me to help create the magic of an event.
4) What makes you different from others of your same position/experience?
Everyone has their own style of working with clients. I feel I bring a different approach by not just ‘working’ with a client but building a relationship. I have always been a people person. I like to fully understand where a client is coming from and what their ultimate goal is, so I am able to provide them with a quality product that brings it all to life. I use my experience to offer a different point of view so that the client’s ultimate vision flourishes and our partnership strengthens. I like to connect with people on a deeper level of creativity, which only leads to unmatched results.
5) What are your favorite venues in SoCal and in NY Tristate?
Tough question as there are so many. Coming from the venue background I love seeing the many talented designers and restaurateurs create spaces that allow you to use your imagination. A few stand outs, if I was to pin point, would be; Hudson Loft, Ojai Valley Inn, Fort Mason, The Pearl, SF Design Center, Majestic Hall, The Little Door, Fig House, Harvard Club, 583 Park, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Gotham Hall, Spring Studios, The Plaza, Tavern on the Green…Should I keep going? The list is never-ending. Venues are a huge asset to our industry, they lay the groundwork for our products to shine!
6) What are some of your favorite pieces from designer8*?
I love to mix and match and designer8* provides so many varieties of styles and design that there is a lot to play with. With our collections it is easy to mix a mid century chair with a sleek modern leather sofa, bring in the wood tones and pop it with a fresh color to create a trendsetting look. Then, on the other hand, you can create an industrial rustic vibe or a bohemian vignette mixed with traditional pieces. Designers and planners want to play around with product to create their vision, so it only makes sense to offer them a wide variety so they can let their imagination flow. At designer8* we bring unparalleled designs to the industry so our clients can continue to innovate.
7) What was one of your most challenging events/situations in this field and why?
There is not one in particular but, I would say the many events over Super Bowl weekend stand out here. Not so much challenging as they are incredibly exhilarating. The most talented designers and producers create the official Super Bowl events and bring new and fresh ideas that change the game- no pun intended. We have been so honored to be apart of these unprecedented events and help create the visions of some of the best in the biz. The amount of logistics and planning that go into these events may seem challenging but that is easily forgettable when you see the final product.
8) What key trends/differences/challenges have you noticed in the NY Tri-State and California markets, and how do you accommodate these differences?
We have a good amount of crossover clients. We do work with many bi coastal planners so, in that sense, there is no difference. It is seamless and the transition is easy.
I have noticed, in the NY market, clients have been looking for something new and different in regards to event furniture. When designer8* New York opened we received a large amount of feedback from high profile designers, producers, planners, caterers that they have been missing variety and quantity in their market. designer8* NY has an incredible depth of inventory and the wide range of designs that the industry has been missing. We are thrilled that we are able to fill that void and continue to do so by introducing new and innovative designs.
On the West Coast, we have seen so many trends come and go over the years, so it is always important that we continue to keep up with this ever changing industry. We work with the best of the best, so it is easy to stay ahead of the curve. We listen to our clients and then we deliver. We have created some of the most beautiful custom pieces for our clients so that they can have that stand out ‘wow’ piece at their event. That is just what we do.
designer8* is not just another furniture rental company. We are a well versed team of designers who bring new and fresh ideas to the industry. Our event consultants work hand and hand with our clients and deliver the upmost in customer service. We will, without fail, Be the premier event furniture rental company that client’s can rely on to bring their extraordinary visions to life.