Known for producing memorable events that leave a lasting impression on clients, Lisa Petroni, founder of event planning firm Suite 1285, has been creating experiences for the past six years designing and executing engaging events. The veteran film and advertising producer previously spent almost two decades working with corporations to bring to life their visions before deciding it was time to strike out on her own.
“I developed the concept in my mind a long time ago and started talking to people about it,” she says. “Soon after, friends began asking me to plan their events and really put their trust in me; it’s where I got my feet wet and gained experience.”
Armed with the skills, connections, and creativity, Petroni has created a company that utilizes their talents to organize events that surpass clients’ expectations. Whether it’s a corporate function, wedding, or smaller scale affair, each is constructed and handled with the same care and talent. “I’ve put together everything from intimate dinner parties to 1,000-person corporate events, and there are different aspects of both I enjoy that go into the planning,” says Petroni.
BELLA New York caught up with Petroni to talk about being her own boss and how she’s giving back to other women through her work.
How did Suite 1285 come to life?
I’ve always had this itch to try something new and something independent. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in a number of side ventures, and at this point in my life it felt like the next natural step was to focus on this dream completely.
How did you come up with the name Suite 1285?
It’s a combination of addresses and past places of employment that mean something personally; they’re places I will always love and remember fondly. It gave me a sense of confidence to combine those sentimental environments. Plus, I like the way it sounded!
You have extensive experience in advertising and PR; what type of work were you doing?
I was an executive producer in a commercial advertising company for a couple of years. Before that, I held other positions, such as a managing director at an editorial company. I was used to dealing with all types of people; I gained a lot of experience from those positions. Creating a commercial or an event holds the same importance; both require a lot of planning to ensure the project is successful.
What are some of the events you’ve planned at Suite 1285?
I started out creating corporate parties, which were amazing and a lot of fun to do. We almost always had a celebrity DJ, and I think that’s how people started to take notice of what we were doing. From there I moved on to weddings, bar mitzvahs, and even smaller, more personal milestone events. Regardless of the size of the party, location is a key factor as is good music—both are huge components.
Do you have a favorite event?
It’s hard to choose just one although there are a few that stand out. I created an event where Quest Love was the DJ—it was a lot of fun working with him. I also hosted a bar mitzvah for a close friend, which was beautiful, and last year I did a Sweet 16. It was fun to be around this group of 16 year olds; they were the sweetest kids I’ve ever worked with.
What makes Suite 1285 stand out from other event planning companies?
The fact that we’re a small company and have remained that way has allowed for us to stay nimble and execute things much faster than others. I can work with any type of budget; whether the client has a large budget to work with, or someone who doesn’t have an astronomical allowance but wants to have a beautiful party, we can still elevate those events. Because we are a smaller company, I can bring in the resources as I need them; I don’t have a huge staff or large overhead and that translates [into savings] for my clients.
From where do you draw inspiration when planning an event?
From the beginning, I sit down with my client to find out the three most important things they’d like to get out of the event. Those responses are where I draw my creative inspiration. I know what’s important to them and work on making sure we bring their vision to life.
In addition to planning events, you donate a percentage of Suite 1285’s profits to Plan International’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign, where you serve on its leadership committee. Can you share more about the organization?
It is such an amazing organization and I’m proud to be involved. The campaign’s focus is to promote the rights of girls and its goal is to bring millions of girls out of poverty around the world. The campaign specifically focuses on the lack of equality faced by girls in developing countries, and promotes projects to improve opportunities for girls in education, medical care, family planning, legal rights, and other areas.
I was introduced to the organization through a friend and after attending a meeting, I knew I had to get involved. I have a daughter who is going to be 10 this November and the glaring disparity between the opportunities available here versus those in less developed areas is something I couldn’t ignore. It’s why I’m so passionate about raising awareness.
At BELLA, our tagline is “Beauty as Defined by You.” As someone whose job entails creating beautiful moments, how do you define beauty?
I believe beauty is something received and recognized through actions and deeds. It’s the way humans give generously to others while expecting nothing in return. That’s how I define beauty.
Finish this sentence: “I am passionate about…”
Life’s great moments! I think that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do. I love family, food, wine, and great music—all of the components that make up a successful event.