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Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!


We were delighted to have the chance to sit down and talk with the HOPP Team and talk about all things party planning. This in depth Question & Answer about Sugar & Rind and the party planning world, brings to light key points and areas of discussion.

Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!

We recently spoke with Philly, the founder of Sugar & Rind, which was born out of a vision to make throwing parties ridiculously easy.

By partnering and negotiating with their carefully selected supplier network, they have ensured that their customers pay the same price but there’s absolutely zero hassle.

“Philippa and her team were excellent from start to finish. Fantastic problem solving and management of a challenging project. Everything was taken care of and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.”

How did Sugar & Rind begin, and what inspired the name of your company?

Sugar & Rind began at our kitchen table during the depths of Covid, like so many other start ups in 2021. Being in the events industry, I knew it would be quite some time before I would be working again. I’d been wanting to set up my own business for years but with 3 kids and all the costs, it was always hard to say no to the freelance contracts that came along. Faced with the serving of 15 meals a day and home-school, I needed something to be excited about!

In terms of the name, my very creative interior designer friend Camilla (The Mint List) friend came up with it. I was blocked on the name and she sent me a massive list that seemed to just flow out of her. Sugar & Rind just jumped out at me as something party-orientated with resonances of a delicious cocktail.

Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!

Can you share some highlights from your journey in the event planning industry?

Before Sugar & Rind, I used to work at The Football Association. I once planned an awesome trip for Club Wembley members to Miami. We watched the team train, got autographs from them all, went deep sea fishing, met the England Manager and partied hard. It didn’t feel like that particular job was any great hardship to me!

What types of events do you specialize in planning, and what makes your approach unique?

We specialise in planning parties, weddings and corporate events. Our approach is very personal which makes it different. We are not a faceless events company churning out the same type of events month to month. We take each brief and respond to it with our unique sense of style but always with the brief and the client at the forefront of our minds.

How do you tailor your services to meet the diverse needs and visions of your clients?

Sugar & Rind prides itself on extra creative event planning. If it’s formulaic, we’re less inclined to suggest it. Having worked in experiential marketing with brands for a number of years, my expertise lies in taking the brief and reacting instinctively to provide the right solution for the client. It’s about understanding the client, the kind of thing that they enjoy, be that food, music or the design of the event and then responding to that through the solution that we present. For the larger events this would always be in one of our beautifully crafted bespoke presentations, tailored specifically to the client’s needs.

Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!

Can you describe your process for designing and planning an event from concept to execution?

  • Take the brief and listen carefully to what the client wants
  • Respond with a bespoke presentation adding our knowledge, flair and creativity to that response
  • Once hired, do the important paperwork
  • Agree finer details with client through regular check ins and correspondence
  • Secure suppliers and pay invoices
  • Formulate event and production schedules for client and suppliers
  • Have final meeting with clients and suppliers the week before to run through everything in advance of the event
  • Team onsite for build, event and pack down
  • Client Debrief

How do you stay current with trends in event design and how do they influence your work?

We studiously keep abreast of industry trends, new ideas and technology so that when the budget allows, we can inject those show-stopping moments into our events. Our other particular passion point is entertainment. We work with one particular Creative Director on freelance basis and for the bigger jobs to provide solutions that are unlike any other!

What is your approach to understanding and fulfilling a client’s vision for their event?

Just listening hard.  It’s as simple as that.  We’re always guiding and suggesting new ideas but whilst remembering that what happens on the night is something that they have to be happy and excited about.

Could you share an example of a challenging client request and how you managed to fulfil it?

Ha! Surprise parties certainly make the heart race. We once had to create a fake pop-up restaurant within a party that was actually themed as a Day of the Dead party. We put all the guests behind a big black curtain and made the lighting neutral, rearranged the furniture and pretended it was a pop-up restaurant. We bought the client in with her husband and friends, gave her a cocktail, drew back the curtain and SURPISE!!!

Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!

How do you select and collaborate with suppliers to ensure a cohesive and high-quality experience?

I ask my friends in the industry for recommendations and I go to Event Shows. I can tell straight away if a) I’m going to get along with that person and b) if their company is well run. As a planner, speed and smooth running of logistics is of the essence, so if the suppliers can’t deliver that, it will hinder Sugar & Rind so we cut them loose!

Can you describe a memorable event?

Our client, ‘Be Amazed’ was celebrating 10 million subscribers on You Tube.  They wanted a 1920’s Speakeasy Party to celebrate.  So we came up with a simple concept. ‘We’ll reimagine your content in a speakeasy setting to create the Be Amazed of the 1920’s.  If YouTube had a channel in the 20’s this stuff would be on it….’  And then we wove the most bonkers entertainment into a night of fabulous food and cocktails.  We had magicians, drag queens, a Charlie Chaplin that stripped, a gold dancing man and even a pink monkey man that got his kit off whilst eating a banana!  It might not have been to everyone’s taste but it certainly was memorable.  And utterly bonkers!

Parties often come with unexpected challenges. Can you share an example of how you’ve navigated a last-minute issue?

The bar supplier once forgot the champagne glasses which was discovered 1 hour before kick off.  Ahhhhhhh!  We were leading with Fortnum and Mason’s pink champagne ordered especially by the client.  So I just told the client ‘I was popping to the shops for the boys.’  I screamed up the M4 to Ikea knowing it was 25 minutes there and back which gave me 8 minutes to get in and out.  Somehow, I managed to find the kindest man in the world who took me through the back of the store in order to circumnavigate the dreaded one-way system.  I squeaked back into the party with literally 2 minutes to spare and somehow…. just somehow…. The client never knew.

How do you ensure a plan B is as enjoyable and beautiful as the original plan?

A party is about the people. Not the tent you are standing in or the garden you are inhabiting. We just try to emanate positivity and efficiency. By remaining calm and telling the client tactfully that if they enjoy themselves everyone else will, usually plan B works just fine.

Sugar and Rind - We Bring the Party you throw it!

Are there any specific sustainable practices you’ve implemented that you’re particularly proud of?

Wherever possible, we work with sustainable suppliers like Twilight Trees and Lettice Events who pride themselves on sustainability. We have a commitment to sustainability overall and we ensure that all of our caterers and bar suppliers recycle everything that they can.

How do you utilize technology in your party planning and execution process?

Our internal systems are a file sharing system so that everyone in the team has visibility at all times. All of our suppliers are at the cutting edge of technology in terms of their delivery, particularly our production companies. We have iPads available for guest lists and as mentioned, we studiously keep abreast of industry trends, new ideas and technology.

What are your aspirations for Sugar and Rind in the next five years?

Our aspiration is to be known as the most creative party and wedding planner in the industry but also the nicest and the easiest to work with! We’ve had a really positive start with the business going from strength to strength. The plan is to build on our foundations of growth, expand our team, grow our supplier network and deliver more and more gorgeous weddings, parties and corporate events that continue to surprise and delight our clients month in and month out! I love what I do and as long as that shines through each and every event as we move forward, that’s what’s most important to me and the business.

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