Debbie Marks is the CEO and Founder of Qube Decor Group. Alongside giving details of her latest projects, Debbie talks to The Industry Leaders about she has not only survived but bounced back strongly from the effects of Covid-19 on her industry.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I've been in the events industry for 23 years. I have a first-class degree in Event Management. I have worked across the industry throughout my career, including in hotels, event agencies, charity events, in-house corporate events, and team building. This has given me a really broad range of experience.
I started my own Creative Events business 13 years ago. I had a huge passion for creativity and thinking out of the box and wanted to bring that to events. We have won multiple awards throughout the years, and we are recognised in the industry as leaders in the event decor field.
What kind of work does your role involve?
My role is very diverse as I am constantly growing my business. My main aim is to help those looking to celebrate a special occasion or produce events that create an experience, bring them to life.
One day I might be designing and planning a luxury birthday party in a client's home, which involves covering over a swimming pool. The next I could be working in a stately home or working with big convention centres to discuss how we can provide a service to their clients. We are experts in large scale events, so often we dress events with 60-100 tables, or we could be creating a luxury dining experience in a dome in a client's back garden! It's very diverse.
The events side of my business provides creative events for weddings, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate and charity events. We also hire out decor for events.
Qube Luxe & The Decor Qube is the eCommerce side of my business where we provide luxury decor for parties and events at home, so my role involves designing new ranges of tablescapes and sourcing products. The Luxury Event Business Hub is my mentoring business where I work with other business owners to help them grow and scale. I do this through running courses and memberships as well as my free Facebook group.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I absolutely love the events industry, as no two days are ever the same. Every event is completely different, and you never know what event is around the corner. My favourite part of my role is when a client walks into a room for the first time and sees the transformation, its really special to know that you had such a huge part to play in someone's special occasion. I love that I can channel my creativity through events; it's like creating a dream in your head and then bringing that to life, making it magical.
There are no boundaries when it comes to event design, so it's really exciting when I have clients who come to me with 'whatever it takes budgets' that allow my imagination to create something really unique. I get to make people happy for a living and help them create magical memories with friends, families and colleagues. There is something really special about that.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Someone once told me, create at least 5 streams of income, and at least one will work! I definitely took this on board and use this to create a bigger vision of where I want to go. Over the past year, it's helped me develop multiple new income streams, some of which are now passive.
I have a motto that is 'Believe in yourself and Sparkle'. I really believe this is so important if you want to succeed in anything; believing in yourself is the first step.
What, or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by other international industry leaders in my field, but more importantly, I get inspired by seeing other people achieve their goals. I think this is why I love mentoring so much. Seeing other people succeed really lights a fire in my belly to constantly want to better myself and push myself to the next level. I am constantly learning, I am involved in a wonderful mastermind where I get inspired by those around me, and I constantly push myself.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I've always got my ear to the ground with what's happening in the industry. I've spent years networking, and I constantly listen to what's happening. I read industry-related magazines, attend trade shows and created my own Facebook group of industry suppliers called the Luxury Event Business Hub. It's a great place to listen to what is going on in the industry and hear from other like-minded business owners.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
My most challenging situation has been the past 12 months. I have had to take my business back to basics and then grow it again, ready for a surge in events. I've learnt a lot over the years and really wanted to make sure that I put everything I have learnt into practice so we could come back stronger than ever.
I made a vow to myself to stay as visible as possible, and that's precisely what I did over the past year. I wanted people to remember my business after Covid, and the proof has been in the pudding, and we are now starting to book some of our biggest ever events.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I love this question! I would invest a large sum of this into my new business, The Decor Qube. I am currently seeking an angel investor for this side of the company, so this would be a no brainer. It would enable me to develop my stock range, purchase in larger quantities and really up my game on the marketing side, allowing me to quickly grow a global brand to turn the $10 million into $100 million.
The Decor Qube is my 'Decor in a Box' brand, which helps put the magic into the memories of people's special occasions. With every box of decor sold, I am also giving a percentage to charity. I very much believe in giving back and that everyone in life deserves to feel special no matter what their situation is. This money would really enable me to make an impact in the world.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I jump on my Peloton and do a 20-30 minute work out or go for a nice walk. I always find that this clears my head. I also like listening to meditation whilst I go to sleep; I often drift off to it. I also spend time with my two little girls, who keep me busy!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would like the events sector to be recognised as the billion-pound industry it is. Whenever I fill in a form that asks which industry I work in, there is never a box for the events industry. It's an incredible industry of some of the worlds most talented people from planners, technicians, creatives, entertainers and more. It definitely needs to receive its recognition.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I love the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. It's definitely made me think about money differently, and it has made me value the importance of paying yourself. For years I worked hard and reinvested into my business, but I forgot about myself and got to a point where I was like, why am I working so hard and not reaping the benefits. I had to stop that and, since I put into practice everything in this book, it has made a real difference.
How should people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbie-marks-3949804/
Luxury Event Business Hub
Read Debbie's tips for what to do when the odds are against you.
*Ever wondered what kind of leader you are? Take our free quiz to find out.
**Looking to level-up your leadership skills? Check out our article on the best self-help books for business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thetheindustryleaders.org participates in Amazon's Affiliate Links programme. So, if you click through the highlighted links and buy a book, we may earn Amazon commission (we hope that's a win-win!).