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Industry Expert Interview with HapPea Events

On the blog this week we chat with Claire and Rocky from HapPea Events. We met the Bay of Plenty based duo back in 2017 where their passion and creativity was like no other. We asked the talented pair to discuss their innovative business concept, where they find their motivation and passion as well as their thoughts and advice for entering into the event industry.

Rocky and Claire, can you please tell us a bit about HapPea Events.

"Kia ora, we’re HapPea Events. We bring spaces and places to life with New Zealand native plants. Our services include plant hire, plant styling and event styling. All our plants are native to New Zealand. We launched in February 2020, and are a two woman band, partners in business and in life. We are based in the beautiful Bay of Plenty."

What was the thought process/motivation when created your beautiful business?

"Our concept was created from a love of plants and a desire to offer green options in the event world, which can at times be very wasteful. Using living plants, which are reusable is a great waste free option. More and more brides and grooms are looking for environmentally friendly options which tread lightly on the planet, and we believe our product and services does just that."

You offer such a creative style; how do you find your inspiration?

"For us, inspiration can be found in many places, our natural surroundings, a visit to the beach, a walk in the bush, flicking through books and magazines, travel, biophilic design, architecture and interior design. Rocky mentions Cesar Manrique, a Spanish artist and architect who keeps nature at the centre of all designs, as a great source of inspiration."

What motivates you in business?

"Bringing nature to the event world is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Our mission at HapPea Events is to showcase New Zealand’s unique native flora. We see endless benefits of us and our communities reconnecting with nature: a better understanding of our environment, a greater sense of respect towards our planet, better physical and mental health, a deeper love towards our trees, birds and native species which make New Zealand so unique … Our motivations are deeply rooted in a hope of a better world."

How do you find a good balance between business life and home life?

"Being a new business, that is probably something we are still working on. We have created a little routine with set start and finish hours, packing up our desk at the end of the day. We do like going on adventures at least once a week. We find it essential to switch off, leave the worries behind, and forget about anything work related. Sometimes easier said than done!"

Where do you see HapPea Events in 5 years’ time?

"It’s a little crazy to think about 2025 when we only just launched beginning of 2020. We would hope to think we have become an active part of the event world; that green events are more and more represented in the industry. At this stage we have one collection, The Lush Green collection with tree ferns, ground ferns, nikau palms, planted ponga pots, hanging fern baskets and a Living Green Wall. We hope to have added an extra collection or two, possibly coastal… (we won’t give too much away!).

We also hope the future will enable us to collaborate with local artists and incorporate their work in our styling designs. The options are endless, let’s hope for a bright green future!"

What have been some of your most exciting wins in this industry you can share with us?

"Everything seems like a win right now. We are so lucky with who we have crossed paths with since starting this journey. From our branding queen, Tara Spice, our copywriter HelloElo, the talented photographers, Rose Mc Mahon and Andrea Stephens who took fabulous shots of our plants at the beautiful Old Forest School venue. Having the Tupuanuku team join us for a fun photo shoot. Meeting Su-and and Alistair, owners of the Old Forest School who mentored us and kept us on track from the beginning. Having the privilege of styling the Palm Springs lounge at Diner en Blanc Tauranga – our nikau palms were so excited, they love a little socialising! Getting interviewed for the Our Place magazine. And you Lizzy, a ray of sunshine 😊

Without forgetting the 11 native trees which we have so far donated through Trees That Count, which contribute on a small scale to a planting project in our local areas."

If you could give someone wanting to get into the Wedding and Events Industry a small piece of advice or words of wisdom, what would it be?

"Look into a course which will give you the knowledge and support you need to move forward. Rocky completed a two year course in events planning and design and is so grateful for every lesson learnt. If you can get yourself out there and gain some hands on experience, do it! It’s a great way to meet people in the industry you are about to embark on. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Just keep going, focus on your vision and mission. Take time to breathe. Remind yourself why are you doing what you are doing. Set weekly goals and daily tasks to ensure you stay on track. Push through the fear and self doubt. Don’t be afraid of failure and celebrate every little win!"

What do you think is one of the essential things to consider when planning a wedding?

"Ultimately it comes down to what you envision for that special moment. And what’s important to you. Creating an inviting environment which nurtures togetherness and connection is definitely one of the most important aspects for us. If you feel good and your guests feel good, your big day will be a hit. Just don’t forget to do your best to keep your wedding as ‘green’ as possible. Consider food waste (arrange takeaways or have as leftovers the next day), recycling bins, waste free styling alternatives (plant hire, second hand or re-purposed décor elements…), group bus pick-ups (saves on parking, traffic, drunk driving…). Knowing that your wedding hasn’t cost the earth will make your wedding day even more special."

What would be one of the most rewarding parts of your job/business?

"There are a lot of rewarding aspects to the job. Simply having people love our products, our plants, our natural and recycled pots, our Living Green Wall – it’s good to know our vision resonates well with people. Seeing guests enjoy the space we have played a part in creating is a pretty fabulous feeling too! Another major rewarding part of the business is knowing that we are business which does good. For each event we donate a native tree through Kiwi organisation Trees That Count. We also give a portion of our yearly profits to the Mental Health Foundation, in the hope of growing our community’s well being. There is so much beauty in giving."

You can follow Claire and Rocky on their social media platforms here.


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