Meet the Durham Entrepreneur Bringing Amazing Parties, Events and Weddings to Life
Durham-based Emma Gibson has been working in the events industry since she was a teenager, and with plenty of experience in planning parties, events and weddings she knows exactly how to bring her clients' visions to life
‘Jason and I always knew we wanted to start an events business, and having the extra time in lockdown gave us the opportunity to do that,’ Emma explains. 'Starting with balloons, we offered a birthday balloon delivery service to customers celebrating lockdown birthdays which grew into much bigger displays and being able to get really creative.
‘Now the concept of the business is to create fun, amazing and memorable parties, weddings and events. We spend our free time looking out for upcoming trends and ideas that we know our customers will love. We offer balloon decor and displays, the extremely fun 360 video booth, an audio guest book in the stunning white phone box, popcorn, a candyfloss machine, doughnut wall and lots more.’
While it sounds like it could be that of a movie star, the name Freddie Douglas is actually very personal to Emma. ‘The name comes from my two grandads’ names put together,’ she explains. ‘I didn't want to use my name or anything that put a label on what we do, for example “Balloons by Emma”. Instead, I wanted something that had room to grow. I felt it was a nice tribute to both sides of my family and the two names together really work. Now we will see something funky and fun, or friends will send us display inspiration pics, and say “that's very Freddie Douglas”, so in a way Freddie Douglas has become a character/personality in itself.
‘We’ve created a reputation for always bringing the party vibes, and the reason I think we’ve been so successful is because we absolutely love what we do!’
With a competitive events industry across the region, what makes Freddie Douglas Events stand out is the whole experience they provide. The aim of the business was to be professional memory makers, and that is exactly what they’ve become. ‘We bring energy and fun!’ says Emma. ‘We’ve created a reputation for always bringing the party vibes, and the reason I think we’ve been so successful is because we absolutely love what we do! We have also had incredible support from family and friends, and without them Freddie Douglas wouldn't be what it is today.’
Freddie Douglas Events pride themselves on making people’s party dreams become a reality, and no task is too big. But that does mean there are pros and cons to the job. ‘What I love most about what we do is getting to meet all the people at events and seeing what creative things guests do when they get on the 360 video booth. The thing I love least has to be lifting all the heavy kit – luckily Jason takes on most of the heavy lifting.
‘We love attending wedding shows as we get to put new ideas out and see the reactions. We've made some fabulous industry friends and we genuinely get enjoyment from the events we do, seeing the happy reactions from displays we've created and partying along with guests on the 360 video booth.’
Emma and Jason love what they do and they say that being able to work with fabulous clients to bring their vision to life is the best job in the world.
‘We have lots of exciting plans for the future and we're currently creating something very fun that will make the perfect addition to any party. We're also planning on expanding our decor side of the business and to start offering full venue dressing. Our advice for anyone looking to start their own business, I’d say just go for it. You never know unless you give it a shot. Be true to yourself, authentic – and be ready to work 24/7!’
An item you couldn’t live without?
Our toolboxes – we both carry one to every event, fully equipped with everything we could possibly need. Cable ties, extra balloons, spare balloon pump, tape, hammer and nails, a spare plug. You name it, it's probably in the toolbox!
A podcast you recommend?
Chris and Rosie Ramsey’s SMA! It's our go-to when travelling to and from an event.
Advice you would give to your younger self?
Go for every opportunity, you'll grow up really quickly.