Co-founder of Destination King, a global events partner specializing in all aspects of destination and special events management, Cindy Brewer is one dynamic woman who has made it her business to celebrate Memphis! A graduate of the Hutchison School and of the University of Tennessee, she’s logged nearly two decades of solid work experience perfecting her craft, and she does it all with grace and style. Destination King is definitely a family affair, as Cindy’s husband, Kevin is the other co-founder. Together they are raising two precious boys and changing the landscape of Memphis for the better, one event at a time. We are honored to feature Cindy as one of StyleBlueprint’s FACES of Memphis.
How did your passion for Memphis and event planning pave the way for Destination King?
I was working for John Elkington as VP of Sales and Events for Beale Street. I loved my job selling Memphis, Beale Street, Handy Park and ultimately all the clubs on Beale, and this eventually lead me to the opportunity (which Memphis needed) to launch an event firm that could work with local corporations and in-bound conventions to sell the city and book meetings and events here. My husband and I put our heads together, formulated a business plan, opened the doors 10 years ago and have been going strong ever since.
You’ve made it your business to showcase Memphis and celebrate its uniqueness. What are some of our city’s best selling points?
Memphis is a very walkable city – which makes it a very green city. You can stay at any number of downtown hotels and never have to get into your car given the walkable access to unique restaurants, clubs and nightlife, fantastic attractions, and a plethora of sporting and theater events. This is very important to meeting planners right now – finding cities that are not so spread out.
Many people reading this probably think your work sounds pretty glamorous. While I know that isn’t always the case, tell our readers about some of the less-glam aspects of the world of event management.
Oh gosh, you have to really love what you do to be in the event planning business. I tell everyone who is interested in working for us that this will be one of the hardest jobs they will ever have because we work off the motto “just make things happen.” We’ve produced some pretty cool red carpet celebrity events, but then turned around and coordinated a dog show or RV show or stood on Union Avenue loading buses in the snow. If the caterer we’ve hired can’t keep up, you’ll find our team bussing tables. We once even had to haul pig carcasses out of Mud Island after an event. Every day is different, but certainly not boring.
Your business is kind of like one of your “babies” (only not nearly as cute as your boys!), so what are your tips for successfully balancing your family and a growing business?
Thank you. <smile> To be honest, the older the boys get (they are 5 and 6), the harder it becomes to juggle a growing, small business and a family whose schedule is crazy with sports, birthday parties and other fun things. We are lucky that we have A LOT of family support, and Kevin is lucky that I’m the organized one in our family, keeping up with everyone’s schedules, shopping lists, babysitters, camp spreadsheets, etc. Otherwise, we’d be a hot mess. My dream one day is not to win the lottery, it’s to hire a personal assistant!
We know you love him, but is it ever tough to work with your husband everyday?
Yes and no. We met in the industry, so it’s not awkward for us to work together, and we do talk about work at home – a lot. Kevin and I are polar opposites and we play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which is good because its helps us stay balanced at home and at work. And yes, I do love him very much. I’m thankful everyday that he is in my life.
What – or who – inspires you?
People who give selflessly. Mothers who work against all odds to provide for their family and kids. And seeing military personnel in an airport while I’m traveling – knowing that they are serving our country so that our family can put our heads on our pillows at night and go to bed safely.
What has been one of your most favorite client projects and why?
There have been many over the years like Le Bonheur, National Civil Rights Museum, the list goes on. However, in 2005 when we coordinated the community events surrounding the implosion of the old Baptist Hospital for Memphis Bioworks, it was pretty darn cool. We were on-site at UT Fields at midnight for a 6 AM implosion producing an event for 20,000 on a cool November day. When I heard the pops and witnessed the building finally come down, I got chills. I’m still amazed how many people came out to witness the implosion.
What are your hobbies and how do you unwind?
Right now, my hobbies are carting my children from point A to point B. And I still have not done their baby scrapbooks, which weighs on me heavily. Just can’t find the time!!
Favorite vacation spot(s):
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Big Sky, Montana
A glass of wine and People magazine.
Favorite meal in Memphis:
Half Rack Ribs at Blues City Café, Denver Lamb Ribs at Alchemy, Huey’s Patty Melt and Molly’s Mole, or any dessert at The Beauty Shop.
Memphis attractions you’d recommend to tourists:
The National Civil Rights Museum is an absolute must. And don’t go to Stax Museum without sitting through the 11 minute intro movie either. (It makes me so proud to be a Memphian).
What one word best describes you?
Hair flatiron, flip flops, and a great pair of white jeans.
Assuming you ever have a spare moment to read, what books can be found on your bedside table?
Right now, my iPad installed with local newspaper apps, and this week’s People.
What are three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God):
- Unsweetened Iced Tea
- My iPhone
Thanks, Cindy! If you’d like to learn more about her special events business, visit Destination King’s website by clicking here: www.destinationking.com.
The lovely solo shots of Cindy today were done by the talented Christen (Jones) Morrison. Check out Christen’s website here: www.christenjones.com