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Meet Erin Creeks of MsIndependent in Sugar Land

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Creeks.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I attended the University of Tampa while obtaining my degree in Marketing and upon moving back to Houston, I quickly realized that I had no support network of friends. Three years later, I experienced a devastating breakup where I had hit a low emotionally, felt sorry for myself, unsupported, angry, and totally alone. In an attempt to dig myself out of a hole and finally leave the house, I found meetup.com and quickly started joining groups. I couldn’t find my tribe in any of the groups I explored, so I decided to create my own called MsIndependent. I gave myself a 30 day time limit, and if the group failed I would close it down. I had 56 members in 3 days and 22 people attended our very first event. The meetup group was a lesson in trial and error and how big things have small beginnings. I quickly went from planning an event here and there to bring women together, to attending networking events to meet potential collaborators and sponsors, designing a logo, creating a budget, and without know it, building a brand. At the time, I was working as Pilates Instructor and Personal Training, which I loved, but I didn’t see a future in it long term. In 2015, 5 years after creating MsIndependent, I decided to take an office job in sales thinking that it would offer stability and job security. Turning MsIndependent into a full time business was always in the back of my mind but I was reluctant to take the leap. After only ten months with the company, the business was sold to a competitor and I was out of a job. Just a week prior to the announcement that all corporate employees were being let go, I had made up my mind that MsIndependent would be a full time business the following year. This was the sign I didn’t want, but needed. Since then, the meetup MsIndependent has become the business and brand MsIndependent. To date, we have hosted over 300 events and gatherings, including our signature event #GirlsNightOut, which brought in 115 women when it debuted in 2016. Most recently I’ve entertained requests to consult on events outside of MsIndependent, share my knowledge on marketing and event management and best practices as an influencer.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a traitorous journey for sure but the lows are as frequent as the highs. I’ve almost given up about 3 times but it never fails that just as I’m ready to give up. I get that email from someone telling me just how much MsIndependent has changed their life. The challenges of hosting an event will always be there, the budget, participants backing out last minute, the unpredictability of tickets sales, but the greatest challenge is always personal. By nature, I am very introverted and to this day, I still find it challenging to put myself out there, but my business depends on my presence being known, so I push through it. Another great challenge is navigating what deals, people, collaborations, are best for me personally, and MsIndependent professionally. I use to stretch myself too far to try to say yes to everyone and everything to ensure that I didn’t miss any opportunities, but that’s how you burn out, and operate out of fear versus intent. There is also the ever present threat of the thought, “what will people think”. The more I build MsIndependent, the more I am challenged with maintaining who I am apart from the brand, that is also me. So, there is that constant challenge of producing content and activities that are popular and polished, while remaining a flawed entrepreneur that never takes a break, works virtually alone, and is doing the best I can, always wishing I could do more.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
MsIndependent is a women focused event company and lifestyle blog. We focus on getting women out of a rut, routine, the house, and even their own heads, to help them better connect with the world around them, and most of all their true selves. Every month we host a variety of events and gatherings that either entertain, enlighten or encourage the ladies of Houston. Our events are as diverse as our city, so whether it’s horseback riding, yoga, or a cuisine crawl, we want women to experience a life far less ordinary, and make a few friends along the way. Our signature event is #GirlsNightOut, where happy hour meets Instagram. Each event is centered around the latest visual trend on social media, and strives to create a fun environment for ladies to kick back and enjoy eye candy, a glamorous atmosphere, shopping, swag bags, and surprises.

I am most proud of #GirlsNightOut because it was the biggest risk for me to ever attempt to pull off. Early into me launching MsIndependent as a business I created and executed this event 4 months in, with my own money and no proof of concept. This is our most popular event and our biggest collaboration each year. Our latest #GNO was titled Houston Strong and raised $2500 for hurricane Harvey victims. We had to launch in 30 days after the flooding, but it was our greatest success with 140 attendees, and support from over 20 local influencers.

So many things set us apart. For one, I’m always thinking of how to enhance the experience that our guests encounter at every event. These days hosting a meetup or gathering is very common, anyone from bloggers, entrepreneurs, and start ups are doing it. There are so many advancements in event hosting, especially technologically, so I want to be the one to show our audience something new that they’ll never forget. I also have a crazy imagination and when I become obsessed with an element to an event, I have to make it happen, like hiring a mermaid to sit by the pool and and a trampoline selfie station.

I also approach every event and everyone that is involved as if it’s my first day on the job. I am always making a first impression in my mind and want to ensure that I always leave people feeling good, and cared for. I started MsIndependent to reach out to other women like me that needed a tribe and to feel supported and it’s with that same concept that I curate every aspect of the MsIndependent experience. I want to leave women feeling a little better, inspired, and hopeful with every blog post, social media caption and event.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was a tomboy, loved to climb trees, play outside, and explore nature. I was very inquisitive, I had a microscope and wanted to understand everything about everything. I was also very artistic and expressed myself through sketching, singing in the school choir and writing poetry. I also loved to read. My favorite book series were Sweet Valley High and Goosebumps. I am an introvert by nature but I didn’t have a hard time making friends until high school. I was also obsessed with making good grades and had the idea that one day I would invent something.

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Image Credit:
Sofia Em Photography and Si Creative Photography

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