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Meet Richandra Nickerson-Ukpong of Fervent Designs in North Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richandra Nickerson-Ukpong.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After graduating with honors in Psychology and English at the University of Houston, I spent over ten years in a fulfilling career managing corporate training, communications, and events for several global oil and gas companies. I have always been the person in the family who planned showers, birthday celebrations, and emceed events. I was an event planner by trade, but never a wedding planner. When I got engaged and began seeking vendors for my own wedding, I was shocked, appalled and overwhelmed. I quickly went into planner mode and before you know it, I had planned both of my own weddings (the traditional Nigerian ceremony as well as the American wedding). From that point on, my loved ones demanded that I plan and decorate their events. Then, the word spread. Before long, I was spending my free time and weekends coordinating events. Surprisingly, I absolutely loved it! A few years later, after lots of preparation, planning, and of course, prayers, Fervent Designs was born! I eventually stepped out on faith and left my corporate job. Now, I have chosen to devote the next chapter of my life to planning and designing weddings and social events for couples and clients who NEED and want #therealdeal.

When planning their weddings, couples need help, encouragement, support, and the truth. The need to know the FACTS! Who better than a trainer, event planner, and former bride with over a decade of experience in the industry to assist?

This business allows me to use my talents, interests, and expertise to bless others and make weddings and other special events unique, memorable, and affordable. Fervent Designs was created because I wanted to do something that I enjoyed, I excelled at, and that had a lasting impact on people’s lives. Designs and events are my passion, and my customers are like my family. And, of course, I cannot do this by myself, so at Fervent Designs, I get to lead the most amazing team of event professionals on the planet! Therefore, I get the best of both worlds- teaching and mentoring while planning beautiful events for and with some awesome people.

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth?!? What’s that? An Event Planner’s job is to put OUT the fires. I always tell my potential clients, “We’ve seen it all! And we’ve done it all. Try me!” You had better believe that there are struggles. More struggles than I care to speak of. If it can happen, it has happened! We have been through hell and high water, but at Fervent Designs, we are undergirded by faith, family, confidence, experience and Fervent prayers.  Every month, our team has a new story to tell.  But, that forces us to grow and makes us better. Now, we have a Plan A, Plan, B, and Plan C for nearly everything. We pride ourselves on our ability to stay calm, to work through difficulties, and to stay on schedule. No matter what obstacles we face, we put our clients first and make the best decision for them. In most cases, if something happens during an event, outsiders (the client, the bride and groom…) NEVER know that there was a problem. Our clients don’t know what happened until after the event is over and we tell them. All they know is that they had an amazing event and their guests and families are raving about it. When that is the case, then we did our job!

Regarding being a small business owner, yes, there are challenges. The biggest one is that there are only 24 hours in a day. Time is precious! I often feel like I need a clone. Instead of trying to do it all myself and failing, I had to learn to delegate. I set out to teach my team to do tasks the way I do them. In the process, I explain WHY- Why I do things the way I do. Therefore, when someone else has to do it, it is still done the way I would have done it myself. So now, we are all executing the same way with the same methodologies and the same passion and reasoning. At Fervent Designs, we use systems, tools, and we incorporate and checks and balances into our processes, which make us the most organized company in town.

I wear many hats. I had to learn not to spread myself too thin, especially during busy seasons. Now, when I’m tired, I rest and delegate. There are specific times when we have to be on our A Game, so we prepare for those times in advance using the systems we have in place. I also teach my team and clients to respect people’s time. People set office hours for a reason. Event planning is a lifestyle (one that I choose and love), but I still have a life outside of my business. You must have balance! I instill on my team to enjoy time with their own families. When we have free time, we play! “Work hard, play harder!” is something I truly believe in.

Being an event planner/business owner/mom/wife/sorority sister/daughter, one of the hardest things to learn was how to say, “No!”
Q: “Rich, Can you…?” A: No.
Q: “Mommy, can we…?” A: Not today.
Q: “Can your company…?” A: No, but thank you for thinking of us…
Now, I am fine with being the “mean” one. As a planner, you have to be firm. Also, everything does not require an explanation. I am very intentional about what I say “Yes” to because if I make a commitment, I stick to it.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fervent Designs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Fervent Designs, the one-stop shop that is passionate about personalizing your party! The name says it all. “Fervent” is an adjective that means “having or displaying a passionate intensity”. Synonyms include passionate, intense, vehement, ardent, lively, and sincere. We are FERVENT about your DESIGNS! Each event receives an abundance of intense professional care, thought, and effort. Custom, unique themed designs are our specialty.

For weddings, to start, you select coordination, partial planning, or full planning. From there, we design your day your way. We specialize in themed weddings, multi-cultural weddings, and destination weddings.

For events, we can plan, design or both. We do birthday parties for kids and adults, And we can handle any social event, including baby showers, bridal showers, anniversaries, galas, and fundraisers.

Every individual on our team shares my passion for unique designs coupled with excellence, professionalism, and personalization. We work together to make each event a success. Every detail will be tailored to your needs, theme, and taste. And, we always strive to stay within budget. Whatever we do, we do it FERVENTLY!

You give us your budget and vision, and we design the rest. We are full service, so we can handle anything you need all IN-HOUSE and can provide as much or as little as you want.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love Houston because it is big and diverse. There is something for everyone. It is a huge melting pot of possibility. The only thing I dislike about Houston is the flooding and constant construction.

Pricing:

  • Wedding Coordination starts at $1400 for coverage the last 30+ days before your wedding.
  • Partial Planning starts at $2500 and provides assistance getting situated plus coverage the last 3 months before your wedding.
  • Full planning includes assistance with nearly everything and starts at $3600 and provides coverage with everything you for up to 14 months before your wedding day.
  • Party Decor Packages start at $300.
  • Pricing for Event Planning (for parties, showers, galas, etc.) starts at $500

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Adauro Photography, JF Studioz. O’Ryan Photography, Tony Ramos Photography, Montees Photos, Cindy Janette Photography

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