Marketing to a-list? They have you covered

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


UNLIKE most business partnerships, Cybill Gayatin and Kaye Luym did not start out as close friends. However, they believe this worked to the advantage of their advertising, PR and events firm A~List.

Their jobs in events and common acquaintances brought them together until it became clear that they were good at it and they did well as a team. They also wanted to be their own bosses.

In just five years, the duo has managed to snag top clients and become the preferred names in lifestyle and culture events.

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For Gayatin, it was not just about the business side of things. She and Luym admitted they enjoy the creative side of it the most, picking the venue and overall look of an event.

Not many thought A~List would be a full-time job for them. Gayatin said some people thought of events as a hobby rather than a serious business.

Important market

And while more small PR firms have begun operating around Cebu, they do not seem too worried. They believe Cebu is an important enough market for lifestyle events and that there is no shortage of clients in need of event organizers, PR and advertising. “That there are many event agencies says something about the demand,” Gayatin noted.

Luym added that there are more brands opening branches in Cebu and that gives them even more clients.

They have also decided to stick to their niche–the A-list crowd. While they have been approached to do other types of events like triathlons, weddings or government functions, they have decided to stay where they are good at.

Luym and Gayatin consider their ties to Cebu their strength in handling events for Cebuanos. They have handled some top brands like Samsung, Forever 21 and SM City Cebu’s events. Next week they are handling an event for luxury brand Louis Vuitton.

Luym considers themselves blessed, saying business came by word of mouth. Their clients also keep returning to ask them to handle more events. Gayatin said they have rarely had to make sales calls to get new clients because something was always up.

The girls did not foresee their futures tied to events. Although they barely knew each other, they both studied international law and relations abroad and ended up returning to Cebu. Luym went on to handle events for hotels while Gayatin was then editor-in-chief of Zee magazine.

It was not always easy for them and they’ve had to learn things the hard way. For their first event in May 2009, they did not realize they had to invite people to attend a fashion show. They laugh about that mistake as they recall how overworked they were, styling and carrying all the outfits themselves but not realizing they needed to do the inviting as well. It worked out in the end, as the fashion show was held in a mall and the shoppers became the audience, along with their parents.

Used to doing everything themselves, the hardest part for them was hiring new people and delegating tasks. But once they started sharing responsibilities, they found themselves discovering talent and having three more in the team made things just a bit easier.

These days, they consider a project a success if everyone present enjoyed themselves and did not feel like they were forced to attend.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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