Written by Yodit Gebreyes Endale
With her Ethiopian family roots, Yodit launched Favored by Yodit Events & Designs with the objective of designing stylish, seamless, multicultural weddings and events to fill the void in the market. Yodit and her talented team are best known for their creative ideas, impeccable attention to detail and ability to bring the best out of vendors to make sure everything runs smoothly and turns out beautiful.
Yodit and her one-of-a-kind work have been featured in various premiere wedding, lifestyle & entertainment publications. She believes that her success stems from the combination of blessings, passion, determination, and the ability to adapt swiftly to change. Yodit holds a Masters in Corporate Communications & Public Relations from Georgetown University & BA in Marketing & IT from George Mason University.
In high school I always knew I wanted to have a career that allowed me to be creative and utilize my social personality. So when I decided to go to college, I knew I was going to major in Marketing in order to learn how to properly engage any product or service with a target audience.
Early on I interned and worked at companies like AOL/ Time Warner, Ketchum Public Relations, 93.9 KYS Radio which then lead me to become a Senior Marketing Executive at an award-winning international architecture design firm. By day I worked a 9 to 5 job and by night I was the creative planning force behind one of D.C.’s leading nightlife promotion groups hosting up to five events in a week at one time.
After years of building a strong reputation of executing high quality events through brand networking and relationship building, I decided I wanted to see where my talents could take me in a new industry – and that is what has led me to where I am now.
Whatever you decide to do in life, don’t overthink it. Follow your heart and reject all negativity, thoughts of fear and insecurity. My advice to anyone with an idea for a startup would be to go ahead and just start it.
One thing I heard and has stuck is to remember that if your dreams are big, the work you have to put in is even bigger.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. When I first started my business I quickly learned you can’t plan an event by yourself and need to lean on vendors and sometimes even your family and friends when you can’t do something like setup 20 heavy tables in less than an hour. I now make it a routine to ask my peers that also run their own businesses for help trying to figure things out, which I realized a lot of people have trouble with as entrepreneurs. It’s totally normal to find yourself at a roadblock, whether it’s learning about taxes, developing a new website, or creating a new marketing plan. Nine times out of ten there is someone who can help you solve the problem. It’s so simple and it sounds so trite but it’s true. While there are always going to be your share of haters, majority of people want to see a good person be successful.
I think anytime you take the leap of faith to start a business, it teaches you a lot about yourself.
Out sound of just planning events, I have learned so much about people, business in general and how to prioritize my time. One thing we all have is time and what we do with it is what sets us apart. I know that I want to leave a legacy of love and achieve certain things in life before time runs out so I think that has been a huge factor in the life I am creating for myself and those around me. Of all things, I believe my journey has shaped me to become a person who plans ahead and take the steps to get things done. My career path has also magnified that there is always time to celebrate all milestones big or small.
I always joke that I think event planning was in my blood when I was born. I grew up in a non-traditional Ethiopian household where my super social parents were always hosting people. Whether it was an intimate dinner with 5-6 guests or a house party; that was just a regular weekly occurrence in our household. And since I was usually the only kid present I was forced to help out around setting table spaces, lighting candles, serving guests, picking out music and making the house cozy which I loved to do.
Later in life, I would use those same hostess skills when I began throwing club parties with my friend when I was in college with our company, TALK OF DC, a promotions company that made its mark on the D.C. nightlife scene. After seven years planning high-profile nightlife and corporate events, I started getting a lot of people asking to hire me to plan their weddings and that’s when Favored by Yodit Events & Design was born.
When I launched Favored by Yodit Events & Design in 2012 it was a true labor of love and culture shock. After two years at an award-winning architecture firm, I left my comfortable corporate career to become a full-time entrepreneur and start my own business from scratch so I was definitely nervous to say the least.
But even when people thought I was crazy for leaving something so safe and secure, it taught me to ULTIMATELY learn to not be afraid of BEING uncomfortable and that no matter WHAT situation you are in – bet on yourself and work your butt off to do it for yourself. Proving others wrong is just an added bonus.
The entrepreneur journey is definitely not easy and still, some days, I feel like I’m figuring it out one day at a time, but thankfully I have a “CANT STOP, WONT STOP” personality and an amazing husband who doesn’t allow me to give up even if I wanted. So one piece of advice to anyone who is trying to become an entrepreneur is to find something you are truly passionate about and willing to outwork everyone on because early mornings, late nights and weekends might be a regular when you are starting out.
I have a deep love for the diaspora community. Being born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area has allowed me many opportunities to build and support others and vice versa because it’s like a Little Ethiopia away from home. One of the main reasons I started my event planning & design business was to help Ethiopians and Eritreans plan high quality special events and weddings. I honestly love that I’m able to make people’s dreams come true and save them time, money and the stress that comes from not knowing all the options out there and also support other Ethiopian businesses in the process.