Packaged Creative: From Classmates to Business Partners
Naoma Serna, left, and Jane Nguyen, right, are the creators of event planning business Packaged Creative. Both are graduates of the University of Central Oklahoma. Photo by Ryan Naeve, the Vista.
While some students are worried about finding the right job outside of college, others are starting their own businesses. After graduating in May with bachelor’s degrees in graphic design, UCO Alumni Naoma Serna and Jane Nguyen joined forces to build their own brand: Packaged Creative.
Packaged Creative, a business specializing in event planning, takes it to a whole new level with the incorporation of design. The company is specifically geared towards people that have big ideas for a special event but don’t know how to execute those plans.
“We want to help plan any events but also incorporate any design,” Nguyen said. “People who go to an event planner will have to outsource getting invitations made, any social media, whatever it is. So why not have someone that can design and plan for you?”
“We are the first-aid kit to your Pinterest fails. You tried it, you failed it. Just leave it in the hands of experts,” Serma said.
Serna and Nguyen have divided their packages and prices into three tiers: basic, medium, and deluxe. From there, clients can customize their package by adding, subtracting, or exchanging any details within the chosen package. This way they’re able to offer packages to clients with a low budget.
“We’re going to package everything together, depending on what your needs are,” Nguyen said.
When they were in school, Serna and Nguyen both belonged to the AIGA Student Group and often found themselves working together. Through the student group, the two were able to build a professional dynamic long before Packaged Creative.
“She was elected president, and I was elected event coordinator, so I had worked a lot with Jane,” Serna said. “I think that’s what kind of started our business relationship a little bit.”
The concept for Packaged Creative was born one early morning while Serna and Nguyen worked tirelessly to complete assignments in the InkTank Studio. Each of the two had gotten engaged and were discussing wedding topics.
“One night during the last semester we were talking about how crazy it is to even think about planning a wedding and how expensive everything is, and I’m like, ‘Man, people who do weddings make a bunch of money. Holy crap—we could do that,’” Serna said.
So as not to get ahead of themselves, Serna and Nguyen wanted to make sure they went about this decision practically.
A trial run was conducted by Serna and Nguyen in early June to see if the two were truly ready to start their own business. The idea was to plan an event for Nguyen’s fiancé, evaluate that event, and decide from there if they should move forward with Packaged Creative.
“It was very successful. We had probably over 300 people going in and out within four hours, even with the rain,” Nguyen said.
From there the two started the process of legitimizing Packaged Creative. They created an LLC for the brand and an operating contract.
“We felt that it was very necessary to have a contract so that we don’t ever get in really uncomfortable, awkward situations. We try to be proactive. We want this to last.” Said Nguyen.
The dynamic between Serna and Nguyen plays a major role in how efficient the two work together to complete a task. Finding the balance to keep each other accountable is what makes this partnership work and their business successful.
“Jane is very detail oriented, and I’m much more big picture. I can be the mean one if I need to be. She can too, but she prefers not to be,” Serna said.
“When you’re working with someone, you need to make sure that you’re keeping one another accountable,” Nguyen added.
While the business is still a side job for both designers, they hope to make it a full-time gig within the next few years.