October 2016 Small Business Startup: Soirée NNY

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION Sarah Compo owns and operates Sioree NNY, an event planning and day-of coordinating business.

Sarah Compo owns and operates Sioree NNY, an event planning and day-of coordinating business.


THE INITIAL IDEA  After helping friends and family members with their theme parties, weddings and other events it became clear to young entrepreneur Sarah Compo that event planning and execution was her passion — eliminating those day-of-event nerves by taking the reins to plan and execute someone’s special day with ease.

“I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are getting married. I would see how they didn’t have anyone to do those little things and they would ask other people. Or even sometimes, they would hire someone who they knew but wasn’t coming to the wedding,” Ms. Compo said.

Out of this apparent need for event assistance, coupled with her passion for design Soirée NNY was born.

“We get requests from clients who don’t want to burden anyone in the wedding to help, so Soirée NNY will make sure everything is taken care of,” Ms. Compo said.

TARGET CLIENTELE  Located in Watertown, but booking events throughout the Thousand Islands and Northern New York region, Soirée NNY specializes in day-of-event coordination, consultation, planning and execution. Ms. Compo launched her business in 2014 and has seen swift growth through word of mouth and support from local venues where she has completed events.

“Sarah came highly recommended by the Antique Boat Museum as they have partnered on many events together. I asked Margaret Hummel who they have used in the past and they jumped to say Soirée NNY,” said Natalia Ingerson-Hatton, a Thousand Islands native and New York City resident. “We really needed someone who was reliable to set up both the wedding and reception venues for us late August. Sarah really helped put my mind to ease knowing that she was following through with our vision.”

Ms. Compo said she prides herself on easing the worries for her clients by staying current on event trends and ideas, something that has increased her bookings.

“We step in to help on the day of an event to do everything that the person who, for example, is getting married, does not have time to do or does not want to ask their friends or family members to take on the day of the event,” Ms. Compo said.

A typical job for Soirée NNY consists of a bride, groom or parent contacting the company and requesting someone to complete design elements, be there the day of the event to set up, monitor the event’s needs, break down and clean up at the end of the event.

“It really was one less thing to worry about as the day drew closer and on the day of. She was very easy to work with. Looking back I wished I knew of her sooner because I found out that I could have given her an idea and she would have done the leg work and put the plan into motion,” Mrs. Ingerson-Hatton said.


Ingerson-Hatton wedding reception at Johnston House, Clayton.

THE JOURNEY  To date, Ms. Compo has been hired to work more than 30 events and continues to grow. Business for Soirée NNY is driven by her reputation — word of mouth — and her online presence on social media and website. Clients have come from as far as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and even the Midwest.

“People come from all over to have their special events here,” Ms. Compo said. “About 70 percent of the weddings I have done are in the 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River.”

Ms. Compo attributes her success to a mix of her vision and the customers’ needs and wants. She has found that her clients will either know exactly what they want or, following a consultation, leave the planning to Ms. Compo and her team.

“I take a ton of pictures at events — the unique stuff is amazing, the different ideas I see that people have,” Ms. Compo said.

Soirée NNY recently assisted with a wedding located in Clayton. Ms. Compo said the bride and groom didn’t want to have the traditional wedding cake and instead opted for a donut bar.

“I have never been to a wedding with a donut bar, so now I will have that in my arsenal of ideas,” Ms. Compo said. She adds these ideas to her growing portfolio, something she said is integral to the businesses development.

“She set up the floor plan of the Antique Boat Museum and the Johnston House according to our design plans and everything was literally perfect. I have heard stories of brides walking into their venues the day of and thinking that this or that was wrong but honestly there was not one thing that looked or seemed out of place to me. Sarah and her crew were very thorough and listened to everything we wanted as well as executed it all perfectly,” Mrs. Ingerson-Hatton said.

Ingerson-Hatton wedding ceremony held at the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton.

Ingerson-Hatton wedding ceremony held at the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton.

IN FIVE YEARS  While business is growing, Ms. Compo still works her full-time job as deputy chief of staff at the office of state Sen. Patty Ritchie.

“My full-time job is my first commitment,” Ms. Compo said, “but I have a ton of fun doing this on the side and I think that it’s a much-needed service around here because there is no one else who is doing it.”

Ms. Compo said she hopes that as business expands and her clientele continues to grow through local venue support, word of mouth and her online presence, she can increase staff and continue to fulfill the needs of brides and those in need of event support.

“I am solo right now. I have had to have people come work for me,” Ms. Compo said, “Especially when I have had multiple events in one day. Usually my mom will step in and assist, but I would like to continue to grow so I can ultimately hire someone to manage things for me.”