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Kevin the Wedding Planner breaks new ground!

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DAVID Tutera, an American celebrity wedding planner, bridal fashion designer, author and professional speaker is known for putting together flawless events. Those in the know, say “a David Tutera Event is more than an event — it is an interactive experience about who you are.”

That basically sums up what young Zimbabwean wedding and events planner Kevin Zhou seeks to achieve.

Popularly known in social circles as Kevin The Wedding Planner, the 29-year-old was featured in 30 Forbes Under 30 List of Africa’s young entrepreneurs, influential creative, sports personalities and techno savvies among others on 1 June 2021.

Kevin The Wedding Planner (KZ) speaks to The NewsHawks’ Jonathan Mbiriyamveka (JM) on what makes him tick during such events as weddings, exhibitions, conferences, promotions, product launches as well as social events.

JM: Tell us about your upbringing and the schools you attended.

KZ: I was born in a family of one. My mother passed on when I was seven years old so I was then raised by my grandparents while I was doing my primary and high school in Bulawayo, where I was born. I attended Hugh Beadle Primary School and Northlea High School. Then I later moved to Harare to live with my aunt, which is where I started my event planning business.

JM: Congratulations for being named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2021. Tell us how you managed the feat.

KZ: I must say that it was totally unexpected. I wasn’t well acquainted with what Forbes is and so when my friend Josh Khosa told me about it and when I received the nomination I became more knowledgeable on the listing process etc which is absolutely rigorous and so I got to appreciate what the organisation is all about and the noble recognition.

JM: What did they consider in choosing you?

KZ: Based on what I know, Forbes looked at my detailed story on how my career started, including when I started, why I chose to do what I do as well as the impact that I have made in my sphere of work. They also looked at the biggest highlights in my career, the challenges I faced and how they were handled. I also had to submit audited financial statements for our business, a police clearance and impact statistics and data, which was all reviewed and vetted by the Forbes Africa team.

JM: How have you impacted the local communities?

KZ: Apart from being part of the Rotaract Club, our company —VIP Hosting — generally empowers young people by training individuals on event decor and floristry. Our company also employs several small and large businesses and together we put together the most memorable weddings and events.

JM: What is involved in events planning?

KZ: My role as an event organiser is hands-on and often involves working with our strong team of co-event designers at VIP Hosting. Together we complete a wide range of activities requiring clear communication, excellent organisational skills and attention to detail. We work well under pressure, ensuring the smooth and efficient running of an event.

JM: How did your journey as an events planner begin?

KZ: I have always generally been interested in events from a younger age although I used to think I’d take on a career in medicine but then ended up studying to be a chef. It was while I was in culinary school that I ended up interning at a hotel where I assisted with an event and completely enjoyed it. I then decided that I’d take up a career in events so I started my business on a Facebook page before going to study events and wedding planning at the South African School of Weddings. That is basically how it all started.

JM: What sets you apart from the others?

KZ: I focus very firmly on the needs of our clients which drives the recognition of the fact that it is flexibility, skill and long-term commitment that keeps me in this business. Of utmost importance to me is to gain and deliver on the trust of every client with whom I work. We have a team spirit that allows every team member I work with to thrive and grow in an environment that is conducive. Our approach has played a huge role in qualifying our reputation to be recognised for integrity and service delivery both locally and internationally.

JM: Does your network consist of prominent well-to-do contacts?

KZ: All our clients are a masterpiece in their own right. We don’t really have a classified list of who we consider to be the who’s who.

JM: What has been the most memorable experience in your career?

KZ: My career highlight has definitely been from the time that I was invited to Mexico by the tourism board to experience the tourism in Mexico. A group of us from different countries were taken around to several resorts and islands with some of the captains of the events industry and the whole experience was topped off by a meet-and-greet with the president of Mexico and a luncheon. It was just incredible to be selected as part of the elite few to experience this from around the world.

JM: What are some of the amazing people you have worked with?

KZ: Not to mention names but our work has exposed us to renowned individuals, aristocrats, world-renowned clothing designers, internationally acclaimed artists, celebrities and so on. We don’t live in a perfect world. In the beauty of everything, there are sometimes shortcomings but I do know that the bad does not outweigh the good at all.

JM: And what is your inspiration?

KZ: I find inspiration from the most random things, colours, textures, everyday life really. There is always something to draw inspiration from on a daily basis.

JM: You are often a guest at high-profile gigs. Are you a party animal?

KZ: I am not a party animal at all. In fact, have never thrown an event for myself.

JM: You are always around beautiful women does that in any way reflect on your romantic preferences?

KZ: No.

JM: Where do you want to take your career?

JZ: The sky is no limit for me. I want to grow beyond my imaginable potential.

JM: Apart from being an events planner, you are a musician of note. How far have you gone with your music career?

KZ: Music is my pastime. It’s definitely not something that I will take on as a career. I enjoy singing here and there but I don’t consider myself as a recording artiste or anything like that

JM: Your parting shot?

KZ: Believe in yourself and chase your dreams relentlessly.

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