Kate Fishel: Weaving Creativity into Success

Creativity is often the spark that ignites great achievements, and Kate Fishel, the CEO of Fauxcades in the Event Design and planning industry, epitomizes this blend of ingenuity and opportunity. Her role demands inventive design thinking, adept sales skills, and a knack for managing budgets, but above all, it hinges on her ability to connect with people and understand their needs.

Kate’s journey as an entrepreneur traces back to her early years. She reflects, “My fascination with business began when I was just 9 years old. I launched my first business, creating and crafting clothing. I sold my creations to friends, family, and neighbors. The vision of owning and leading my own company was always with me, though I wasn’t entirely sure what form it would take, but I knew it would involve something creative.”

Fauxcades collaborates with numerous non-profit and corporate organizations, actively participating in their celebrations and fundraising endeavors. Kate and her team find inspiration in making these events truly special, leaving a lasting memory in the hearts of the guests. As Kate puts it, “Our objective is to craft a magical experience that guests will cherish while helping organizations achieve their goals in perfect harmony.” 

Kate’s story is a testament to the power of combining creativity and business acumen to create a unique and successful venture. It’s an inspiring example for those who wish to fuse their creative passions with entrepreneurial spirit to make a positive impact in the world.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Transforming Events from Modest Beginnings 

In 2004, Fauxcades embarked on its journey as a small décor company, operating from a modest 5,000-square-foot warehouse. Back then, their focus was on serving a limited number of events throughout the year. Fast forward to the present, and Fauxcades has expanded its horizons dramatically. Now, nestled within a sprawling 60,000 square feet of space, they are a powerhouse, orchestrating the production of thousands of events annually. 

Fauxcades has evolved into a comprehensive one-stop shop for designing and executing all aspects of event-related operations. Their offerings are as diverse as the needs of their clients. With in-house facilities encompassing welding, carpentry, paint, graphic design, sculpture, and sign shops, along with an extensive inventory of thousands of rental items such as bars, lounge furniture, décor, backdrops, photo ops, and entrances, Fauxcades leaves no stone unturned. 

Their expertise extends across the spectrum, from curating intimate gatherings to orchestrating grand events accommodating hundreds of thousands of attendees. Through efficient management and a wealth of experience, Fauxcades has mastered the art of transforming events into grand spectacles, regardless of the scale.

Three Pillars of Effective Leadership

Kate has always believed in the power of three fundamental qualities that are indispensable for effective leadership:

Hiring Valuable Assets: Kate recognizes the critical importance of bringing talented and motivated individuals into the company’s fold. She assembles a team that not only complements her own skills but also constantly inspires one another to learn and grow. Her philosophy is clear: “If you are the smartest, most talented person in your business, you are doing it wrong.”

Having Trust: In the world of event production, where long hours and collaborative efforts are the norm, trust becomes the linchpin that binds the team together. Kate emphasizes that, for her, business is profoundly intimate, and trust is the cornerstone of any successful personal or professional relationship. The intricate work of designing, planning, and executing events, from concept to installation, necessitates unwavering trust in each team member to ensure that everything proceeds according to schedule and budget.

Being Highly Flexible: Adaptability is the linchpin of business survival and prosperity. When the event industry came to an abrupt halt in 2020 due to event cancellations, Kate realized that her company needed to pivot its focus to another source of revenue during the pandemic. Thanks to the ingenious idea of her Sales Director, Lynne Duncan, the company began manufacturing customized standing sanitizing stations. These stations, with their stylish aesthetic design, became a resounding success and were adopted by businesses across the country. Additionally, they diversified their product offerings by manufacturing UV pods, social distancing signage, custom safety dividers, temperature scanning stations, and other pandemic-related items. This adaptability not only sustained their business but also earned them the COVID-19 Compliance Safety Certification, allowing them to plan events and help clients gather safely. Kate firmly believes that none of this would have been possible without their unwavering flexibility.

These three principles – hiring valuable assets, cultivating trust, and embracing flexibility – have guided Kate in her journey as a leader, helping her navigate the challenges and uncertainties that come her way.

Crafting a Vision of Growth and Philanthropy

In 2008, at the age of 24, Kate embarked on her journey with Fauxcades as their National Sales Director. Her determination and passion set the stage for a resolute plan to unlock Fauxcades’ full potential. She knew that the path to learning and growing the company lay in executing as many events as possible each year. With a hands-on approach, she assumed responsibility for the company’s marketing, sales, coordination, and operations until they reached a point where they could bring in additional support. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of remarkable growth. Kate shares, “Once we hit that tipping point, the fire was lit, and we grew like crazy.”

Shortly before turning 30, Kate became the owner of the company. Then, in 2017, she assumed the roles of president and CEO. Collaborating with her business partner and COO, Greg Hooper, she diligently crafted a company culture and business model that resonated with their core values and mission. They consider themselves fortunate to be in a position where they can seamlessly integrate philanthropy with their business operations, making substantial contributions to numerous non-profit organizations they collaborate with. Kate emphasizes, “We all have the chance to make a difference, and this is ours.”

One of the most gratifying moments in Kate’s role is witnessing the transformation of ideas into reality at every event. She reflects, “There is always a moment at any event when you look around the ballroom, venue, field, or stadium and see hundreds of people working away in tandem to produce the event you designed. Watching a concept become reality is a special type of magic that never gets old.”

Kate’s journey from a determined National Sales Director to the CEO of Fauxcades exemplifies her unwavering commitment to growth, values, and philanthropy. It’s a testament to her vision and passion for turning dreams into realities.

Prioritizing Self-Care and Work-Life Balance

There was a time when Kate took pride in being a dedicated overworker, leaving her vacation days unused and diligently responding to emails at all hours of the night. However, a significant transformation has occurred, and she now places a high value on clocking out for personal time, especially with her loved ones. Kate emphatically states, “As I’ve grown up, I’ve finally come to really understand that self-care is not selfish; it’s mandatory.”

This realization has led her to prioritize self-care, recognizing that her best performance is rooted in well-rested moments and a healthy start to her day, which includes workouts and meditation. She acknowledges that taking care of herself enables her to show up as a better version of herself for her team. Though her self-care practice isn’t flawless, she remains committed to continuously improving her work-life balance.

Kate’s transformation is a testament to the evolution of her understanding of self-care and the pivotal role it plays in achieving personal and professional success. She has learned that a balanced life is one where personal well-being takes precedence.

From Event Design to Permanent Designs

Not too long ago, Fauxcades embarked on an exciting journey, expanding their services to include the renovation of commercial spaces. This expansion encompassed various aspects, ranging from general contracting to interior design and decoration, all tailored to meet their clients’ unique needs. As Kate aptly puts it, “This has been a natural expansion for our company since we already design spaces for events; now they are just permanent designs.”

This transition reflects a seamless progression for Fauxcades, given their expertise in crafting event designs. The same principles of imaginative design, rigorous planning, and strict adherence to timelines are applied to permanent designs, just as they would for any event.

With the world gradually returning to normalcy post-COVID-19, Fauxcades is excited to embrace what could be deemed the “roaring twenties” of our lifetime. Their goal is to facilitate safe and memorable gatherings for their clients, thereby reigniting the joy of coming together to celebrate.

This expansion reflects Fauxcades’ adaptability and commitment to offering comprehensive design solutions, catering to the evolving needs of their clientele. As they venture into permanent designs, they are set to bring their unique touch to commercial spaces, ensuring that every project is marked by creativity, excellence, and adherence to deadlines.