With February being the Love Month, we have chosen to highlight black owned businesses that operate in the love category. Our first spotlight is Philo Newton of EBP Weddings, London’s premier African Wedding Planner. Philo specialises in luxurious and truly opulent weddings, what the bride wants, the bride gets. She is also known to organise and host amazing experiences for brands like Louis Vuitton and other well-known luxury brands.
Of course with Covid-19 putting a damper on big weddings and events, event planning businesses have had to pivot. We had the pleasure of interviewing Philo about her journey and what’s next for the industry.
She also let us in on her newest venture, The Indulgence Box, a luxury at-home fine dining experience, perfect for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy the interview and be sure to take a look at her different Indulgence Boxes and follow her on Instagram.
1. What inspired you to start EBP Weddings?
I was inspired by a Love of African Weddings and wanting to create beautiful events and weddings that were high end and culturally rich. African Weddings in particular are so rich and vibrant and with so many moving parts, I wanted to plan ones that were beautiful and were a true reflection of how amazing the continent is.
2. What sets EBP Weddings apart from other brands out there?
We Plan Weddings and Events that are visually stunning and also have a strong emphasis on guest experience! We are not into just turning out weddings for the sake of it but work to look at how to mix the cultures we work with along with Lush and Luxurious settings. We focus on having our guests and celebrants having a seamless event.
3. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced being a black, female entrepreneur?
It is mainly with finding my voice and being confident in what we provide. When networking with Brands I also found that many do not recognise Black people to have class and had misconceptions of our events and weddings. I had to work so hard to make sure that I went above and beyond and had events they wouldn't associate with the black community which was sad to come to terms with. They expected us to be disorganised and we had to prove to them that Black clients are just like any other.
4. What’s been the most rewarding moment of your journey as a business owner so far?
Seeing how far the events industry has come in terms of the Black vendors and being part of changing the narrative. We have planned some amazing celebrations and collaborated with Brands i would have only dreamed of before.
5. How has Covid-19 impacted your business and how did you pivot?
As we cannot host weddings or parties in person, we have worked on ways to still bring the celebrations into people's home in a covid safe way. We have collaborated with other brands in the industry to create The Indulgence Collection. For those wanting to celebrate at home, we pack everything they need along with easy to follow instructions that show them how to set up at home. The boxes come with florals, place settings as well as ready mixed cocktails and all glassware ready for them to pour and Enjoy! it is our way of still celebrating with clients as well as giving an escape from Lockdown to those who need it.
6. What would you advise couples who continue to see their “dream weddings” pushed further back due to restrictions?
Find your way of celebrating now and focus on today! it is a tough time for many so prioritise what you can control now. If you can still have a small celebration at home then go ahead. Intimate can still be beautiful and memorable! Speak with your suppliers and vendors, know where you stand with your contracts so you can weigh up your options for the future and do not worry- Everything works out in the end! your time will come!
7. Can you tell us about another business owner/brand who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by many, Nubian Skin is one that i admire and how Ade has taken the need for skin tone representation and scaled up! It is amazing to see how so many brands who had only ever had one definition of Nude suddenly have a wide range (After seeing what Nubian Skin have achieved)
8. As a luxury event planner, what tips would you give couples who want an at-home experience for Valentine’s day since restaurants are closed?
Lockdown doesn't need to mean that you miss out on the celebrations in life like Valentine's Day. Find a way to incorporate what you normally do. E.g if you normally go out and dress up, you can still do that at home, get out of your lounge wear, transform your home and create the scene, This could be with Candle light, fairy lights or dimming lights. Look at the day as a whole- Could you perhaps have a romantic breakfast in Bed? have a movie marathon of your romantic favourites or order in?
You can go a step further and order The Indulgence Box which comes with everything you need to set up for a romantic date at home! surprise your partner with florals, linen and high end cutlery and glassware ready for a romantic night in. Think of things your partner loves doing and I am sure there is an online or delivery company that can bring it to your home.
9. What changes are you hoping to see in the wedding industry moving forwards?
I would love to see couples paying extra care to vendor selection and being mindful of what is involved in wedding planning. I cannot wait to get back to planning opulent weddings and events and life post Covid.