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Meet Nakia Scarborough of Emerald Concepts in Ahwatukee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nakia Scarborough.

Nakia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I filed LLC paperwork for Emerald Concepts back in 2014 with no idea what that name would become. It wasn’t until 2017 that I decided to use that company name for what it is today. I’ve always had a natural talent for event coordination, but I never thought that I would own an event planning company.

Shortly after planning my own wedding in 2017, I decided to start renting out the PA speakers that my husband and I had purchased for our reception. I was amazed to have made back double the cost of the speakers in just a few months and it gave me a hunger to build. I decided since I already had a lot of wedding decor left to try out wedding planning for others. My first client found me on Thumbtack, where I already had good reviews from the speaker rentals. That wedding ended up postponing until 2019 and shortly after finding out about the postponement, I had already booked another wedding from a speaker client. I believe that everything in life comes full circle and things that you may lose will come back in a similar form.

Event planning in the Phoenix area is an over saturated market and I found myself looking for options to set my company apart. One night I found myself in a rabbit hole Instagram search looking for answers when I stumbled across several mobile bar companies made out of vintage trailers. Majority of these companies were located overseas; then I began to find some closer to home. But there wasn’t a caravan bar located in Arizona at all. Could this be, I asked myself, that I could be the first person to bring this growing trend to my state. I sought out to find a builder that could bring my vision to life, which brought me to American Travelers Restoration. The owners, Brian and Brooke, helped me to figure out a structural design that would work for my business and The Emerald Nomad was born.

To date, Emerald Concepts has planned three weddings and a styled photo shoot while The Emerald Nomad has served at five different private events. I hope to continue to expand my fleet of bars in the near future and serve many many events. I feel very blessed to have come this far and I’m excited to see what adventures 2019 will bring for us!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t believe any road is completely smooth and there should always be a backup plan. Back when I was solely renting out speakers, I delivered them to a client for a funeral. I showed him how to use the equipment and shortly before leaving the venue he asked me to plan his wedding that was one month away. He had seen my event photos on Thumbtack and was excited for me to help him and his finance with their wedding. I accepted and left the venue feeling on top of the world. About an hour later I received a text from him saying that the microphone was cutting out. I was terrified thinking of all I had at stake to lose if this didn’t work out. I responded back to him with many ways to troubleshoot the issue to which he came back saying it was working again. Phew!

A few minutes later, he texts again saying the microphone wasn’t working again. I jumped in my car thinking that I could drive there and salvage what was left of this event. When I got there, the event was over and I had no choice but to walk up to him and hand him the money back with my deepest apologies. To my surprise, he wasn’t upset at all and mentioned that he still wanted me to plan the wedding then introduced me to his entire family. Life isn’t always going to go as planned, but it’s important to handle everything with grace and hope that others notice all of your efforts. Now, I also carry that extra microphone just in case.

Emerald Concepts – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’ve found that I’m more fond of and more equipped to plan weddings. Being an event planner is okay, but to have several different options within the company to rid of competition is the key for me. With design and coordination, I also offer yard games, audio equipment, and Arizona’s Premier Caravan Bartending Service.

As a brand, I strive to bring emerald energy into all jobs. I’ve coined the phrase “Be Emerald” as my slogan and have made this into a neon sign in my vintage mobile bar. To “Be Emerald” is to embrace the greens of nature, seek unconditional love and reveal truth. It’s about being inspirational, expressing compassion and unity amongst others. It’s promoting balance while being focused on vision, intuition, and passion. To “Be Emerald” is not about the stone or the color, but yet a way of life. We should all #BeEmerald and live in emerald harmony.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for businesses like yours?
There are always so many events that happen in Phoenix and as a growing city, the opportunities are endless. Starting out from scratch is always hard, but taking a leap of faith and gathering the tools needed for success are important. Never stop learning or researching your craft.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erin McMillion Photography, Marion Rhoades Photography

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