Shay & Company Crafts Unforgettable Moments

February 14, 2024

Shay Brown, the creative force behind Shay & Company, has spent over 23 years weaving dreams into reality. With a rich tapestry of experience, Shay and her team specialize in planning and managing a diverse array of events, from intimate weddings to grand galas, festivals, and everything in between.

Shay’s journey into event planning was a seamless transition from her career in lobbying. “After ending my career in lobbying, the perfect fit was to start my own business,” she explains. 

Since then, Shay & Company has grown from producing single events to managing a portfolio of boutique venues and curating festivals. The team has expanded from a solo endeavor to a dynamic group of eight talented associates.

Check out our Q&A with Brown below…

Tell us about your business and the role you play in it. 

With over 23 years of experience, Shay and her team plan dozens of events, festivals, and weddings every year and manage several boutique venues in the surrounding area. Shay has also served as Festival Director for Chow Chow, GRINDfest, and CiderFest NC.  Shay and her team are responsible for full-scale event production managing the aspects of the festivals from Culinary, Beverage, Makers, and Volunteers to production and marketing. 

From bespoke weddings to multi-weekend festivals to grand galas, we specialize in creating unique and memorable events that reflect your style and vision.

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to making your special day stress-free and enjoyable for you and your guests. We handle the details, so you can relax and enjoy every moment of your event. Ready to get started? Contact us today to start planning your dream event in the beautiful mountains of Asheville.

Where did your career find its start? How did you get involved with your company?

After ending my career in lobbying, the perfect fit was to start my own business.

How has your company grown over the years?

We have grown from just producing single events to managing a portfolio of amazing venues and producing festivals, and grown from a company of 1 to a team of 8 amazing associates.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

Helping people understand the value of what we do, most think it is just a simple fun job and it is very labor intensive and also lots of behind the scenes for those connections to other businesses.

What’s a little-known fact or trivia about your business? 

That we produce events all over the Southeast.

Was there ever a time you felt like you had to completely start over?

All the time, we always question are we doing the right thing, are we serving our community the way it needs.  It is a consent question of improvement.

How has your/your company’s idea of success transformed?

Over the years, we have gone from just doing special events like weddings to consulting on large developments for the company that wants to open a venue, to managing venues, and also grown in our events to festivals, more corporate events, and working hand in hand to help serve our community.

What’s the greatest business advice you’ve been given?

Don’t carry it home with you! As the owner of a company that is constantly growing and changing, there are always hurdles, and knowing the time to work it all out will come when at work has taken me 23 years, and still learning how to manage that aspect of an ever-growing business.

What is most important to you/your company now?

Reaching larger corporations and showing them how we can help them develop events for their employees and businesses.

What do you see as your company’s legacy?

Always being there when needed for our community.

What’s on the horizon?

A new food series, we have added some new venues in the area and to create more engaging events.

What is your company’s relationship with the community?

We value our relationship with the community and always work on helping out where we can with donations of time and service when allowable.  We support a community that has always supported us.

What does “hospitality” mean to you?

Creating an environment that is enjoyable for all, Asheville has some amazing vendors, and working with them to provide entertainment, food, and positive experiences is paramount to what we do as a business.

What experiences do you strive to create for your customers?

Consistency, Ease, Flexibility, and Fulfillment

Which person or establishment inspires you the most?

From a business standpoint Katie Button Restaurant Group; From the perspective to grow, be community-minded, and accessible Jeff Kaplan with Venture Asheville and the most inspiring is my mother who has shown me values, honesty, commitment to others and myself, and most of all forgiveness.

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?

Connecting with others, being able to be creative.

What is your company vision? How do you reflect it in daily work?

To build strong partnerships, and expand our work throughout the Southeast. Showing up and doing the long hours in the office, meeting with community partners, and supporting all of our partners and community.

Through your experiences, what have you learned about customer service?

Awe the age-old question.. is the customer always right?  What I have learned as we have grown over the past 23 years is to adapt to change and that the customer is to be respected and it is our job to help them understand what to expect and produce a positive outcome for not only them but for our team to feel proud of as well.   Listening is a very powerful tool.

How did you come up with your idea or concept for your business? How did you decide on a name?

Well the name started with me doing all the events in the beginning and has just grown, and it holds me accountable.  When I retired from my first job, it was an easy transition to event planning, it was what I loved doing when in the world of politics.

What makes your business unique in its field?

We are not only creating amazing events but we always represent many unique venues in the area.  Also, we are a one-stop shop so to speak, you dream it we will create it.

During your first year of business, what was the greatest lesson you learned?

To say No, it is such a powerful word.  We always are here to help but at some point, we had to set standards for our worth and work.

Where do you see your business in the next year? The next five?

In the next year, we have a successful series that we are planning, and in the next five, we are more involved with the community and have our own venue to offer others.

Why did you decide to join the Chamber?

The Chamber does so many wonderful things in the community and one of the main reasons was to become more involved and to learn about other businesses in the area.

What is your favorite part about doing business in the Asheville area?

Building a network of partners that we can work with on all of our events and being involved in our community.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your business?

We look forward to working with you and please reach out if you have any ideas.

Shay & Company’s website: Engage with them on Facebook and Instagram.