Julie Arnold - my bad hair day on the Real Housewives of Cheshire show
PUBLISHED: 18:37 16 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:37 16 April 2015
Event planner Julie Arnold is the perfect example of a Cheshire entrepreneur - thinking big, while paying close attention to the small stuff
If you saw the first episode of Real Housewives of Cheshire you’ll have spotted Julie in the final hours of pulling together one of Cheshire’s biggest and most glamorous charity balls, the Crème de la Crème Ball, which in 2014 raised over £135,000 for children’s charities.
Julie has worked with Crème de la Crème founder and host (and RHOC star) Dawn Ward on all six Creme de la Crème Balls and when friends saw her on this show they had some very specific feedback for the busy event planner:
‘They all told me that I needed to comb my hair!’ she laughs. ‘I was in the midst of unloading six trailers of equipment and overseeing a massive build, my hair was the least of my worries!’
Julie started her business, Entertainment Today, fifteen years ago, in response to repeated requests.
‘I was working for a children’s charity and part of my work was to organise fundraising events - from Ladies Lunches to huge Balls to Family Fun Days - and they always went really well. People started asking me to organise parties for them, which I couldn’t do of course while employed by the charity. It seemed a natural progression for me therefore to set up my own business.’
You might imagine that Julie only handles the grandest, most budget-heavy of events but in fact her range of briefs is as wide as her experience in delivering them.
‘I do everything from Balls to corporate events to award ceremonies to birthday parties to weddings – large and small. The biggest wedding I have managed had a £250,000 budget and the smallest had a £7,000 budget – and both were perfect! I’ve had briefs with two years to plan a wedding and one with only three weeks – and again, both were perfect!
‘I love the small, private events as much as the huge ones, because it’s all about getting creative and delivering exactly what the client has dreamed of. For me, when a client says they have no idea what theme they might like and asks for ideas, that’s a perfect moment!
‘My team and I all sit around the white board, throwing out ideas. We start with the big picture, then refine every single element and examine every single detail, so our clients get an unforgettable experience.’
Julie and her entire team have recently returned from Las Vegas, where they attended the Catersource Event Solutions Annual Conference & Expo, a four-day series of seminars and exhibition with global reach.
‘It was the first time I’ve closed my office in fifteen years,’ she says, ‘but I couldn’t not take everyone! It was marvellous. We all learned a lot – although I do think I could have delivered the seminar on charity balls myself; all mine are fabulous on an absolute shoestring!
‘We have brought home plenty of new ideas and we’re now really looking forward to implementing them in our work.’
Spending any amount of time with Julie is a lovely experience; she’s warm, chatty, filled with energy but totally practical and down-to-earth. I think those lucky future clients will be benefitting from a great deal more than the latest hot ideas from America – they’re getting the full package.