Erin: The George Washington University - BA American Studies, Secondary Field Journalism + Mass Communication
Kym: The George Washington University - BA American Studies, Secondary Field, Communications
New York City. It's the backdrop for everything iconic; from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Sex and the City" to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Like the Little Black Dress of cities, we can't imagine a better setting for a wedding proposal than NYC. And Erin Mavian and Kym Pitlor happen to agree.
After a series of party planning adventures on the side, plus countless hours spent watching YouTube videos from their desks, the two decided it was time to embark on a proposal of their own — a business. Today Blueprint Proposals, which helps grooms-to-be plan and prep all of the elements for a movie ready proposal in real life, is a company making dreams come true. Featured in DailyCandy and The Huffington Post, the company begins their process with — what else — a quiz! So if you're in New York City or have ever wished for the proposal of your life there but live out of state, read this interview, then take advantage of our social share buttons and tweet an ever-so-subtle hint to your significant other.
Good things come to those who hustle.
You have one of the most incredible jobs we've came across in a long time. Your company, Blueprint Proposals, actually helps men create that perfect, "Will you marry me?" scenario in New York City. How did you come up with this idea?
Erin :: The actual idea of planning marriage proposals originated one day at work for Kym as she watched YouTube videos of flash mobs to escape the misery of a 9 to 5. Before that, though, Kym and I were always involved with planning parties: birthdays, engagements and bachelorette parties -- even bachelor parties! We reached a point where we were basically involved in every party we were invited to.
Kym :: As Erin said, the idea spawned as I was looking to escape the monotony and stress of the 9 to 5. Some people find their happy place in music or meditation. For me, I found that peace in watching flash mobs, love stories and proposals. It instantly clicked. All of our event planning and involvement in weddings had been leading us to do this.
Why propose in NYC?
Kym :: I like to think of New York City as the third person in the proposal. Nearly every street corner can become an iconic proposal setting and the possibilities here are endless. There are also a tremendous amount of cost-free resources at your disposable.
What responsibilities do you have on a daily basis? Does that ever change?
Erin :: On a day-to-day basis, the majority of my work is dedicated to business development. I'm always working to identify potential partners, opportunities to exchange content and R&D for new restaurants, hotels and any other especially romantic locations that would make a great place to propose.
Kym :: Day-to-day, I'm dreaming up new proposal scenarios and scouring for amazing elements to make personalized and perfect proposals. Our company is still quite green, so we spend a great amount of time researching, blogging and trying to get the word out about our services. Erin and I have developed a great balance within our roles and complement each other quite well.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Erin :: I love finding a great publication or brand to partner with. It’s like dating: you're attracted to someone based on their personality or intelligence and want to know as much as you can about them. Kym and I have had some great opportunities to work with sites like DailyCandy, The Huffington Post and several others. But now that I think about it, while Blueprint Proposals has dates almost every week ... I'm still single.
Kym :: The love stories. I'm a hopeless romantic and I love being a part of someone's love story. We all know that life is stressful (and so are weddings), but for a short moment in time, we get to provide the ultimate escape by creating a world that forgets all the other hardships and simply celebrates love. Proposals bring people together from all walks of life and I love seeing the reaction to our proposals.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Erin :: We've had the opportunity to work mostly with clients who are from New York or nearby areas. We'd like to reach a broader audience and market our services for those who want to propose in New York, but may not live here. It's definitely a challenge to not live in Atlanta or Dallas or Denver and market your business. This is where the hustling really comes in.
Kym :: As Erin said, it’s a constant challenge to continue to expand our network and outreach to clientele outside of New York. For me, the challenge of continually reinventing "the proposal wheel" keeps me awake from time to time. Thankfully, we're not in danger of running out of original ideas any time soon.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Erin :: Not really, even though I'm always thinking about the business or relating it back to whatever I'm involved with at that moment. It's important for me to spend time alone, too. Even more important? Not feeling guilty about it.
Kym :: Balancing work and life is a constant struggle, but it makes it all worth it with each success. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a supportive business partner who understands being pulled in multiple directions and a supportive partner at home, who is Blueprint's biggest cheerleader. It also helps that he often makes me dinner.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you've thought, "I made it!" What was it?
Erin :: I know that the possibilities of our business are endless and Blueprint Proposals can be as much as we want. I wouldn't say I've had that moment yet, but seeing our first piece of press on Refinery29 was pretty special. Small victories for a small business.
Kym :: Small victories are huge and we've patted ourselves on the back all along the way; from the very beginning when we designed our website to when we incorporated our company. Erin and I often sit back and say "Let's make sure to remember this."
What are some of the rules you live by?
Erin :: If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help you build theirs.
Surround yourself with positive successful people.
Good things come to those who hustle.
Kym :: I listen to all rules that Erin gives me.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful as an entrepreneur?
Erin :: A compliment that I've received is that I'm able to see the bigger picture. Note that I didn't say big, but bigger. The idea itself doesn't need to be necessarily grand or complicated, but the thoughts behind it must be larger than anything you've ever done -- this is what will drive success. That and confidence. And kindness. And gratitude. Maybe a dog too, to keep you grounded once you've made it big.
Kym :: Guts. Risk-taker. Someone who is willing to put it out there and face the criticism. I can't tell you how many times I thought I had a genius idea, only to see someone else get success from doing it because I was too scared to take the risk. It's not always going to work, but you won't know if you don't try. I also believe that passion goes a long way (as does having little shame). You have to not only believe in the idea, but love what you do.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Erin :: Everything happens for a reason. I know it's absurd to say that even at 27 years, but there's only so much we can control.
Kym :: Wear sunscreen and yes, you'll regret buying that sequin studded zebra print skirt.
What's your favorite part of living in New York?
Erin :: You can wear whatever you want, because there's always someone dressed crazier than you!