Jamie Kirby is never not onto something. She juggles a full-time gig at Cat Footwear (Global Consumer Marketing Manager) and a highly sought after wedding planning company (Hey Day Lab) with making sure we get every detail right and that everyone leaves with a smile.
The Middle West Questionnaire
You were born in Michigan. What's the biggest progression you’ve noticed in this state during your lifetime?
I think I was probably unaware of a lot of things growing up in a small town. But since I've lived to Grand Rapids, I've really seen it begin to find it's self and really shaping into a place where people can create businesses and chase ideas. A lot of places around the country already have an identity, but it seems like here there's really an opportunity to affect who we are and where we want to be.
What about the Midwest makes it a source of inspiration to you? What are you excited to share with others?
Since I think about things based on experience first, Midwestern hospitality and work ethic are the first things that come to mind. It just seem people are kinder, more polite, more naturally hospitable than in some other places. Add to that a more role up your sleeves, more get stuff done attitude. If we can personify that whatever it takes mantra in our projects, I think people will feel that personal touch and it'll be a point of differentiation.
What is your primary role with Middle West? And how do you feel your unique talents and personality contributes to the Middle West team?
House Mom. Also experience planning and hospitality planning and vendor care, but for sure House Mom. Really, though, I think that my focus on hospitality and experience helps to make sure that every touch point is well thought and has a personal/Middle West touch. By making sure expectations are managed and needs are met, I think I can help everyone from our guests to our vendors feel welcomed.
What you are specifically working on right now?
Currently working on the Macro Development of Autumn/Winter line for Cat Footwear. That means looking at the Macro Trends before we even start developing product so we can build in the consumer need. As well as planning experiential and social media for Autumn/Winter 17. Also planning 5 wedding for the summer of 2017. Sorry I get a little messed up by the years...some things are a year out, some are six months, some are tomorrow.
Which Middle West event do you consider a highlight so far? What about it makes it stand out in your memory?
Oh, I think for me it has to be the Shop because it was new and special and really solidfied our working relationship/friendships. I mean they are all so specials, so it's tough. I love that about what we do: we all want it to be something new each time so each one feels new and different and we all stay excited.
Tell us a story about an experience you’ve had with Middle West that confirmed the impact Middle West is making or some time when something that we're doing feels meaningful?
The process of planning. Both because I really the love the planning and thinking thru the details, and I also love working with the team. It's a special time where we all bond and support each other and do our best work. It's just this magic time when we get to be together in the space and see it start to happen.
Tell us a story about an experience you’ve had with Middle West that confirmed the impact Middle West is making, whether it be fulfilling a goal for a sponsor, positive feedback from an event attendee, etc?
The blogger project has been brought up time after time in my professional life. It was this really fulfilling pet project because it had so many crossover moments of things I love. And it's really personified in the way the Bloggers felt about the trip. I was just recently talking to @denny623 who gets taken on trips all the time and who gets products all the time, and he literally said, "Bring me back to Michigan." It really had an effect on him and it meant something to him. That really says something about the experience we put together.
Tell us something new you have learned since beginning work with Middle West.
So many things. Middle West has been such a great proving grounds for me. It's a place where I can test innovative or risky ideas on a smaller scale and honestly build real credibility for other creative projects I want to try.
Where do you imagine Middle West will be in five years? Dream big.
As our careers. As an agency providing experiential marketing and event planning and even branding work to Michigan based companies.
Favorite behind the scenes Middle West memory?
Must be a million but the last day of first SXSW at the House playing mouth box with clients (who are now our friends). Nobody wanted to leave. We were ultimately blissed out. Also Camp Manna, after it was over, when we locked the doors and danced the night away with just our people.