a note from founder, Julie Hale
Eighteen years ago, today, I received the incorporation papers for Vangard, Inc. At that time, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment and leased a small warehouse space with no running water or bathroom. I owned a white 1988 Ford Econoline Van, dubbed the “rainbow maker” for the whirls of dripped oil it would leave behind in rain puddles. Often in the journey up and down the i-5 corridor, the windshield wipers would suddenly stop and I would have to reach my arm out in the blasting rain to yank them “on” again.
I had no employees, except the friends I could convince to help me, and I worked with A LOT of volunteers. Thank you to every doctor that helped me put up drape at your annual fundraising gala. I felt awkward too.
As I write this, I smile thinking about those times. It is an amazing thing, to be sustained by a dream. To look around and see what you can create, build, imagine…DO…better. Growing up in the small town of Oroville, CA, much of my childhood consisted of creating. From sewing doll and Barbie clothes, rearranging the household furniture, and taking over the garage for a month’s long install of my epic fifth grade Halloween party, I never really was without a project. It’s no surprise that the event industry became my home.
Today we work from a large building and warehouse, with an additional offsite warehouse, and a team that can, during certain work cycles, number into the 30s. The core team sits around 12, including our over-hires who are the first we call. Our clients are diverse, intelligent, sophisticated, demanding, funny, and good. Good may seem a funny word, but like our team, good seems right. There are so many good people out there to thank: clients, employees, vendors, artists, florists, decorators, engineers, grips, lighting guys and gals, AV people, caterers, venue staff, hotel staff, security, entertainers, runners, conversion teams, petting zoo handlers. Yes…petting zoo handlers.
You see, that is the thing that has made this whole 18 years seems like an entire life time of experiences. From elegant galas with thousands of flowers, to a sweet petting zoo with baby bunnies, we have built, set up, created, drawn, sanded, painted, arranged, drafted, budgeted (version 29!!) and produced events of every scale and theme. That combination — people and events — has brought together every conceivable creation.
And that is the magic. When we are given the opportunity to do what we do best, there is a stage waiting for us all. The lights are on, and the view is amazing. Each person, each event, offers us all an opportunity to shine. True, it just may be from the sweat on our faces as we race to the magical line called “show”, but it is magic, after all.
Thank you. Thank you, each of you, who have hired, created, worked, attended, and been a part of these past 18 years. There is no amount of space that could encompass the gratitude and wonder that I hold for this time.
Looking ahead, because it seems like that is what a day like today brings, the memories and looking at the future, we find ourselves pivoting again. There are new trends, new colors, new places to explore. We honestly still get excited when we hit that sweet spot of client, budget, design, production and execution. We have new people joining our team. We watch others move on. We strive for the good in the work, in the world, and we move forward in this crazy, wonderful industry that we call home. I believe I can say, WE are thankful for this day.
Happy 18th Anniversary Vangard, Inc!