HAIRSTYLING AND EVENT planning: What could the two possibly have in common? It turns out, lots. Willie Ripple, former hairstylist turned event planner extraordinaire, says creativity is the first similarity, with crazy hours, working weekends and client relations also high on the list. Many love to confide in their stylist, and the skill of listening Ripple mastered early on has greatly benefitted her while event planning.
"Communication is extremely important to me," she says. "I always try to have a wow factor and think of the big picture." Ripple, named Wilhelminia after her grandmother, is highly focused on the logistics of an event, coordinating down to the last detail. "I can see things before they happen," she says, when asked if she’s ever had to save the day. "I like to make sure there’s no saving to be done."
Her skills with hairstyling, and also cake decorating, have come in handy, however. Ripple recalls fixing a flower girl’s hairstyle that was wrecked from a nap in a car and revamping a cake that turned out entirely different than the vision. Ripple is known for creating innovative, flawless events and remembering little details that create a lasting impression.
"I love to go over the top with details that are unexpected," she says, such as the arrival of the guest of honor at a Greasethemed 50th birthday party in a classic 1950s Eldorado convertible.
From weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and extravagant bar mitzvahs and sweet sixteens, Ripple has orchestrated it all with a smile. Her strong faith is often what guides her, as her own personal mantra is "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."
Ripple received the 2012 International Special Events Society (ISES) ESPRIT award and 2012 ISES Denver IDEAs award for Best Social Event under $75,000 and $25,000, respectively, and wrote the What Do I Do? party book series. She currently serves on the ISES Denver board of directors.
Ripple’s humble demeanor is impressive in an industry that can often be flashy. "I care more about the people than I do the dollar," says Ripple, noting she truly loves her chosen career.