Paula Cano, founder of A Family Affair stopped by our office to see our new digs and must-see water view, which I playfully like to call Venice (we are literally ON THE WATER) and by the end of our coffee chat, I realized just how fabulous and inspiring Paula is in life and how dedicated she is to her wedding and event planning business.
What did I learn about Paula?! So much!
The first thing I noticed about Paula is her natural, sweet personality and my instant comfort in her presence. AND her casual but incredibly stylish outfit (think sweater wrapped with a fun scarf, red pants, wellies and striped socks popping out of the top. Loving her preppy pearls and side-swept pony from her portrait session with Emilie, too!). So fun!
Her love of events grew during her 8 years working at the well-known Black Tie Catering Co., where she developed event and wedding experience and her entrepreneurial spirit. Her love of creative design, event planning and her natural motherly pull to spend more time with her children (2 girls) sprouted her idea to start A Family Affair. Starting her own business was her way of satisfying all three of her passions. Three plus years later she is highly successful and owns a fabulous, growing business.
How did she come up with the business' name? As you may have guessed, her company is a well-oiled machine with the help of her sister, husband and his 9 siblings! They each play their own part and work well together. So lucky and fun!
Paula shines in planning
birthday and anniversary parties and is looking forward to working with more brides
and grooms to create their special day.
Fun facts about Paula:
Role on a daily basis: I am the Creative Director and owner of A Family Affair of Maine, an event planning and design firm based out of New Gloucester. We're heading into our fourth year of business, but I've been planning and styling events for more than 12 years. Prior to going out on my own, I planned and managed events at The Black Tie Company and Barbara's Kitchen.
Favorite food: I couldn't possibly pinpoint such a broad subject! I love food for the obvious reasons, and also for communal reasons. I love that food brings people together, comforts us, heals us and inspires us. I am surprisingly not overly adventurous with food, however. I'm a fan of soups, stews and casseroles because I love bringing diverse flavors together to make something unique, warm and soothing. There is no end to the possibilities.
Phrase she loves to say: 'Do small things with great love' Mother Theresa.
Biggest passion: I have so many...I'd have to say that my biggest one is my family. Being an active, and nearly full time caregiver to my children is so incredibly fulfilling. Family teaches me so much about life, about improving myself and about what's most important...every day. I am so fortunate to live close to them, and carry these tight knit relationships. I am also a very nurturing person by nature and I try to be mindful of this when I am planning events. I enjoy making people happy with delicious food and drink, providing a relaxing and fuss-free but beautiful setting, and contributing an outlet for sharing and exchanging, because being cared for (and nurturing) feels so good and is good for the soul.
Latest obsession: Hearing or making my kids laugh is probably my current biggest 'obsession'. I get pretty dreamy about some of the weddings and shoots that I do because I love what I do so much, but if we're talking 'getting crazy' I just love being a Mom and being as available to them as I can be is really important to me right now. That and velvet. It's my staple and is in every room of my house. I'm slightly obsessed.
Largest achievement: Meeting my husband and having two beautiful, healthy girls. Without a doubt. I never had dreams of starting my own business, but when I realized that having a second child meant I'd have to leave a full time career that I loved, I opened my eyes to all the amazing women in the industry with families making it happen. I was so inspired, and the incredible outpouring of support I received from vendors, former clients and family helped me to realize that I could too. That is why I am here today. I can't imagine doing anything else.
If you could do anything or go anywhere what/where would it be?: I'd want to go back in time to meet my Nana (my paternal grandmother) when she was younger. I think that would be incredible.
Where you spend most of your time online: Food Studio is one of my all time favorites. I have been watching this amazing team from Oslo, Norway for a few years now. I love seeing the creativity and versatility of this super talented group come together to educate and inspire people to think about food as a way to create ideas and thoughts about the positive impact socially and environmentally responsible food has on us. The events that they produce are exciting and exactly how I imagine a successful event to be. One with purpose, intrigue and style. I'd love to be a part of something like this here in Maine.
Best tip you ever received: A very good friend and mentor told me very simply one day that no matter what you're struggling with, just keep moving forward...keep doing the little and big things that honor your heart even when it's hard or you don't feel like it. Good things will come. And he was so right.
Education: I attended the University of Southern Maine with an emphasis in Liberal Arts and Human Resources. It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do, so I tried many things professionally. I worked for an interior design firm for a year, I worked in all aspects of office administration (human resources, payroll and accounting, operations and inventory management and data processing) for many years and through it all I catered, cooked and bartended on the side because it provided me with an inspired outlet and I could connect with people in ways that I couldn't with my 9-5. I've always been driven to the arts and creative projects since I was very small, but I never imagined I'd be holding all of these positions at once and being my own boss. It feels right, and working with my family is pure bliss.