A Stratford-upon-Avon businesswoman who stepped away from her dream career in the West End has been named a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
After a decade in the spotlight, the talented leading lady brought down the curtain on her showbiz lifestyle in pursuit of a new role – that of an entrepreneur.
Today – from her HQ in Stratford Upon Avon, PS Events Group delivers world-class party and events production and creation management for clients across the globe, including last year’s Quatar World Cup and eight years of working with Silverstone Grand Prix, next month, to name a few!
Later on this year she will learn whether she’s been named Creative Entrepreneur of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in London.
PS Events is a business that’s evolved from the footlights. Driven by an all-consuming creative passion and armed with a little black book the envy of the rich and famous, she set about rewriting the second Act of her career.
From a young age, performing was always in Lucy’s sights.
She said: “From a typical three-year-old going to dance classes, I then became completely obsessed with the world of theatre. I saw my first professional show with Liz Robertson as leading lady in My Fair Lady at the age of six and, 13 years later, one of my very first jobs was singing with her in a Sondheim celebration concert. It was magical moment,” she recalls.
“My parents were massively into theatre, my grandfather used to lead the Salvation Army Band and so it was a natural path for me to follow. I loved the idea that I could make money doing my passion.”
Her first big break came aged 19, performing for Stephen Sondheim’s birthday at The Royal Albert Hall, while still at university in Leeds, and she went on to play lead roles in touring, West End and Broadway shows, including Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Carmen Diaz in Fame, leading lady in Godspell and Connie Burrelli in The Rat Pack.
“I didn’t fall out of love with theatre. I fell out of love with doing the same thing day in, day out. I felt I had a bigger passion for creating. I also realised I really understood the psyche of experiences,” she confesses.
“I have always been obsessed with sensory experiences and created an event out of anything, right from being a little girl creating dinner parties for my parents when they came home from work. I enjoy making people feel special.”
Since establishing PS Events Group in 2019, Lucy’s rise to entrepreneurial success has been meteoric and she boasts an enviable client list, with top names from the worlds of music, sport and TV.
“I eventually started working for another corporate events company and realised that what they were doing we could do better, so I went in and basically trouble shot all of the shows they were putting out for corporate events and when that company eventually folded, I picked up all of their clients.
“But there was a particular well-known celebrity who took a punt on me when I created his mother’s birthday party at the Savoy Hotel and it built from there.”
Not even a global pandemic could get in the way of Lucy’s ambitions and, thanks to her innovation, PS Events not only survived, but thrived, while taking the concept of virtual experiences to innovative new levels.
PS Events also has two sister companies – The Prop Store and Performance Specialists, one-stop shops for deor, props, theming and celebrity contacts. Lucy is now also a sought-after consultant to other event companies and event departments within corporate settings.
But there have been sacrifices for the 43-year-old mum of two, not least the struggle to attain that elusive work-life balance.
“I literally work all the time,” she confesses. “I’m getting more of a balance because I’m expanding the team again but I struggle with guilt. I’m not maintaining a work life balance, but I am working towards it.”
So, other than hard work, what is the secret to Lucy’s business success?
“We look at the journey of the guests from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. I think of it a little bit like a soundtrack for the event. Imagine a film without any music. Watch it and then watch it again with music and see how you’ve been manipulated in your journey.
“We are obsessively passionate about brand, individual experience, the guests’ event journey and executing our events at the highest elite quality.”
Inspired by her own pursuit of a new dream, Lucy now finds herself measuring her own success by creating that dream for others – in the form of experiences.
“I used to have imposter syndrome and I think to a certain degree I still do and that’s OK because I think the day you get complacent is the day your work isn’t the best it can possibly be.”
She added: “I am stupidly well connected because of my theatre days. I literally know everybody and if I don’t know them, I know how to get to them. That includes the best suppliers, the celebrities, artists and designers in the industry.
“When people come to me they have immediate access to all of this. I am driven by creative experiences and I want to give people the opportunity to benefit from my friendship group. Basically I have created a business by pimping out my mates!”