With an array of unique details, opulent glamor, and sophisticated style, events designed by Phoenix Forrester truly capture the essence of Hollywood glam. Because of this company’s ability to reflect Hollywood glam in an accurate manner, artists such as Little Richard, Mary Mary, Biz Markie, Debra Cox, and Kirk Franklin are just a few of the well-known clients for whom Phoenix Forrester has produced spectacular events. Considering the meticulous and innovative planner behind the success of each event—Krystal Bonner—it’s no wonder that the company has created wonders for celebrity parties along the way. Nevertheless, Krystal stresses the fact that no matter the status of the client or type of event, her company is efficient in producing designs that fit the stylistic and financial needs of everyone. With clients’ satisfaction in mind, the creative team of Phoenix Forrester strives to achieve the goal of creating real events, for real people, with real style.
Before plunging into the main interview questions, I had to have one question answered right away—who is Phoenix Forrester? Krystal explained the name of her company enthusiastically, saying that it’s a combination of two aspects that represent her and what she does. “The phoenix [bird] represents transformation, and what I do is transform spaces, experiences, and how people have a celebration. That was a perfect representation of me.” She went on, explaining the meaning behind Forrester stating, “Forrester is actually the street I grew up on in when I lived in Memphis.” Krystal further expressed the fact that she did not want to use her name because she wanted something that was transferrable in case she decided to grow her business. “I wanted to use a title that was not just about my name, but more about my work.”
When asked about her decision to start working in this particular business, Krystal explained that she didn’t choose this career path, but rather, it chose her. She recalled watching the movie Boomerang and having a moment of realization about her purpose in life. “When I was very young, I saw this movie Boomerang [with Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, and Halle Berry], and although I didn’t really know what they were doing, I loved the perception of it. I realized later that they were marketing executives, responsible for putting together ad campaigns, and that was what I felt like I wanted to do—work with creating ads, work in retail, and in the entertainment industry.”
Krystal recalled a moment of devastation at the beginning of her career that she felt was the end of her dreams. While attending college, she was interviewed by a retailing company; she thought she had the job, but found out the week of graduation that she had not been hired. “I was devastated. I didn’t know what I was going to do; I didn’t know what else I was good at.” During her trying experience, one moment changed her life, propelling her onto her dream career path. “One of my mentors from college was on the board of the National Opera, and she said, ‘Hey! There’s an open position here for an Event Director; I know you’ve never done this before, but I feel like you have the natural skill set to excel in this business.’” Krystal, having no current job proposals, agreed to the offer. Soon after being hired, she was planning high-end intermission events for the company’s board members, destination events in New Mexico, black tie galas at the Belle Meade Country Club, and other events.
Not realizing prior to being hired that jobs such as this existed, Krystal fell in love, engulfing herself into the position even more by doing additional research of the industry. “I self-taught myself about wine, started studying catering menus thereby learning about different dishes. The more I learned, the more I realized this was what I was born to do!” Krystal ended by confirming her previous statement. “I have a ton of other talents, but they all lead back to one thing–creating experiences for people.” After working with the Opera, she transitioned into the field of Public Relations and expounded upon the experience she already possessed. Soon, her company Phoenix Forrester was launched, and her creative journey began.
Regarding her process and how she (and her team) manages to consistently satisfy clients, Krystal emphasized the importance of detail and thinking of long-term goals. “We always start by profiling our clients to understand who they are, what they want out of the experience, and who their audience will be; after we understand all that, we develop a task list and budget,” Krystal explained the fact that she upholds the satisfaction of clients by assessing the initial plans, communicating efficiently, and creating vision boards throughout the process. “We revisit our task list and budget every couple of weeks so our clients know where we are from a planning perspective; we create vision boards for clients to make sure our ideas line up; from there, we put our design team together to bring the event to life in our unique way.”
Phoenix Forrester has hosted events for diverse clients, with varying budgets, doing so in phenomenal ways—the company has even gained the attention of top notch entertainment mediums such as Ebony, Munaluchi Bridal, and Nashville Bride Guide. When asked where she draws inspiration, Krystal simply answered “People.” She expanded on that thought saying, “I draw so much inspiration from people that I’m actually changing my tagline; you’re the first person I’ve said this to, but my new tagline will be Real Events. Real People. Real Style. I want to emphasize the fact that all my clients can have what is considered an A-list event.”
With a desire to blend “lifestyles and milestones” together, Krystal has mastered the art of bringing unique details, opulent glamor, and sophisticated style to any event for any individual. As Krystal’s new tagline suggests, Phoenix Forrester is all about…Real Events. Real People. Real Style