WATCH: Five Lessons On Event Styling From Robert Blancaflor
As the founder and managing director of the Robert Blancaflor Group (RBG), the Robert Blancaflor is the creative genius whose bold choices and impeccable taste started it all.
Décor for beautiful birthdays, breathtaking debuts, memorable weddings, and other picture-perfect special occasions are as stylish as they are today, thanks to the trailblazing efforts of Robert and his team. As the first in the Philippines to offer full event styling services—and arguably, the man who invented the industry in the country—Robert has a few tricks up his sleeve that have made him a leading figure in his craft for over 20 years.
While Robert admits that competition has stiffened throughout the years, he's sure that his approach to event styling will continue to endure for the years to come. It definitely helps that his credibility has long been established, allowing him to serve clients both here and abroad, simple and extravagant, low-profile and extremely famous. No matter who they are or what they envision for their events, they're consistently satisfied with Robert's work, and in the end, always return to him to help plan their most cherished occasions.
As he's now mastered the art of floral and non-floral décor for social and corporate events alike, Robert has augmented his business by establishing a rental arm (many of his competitors rent equipment and decorative pieces from his selections), taking in apprentices to train those worthy of getting involved with RBG, and even developing an app for events and weddings that Robert is working on with a foreign group.
It seems that no matter how competitive the event styling industry in the Philippines has become, Robert will always find ways to remain two, or even three steps, ahead of the game. His foresight, after all, was what has allowed him to become an industry leader.
Wishing to share his knowledge in event styling, Robert encourages those who wish to make their special events as true to what they imagine them to be to heed his advice about what always works, and how to make each event memorable:
Use your imagination.
With the advent of social media that offers everyone endless possibilities of how to style an occasion, Robert admits that it can become challenging to narrow options down. The worst case scenario is to have your event end up as an imitation or an unoriginal mishmash of what you see online. Avoid this by giving yourself the liberty of dreaming up your own event and consulting with a professional event stylist, just like himself, to come up with a unique design that's a hundred percent just yours.
Budget is king.
At the end of the day, it's important to stay within your means, especially when it comes to expenses. Event styling services are definitely the trend these days when it comes to organizing special occasions, but it is wrong to think that spending a fortune is the only way to get beautiful results. Be honest with budget constraints; an experienced event stylist will know how to make the most out of what you can afford to spend and still be able to execute an elegant setup.
Know when to stop.
Many Filipinos who have attended their fair share of fabulous events are used to being wowed by intricate, and sometimes larger than life production designs. However, when it comes to designing their own events, they sometimes encounter problems with discerning when enough décor is enough. For Robert, the top rules of thumb in event styling are to never forget that less is more, and to never use more than three colors. His aesthetic leans more towards understated elegance.
Say no to fakes.
He means fake flowers; in fact, imported, fragrant, and lush florals make up RBG's signature style. They never, ever incorporate plastic florals or greens in their designs. According to Robert, if there's anything you should invest in for an event with a limited budget, it should be in quality blooms; amidst all the types of decorative elements one can have in an event, having fresh flowers makes the biggest impact.
For those who want to be in event styling, familiarity with business fundamentals is just as important as having creativity.
This piece of advice is important for anyone who wishes to pursue their artistic inclinations in life. Before he became an event stylist, Robert had a career in finance and banking. Although he says that path wasn't for him, he has never discounted the benefits of having a background in business. Up to this day, his knowledge in finance and business is something he considers a competitive advantage; his competitors might be as creative as him, but little to none of them have the business acumen needed to translate a vision to a business, and more importantly, sustain it.
All these lessons and more were presented by Robert in a highly exclusive event held earlier this month at Manila House, where an audience composed of industry partners and friends eagerly deepened their knowledge about event styling. A culmimination of an engaging hands-on activity where participants tried their hand at creating their own designs used at the dinner proper served as real-life practice for what it means to be a bona fide event stylist.
There, Robert also spoke about his experience at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award ceremony in Monaco; Robert was one of the Filipino entrepreneurs—and the very first Filipino professional event stylist—chosen to represent the country in the prestigious event that recognizes pioneers of an industry.
Produced by Sara de los Reyes
Photography and video by Berwin Coroza
Video editing by Dustin Gapasen
Shot on location at Manila House Private Club
Special thanks to Pia Campos