We had the good fortune of connecting with CHELSA COHEN and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi CHELSA, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
During our initial stay at home order last year, I was cleaning out some old boxes (like so many of us did during that time) and found a letter I had written to myself from 2008. In the letter I had talked about the importance of giving back to the community and building relationships with hospitality professionals, because someday I would have my own event planning business. At the time I wrote that letter I was 23 years old and since then I have been continuing to do just that; a trusted resource and connector for my clients to all that wonderful things Arizona has to offer. Evoque was first conceptualized in the summer of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies were forced to downsize, make budget cuts, or restructure their business model, there became a major shift on how we see the world of business moving forward. Employees were ordered to work from the safety of their own home, which created a “new normal” of how we conduct everyday business. This sudden change also dramatically reshaped what our personal lifestyle looked like. At Evoque, we believe that the core to fostering relationships are not forgetting the celebrations and socializing. We have all missed seeing our friends and colleagues and we are here to bring back that in-person human connection and sense of community in a responsible and inviting environment. Not everyone has the knowledge or resources to create these experiences, so we are a one stop shop for those needs. We create one of a kind intimate home parties for special occasions, outdoor company excursions and COVID-19 friendly office gatherings. We also offer virtual office luncheons and activities that teams can enjoy from home if you’re not ready to venture out! As more time is being spent at home, we have had extra time to devote to our children, spouse, and pets (whether we like it or not!). Therefore, we also focus on smaller concierge driven tasks that will free up time so you can work on your priorities and achieve your workplace and personal goals all while continuing to spend valuable time with your loved ones. We arrange family vacation itineraries, coordinate spa days, dinner reservations, and golf outings, or just run errands you’d rather not do!
What should our readers know about your business?
I have spent over fifteen years in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona organizing events for luxury resorts and private venues such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Hyatt and Arizona’s iconic venue, El Chorro. During that time, I also became a dedicated volunteer and board member of a nonprofit group, Scottsdale League for the Arts. This organization plans the Nation’s longest running annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival along with various culinary driven fundraising and social events throughout the year. These accomplishments have led to building partnerships with Arizona’s top hospitality professionals and vendors. I thrive being a connector and a trusted resource for all my clients’ needs. I can’t wait to share those relationships to create meaningful and local tailor-made experiences for you!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh boy, where do I start? I love to host and show anyone who is visiting why Arizona is the best place to live and vacation! As part of my concierge service, I connect anyone traveling to the area to all my favorite places and exciting finds to create a perfect itinerary, each unique to fit their personalities and objectives. It’s one of the reasons I started Evoque! I can’t start the day without coffee, so I would kick start the morning with a Dirty Chai from Press Coffee at the Scottsdale Quarter. Not only is it the best coffee in town, but you can also feed off the energy of the hustle and bustle of this outdoor mall. Next, Farm & Craft in Old Town for a breakfast burrito where food, love and affection come together in one place. To walk off the food, we would take a stroll along the Waterfront and then down Main Street to shop local! While we’re in the area, I’d pop into the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to check out the talent of our regional artists. A unique find is the roaming Goat and Ram pizzeria food truck. The owner is a talented pastry chef, and his pizza crust is out of this world! You can find them outside of various beer shops around town. Arizona has become a hot spot for breweries, so what better fit than a pizza and a cold local beer! For a leisure day, we’d have brunch on the patio at the iconic El Chorro restaurant, which was once a Judson School for Girls back in 1934. Just across the street we would relax our bellies at the Joya Spa at Omni Montelucia; a full-service spa inspired by the Moroccan deserts and Andalusia in Southern Spain. One of my favorite weekend activities is heading over to the Uptown Farmer’s Market on Central and Bethany Home every Saturday. This is where I find the best fresh produce, flowers, and stock up on handcrafted gifts. No trip is complete without a trip to Sedona for some soul-nourishing wilderness. This geological wonderland is surrounded by red-rocks and steep canyon walls. A most stop after Sedona is Jerome! Jerome was once a booming mining town incorporated in 1899 and now features small wineries and art galleries. It sits high on the cliffs which boosts the most incredible views. A vacation to Arizona can quickly fill up. There is SO much to do, food to eat and places to visit. That is why I love this state!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband is the Chief Operating Officer and a Partner of a national hospitality management company headquartered in Arizona. I have been fortunate enough to have him as a mentor throughout this process. There have been endless hours of brainstorming my brand and services along with building business and marketing strategies. He has been my biggest cheerleader! I also need to give a BIG shoutout to my mother-in-law, Tina and her husband, Elliot. Tina has been an entrepreneur her entire life and has worked endlessly to get to where she is today. She has introduced me to her network of clients, provided insight on business dos and don’ts (after reliving some of her experiences). Together they have continued to help me strategize so that I can build and grow Evoque into a trusted and relevant resource for years to come. And of course, there’s my family and close friends who have shown unconditional support, encouragement, advice and love. I wouldn’t be here today without them!