Danielle Gibson may be new to Napa, but she brings with her a wealth of experience in design and event planning.
Gibson owns two businesses: Danielle Gibson Events and Tallu-lah, a greeting card company.
Gibson, 46, moved last year from St. Helena to Napa, where she and her husband have built their own home at the north end of town. Gibson decided to start her own event planning company this year.
“Why work for someone when you can do it yourself?” she said.
Originally from New York, Gibson gained valuable business skills working for Gap Inc. stores. After moving to the Bay Area, she eventually took on the store manager position for Union Street Papery in San Francisco. Gibson then worked for 10 years in the event planning industry, also in San Francisco, specializing in corporate events for Fortune 500 companies.
Danielle Gibson Events focuses on full-service event planning with an emphasis on design, customer service and logistical organization, Gibson said.
While another event planner may be the last thing the Napa Valley needs, Gibson says her customer base, as well as her style, are different.
Most other event planners specialize in weddings, and their clients are visiting Napa from other places, she said. Gibson’s goal is to work primarily with wineries, local businesses and Napa residents.
“I’m not here to compete with the wedding industry,” she said. “I’m here for the people who live in Napa.”
“I create my events out of a lifestyle,” Gibson said. “What do we want guests to feel? How do we want them to ‘live’ at the party?”
At a technology company’s outdoor event, hosted at the Meritage Resort and Spa, Gibson brought the comfort of a living room to a corporate party by bringing out coffee tables and attaching power cords beneath them. Guests were able to participate in the festivities while still having access to their laptops and other devices. She also created a phone charging station/bar, where guests could enjoy drinks while waiting for their phones to charge.
At a separate event, hosted in a park-like setting at Charles Krug winery, Gibson brought in a Volkswagen bus with a photo booth inside.
Reinventing a space is one of the things she enjoys most about event planning.
“I like to look at things differently,” Gibson said. “I like taking the landscape and doing something different.”
Her busiest time of year for both businesses, she said, is the holidays. Events are especially popular in September and October, when the weather is still beautiful and the kids are in school.
While Gibson loves both of her companies equally, she describes Tallu-lah as her “first love.”
Gibson began her stationery design company in 2002.
Depending on the time of year, Gibson employs about five to 10 contractors who work as designers for Tallu-lah. Some of the designers live in California, while others live as far away as Florida and Japan.
“I’ve created a network that works really well,” Gibson said.
The company designs stationery for Tiny Prints and Wedding Paper Divas. Tallu-lah also offers its own line of greeting cards, sold online and in stores across the country. In the Napa Valley, Tallu-lah greeting cards can be found at Standard: News, Books & Sundries in the Oxbow Public Market and at Pennyweight in St. Helena.
By creating her own companies, Gibson no longer spends hours a day in her car commuting. She’s also able to pick and choose the jobs she wants to work on. This flexibility is one of the things Gibson enjoys most, because it gives her more time with the one she loves.
“My husband and I have a better quality of life,” she said.
Gibson describes herself as having both a strong sense of design and logistics, which helps her manage both businesses. Her goal as a business owner is to simply be happy.
“I’m happy when the clients and guests are happy,” she said.
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