When Alison Slight and Candice Chan launched their Toronto luxury event planning company, Candice & Alison, five years ago, they had no idea the amount of successes they’d have to celebrate just half a decade down the road. With a client list that includes Chanel, BMW, Louis Vuitton, Cadillac, and Dior, to name just a few, the entrepreneurial powerhouses have also thrown out-of-this-world events everywhere from their homebase in Toronto to Dubai. Working with larger-than-life stars like Kanye West and Oprah Winfrey is just another day at the office for Candice and Alison. We caught up with the duo to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
We love what we do very much, and this is essential to doing it well. Event planning can look glamourous from the outside but requires a lot of not-so-glamourous tasks in order to execute. The actual event date should be the easiest part of the process. In fact, it is often surprising to our clients that we look so calm the day of, and this is the reason. We have an amazing team who supports us and understands our vision, which is founded on delivering high quality, well-executed events to suit the ever important budget. We are also very different personalities, which compliment each other extremely well. Despite having different interests and lifestyles, we agree on (almost) everything and support each other in our professional and personal lives. This is very important as partners and as female entrepreneurs.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
The biggest challenge is interpreting how a client envisions their event. For example, with our bridal clientele, we often ask the couple for a list of references of things they like from fashion, interiors, travel, music, and so on. This assists us in defining their personalities and level of taste. For example, if you vacation in Miami, drink champagne, and like Chanel, that says a lot to us.
What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened at one of your events?
We have told this story many times but it really never gets old. By far the craziest thing that has ever happened was securing Kanye West for a private wedding performance. The bride and groom had an unlimited budget and decided 48 hours prior to their big day that they wanted him to perform. This would not have been an issue except for the fact that the wedding was taking place in Phuket, Thailand, and Kanye was in LA. Suffice is to say, there was some quick thinking involved and a lot of fingers crossed but we made it happen and the show was fantastic, to the delight of the couple.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Candice: My iPhone because it keeps me connected, my black eye liner, and lots of silver jewelry because it’s part of my daily armour.
Alison: My family, nail polish, and a 5-inch heel.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it is a world-class city that gets better every day yet remains accessible for growing young businesses such as ours. Cultural events such as TIFF have turned the spotlight on this city, making it internationally recognizable and a destination to visit. This has created an explosion of new venues, restaurants, and hotels which gives us tons of new and exciting options to choose from.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Candice: My favourite restaurant constantly changes because this city is growing them so quickly. Currently my favourite new restaurants are Byblos and The Chase. I love Byblos because I like sharing small plates that are bigger than tapas but smaller than mains, plus the higher veggie to meat ratio is refreshing. The Chase is probably the best restaurant in the city at the moment. It has a metropolitan feel and every detail of the experience, from the service to the décor to the food, is perfect. I like to see businesses put as much effort in as we do with ours.
Alison: Claudio Aprile’s Origin has remained at the top of my list for years now. The blend of exciting menu options served in an intimate uber-stylish environment facing St. James Cathedral is hard to beat. The service is impeccable and the bar offers a number of inventive and delicious cocktails.
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands or accessories lines and why do you sport their fashions?
Candice: Surprisingly a lot of what I wear is from TopShop. They have a good mix of cocktail style clothing with a slight street edge, which sums up my style. I also really like to mix in great designer finds that I pick up from travelling around to some of the best luxury designer outlets. I love finding a good deal so I make it a point to travel to them!
Alison: My sense of style is based more on the clothing itself rather than the designer. I look for classic silhouettes, beautiful fabric, and a good structured fit. My accessories are kept minimalist but I can never be found without my white ceramic Chanel J12 timepiece and matching ring. I love its sporty yet elegant look.
What products are always in your beauty bag?
Candice: I have been wearing the exact same beauty products for all of my adult life because I like to keep my routine simple and low-maintenance. My beauty bag consists of powder, bronzer, eye liner, black eyeshadow for smokey eyes, and a nude lipgloss or a high impact bold fuchsia. My hair is wash and go so just a brush is all I need.
Alison: MAC Studio Fix (there is no better powder available), black eyeliner, pink blush, thick mascara, and super shiny lipgloss.
What style trends are you obsessed with right now?
Candice: I am obsessed with Southeast Asian and tribal influence statement necklaces. I think it’s a great way to update any existing outfit and take it to that next edgy level. Modernize it by getting one in statement gold.
Alison: I love the innovation and creativity that people are investing in nail polish trends. Not only is the product better and longer lasting with shellac and weekly polish, but textures and nail shapes are more interesting. No longer is a solid colour enough – I particularly love an ombre finish, accent nail, or half-moon mani.
What’s your favourite spa or service?
Candice: I think the best spa in Toronto is the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris in the Shangri-La Hotel.
Alison: I like the Spa at the Four Seasons as I find the environment quite tranquil and soothing with just the right amount of luxury.