As we begin our 25th year publishing Special Events Magazine, each month we salute event professionals who have reached career milestones.
DESIGNING creative wrappings for event necessities, Mitchell Kelldorf, president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Sculptware, has been covering up eyesores for the event industry for almost 25 years. He offers his firsthand observations of the business, culled since becoming a partner of an event company in 1982.
Although Kelldorf studied for two years to be an actor, he left his studies at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York to become a partner in New York- and Palm Beach, Fla.-based event production company Sutka-Kelldorf Productions. While producing events, Kelldorf noticed that the chairs at the parties were not up to par. “There always seemed to be a party crasher — the chairs,” he says. “Often they were scratched or worn. Sometimes they didn't even match.” So Kelldorf developed a solution, the original SculptChair cover, to change the seats' appearance. “I knew there had to be a way to make the chairs look like art rather than necessary eyesores,” he explains.
Kelldorf eventually abandoned event production to focus solely on making chairs more appealing at events. “I am sure some people questioned my sanity when I stepped out to start a company based on a chair cover,” he says. However, now that his artistic drapings include coverings for such items as trash cans and jack stands, he declares, “I think I would have been crazy to have not done it.”
CASTING A WIDE 'NET
Kelldorf gives the Internet credit for changing the way the event industry operates. “The Internet has given us another way to serve our clients and hopefully make their job easier and a bit more fun,” he explains. His company's Web site, for example, presents installation videos and color selection pages that allow potential clients to do decor-related research on their own schedule.
Providing such convenient and interactive resources to clients has become necessary as the scope of event planning has grown, Kelldorf says. The expansion of what it means to plan an event, from simply decorating tables to “more of a total-immersion design of event spaces,” he says, encompasses the central change in the event industry in the past 25 years.
Kelldorf believes that the event industry benefits from “the greater understanding about the tremendous effect that can be achieved by transforming ordinary items into powerful visual elements.” An event makes a stronger first impression, he explains, when “utilitarian objects become coordinating pieces of art.”
Kelldorf cites the superior customer service at Sculptware as his greatest source of pride. “I've really been blessed to have a team that understands the values and mission of Sculptware,” he says.
Mitchell Kelldorf is president of Sculptware. Call 888/282-8811, or visit www.sculptwareonline.com.