canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

From buildings lit up and visible for miles around to chandeliers and fire-eaters, nothing is off the table for Kim Chan of Kim Chan Events in the quest to create corporate events that will never be forgotten by staff or clients.

After running a successful small business here in New Zealand, Kim spent two years travelling in Europe followed by seven years running her own business in Hong Kong, working on events such as the Hong Kong Sevens. Propelling her into an intense and competitive environment, the experience honed her event-styling skills and taught her the importance of knowing the ‘brand promise’ of clients and conveying this on every level: it is not enough simply to be beautiful – the design must make a statement about what the business does. Now living and working back in New Zealand, she is dedicated to bringing this approach to her work for Canterbury businesses.

Describing her signature look as ‘abundant’, Kim believes that ‘if you’re going to do something, do an amazing job so people remember it’. It is an approach that has seen her work with the likes of Christchurch Casino, New Zealand Rugby, Singapore Airlines, Ngāi Tahu and Harcourts, though she applies the same care to creating window displays for small retailers, styling photo shoots for fashion brands or helping to set up showrooms or offices for local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

Whatever the size of the business, using a professional event stylist pays dividends in both the quality of the result and the efficiency with which it is delivered. In-house staff can spend their time doing what they do best, while management can relax in the knowledge that everything will be done professionally and delivered on time. With a network of industry colleagues, Kim is able to source elements quickly and is accustomed to short deadlines for installation. Transforming a room with fabric and lighting in the space of 90 minutes was routine in Hong Kong and fast setups are becoming more important here in Canterbury too, where the post-earthquake environment has resulted in more diverse spaces being utilised for events – spaces where it’s often only possible to get in and start setting up after business has ended for the day.

This new environment has also impacted on the expectation of what an event should be: the goal now is to generate excitement and a sense of discovery. Kim’s love of travel enables her to source unique and beautiful products and props that help to transform everyday spaces into magical destinations. Fabric, lighting, backdrops, furniture and also flowers are all carefully selected and come together to set the stage for an unforgettable event.

It is an approach that also translates to wedding styling, which remains a core part of Kim’s business. Sumptuous fabrics, flowers, candles and stationery all reflect the experience that the couple (and their families) want their guests to share. ‘We aim to take away all stress so the family can focus on the importance of what they’re doing,’ says Kim. This means no job is too big or too small, from pinning on the buttonholes for the bridal party to walking Grandma to her seat.

Family wedding or corporate event, Kim is ever mindful of what she’s doing and why, and how each element ties back to the client’s purpose. And the result of this attention to detail? Delighted clients who say the whole thing looks better than they ever imagined.

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WORDS Michelle Berridge