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Fresh Faces 2021: Michelle Ellamae

The owner and creative director of Ellamae Productions focuses on social good, sustainable materials and elevating BIPOC vendors.

BizBash Fresh Faces, Michelle Ellamae
Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Ellamae

Michelle Ellamae is the owner and creative director of Ellamae Productions, a bespoke event design and production studio specializing in luxury weddings, experiential gatherings, and nonprofit and social good events. She founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019.

How she got her start: "I started in the events industry working for an event production company that specialized in high-profile Hollywood award shows, galas and after-parties, with clients ranging from The Academy to Warner Bros. It was an incredible experience to learn the art of luxury hospitality and detailed event production in a fast-paced, high-level environment for nearly a decade."

Gap her company fills in the industry: "Ellamae Productions intentionally collaborates with BIPOC-owned small businesses, shedding light on individuals who are exceptional in their craft to create more equal opportunities for all of us. In addition, we direct our clients as best we can to make eco-friendly and sustainable decisions throughout the event-planning process. Events can cause large amounts of waste, and we're doing what we can to minimize harmful waste without compromising luxury and comfort in events."

Biggest lesson from the last year: "My greatest takeaway from surviving 2020 and owning an events business through a pandemic is that I am tougher than I think. I've learned being a business owner has many mountains and valleys, a rollercoaster which was intensified through the pandemic. When Los Angeles finally opened up to events again, I remember thinking, 'If I can make it through a pandemic as a business owner in the events industry, I can really do this. I've got this.' I was surprised I still had the motivation, determination and grit to keep going, and I've learned self-belief is arguably the most important element to business success."

Career goals: "I hope to continually create some of the most meaningful and memorable moments in my clients' lives. I will continue to work toward elevating female-owned, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ businesses. My ultimate goal for Ellamae Productions is that we continue to create celebrations of humanity's commonalities over our differences, helping create a world with more love, empathy and kindness."

In her free time: "I'm on the fundraising committee at Claris Health and lead brand development for a new U.S.-based Ugandan nonprofit called Bringing Hope for the Family USA in 2020."

Advice for her peers: "1) Be kind to everyone you interact with, from catering staff to rental truck drivers to venue managers. We work in an intense, stressful industry, but we must never forget to lead with love. 2) If you feel unmotivated or overwhelmed, reach out to an industry confidante and share your heaviness—we need to lean on one another in this collaborative business. 3) And lastly, wherever you are at in your business, keep your eyes in your own lane and keep going. I feel honored BizBash asked me to be part of this feature, something I dreamed of when I started EP. It's in these moments where I'm filled with deep gratitude for where I've been, where I am and where I am going. You've got this."

Follow her on Instagram at @ellamaeproductions.