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The Ringleader

Event producer Gretchen Bylow's take-charge approach to events has earned her new company a steady roster of clients.

Gretchen Bylow
Gretchen Bylow
Photo: Marina Fragoso Senra for BizBash
New Beginnings: After the birth of her first child last year, Gretchen Bylow wanted to spend less time at the office and more time at home, so she left her job as president of Harrison & Shriftman Public Relations (where she spent seven years handling events for clients such as Hugo Boss and Mercedes-Benz) and started her own event production firm, GBB Events. Although her plan was to devote more energy to her family, her career hasn’t slowed down a bit. Since the company opened in June 2006, she has helped produce 15 events, including the nonprofit Do Something’s annual Brick Awards and events for Bulgari and Saks Fifth Avenue.Major Multitasker: Bylow manages all the logistics of event planning, from staying on budget to hiring vendors to locating a venue. “If you’re looking for an event planner who is not hands-on and is managing a staff of 30, that’s not what I do anymore. I am fully involved in everything,” she says. “Hands-on” is almost an understatement when describing Bylow at work. During the last crucial hour before guests arrive, she’s a blur in a cocktail dress and her comfiest flip-flops (to be replaced by heels later), moving boxes, instructing the check-in staff, making sure all the elements of the room are in perfect position. “If valet parking is not moving fast enough, I will jump in a car and park it myself, which I did at the Legally Blonde premiere in the Hamptons,” she says. Rory Hermelee, director of external relations for Bulgari, said Bylow anticipated her every need during a private dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in April. “Before I could even finish a sentence, she’d say, ‘No problem. It’s done.’ Or, ‘I’ll take care of it,’” Hermelee said.

Looking Ahead: After producing a benefit in August for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Hamptons, Bylow’s next big project will be working on a few Fashion Week shows this fall. Instead of dreaming up new ways to expand her business, Bylow says she’s happy focusing her attention on a select roster of key clients and events throughout the year. “The people I work with are so fun and we can laugh about mistakes and have a good time creating fantastic, fabulous events together,” she says. “I’m in a lucky position where I can do what I like with people I like.”