Meet: Julia Burns-Alexander
Julia Burns-Alexander brings over a decade of professional experience in planning, managing, and directing activities for public and private events to Vessel Brooklyn. She holds a BA in Theater Performance from The College of Charleston and then went on to hone her skills in NYC at venues such as The Bowery Hotel, The Park, and The Maritime Hotel, running functions for up to 1,400 guests. In addition to events, Julia’s inspiration for Vessel Brooklyn comes from a wide array of experience in production and the arts, through years of stage and costume design, theater direction, acting, visual artistry, and music video production. This multi-faceted background informs Vessel Brooklyn’s unique point of view, ensuring that all Vessels, Celebrations and Moments are thoughtfully curated with the highest attention to detail, yielding singular creations that are crafted with love and care. Each experience reflects her passion for the arts, and her expertise in marrying entertainment and the avant garde with true hospitality.
How did you get into your business? What inspired you to start your business?
When I was much younger, I was terrified of speaking in public. So, my parents forced me to take an acting class. It changed the trajectory of my life. Much to everyones surprise, my own included, I ultimately ended up falling in love with all aspects of theatre and the arts. I went on to study Theatre Performance at The College of Charleston, where I realized that not only did I love performance, but that production and design elements could be magical. I went on to direct shows, design costumes and sets, built props, and set lighting grids. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a life in the arts professionally, I picked up and moved to NYC with two suitcases and a dream.
Like many other young artists trying to build their careers, I always worked jobs in hospitality, quickly rising through the ranks of management and getting involved more and more in the events departments. Weddings and Special Events were the perfect fit for my varied skill set. Events started to feel like the greatest productions on earth, and when done well, created such a tremendous sense of joy for the participants that I couldn’t help but feel it myself. Weddings in particular really spoke to me and I loved being an instrument in helping a couple create some of their happiest moments.
As I became more heavily involved in events directorship, and working one on one with couples, I noticed that the items that they were looking for in terms of decor, styling, favors, and gifts, didn’t exist. They had to be imagined, designed, and built, based on what was important and meaningful to that particular couple. Once I started sourcing and producing these custom pieces, I came to feel that I could bring something truly unique and special to the table, by combining the various threads of my background experience with my own aesthetic point of view and Vessel Brooklyn was born.
What is your wedding must-have?
Authenticity. There is no one else out there like you, you are beautifully, wonderfully, exquisitely unique, so let’s celebrate that. My favorite weddings are weddings where the bride and groom have allowed their personalities and love for each other to shine throughout their day, leaving a lasting impression with their guests for years to come.
What recent or upcoming wedding trend are your most excited about and why?
A return to customization for sure! I see couples moving away from trying to recreate their version of a royal wedding or a picture perfect Pinterest page. I see more and more couples wanting a wedding that showcases who they are, while providing a fun experience for their guests that won’t look or feel dated. You see this in the evolving tablescapes. I’ve seen a real increase in the use of artisan ceramics and decor, with their raw, organic feel and textured surfaces, they work well in both modern and more industrial settings.
Share something that is unique to you and/or your business.
I work with local artisans and craftspeople, sourcing small batch products as much as possible. By combining a keen eye for design with a genuine love of love, I strives to create gifts and experiences that are more than the sum of their parts. The vessels, and their contents, are treasures in themselves, meant to be reused or repurposed, always thoughtful, elegant, and full of whimsy.
What I consider to be the most unique aspect of my business was developed in the early stages of building Vessel. I created a series of simple questionnaires, based on the specified occasion, to give to my clients after they have placed an order for a custom gift or service. This is the absolute favorite part of my job. I find it fascinating. I can ask the same series of questions to 20 different people and get 20 different answers. No two questionnaires have ever been the same. The vessel that is curated is based 100% on the answers that are given to help me get a feel for the recipients likes and dislikes, possibly their favorite band, what they do for a living, or what their passions are.
I also love to integrate song lyrics, art work, or excerpts from a book or novel into these vessels . I want every vessel to tell it’s own story, in turn, ensuring that each custom vessel is just that, truly unique and one of kind, perfectly tailored to it’s recipient.
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