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How I Got My Dream Job: Patrick Clayton, Event Designer and Producer

posted by Gail Nardin, Senior Vice President for External Relations & Alumni Affairs

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Patrick Clayton, of Patrick J Clayton Productions, throws parties for a living.  

He helps clients host major galas, fashion shows, weddings, private parties, and corporate soirées. His full-service design and production company handles all aspects of an event, from a party’s décor to its entertainment. (Check out his Instagram.)

Clayton, a LIM grad, told us recently how he came to own his own company, doing work he loves in the business of fashion.

Patrick Clayton
year graduated: 2003
major: Merchandising

What made you choose LIM?
It was really important for me to get a degree in business. And I liked the other offerings, as well. I liked studying business while also pursuing more of a creative career.

At what point did you start to decide event planning was what you wanted to do?
I liked store design and the creativity of the merchandising, My first corporate job after LIM was LACOSTE. There, I did store/window design and merchandising. I really loved it and that was when I realized I had fallen into my true career path.

What was your dream job when you got to LIM?
I have no idea. I think I wanted to work at one of the big department stores in visual display.

What happened after LACOSTE?
Through LIM, I met the stylist Robert Verdi and he had a creative services agency. It seemed like the right fit. The combination of event planning, celebrity styling, and public relations was exciting to me. He had a job opening and that’s what jumped me into this career. At his agency, I focused mainly on event planning.

When did you start Patrick Clayton Productions?
I started freelancing in 2007. What [the company] is now, it’s been three years. I freelanced for a long time and laid all the groundwork before I broke off on my own.

What were some of the challenges of starting your own business? Or did you feel ready to go because you’d been freelancing for so long?
I felt really ready to go because of the freelance work I’d done. I had vendors in place and had some steady clients already, so I felt good about venturing out on my own.

What’s next for your business?
Onward and upward. More employees and more events, and, yeah, we’ll see what comes next!

What would be your advice to students who want to get into event planning?
Internships and volunteering are really important. Just meeting people, watching the process, being involved in as many school things as you can. You have to be really social and really involved and you have to just pound the pavement. It’s never going to just come to you. You have to go get it.

What was the best class you took at LIM?
Probably finance. It was like a class of stuff that actually happens in the real world. What you learn, you actually do—accounting and finance. I was a creative person so I loved the design classes but it was all the money stuff that helped me get going.

Is your dream job in the business of fashion, too? Come tell us about it. 


Topics: dream job