Claire Ballor, Staff Writer
University of Dallas seniors have faced the daunting reality of college graduation by diving headfirst into the world of entrepreneurialism.
Halley Chavey and Lauren Masty have started their own event-planning business, “The Backyard.” Masty, a theology major and co-owner of The Backyard, says that they plan to fill the relatively unaddressed niche for “casual” event planning.
“Most event planners are focused on creating elegant galas and fairy-tale weddings, while what we are marketing is the fun and energetic backyard barbecue feel,” Masty said.
“Halley’s really good with the marketing and graphic designing aspects of the business, while I’m better at the artistic side of it,” Masty said. “The Backyard is great for me because it gives me the ability to do arts-and-crafts projects almost constantly. Our skills are very complementary, and we are generally able to fill each other’s gaps.”
While The Backyard is a product of the aspirations and talents of both Chavey and Masty, their business proposal incorporates plans to provide job opportunities for future UD students who are also interested in entrepreneurship and event planning. Chavey, a senior English and Spanish major, says that she hopes the growing business will become a resource for college students.
“I think our long-term goal would be for the company to grow and network in the DFW area, and eventually be a well-established event-planning company that would also be a great opportunity for UD students,” Chavey said. “Current students could be photographers or seasonal workers on the side, and recent graduates could help us with finances, marketing, etc. as we grow. We’re excited to see what direction this goes.”
Dr. Laura Serviere-Muñoz, associate professor for the College of Business, has mentored Chavey and Masty throughout the process of launching their business.
“One of the things I was pleasantly surprised with is how much Halley and Lauren had already done in terms of doing all the homework about their business and the actual launch,” Muñoz said. “They had a clear idea of who their target market was and how they wanted to be positioned as a business. I have to compliment them on having such a clear path already and being so proactive about it.”
For Chavey and Masty, the most difficult step in the journey toward forming their own business was making the decision to take the initial leap and get started.
“It takes some courage to say, ‘yes, this is it, I’m starting the company,’ but it’s really exciting and really fulfilling to know you’re pursuing something that you love doing, and all on your own time,” Chavey said.