x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai events organiser’s party piece built on patience

Events organiser Tammy Urwin describes her attitude towards money as 'old school', believing that if you love what you do and work hard, money will come.

Tammy Urwin launched Urban Events without an initial investment, “which means I have always kept an eye on our expenses”. For her, financial freedom means being able to take bolder risks in business. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Tammy Urwin launched Urban Events without an initial investment, “which means I have always kept an eye on our expenses”. For her, financial freedom means being able to take bolder risks in business. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Tammy Urwin is the managing director of Urban Events, a company she set up five years ago when she arrived in Dubai. The Briton, 38, now spends her time organising anything from private VIP parties to gala dinners, music concerts and comedy shows.

Describe your financial journey so far.

I have always strived for financial independence and for me that meant a business of my own, doing something I excel at. When you’re an adult, the decisions you make professionally implicitly impact your family too. Starting a business is a significant step, and it’s very demanding on a personal level. Once I felt I was stable financially, I decided it was the right time to take the leap and get started with my business. I set up Urban Events to create and produce signature events. It’s been an exciting journey for sure. The business was launched without an initial investment, which means I have always kept an eye on our expenses. There have been quite a few ups and downs, but we managed to grow our client portfolio and deliver quality events across the UAE, Qatar, South Africa and the UK. Overall I’m proud of the success achieved so far, and I know my family is proud too.

Would you call yourself a spender or a saver?

I aim for “saver”, but saving money is nothing but easy. On the personal front, there are things I can’t cut costs and would not compromise on, for example when it comes to my children and family life. On the business front, it’s impossible to save when you’re self-funding your business. Luckily, at the moment the business is in a period of consolidation after years of investment. We have big plans for the next few years, but we’re proceeding with caution and constantly reviewing our books to see what we can do differently and smarter.

What is your philosophy towards money?

Old-school I guess: love what you do, work hard and money will come. The reality is that more often than not, it may not come as quickly as you wish it did. Building a successful business takes effort and time.

Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?

Without a doubt, and in fairness any new business comes with its own share of experimentation: we look for new opportunities, we make assumptions and we take risks … Sometimes we win and other times we lose. It’s important to know how to move on; don’t feel defeated, don’t fixate on the failure, but on the lessons learnt that will serve you well next time.

Do you believe in planning for the future?

Planning is essential for life and business. Things will always change, and at times may even be out of your control, but having a plan provides you with a sense of direction and clarity when it comes to achieving your goals, especially as far as finances are concerned. I plan all the time, for the present and for the future, small and big things. In my personal life, it’s the only way I can ensure that I dedicate time and attention to my family and keep in touch with my friends. I also plan in detail my business. Regardless of how small or fluctuating your business may be, you can’t move ahead without a goal or a sense of direction, and you need that to get you motivated.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

Financial freedom doesn’t happen overnight. I need to make a conscious effort to move in the right direction day in and day out. For me, financial freedom is about being bolder and able to take risks in business. On the personal level, it’s about having the luxury of more time spent together as a family, here in the UAE, in the UK or holidaying around the world.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Travel, without a doubt. Living in the Middle East provides me the unique opportunity to travel to and discover new places near and far. I work very hard and often odd hours, but when I have time off I want to make the most of every minute.

lgutcher@thenational.ae