Since her days at PLNU, Krystel Stacey (08) has invested her time and talent in entrepreneurship, aesthetics, fashion, purposeful pursuits, and well-thought-out plans — all elements she values in her various business endeavors. Stacey is the best-selling Author of She Minds her Own Business and the OWN IT workbook. She is a creative director, designer, and business strategy consultant. She also hosts Purpose to Profit, a podcast about turning your passions into promising businesses.
“My father was an entrepreneur,” Stacey said. “So I watched him growing up and I watched how he was able to decide how much he wanted to work or how little he wanted to work, what he wanted to work on, and how he wanted to do it.”
Stacey studied communications and minored in public relations. Although she was sure she wanted to go to college in her home state of California, she debated between attending PLNU or Biola. Knowing that she wanted to stay in her home state of California after high school influenced her decision.
“And really, it was the campus that sold me,” Stacey said of PLNU. “One of my really good friends from high school was attending and we could live together.”
Stacey said she did not take her time at PLNU for granted. Aspects of PLNU’s community have continued to impact Stacey’s post-grad life in her field, spiritual life, and the people she’s come to meet and work with.
“I think relationships are everything, and I’ve built relationships there that I had no idea would impact my life moving forward,” Stacey said. “But they have been invaluable not only in business but in my personal life.”
“[My family] belongs to a dinner club [with] 12 couples, and every couple has a connection to Point Loma somehow. I might not have been the best of friends with them when we were in college, but now, to have that connection is huge. So I really appreciate everything that Point Loma offered me in that sense.”
Fashion, quality visuals, and overall aesthetic mean a great deal to Stacey. Over her time at PLNU, she worked with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), taking honed skills with her into her own business-building endeavors.
“I love fashion,” Stacey said. “I think it’s so fun. It’s also part of the wedding planning business. We’re creating all the pretty for the day and what it’s going to look like, how it’s going to run.”
Pursuing efficiency has also proved to go hand in hand with Stacey’s interest in fashion.
“Hey, if you see something that doesn’t seem right or we could be doing it better, tell me and let’s fix it,” Stacey said. “And so that really helped me to be open towards seeing how can we improve our systems and processes. How can I make sure that I’m listening to those that I’m working with to create better environments?”
Stacey started Couture Events, a wedding planning studio, while she was a senior at PLNU. Balancing school work with this additional work never proved too difficult for her.
“I enjoy working,” Stacey said. “I enjoy being busy. I never found it to be a struggle or hard because I enjoyed the work more than I enjoyed school. I decided I was going to start doing parties like little princess parties for kids, and my friend asked me to plan her wedding.”
While planning her friend’s special day, Stacey realized she wanted to create a party planning business. Couture Events has now been in operation for 15 years.
“And so that first year I had four weddings and it was great,” Stacey said. “And then the next year I had 40 weddings. And that’s when I realized, ‘oh, okay, this could be a full-time job.”
Stacey described three key elements that helped her business find success.
“I think it was really good timing, [a] really great place, and really great people around me that helped me get to that point and grow it so quickly because I was in my last year of college,” Stacey said. “Everyone started to get married around that time, people were getting engaged.”
Stacey has had her fair share of celebrity interactions over the course of her career. Several stars of Real Housewives of Orange County showed up to one wedding that Couture Events hosted. As the father of the groom gave his speech, Stacey realized that he was the creator of the hit reality show.
“That introduced us into this reality show world,” Stacey said. “And so we started with that wedding and then we were able to kind of make our way into The Bachelor events.”
Stacey is planning the 2023 wedding of Hannah and Dylan, a beloved Bachelor couple engaged during Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise. Stacey also fondly remembers the memory of a wedding where Tim Allen was a guest.
“For me, it was a really big deal because I grew up watching Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor,” Stacey said.
Stacey also had the opportunity to meet Martha Stewart during Bridal Fashion Week in New York at one of Stewart’s events.
“It’s been fun to work on that side,” Stacey said. “And to kind of get to meet the ‘who’s who’ in our own industries and then also step into reality TV and some celebrities as well.”
Stacey believes her success as a driven, disciplined female entrepreneur comes from knowing what your priorities, values, and goals are from the very start of an operation.
“I really believe in defining your own success. Success looks different to everyone, so what does that look like to you?”
“If you don’t have those things in place, then you won’t have a plan of where you’re going or what the trajectory is of your business,” Stacey said. “I really believe in defining your own success. Success looks different to everyone, so what does that look like to you? What do you feel like success would be? [Figure] out, ‘okay, how do I get there?’”
Stacey has had the opportunity to speak and inspire young entrepreneurs to turn quality work into success at various conferences.
“I love to motivate and inspire, but I want to motivate and inspire to take action,” Stacey said. “I don’t want it to just be oh, that was inspiring, or that was motivational. No, how are you going to take action right now in your seat today? What action steps can be taken right here, right now, that can change the rest of your life, the trajectory of your business, or what you want to do in a way that’s really impactful?”
Stacey’s other business, Voila Strategies, had its inception after the 2020 pandemic. After events suddenly stopped happening, Stacey described it as “a time of making decisions.” She herself stopped and asked: “What do I really love? What do I really enjoy?”
“So I knew that I loved working with female entrepreneurs,” Stacey said. “I loved promoting their businesses, and I was doing a lot of consulting at the time. I can talk to them until I’m blue in the face and I can tell them all the things to do — or I can just help them do it. And so that’s how Voila Strategies was born.”
The business essentially exists to help female entrepreneurs with their marketing, branding, advertising, and campaigning via aesthetic and enjoyable visuals curated by Stacey and her team. Stacey consistently follows a four-step ideal called the 4S Solutions in her campaign-making process: story, style, strategy, and social.
“We live in a very visual world, and so how you’re portraying your brand and your business aesthetically is really important,” Stacey said. “And so you can have a beautiful business or a beautiful product, but if you’re not able to present and market that in a way that people are going to understand, then you’re gonna lose it.”
“Really know that God made you with purpose. Figure out what that is and then go after it hard. Dream big and then reverse engineer your plan to how you’re going to get there.”
Stacey has a best selling book titled She Minds Her Own Business, accompanied by an in depth workbook, OWN IT. This project began as a result of many friends asking Stacey for career-related advice.
The original vision was an e-book or some sort of online publication. But once her writing process began to flow, Stacey saw the content’s potential to be a full book. Stacey explained that a good deal of her writing process occurred on airplanes.
“On a flight to Paris I [took] everything that I’ve kind of written in different places in my life and compil[ed] it all into one,” Stacey said. “When I got back, I hired two editors to kind of go through it all and help me say it in the best way possible with the most punch per sentence.”
These editors, including one of her former PLNU professors, helped Stacey in her editing process, which took about six months. Her hybrid, San Diego-based publisher was also a great help in navigating the ins and outs of the publishing world.
“I’m working on my second book now,” Stacey said. “[My] first book was really in general about business and life and designing a life in a business that you love. And the second book is more focused on your brand image and what that looks like and how to create a brand image that’s going to be iconic [and] recognizable.”
Stacey’s determination to consistently run with a plan is echoed in her book writing and what she defines as “purposeful pursuits.”
“I just really think that in this career, I’ve been able to come alongside women at some of the most integral parts of their life,” Stacey said. “Whether that’s their wedding or whether that’s building their business and helping them grow it and bring it to a reality.”
As a female entrepreneur, Stacey has chiefly worked for and alongside fellow women founders.
“Most of the products are products and/or services for other women,” Stacey said. “Because we’re producing things for women, it attracts more women. It’s been really fun.”
Stacey’s advice to individuals desiring to take that first step toward starting their own businesses and pursuing their passions concerns a knowledge of God’s purpose for every person’s life.
“Don’t give in and settle and say ‘okay, this is it for me,’” Stacey said. “Really know that God made you with purpose. Figure out what that is and then go after it hard. Dream big and then reverse engineer your plan to how you’re going to get there.”