Prior to launching Bombshell Productions in August 2011, Meredith Lasher spent the majority of her working career in theater production, technical theater, custom design and events. Despite having an opportunity to take over the family business, Lasher followed her heart and pursued her passion with relentless determination. She shared her story from theater performances to a random phone call that led to an opportunity to work with Design Miami/, Fendi and eventually, a host of other international companies, including Louis Vuitton, Red Bull and Swarovski.
"My background is in theater," she said. "When I was younger, I was a performer. I eventually got into technical theater, theater production and custom design work. That's what I did by night. By day, I worked with my dad. He owned a retained executive search business. Working with my dad was a great experience and I learned a lot about business, but it wasn’t my passion. Overall, my dad was positive about my decision to not take over the family business and encouraged me to pursue what made me happy."
In September 2006, after owning and running several businesses in the theater space, Lasher joined a company based in Fort Lauderdale that provided services for cruise lines. The owner was looking to get into the event space and hired Lasher to launch and run that division. After six years of creating experiences for the corporate, resort, theme park and casino markets, Lasher's employer was facing some difficult times. As such, she had a decision to make about her future.
"The company had some financial issues," she said. "We couldn't pay our vendors. At one point, I was putting the expenses for my client's projects on my personal credit cards. That type of thing is cancerous in a company and I could see it wasn't going to get any better. I sat down with Rick Boggs, who, at the time was doing some freelance project work with us, and another team member, and told them it's time to start looking for new opportunities. I mentioned the idea of starting my own business and they wanted to come with me. In a giant leap of faith, that's what happened."
Bombshell Productions was incorporated in August 2011. However, because they felt obliged to complete a project, Lasher and Boggs worked for their previous employer through January 3rd, 2012. On that day, after securing a location and doing the build-out, Bombshell was officially open for business.
"I remember thinking, 'now what?,'" Lasher laughed. "We had the space and the team, now it was up to us to get the clients. We worked on building our marketing materials and gathering visuals to prepare marketing decks. We had to clearly show that what we were trying to do was a different iteration of what we did at the previous company. That departure was a shift from events and non-profit work into custom design and build-out type work. Rick and I had an eye towards the luxury market. We knew we wanted to go in that general direction. Nevertheless, the early days centered around figuring out who we were and what exactly we were going to do."
After establishing a clear vision and creating their marketing materials, Lasher and Boggs sent out emails to everyone they knew. Slowly but surely, they picked up projects and Bombshell Productions started to gain some traction. Along the way, they designed and built sets for South Florida theaters and did anything they could to stay busy. Lasher shared a particular phone call that proved to be a true turning point for the company.
"I got a call one day from my brother," she said. "He had just spoken with Kevin Perkins, a childhood friend and Logistics Manager for Design Miami/. Design Miami/ was the epitome of the work we wanted to be doing. My brother got tickets for Rick and I to check it out. When we got down there, we met up with Kevin and asked if he could get us a meeting to present our work. Long story short, we had the meeting, did our dog and pony show and they were intrigued with what we had to offer. Out of that meeting came an opportunity for us to build out the Fendi booth the following year. That was the 'flag on the moon' for us. That moment taught us a lot about what we wanted to be doing and the level of service we wanted to provide our clients with. From there, things really took off."
Bombshell Productions has evolved into one of the premier Experiential Marketing and Special Event Production Firms in the country. There are competitors that build, some that design, others that do branding, but none of them provide all of these services, and more, under one roof. Lasher shared what she enjoys most and how Bombshell Productions works to further distinguish itself from other agencies.
"Somewhere along the way, I recognized this tremendous satisfaction I found in creating opportunities for others," she said. "Being involved in a project where you have all these different elements come together into a realized, physical creation is amazing. Having the client, the venue and your employees all come together to make this rich artistic gumbo is fulfilling. I love putting creative people to work and encouraging them to explore everything they're good at. Everyone on our team has a breadth of talents that we call upon. At a large company, you might have one guy who's the painter. At Bombshell Productions, you are required to be good at multiple roles because you're going to wear multiple hats."
Looking ahead, Lasher shared that one of her big goals is to combine their spaces together under one roof. They currently operate out of two different locations. She's also very focused on the luxury retail and experiential event markets. Luxury brands are developing unique ways to connect directly with their VIP clients through experiences that increase brand awareness and loyalty. Recent projects with Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Ulysse Nardin, Girard Perregaux and Royal Caribbean has Lasher and team extremely optimistic about the future.
What advice does Lasher have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "You have to believe and then you have to go do something," she said. "You have to give it everything you got. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with good people. Find people who have the answers when you don't. Also, get out of your own way. I called on every resource I knew when we started Bombshell. To advance, you have to put in the time and actively work your business. Remember Newton’s first law, 'an object in motion stays in motion'. We could have reached the same level of success we have now in 15 years if I worked nine to five, but that's not who I am. I'm a workhorse."
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