A Stylist’s Guide to Hosting Successful Events this Holiday Season

On an ordinary night five years ago, a photo studio in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston transformed into an intimate setting for a private dinner party. 

By day, the studio served as the backdrop for Keagan Harley’s work as a freelance stylist. Recognizing the opportunity they stumbled upon though, she and her business partner began to shift the studio’s focus from video production to event rentals. 

Over the two years that followed, Keagan passed up paychecks to reinvest all of the studio’s earnings into a brand new event space downtown. They eventually said farewell to the photo studio that started it all and re-launched under a new name, Rentals at Ronin Art House.

In less than a year on Peerspace, she’s well on her way to 50 bookings. Transitioning from the production industry into events wasn’t always easy though. Keep reading for Keagan’s tried and true techniques to take the stress out of hosting this holiday season.

Learn on the Fly

“Just get started” might as well be Keagan’s mantra. From contracts and rental agreements to insurance and security deposits, it was all new for the freelance stylist when rentals first started coming in. 

With this series of intimidating firsts, she assembled friends with expertise beyond her own to advise on tricky insurance questions and interior design decisions. By keeping the right people close by, Keagan avoided common pitfalls as she entered unknown territory.  

This dedication to “learning on the fly” heavily influenced the beginning of their business. Even before the first venue was “ready” to be rented, they opened the doors to interested guests.

From adding chairs to installing surround sound, this iterative approach to learning and design provided the finances (and feedback) to gradually bring Ronin 1 to life.

As a Chapter Leader on Peerspace, Keagan hosts educational events for the local host community.

Design for Function

Keagan’s collection of boutique event spaces are not only beautiful and affordable, they’re functional. 

“I believe in diversification of the space,” Keagan says. Besides a statement piece that gives each venue a distinct personality, her spaces are true canvases for clients to make their own. 

Designing with an eye towards multi-functionality meant access to unexpected clientele when joining Peerspace. From podcast recordings to community workshops, Keagan hosts a near perfect split between event, offsite, and production bookings today:

“For us, Peerspace is about access. We were always open to diverse types of rentals, but we didn’t have access to them before joining. Really, the impact Peerspace has had in terms of revenue and awareness was a surprise to us initially, but has helped us unlock new opportunities and blossom into where we are now.”

In September, hosts gathered to hear from expert event planners on how to set effective rules.

Be your own Guest

Though she’s new to events, and even newer to Peerspace, Keagan’s values for learning on the fly and designing for function positioned her for success early on. But, as business continues to grow, one key learning has equipped her to go further than ever before.

“Challenge yourself to experience your space as a renter. This process uncovers pain points and helps you identify areas of opportunity.” In other words, you’ll have the key learnings to equip every rental moving forward with the information they need to be successful. 

For Keagan, this looks like “templatizing” a set of FAQ, house rules, contact information, and parking details into one cohesive message. By sharing the finer details upfront, her guests feel taken care of while her time is free to focus on closing the next deal.

When asked why she continues to host on Peerspace today, Keagan replied, “I don’t have to be physically present to make a living. My time is my own.” As the holiday season fast approaches, we agree that this couldn’t be more important.

Be sure to check out Peerspace’s community forum for more hosting tips.