Member Spotlight: Meet Rita O’Loughlin

Being in the right place at the right time is Rita O’Loughlin’s forte. Which is handy given she’s at the helm of a company offering just that.

“Place Experts does what it says on the tin… finding the right space for you to carry out your promotion or sales event,” said Rita, of the Manchester-based venture she launched in 2016 after growing tired of the disjointed nature of the events industry. “Finding the right space can be a minefield, but I could see there was a place in the market for a company that could bridge the gap between the company doing the promoting and the venue management agencies.”

Rita’s solution was to create a promotion and event space consultancy which would act as a matchmaker between brands and locations. No mean feat, but thanks to the founder’s vast industry experience and bulging contacts book, Place Experts has quickly flourished. Today it boasts an impressive client list which includes big names like the Henley Royal Regatta, TalkTalk and Pimms and has a 100% customer retention rate.

I definitely dance to my own drum, so working for myself was more necessity than just strong desire.

Rita relishes being her own boss, admitting she has always had an entrepreneurial streak. “I’ve always known I wasn’t cut out for climbing the corporate ladder,” she confessed. “I definitely dance to my own drum, so working for myself was more necessity than just strong desire”. That necessity would be a driving force in her decision to walk away from her full-time job in the venue management industry two years ago and attempt to go it alone. “I found myself being more and more frustrated in my role as I wanted to do things differently. I reached a point where I had created the company in my head so knew I had to take the leap and go for it.”

Doing things differently means that Place Experts prioritises collaboration and transparency in everything it does, with Rita and her team offering impartial advice as a route to the best business solutions. “We have a really open, honest relationship with our clients that we could never achieve without a transparent business model,” she said. As a result, they have secured work with both established brands and start-ups, and for events in locations as varied as shopping centres and rural festivals.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however. There have been difficulties along the way, most notably the tendency of clients to revise their strategy mid-project. But it’s that type of challenge which Rita relishes “I love that it is fluid and changeable. It keeps it fresh and exciting,” she said.

I really love what I do, it’s that simple.

She advises budding entrepreneurs to do their research before taking the plunge and above all be passionate about their work. “I really love what I do, it’s that simple,” she said. “Keeping up to date and involved with new ideas and innovations within the industry is very inspiring.”

So, with hindsight would she do anything differently? Rita thinks not. “Every mistake has been a lesson and every small win has been a great springboard for better things.” Place Experts is clearly going places, and its founder Rita is more than ready for the next adventure.

Check out Place Experts’ website here.