Panacea Collection – The Austin Company Behind the Euphoria Fest VIP Experience (Interview)
Music Festivals like Euphoria Fest have several teams involved in order to make sure fans have a great experience. From food trucks and vendors to art installations and VIP experiences, there are many puzzle pieces that need to work together for these festivals to be successful. It can be quite a challenge to make everything come together.
Few people know these types of events as well as Lisa Hickey, the Co-Owner and Designer of Panacea Collection. For those of you who don’t know Panacea, you have probably seen their beautiful furniture layouts at one of your local Austin music festivals. At Euphoria, they were responsible for decking out the VIP and Artist Lounge areas pictured above.
Lisa’s extensive background in marketing music festival brands for over 10 years with C3 Presents gave her a unique perspective of these events. After many years in the business she and her business partner, Autumn Rich, recognized a problem. Many of the events they were around lacked the style and comfort that they envisioned. Lisa combined her marketing talents and her passion for design to change the VIP experience at music festivals. This is what entrepreneurs do best. They recognize problems, and come up with creative solutions to solve them.
Since launching Panacea in March 2015, they has worked with Euphoria Fest, ACL Festival, Lollapalooza, Voodoo Music Experience, Old Settlers Music Festival, and Free Press Summer Fest. This is already an amazing roster of clients, and festivals are only a part of Panacea’s growth strategy. Panacea also does home staging, weddings, styled shoots, corporate events, parties and more.
We were able to sit down with Lisa after Euphoria Fest to talk about her journey starting Panacea. I’m fortunate to have known Lisa for three years now. She has been an amazing mentor to me and to others I have introduced her to. I’ve watched her start and build her company as I was building JamFeed. Lisa is the kind of person who will take time out of her life to help others. She will likely buy you a glass of wine too.
Lisa has combined her love of entertaining and events with her passion of design to create a sustainable business and create a better life for her and her family.
We hope you enjoy learning more about Panacea Collection.
1. When was Panacea Collection founded?
Panacea Collection is a boutique event styling, home staging, and furniture rental company, and was launched in March 2015.
2. Who is your partner, how did yall meet?
Autumn Rich and I have been friends for almost 20 years. We met in 1999 when Charlie Jones started his company, Middleman Music (which would eventually become C3). I started working for Charlie, and he and I shared a room in the office of Autumn Rich’s events company. Autumn would eventually join C3, and ran all of the VIP festival operations and private events. I was Marketing Director. We spent over a decade working closely on all of the C3 Festivals and many private parties. Once we had both left C3 for new adventures she approached me with the idea of a furniture rental company. I was immediately in.
3. What problem were you trying to solve?
There is a lack of unique, design-driven furniture for events. Up until pretty recently, you would see the same furniture over and over. We wanted to offer something new and different – furniture with a story that would better reflect the art and design-based culture of Austin.
4. When did you discover your passion for furniture?
Autumn and I have both had a hobby of refinishing furniture, and making spaces beautiful, but I never imagined it would turn into this. Even though I really had no idea what I was doing when we started Panacea, I just loved the way it felt, so I kept going. Being creative, reimagining an old piece of furniture, putting looks together, designing spaces for clients – its very satisfying.
5. How did you get involved with music festivals?
By accident. I worked my first festival when I was 18, and that’s when I realized I loved events. I worked on smaller events and mini festivals for about a year before Charlie Jones hired me as his assistant. He was developing his idea for a music festival in Zilker Park, similar to the ones he experienced in Europe. In 2001, Middleman was acquired and became Capital Sports & Entertainment. We launched the first ACL Festival in 2002, and I given the task of promoting the festival so tickets would sell. We were hoping for 20,000 per day, and we had double that. Thankfully it was a success and we were able to do it again! In 2005, we took the destination festival model to Chicago and launched a re-imagined Lollapalooza.
6. Where else does Panacea do furniture rentals outside of music festivals?
From VIP Lounges at music festivals to corporate events, weddings to backyard parties – we serve all all types of clients and events.
7. Where do you see Panacea in the next 3-5 years?
Last year we launched our home staging division to offer staging that is thoughtful and high impact. That has been lot of fun and we see a lot of growth in both events and staging. We have some other pretty big dreams for Panacea and feel we are just beginning our journey.
8. What advice would you give to a young aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start their own business?
I recently heard a Rumi quote that I thought was pretty spot on: “When you start walking the way, the way appears.” We also say: “Just say yes and figure it out.” Don’t let fear or inexperience hold you back. When I started producing events, I didn’t have experience but figured it out and asked for help. When I started marketing music festivals, I didn’t have a marketing degree or much experience, but I just gave it everything and figured it out. When we started Panacea, I had no idea what I was doing, but we just started and figured it out. Don’t pay attention to what others are doing or how it was been done before. Just do it your way and figure it out.