Clementine sweetens event planning process

For many people that try planning an event, the process can quickly become stressful and overwhelming. Catherine McNeel discovered this reality when organizing a high school graduation party with her and her friends. But where others find failure, McNeel found an opportunity.

Catherine McNeel and Abbi Larkin

The Tulane sophomore’s startup, Clementine, will provide an online platform that streamlines the event planning process.

“It was so much more difficult than I felt like it should be for a party in our backyard and just for our friends,” McNeel said. “It was a casual thing and we just got tacos but it was such an ordeal. That’s when the idea was born and I started jotting things down and thinking about it. [It has] developed since then and since coming to school.”

She believes her platform will simplify event planning for those times you may not want to hire a professional.

“It takes all the things you would need to plan a small to medium event that you would never normally hire an event planner for, but puts it all in one place online,” McNeel said. “This includes menus, catering, decorations, invitations…A to Z…”

The San Antonio native says the platform will localize its search results to whatever city the user is located in, making it easy to find the resources you need in a pinch. When coming up with a name, McNeel wanted one which would capture the essence of what her business is all about.

“I knew I wanted something that incorporates the color orange because it signifies enthusiasm and creativity,” McNeel said. “It’s inviting nature embodies the lively spirit and mission of Clementine, to make planning great parties simple and fun.

Every startup needs a great team to elevate their ideas to the next stage. That’s why McNeel, a Finance and International Relations major, partnered with her friend Abbi Larkin. Larkin, a sophomore majoring in Marketing, rounds out the skills and know-how Clementine will require.

“She’s in charge of our marketing and beginning to brand ourselves, get a logo, and help with our website,” McNeel said. “We’re planning different events. She planned a whole bid day event. Hopefully we can start small and build to a point where we can actually develop our website.”

Clementine is still in an exploratory pre-launch period, as McNeel explains, but her Freeman classes have helped prepare her for the demands of entrepreneurship. When she’s not busy with her startup, McNeel is a Senator for USG on Finance Committee, a Green Wave ambassador, and a Resident Advisor in Irby Hall.

“This project’s like my baby, I really love it, I like working on it,” McNeel said. “I don’t know if it’ll ever be successful or not but it’s fun to see what the next steps are and learn about the process of starting your own business, how complicated it is, and how long it takes.”