NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry woman was happy getting promotions and making money at a manufacturing company. But her mom kept nagging her about the two of them going into the event planning business.
They never did open that business, but a tragic turn of events allowed Courtney Scipio to turn her mother’s dream into reality. From tragedy to triumph, Scipio turned her mother’s passion into a paycheck.
Scipio is the owner of Inspired By Annette, and making wedding dreams come true is her specialty.
She started her business in 2013 while still working full time. She coordinates weddings, corporate events and other celebrations. In 2016, she took a leap of faith and quit her 9-5.
“It was a scary decision, cause you know, you get used to the paycheck. You’re used to getting paid every two weeks,” Scipio said.
She worked at Cummins, making a good living and was slowly getting into real estate. Event planning was actually her mother’s dream.
“My mother Annette always had a love and passion for decor and design. She would always try to get me involved, for us to start this company together, but that wasn’t in any of my plans,” Scipio said.
But something tragic happened, and Scipio’s mom would never get the chance to see her dream come true.
“In 2012, I lost my mother to domestic violence. My mother, her boyfriend at the time, he shot my mom and then turned around and took his own life,” Scipio said.
Anngenette Shaw was just 42 years old when she was murdered. Her three youngest children were sitting in her car at Strick’s One Stop convenience store in Eutawville in the parking lot where the shooting happened. She was standing next to her boyfriend’s truck talking with him, when he pulled out a gun and shot her, according to reports from the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Scipio says in addition to dealing with the tragic way that she lost her mother, she also had to take in her younger siblings, two sisters and a brother. But she says it was her mother’s love and her faith that helped her to get through it all.
Trying to get back to some normalcy, Scipio planned birthday parties for her kids. Friends took notice of the colorful affairs and asked her to plan parties for their kids.
“And then from there with social media, next person saw it and it just really turned into a fire, like a desire inside of me just wanting more, to go after it more,” Scipio said.
At first, she did it for free. But people were willing to pay for her services, and she realized she embodied her mother’s passion.
“So I’m like, it had to be God, putting this gift within me using me as a vessel to carry out my mother’s dream,” Scipio said.
An event planning business Inspired by Annette was born. Scipio worked out of her garage at first and used their personal savings to buy supplies. Her husband handled the household expenses, allowing Scipio to invest every dime that she made right back into the business.
“So it took a while to really, actually you know get a paycheck. Cause you are constantly funding the business and just putting those funds back into the business,” Scipio said.
She made plenty of mistakes along the way, and lost some money too.
“Bad contracts, not charging enough and having to come out of my own pocket to, as far as with the funds,” Scipio said.
As her clientele grew, she moved into an event hall, expanded the business and hired four full-time employees.
“And it’s kind of three businesses in one. Cause we have the venue space, and then we do rentals, outside rentals, and then I do outside contracts for weddings and corporate events as well,” Scipio said.
Within the past year, her husband Carlos quit his job, and runs the rental side of things, where they rent out chairs, tables, tents and the like. This thriving business is now a true family affair.
“But every day is not sunshine. Some days I want to just, you know, because of the hustle and bustle and just what comes with it,” Scipio said.
She says if she could talk with her mom one more time, she knows she would be pleased.
“I knew you had it in you. I love you. I’m very proud of you. Don’t give up," Scipio believes her mom would say.
Scipio says it takes a village to build a business. She says her grandmother helped out in a big way by taking care of her children after school. And during busy weekends, her mother-in-law would take the children so she and her husband could attend to their clients.
Before starting Inspired By Annette, Scipio was employed at Cummins Marine. At first she worked in the warehouse as a manufacturing associate.
“So I used to wear steel toe boots, drive forklifts, all that good stuff. Yes, I did,” she laughed.
“Then they had a position, an administrative position I applied for in the office and I got that. So I became an administrative assistant and then after that I got a promotion to marine technician,” Scipio said.
She worked at Cummins for 13 years, and three of those years she ran her event planning business part time.
She also had her real estate license and had intended to build a career in real estate.
Scipio says she had no idea things would turn out this way, and she’s glad she’s using her talent, to fulfill her mom’s dream. She encourages others to go for it too.
“Don’t be afraid, go after it, you have to take that leap of faith and that’s one of those lessons and I’m glad that I did that within my business,” Scipio said.