Inspirational story of success
RUBBING shoulders with Hollywood icons within the events and hospitality industry is many people’s dream job, but Llanelli’s Jessica Rice has successfully made this work dream a reality.
Jess, 34, director of a number of businesses including JR Events & Catering and JR Drinks Festivals, has grown from a sole trader, through to employing over 100 people with a combined companies turnover of circa £2 million.
‘’I worked in sales and marketing for an international corporate company and at just 21 ran the sales and marketing for Wales and the South West of England, with representatives across the region, being the youngest manager within the companies’ UK arm. In 2008, after the birth of my son, not wanting to continue to work away so often, I decided to combine my marketing and event experience and set up an event and catering business with husband Jamie – who, being chef, meant it was the perfect combination.
“We started small, mainly catering for smaller-scale weddings – and here we are today!’’ says Jess. ‘’The events and hospitality industry is demanding – don’t be fooled by the social media images of rubbing shoulders with celebrities with a glass of Champagne in hand,’’ continues Jess. “The photo doesn’t show the six weeks of 18-hour days it’s taken to get to that point – it’s all about teamwork, and we’re blessed to have the very best!’’
Along with husband Jamie Rice, Jess’s businesses host events across the UK, including the UK’s first and biggest prosecco festivals, rum events and even a national touring 1920s speakeasy festival. JR’s reputation within Wales is unrivalled on the event scene including promotions for the likes of Chris Coleman, Wales’s biggest wedding exhibitions, concerts starring West End legend Elaine Paige, food and drink festivals through to the recent “Evening with Catherine Zeta-Jones”.
The catering arm of the business hosts a huge number of weddings and events and includes contracted clients such as Swansea Council’s Brangwyn Hall.