In what is perhaps the most challenging year in recent memory for event planners and invitation designers, Amy Finkenthal is finding ways to adapt in 2020. The owner of Noteriety Invitations has come up with creative ways to keep people safe and comfortable at social gatherings after many have been forced to either cancel their events or limit the number of attendees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One such way Finkenthal has tried to make her clients’ social occasions more enjoyable is decorative face masks and hand sanitizing bottles. During “crazy” times like these, Finkenthal said that it offers more personality to these events that otherwise might be overshadowed by anxiety.
“So many people are so afraid to come to these events, especially now,” said Finkenthal, who has been in the invitation design business for 30 years. “But it’s nice to be offered a mask when you first come in somewhere. It makes the guests actually feel a little more comfortable staying a little bit longer.”
Another adaptation she has made in her business is the introduction of colored wristbands. The wristbands, which come in red, yellow, and green, are available for all guests that attend these events. The colors of the bands correspond with the comfort level of each guest. For example: if a guest is wearing a red band, that means that they do not want to be approached, while a green band means that they are comfortable with closer conversation and contact, and a yellow band is somewhere in the middle.
Finkenthal operates Noteriety Invitations out of her Beachwood home. In addition to in-person appointments, she also offers Zoom and FaceTime appointments.
Finkenthal said she also benefits from the loyalty of her customers, thanks in large part to the hands-on approach she uses with each client. Often, clients will come in for invitations to events, such as baby showers, and then continue using Noteriety Invitations through their childrens’ bar and bat mitzvahs, and even through their weddings.
“We live in a small community and I grew up in this community,” Finkenthal said. “You spend a lot of time with the bride, mother of the bride, or whoever. Printing, at least for me, is not a one-time thing. It’s a lot of work to really do it the right way. I’ve made a lot of really good friendships out of meeting them just from doing their invitations.”
After so many years in the invitation business, Finkenthal said that the most gratifying part of the job is seeing her clients happy with how their events turned out, and how much fun the guests had thanks to her help.
“Seeing the pictures after the events, seeing how everything was pulled together, getting phone calls, hearing how I’ve made an impact,” Finkenthal said. “It’s just been an absolutely fun and heartwarming job. And it’s almost always with happy occasions, so how can you go wrong when you’re celebrating such wonderful mitzvahs, bar and bat mitzvahs, and weddings?”
Alex Krutchik is a freelance writer.