Written by Saul Taylor
The force behind global events and experiences agency K2, Chouvet’s passion for creating memorable moments has taken her from her native France all across Asia to her current (multiple) berths in China. A founding partner of The Independents, she reveals what it takes to keep the show — 12 offices, 600 employees and counting — on the road.
Isabelle, can you tell us how you got your start in the industry?
My husband was running a restaurant/club in Paris and we organized a few small events for fashion/lifestyle brands and magazines that were quite successful. But because our past professional experiences had led us to live in other parts of the world, it felt quite natural to extend our passion for event production with a broader international mindset. I was at that time working in Medef organizing more corporate events. A friend of ours and future partner – Alain Soulas – was at the time living in Japan as head of the Chamber of Commerce and we came up with the idea of creating a club / start up event agency in Tokyo. We packed our bags and a few weeks later the adventure started.
What’s a typical day for you?
Juggling over the phone, WhatsApp and WeChat with collaborators spread over the world from Los Angeles to Seoul is my daily workout.
What’s the best thing about working in Asia – and what’s the most challenging?
I have lived almost 15 years in Asia, in Tokyo for 2 years first, then in Shanghai. It may appear a cliché but I felt fortunate enough to have experienced this decade where everything seemed possible, for people, for brands, and therefore for the agency we started in China in 2004. The best thing is being inoculated with the “everything is possible” virus! The most challenging thing has certainly been discovering how this continent is a mix of very distinctive cultures, where one size does not fit all.
How has forming The Independents with Karla Otto changed the scale and scope of what you do?
It’s a radical shift. With now 12 offices and close to 600 employees under the Independents across the US, Europe, the Middle-East and Asia, our relationship with brands must be seen through the powerful lens of globalization and localization. We start accompanying our clients in global initiatives requiring to be relevant in each market we land. That’s quite a subtle balance but that’s what makes the job so interesting.
Can you give us an example of an event you’ve worked on together, and what you were able to achieve by forming the partnership?
We organized this year two amazing gala dinners in London for the reveal of Magnitude, Cartier’s new collection of high jewelry. K2 took care of the event production while Karla Otto was able to secure amazing designer dresses for the models that brought the show to another level. It’s one example among many where our services complement each other very harmoniously.
What does a brand need to succeed in today’s world?
Authenticity, responsibility, desirability.
What do you think the industry will look like in 20 years time?
The customer will be even more the king!
How do you relax?
With my husband and our 3 children.
And finally, what makes a great event?
I won’t tell you! It’s a miracle recipe… I already tasted it…. but I still can’t say what’s inside. So I continue because I love that taste.Back