Editor’s Note: Durham, NC is not only home to the Forward Cities headquarters, but is also the site of one of the historic Black Wallstreets, a four-block section of West Parrish Street. Today our city is recognized as one of the top 3 cities to start a business nationwide. With the new Hometown Highlight series, we will interview and celebrate the enterprising entrepreneurs and small businesses that play a critical role in our local ecosystem.
"It is impossible to build a community in which you aren't actively participating. You only become a part of the problem, and not the solution."
Joye Speight, Multipreneur
Anyone who has planned, worked, or attended an event curated by Virtue Events (like the Forward Cities 2019 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA) have likely met its dynamic owner, Joye Speight. We were able to connect with Joye’s Marketing Stylist Abby Bradetich to learn more about how recent expansions to the Virtue Events brand are helping entrepreneurs and nonprofits succeed—in Durham and around the country.
Rajah: Joye is a multipreneur. Can you share how those multiple businesses formed?
Abby: Joye has worked in the events industry for over 20 years. Virtue Events is her Triangle-based, award-winning event team that specializes in captivatingly curated experiences. As the largest minority woman-owned event planning team, Virtue brings creativity, experience, and intentionality to every event, project, and client. We work with clients on weddings, as well as social, nonprofit, and corporate events.
Suite Four is Durham’s newest event venue and is an extension of Joye’s personal event work. This unique building has over 12,000 sq. feet of multifaceted spaces, including nine event spaces with a mixture of modern and industrial charm. We have indoor and outdoor options (including a highly sought-after rooftop with views of the city), and can customize the space to fit any type of event. Being located in downtown Durham has given us the opportunity to encapsulate the rich history of the warehouse district while being creative and innovative with our events.
Virtuous Lifestyle Luminaries, Joye’s newest venture, is a luxury candle line, created to maintain a lifestyle of virtue, an ambiance of luxury, illumination, and vibes. Each candle comes with a curated Spotify playlist to “illuminate your vibe”.
Rajah: How have Virtue Events and the other businesses had to pivot during the pandemic?
Abby: For Virtue, we had to furlough our event planners.Joye has taken on all planning duties for now. The acquisition of Suite Four was not announced until the end of 2020, and we only started booking events in 2021. We had to take our time developing the business,we couldn’t just jump right in because of COVID. So we took time to think strategically about how to be successful in the current times. For now, this includes virtual tours and enhanced safety protocols at Suite Four (temperature checks, masks, sanitizing stations), and virtual consultations for both businesses.
Rajah: What are specialty or primary services offered?
Abby: At Virtue Events, we offer full event planning and creative directing services, for weddings, social, non-profit, and corporate events. If your nonprofit needs help bringing awareness or generating revenue through events, Joye also offers consulting services through her creative consulting agency.
Suite Four is an event venue that can be booked for weddings, social and corporate events, photoshoots, parties, and more! We are also currently working on developing a collaborative co-working space for creatives within Suite Four - we’ll have personal desks and communal/team tables available, a podcast/video space for recording, and a lounge space with music and drinks for creatives to collaborate and work on their businesses; all for a nominal fee.
Virtuous Lifestyles sells luxury candles to enhance the space you live and work in and to inspire creativity and self-care.
Rajah: What community solutions are provided by the businesses?
At Virtue Events & Suite Four, we aim to connect and serve Durham by providing unique, innovative event spaces and services that inspire people to come together, create connections, and build community. Joye is a local champion for equity and inclusion for the Durham Community. As the former Creative Director for Forward Cities, Joye has developed a strong reputation for building connections and leveraging relationships for the good of the community. She has created an inclusive creative space, open to everyone, and looks forward to the collaborations it will bring.
Rajah: How can the community and our network help the businesses thrive?
- Liking/following us on social media: @suitefourdurham @virtueevents @virtueweddings @virtuouslifestylevibes on Instagram; @virtueevents and @suitefourdurham on Facebook
- Booking our spaces at Suite Four, and sharing our information with family and friends that may be interested: suite-four.com
- Booking our event services through Virtue Events: virtueevents.com
- Purchasing our luxury luminaries: virtuouslifestyles.com