Hurricanes, and tornadoes, and wildfires… oh my! A natural disaster can have a devastating impact, but have you thought about the impact it could have to your business? In this week’s episode of the This Week In Weddings podcast, we’re chatting with Clara Hough, whose Houston-based linen company was impacted by Hurricane Harvey. In this episode, Clara shares her experience of dealing with event cancellations, closing the office, and still maintaining payroll during the devastation along with things she has changed in her business as a direct effect of that experience. No one wants to think about the what ifs, but this week’s episode is sure to get you thinking about your back-up plans, closing policies, and the amount you have socked away for a rainy day!
About our guest:
When you first meet Clara one can’t help but notice her cute little accent and lively personality. At only 5’3” and with a sense of style that is envied by most, this native Venezuelan has taken the Houston events industry by storm.
Clara attended the University of Houston, Bauer College of Business Administration where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Minor in French. After building a strong catering background, Clara endeavored to become a business owner in 2005 and launched House of Hough, which quickly became Houston’s top specialty linen rental company.
Clara has been inducted into the Houston Business Journal 40 under 40, and her company has landed in the University of Houston’s Cougar 100 fastest growing companies for five consecutive years. House of Hough has also been recognized as the Best Linen company by the Bridal Extravaganza Show and by The Knot Magazine “Best of Weddings.” Clara has been a leader in the events industry for many years. She served on Houston board for the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE – Houston Chapter) for 12 years. Some of her accolades through this association include Member of the Year, Chapter of the Year for two consecutive years (during her presidency), and being selected to chair the 2017 NACE Experience National Conference.
In 2015 and due to her involvement in the events industry and with the University of Houston, Clara was recognized as an Honorary Alumni of the Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. In addition to that, Clara recently received the University of Houston Alumni Rising Star Award for Achievement which purpose is to recognize and honor motivated young alumni who exhibit leadership, involvement and who have excelled beyond the norm early in their careers.
When asked, Clara would say that her most important contribution to the industry has been creating the Christopher and Clara Hough Annual Scholarship at the UH Conrad Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Through this scholarship she has been able to assist out of state and international students with their college tuition, therefore allowing them to continue their education when it otherwise may have been difficult or impossible.
Clara’s work has been published in The Knot, Southern Living, Southern Bride, 100 Layer Cake, Elle Décor & Modern Luxury Weddings, amongst many other publications.
In this episode, listeners will hear about:
- Clara’s background in the wedding and event industry
- Clara’s experience with Houston weather and specifically Hurricane Harvey from August 2017
- What going through the hurricane taught Clara about operating her business through a natural disaster
- How Clara kept her business afloat when income wasn’t coming in because of the hurricane
- The things Clara has learned and changed about how her business operates as a result of weathering the storm
Want to connect with Clara?