For Alyson Fox, timing is everything
Levine Fox Events was founded in 1997 by mother and daughter, Diane Levine and Alyson Fox, and it has grown into one of the most highly lauded event-planning companies in the nation. Best known for their stunning design and presentation, as well as their 24/7 work ethic, they have produced events and weddings for a wide array of distinguished clientele—from Britney Spears, to top industry executives and CEOs of leading corporations. Levine Fox Events has been featured in countless major publications such as Inside Weddings, InStyle, and People magazine. Recently, Levine retired, leaving the business in the capable hands of her daughter, Fox, who just happens to be an amazing Solo Mom to her daughter, Gabriella, who is 17.
Q: What exactly do you do?
A: I’m an event producer, which is a combination of event planning and design. I do everything: weddings, birthdays, sweet 16s, anniversaries, white parties—any sort of event. I love what I do. I think it’s my calling.
Q: When and how did you become a Solo Mom?
A: I happily divorced 12 years ago after being married eight-and-a-half years. He was not my soul mate or my partner. Technically we have joint custody of my daughter, though I pay for everything. Initially, I got support for three years, and then it went down because he lost his job. He stopped giving us anything about four years ago. He and I have zero relationship except for my daughter spending half her time with him.
Q: How were you able to build a company while raising a child alone?
A: I started the business with my mom 17 years ago. She was my partner. We built it together. She retired in June, and I just took over. We started small, but the business has grown considerably. Still, we think of ourselves a boutique event-planning business.
Q: How did you manage when you initially divorced?
A: My daughter was five, so I worked during school hours—a perk of being self-employed. If I needed, I would pick her up after school and bring her to work with me. On the weekends that we had events, she stayed with my dad. They have a really great relationship.
Q: Did being a Solo Mom impact your career?
A: It encouraged me to be more ambitious and work harder since there’s no one but me to depend on for my daughter and myself.
Q: Do you think you being a Solo Mom has impacted your daughter?
A: With a daughter especially, it’s important that a single mom set a good example—that she sees you getting out there, working, hustling, and doing everything you can to give the two of you a better life.
My daughter is already ambitious. She’s doing her college applications on her own, and working really hard. She wants a career and never talks about a man taking care of her. In that regard, me being a positive role model has been good for her.
However, because I work so many hours, especially in the past few years, I’ve had less time to spend with her. It’s been hard for me because I feel like I’ve missed so much because I’m so busy. I regret not having more free time to spend with her.
Q: When you divorced did you feel a shift in your community?
A: I don’t feel like I lost any friends. Many of my friends supported me initially. Then I became friends with a new group of single girls—and had a blast. I was in my early thirties, and we had a really good time. I didn’t regret getting divorced for a second. I always say if I’m single forever, I’m better off than being in an unhappy relationship for one day.
Q: What resources were available to you when you divorced?
A: My therapist!
Q: Was there a defining moment that drove home you were raising a child alone?
A: I was just happy to be single again. I was so checked out of my marriage that there was never a moment that made it real. My parents were supportive, and Gabriella’s godmother and their family were always there. They are like Gabriella’s other family; the children are like her siblings.
Q: What are you most proud of as a Solo Mom?
A: I am proud that I can pay the bills; that I own a house and pay a mortgage; that I have a nice life. People always want more. Sure, I want to have nicer things, or go on more vacations, or buy my daughter nicer clothes—but I am very grateful that I have a career. And I’m grateful to my mom, because if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have all of this.
Q: Can you recommend any resources for women trying to break into the event-planning business?
A: It’s a really tough business with a lot of competition. There are so many different variations of what I do. You can work with the studios in the event-planning division. Then there are tons of different aspects: rental companies, linens, floral. The event business has never been what it is today. When I started there wasn’t competition. There were just a handful of us. Now the newer people have studied under those people and started their own businesses. You need a good eye for design. You need to be organized and have good relationships with great vendors. You need to know how to time everything—then you can be successful.
Q: What is your favorite single-parenting tip?
A: When I was so busy, for six months hard core, I started a tradition where every Friday my daughter and I would go out to dinner and catch up on everything. We have date night. It keeps us connected.
For more information about Levine Fox Events visit their website.
You can find more tips from Solo Moms on balancing work and family in our Work and Finances Resource Section.
Photo by Justine Ungaro. Find more of her work at justineungaro.com
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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