Marissa Mascaro, a leading stylist in the candy buffet industry, has been event planning since her teens. She has designed over 3,000 candy buffets, catering to over 300,000 people, a majority of whom are large household names. What inspires Marissa to excel in this unique industry? Let’s ask her.
Where did you study?
At school my best subjects were business, art and literature. From a very early age it was evident that I would work in events.
I studied business marketing at Victoria University and earned qualifications in 2001. I later went on to study Event Management at Swinburne University, finishing in 2005.
What got you into the candy buffet business?
Before being hired by The Candy Buffet Company, I was new to the candy buffet business. I had a long history of doing events. When I applied at The Candy Buffet Company, I knew it was the perfect job for me. My passion lies in styling, so working with clients from concept to completion was a what attracted me to the business.
What events did you organise at a younger age?
I helped establish The Mascaro Foundation at the young age of 16. This is a family charity that was established to raise money on behalf of Make a Wish Australia. Over a ten-year period, we really grew the foundation. The first event had 100 attendees and raised $10,000. Years later, the event was attended by over 450 attendees, raising $100,000. In total, we have raised over $500,000 for Make a Wish Australia. This is a huge accomplishment for me!
How long have you been styling candy buffets?
Five years and counting!
Wow! Judging from the long list of clients, you’ve been busy! How many events have you done in your time in the business?
According to our database, I’ve styled more than 3,000 buffets, which catered to around 300,000 guests. Surely that’s more candy buffet styling than anyone in the world.
What would you consider one of your biggest candy buffet success stories?
The first time we worked with Live Nation was what I would consider the biggest success. We “toured” with P!NK all around Australia, 46 events in total. Each one was perfect! Since that tour, we have toured with Live Nation for four different artists!
Which styles or themes are your favourite to work with? Any unique or favourite places you’ve travelled for an event?
What I love the MOST about my job is the diversity of themes. Working with each client on a personal level allows me to understand what they want from their wedding/corporate event. Ultimately, I find out what they want from their candy buffet!
The most unique experience was our feature on Big Brother Australia in 2012. I was flown to Brisbane and spent two days peeking into the salacious lives on the housemates. It was such a blur actually setting up the candy buffet, as I only had 10 minutes in the house to complete the styling. If you pause the episode that night at just the right time, you can actually see me!
I’ll share with you the feedback from the night:
“Thank you for an amazing Candy Buffet for our Housemates in Big Brother Australia 2012. The professionalism and patience you showed in the crazy, last minute environment that is live TV was incredible. The Candy Buffet looked so good our Housemates won’t stop talking about it and you had all the Control Room crew begging for the leftovers. The effort you put in to make it look the very best for us (bigger and better always works for TV!) and all your extra little touches like personalising candy options and boxes for our Housemates was greatly appreciated. I would not hesitate to recommend you for any future TV shoots or personal parties/occasions.
Producer, Big Brother.”
Which themes or styles are the most popular?
For our corporate clients, it is so important to match their brief on colour and style, and we mostly use their company logo as direction.
With brides, the main focus is around matching the venue’s decor and the bridesmaid’s dresses! Having worked at thousands of venues around Australia, you’d be hard pressed to tell me about a venue that I don’t know!
Do you have any plans to grow and expand within the industry? If so, what are your next steps?
We have recently developed DIY candy buffets and this is something I want to focus on, especially for our rural customer base. We’re always developing our decorations & props, which allows us to provide more than just candy!
Expanding overseas, especially into New Zealand, is a huge ambition. Also, setting up shop for destination weddings (Hamilton Island, etc.) would be amazing.
More photos of Marissa & her amazing work!