Behind the Hustle: Felix Vargas (@FelixAVargas)
Special events aficionado Felix Vargas has honed skills in hospitality, event management and special events since his early days in high school studying hospitality management and culinary arts. With an affinity for events Felix founded Squizit events and catering company at the age of 18. The successful venture catered and planned over 50 weddings in the five boroughs within two years. Squizit was also responsible for launching educational programs to support the Teens in Fashion Organization which ultimately lead to designer Indashio winning VH-1’s hit reality show, Glam God.
As a proud recipient of The Food and Beverage Association scholarship Felix eventually graduated with honors with a Bachelors of Technology in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Personnel Psychology from City University of New York at the New York City College of Technology. He was awarded for excellence in restaurant management from Union Square Hospitality Group and Debragga and Spitler.
Felix’s career has been influenced by his first jobs assisting top trending venues to include Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at Moma. A natural progression introduced his new role as catering coordinator at EET Restaurant, a division of Splashlight Studios in SoHo catering photo shoots for clients such as Oprah, Kate Winslet, Jay Z, Shakira, Lady Gaga, Macy’s, V Magazine, Ann Taylor, New York Magazine and more.
An internship at Marc Wilson Design in 2011 soon gave way to a full time role as event services manager. Felix provided support in reimagining the brand to include renaming the brand to MWD Lifestyles, create new marketing materials, company infrastructure and launching a destination management department. Felix has assisted MWD Lifestyles for milemarker events to include Magic Johnson’s Aspire network launch, Groupon and Gwyneth Paltrow, Essence Magazine and Wendy Williams, Annual Spring Apollo Gala and Fox News.
Felix is resilient and thrives in social, diverse environments and is a bilingual asset to any team. Felix’s experience ranges from an understanding of hospitality marketing to event management and production; from lead generation to new business development. He is uniquely qualified to provide leadership for cause and mission based events, and luxury and cultural events alike.
Felix provides design support for current and former employers and has mastered event conceptualization and the proposal and pitch stage of event production. He has successfully managed events through all stages of production from the proposal stage, to budgeting and negotiations, to implementation, to set-up, breakdown and post-production. Felix has created financially beneficial collaborative relationships that have been pivotal in providing a vision supportive of the long term vision of his employers and clients.
Felix has managed top event and hospitality brands and has independently managed over 20 events including weddings, professional networking events and product launches. He is now the director of special events at PUNTO Space, which has housed events for Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina runner up, Nabila Tapia, Uptown Fashion Week, xAD, Anheuser Busch, Kids on Fashion and the well known Tom Todoroff Conservatory. Felix continues to operate in the spirit of excellence. He is also a resident wedding blogger for Olli Studios.
“hi, my name is…”
The world knows me as: Felix Vargas
I’ve also been known to respond to the names: Fefe
I am wicked good at: Cooking, Dancing and Cleaning Bathrooms!
Least favorite house chore: Folding Laundry
My go-to guilty pleasure food is: Honey Buns
Favorite App: Instagram
Favorite Quote: Just Breathe
Job Title: Director of Special Events
Professional Superpower: Morphing
My primary role in the events industry is: Producing Events
Years in the events industry: 10
To me, being an event hustler means: Being a psychologist, a doctor, a make-up artist, stylist, personal shopper, prep cook, line cook, server captain, baby sitter and custodian.
The top 2 most surprising things I’ve learned about the events industry since starting are: 1) The amount of hand-holding we do would instantly qualify us to become professional baby sitters ad 2) If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
How did you get your start in the events industry? In high school, I went in the hospitality program thinking it was related to hospitals! I arrived at my first class which was Purchasing in a room surrounded by canned foods and realized I did something wrong. It was painstakingly clear the program had nothing to do with hospitals so I stayed to avoid being laughed at or teased. I enjoyed it so much that soon after I launched Squizit, my own event and catering company while I worked at my first jobs in the industry as a manager at Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at MOMA. After that, it was the internship-turned-permanent role at MWD Lifestyles that was a huge milestone. I’m still working with MWD Lifestyles and Weddings by MWD Lifestyles and am now also the director of special events at PUNTO Space!
My biggest event industry pet peeve is: So called planners who claim to have worked with everyone and once working together, you realize they sit at a table the entire time and rely on everyone else to do their work.
“No such thing as TMI”
One thing that would really surprise people to learn about me is: I was once a professional hip-hop dancer and now taking on salsa dancing.
You can only keep 2 albums in your entire music collection -those albums would be: “A Day Without Rain” by Enya and “Blackout” by Britney Spears
10yr old me thought I’d grow up to be: A meteorologist or astronaut
Text or phone call?: Phone Call
Android or iphone?: iPhone
Toilet paper roll – Over or under?: Either way works for me
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