Planning the ideal proposal

Burnaby entrepreneurs launch Just Because Vancouver, to help local lovebirds plan their proposals

After 11 years of dating his girlfriend Jennifer, Colin Cordero finally decided it was time to pop the question.

“I had some ideas in mind,” he told the NOW. “But I realized that executing it was a little bit difficult, especially if it’s going to be a surprise.”

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A couple of weeks ago, a friend referred Cordero to Just Because Vancouver, a new proposal-planning company started by Burnaby’s own Karen Lee and Kim Lee (and no, they’re not related).

Cordero, who admitted he was a bit skeptical at first about putting such a big day in the hands of strangers, said things couldn’t have gone better for his Aug. 27 proposal at Deer Lake.

Around sunset, the 32-year-old bent down on one knee amidst candles and lanterns on a dock at the local lake. The setup included gold and crimson-coloured blankets and pillows, a bouquet of flowers, sushi and a bottle of wine.

“It was just the perfect spot. It was exactly what I asked for,” Cordero said enthusiastically.

His fiancée, who was made to believe they were heading to a romantic dinner at the Fairmont, which included a quick stop along the way, couldn’t agree more.

“I was very, very impressed; very surprised,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

To be a part of that special moment, according to Kim and Karen, is why the friends decided to venture out into the proposal-planning business. That and the fact they realized a few years ago, when trying to pull off a couple of surprise getaways for their boyfriends, that it took a lot of work.

“We knew guys weren’t really designed that way, to sit down and plan something; they live in the moment,” Karen told the NOW. “So we’re thinking, if it takes so much time for us, how hard is it for guys, especially nowadays with the social pressures of having them execute something spectacular for something like a proposal.”

Kim, who also has a full-time job working for the Vancouver Police Department, said she finds the new gig “very satisfying,” even though days off are a rarity. Karen, meanwhile, used to work in real estate development.

“It was definitely not my passion. At the end of my three years, I was like, OK, I need to just do something that makes me happy,” she said of her decision to quit her job this past March.

But becoming entrepreneurs wasn’t an easy task. With degrees in criminology and communications, the first few months of 2015 were spent learning the basics.

“It was quite discouraging at first,” Karen noted.

They started small by planning dates for couples and then eventually switched gears to the big question.

Business has really begun to pick up in the last three months, the pair added, with six proposals already under their belts. Themes thus far range from a French country picnic, to a walk down memory lane, to Hello Kitty.

Looking ahead, the girls, both 24 years old, hope to expand their business as far as Montreal or Toronto.

“Now, it’s slowly popping up, people are reaching out to us, there’s a peaking interest now. It’s like, ‘What’s this? We’ve never heard of this before,’” Karen said. “And we believe that that’s the start of a new industry.”

For more information on Karen and Kim’s date and proposal planning services, including blog posts on proposal ideas, as well as photos and specifics on each of the six proposals, visit justbecausevancouver.com.

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