Meet Our Team
A passion that grew into a leading local business
With two young children running around in the background, Cricket Newman spent much of her time organizing events and arranging flowers for volunteer organizations. As both her children and her friend's requests for flowers grew, her avocation became a vocation and Cricket Newman Designs was born. What started as a small operation designing flowers out of her kitchen sink grew to take over the shed, and soon the shed gave way to our home on Gervais. When flower recipients started asking where they could purchase items curated for events, The Shops opened its doors, and served as the culmination of over twenty years of expertise in floral design, interiors and local fashion; with one of South Carolina's most successful event teams keeping things busy in the back.
Photo Courtesy of Carmen Ash Photography
A Darlington, SC native, Cricket was greatly influenced by her grandmother's gracious entertaining style and her father's love of nature. While college launched her into a banking career, fun gatherings with friends and family - usually outdoors - continued to nourish her passions.
As children arrived, she left the corporate world and immersed herself in volunteerism, growing her flower arranging and design skills in the process. The children and her skills continued to flourish until it was time to launch a second career: in 2000, Cricket Newman Designs opened its doors. Cricket grew the company to encompass full event planning, retail, and flower workshops when the company moved to Gervais Street. She has become a fixture in Columbia, known for exceptionally high standards and incomparable creativity.
Twenty years and counting, Cricket's love for design, nature and logistics continues to grow - as does her family! She and husband Jamie love spending time with their children and their spouses, grandson and grandpups. The world around her continues to inspire her, and she believes nothing is more important than celebrating life with those she loves.
Lead Event Planner
Born and raised in St. Louis, Sara graduated from the University of Georgia before packing up and heading to the coast. Charleston, SC was home for over five years, where she quickly honed her skills in event design and grew her passion for the logistics that make the perfect aesthetic details even better. Her own love story brought her to the state's capital, and she quickly fell right into the CND family.
Sara is happily married to the Sumter boy who brought her to Columbia, and is head-over-heels for their two little boys and golden retriever. Always up for a celebratory glass of champagne or trying the newest fitness trends, Sara's love of people, eye for color, and attention to detail put all clients at ease.
Photo Courtesy of Joshua Aaron Photography
Assistant Event Planner
Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Julia always chased the latest design and hospitality trends that eventually inspired her dream to be an event planner. A desire to escape the cold weather and snow led her to Columbia after graduating from Penn State, where she landed a USC catering manager position. Soon after, she knew it was time to follow her ambition and happily found herself right at home with CND in November of 2019.
Julia has a focus and commitment to thoroughness that is unparalleled, and her ability to think outside of the box is a true asset to the CND team. When she is not keeping events (and staff!) organized at the office, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and laying on the beach.
Jane Marie Trail
Originally from Spartanburg, SC, Jane Marie graduated from Clemson University with a major in Business Management. After a successful blind date led to a budding romance, she moved to Columbia to be with her future (now current!) husband.
Jane Marie wears many hats at CND, and you can usually find her crunching numbers for client invoices or snapping pictures for The Shops' Instagram account. In a true nod to her "Renaissance Woman" status, when she's not in the office tackling operational logistics, Jane Marie pursues her passion of creating abstract works of art under the name Sissy's Art. She enjoys visiting the beach (her home away from home!) with her husband and two crazy dogs.
Ellen was raised in Orangeburg, SC, the daughter of a hard-working salesman. She grew up around the dinner table listening to her dad's daily travel stories. It came as no surprise, then, that after Winthrop University she began her own career selling ladies' and mens' fine apparel. Sales led to buying on 5th and 7th Avenues in NYC. She then opened her own business, affiliating with several prestigious direct-sales marketing companies. Next, Ellen helped friends with their local gift shop, and finally to CND with over forty years' retail and buying experience.
While a small-town gal at heart, Ellen's supreme customer service and incredible work ethic has taken her far and wide. She lives for the opportunity to help customers find the perfect gift or home accessory and works with Cricket and The Shop Roommates daily to bring unique items at affordable prices to the Columbia area. On her rare days off, she enjoys brunching with friends and time spent with her daughter, son and daughter-in-law.
If you've walked through the doors of The Shops, or seen the team hard at work during event setups and breakdowns, chances are you've seen Mr. Green. He is our resident Jack of All Trades, and life at CND just wouldn't be the same without him and his sweet tooth.
The Design Team
Many hands makes for light work in the CND Events office, and we could not pull off the execution of our beautiful affairs without the help of our "Design Princesses." Our talented team in the design room brings the creative team's designs to life week-in and week-out, and their commitment to perfection never goes unnoticed.