Phew, we made it through 2021. That was seriously a whirlwind of really high highs and really low lows, but we’re overall so thankful to have made it through as a small business during such a tumultuous time where so much of the events industry was still closed.

We continued to collaborate with our production partners at AddVirtual, and as a result we were able to take on bigger clients, and we innovated the Virtual AND Hybrid event spaces like no other.

Here are some of our highlights as a team and company this year:

  • We grew the team and went to 4 full time employees and over 15+ contractors & creatives, ALL WOMEN!
  • We planned 40 events in 2021 (less than last year), BUT we saw a 175% increase in the total event package booked! So our clients were trusting us with bigger event packages and more planning/design/production.
  • Our events got bigger, more complex, and required much more staff to operate.
  • We completed 30 virtual events on 4 different virtual platforms & became pros at the Hybrid event experience (virtual + in person).
  • We joined the Hopin Customer Advisory Board and traveled to LA to advise the Hopin CEO & VPs on key platform updates.
  • We donated over $72K in Pro Bono Event Planning & Cash Donations to Nonprofits & Community Events.
  • We won 2 grants! The Jane Walker First Women Grant with IFundWomen & KKR Small Business Builders Grant.

Now in 2022, we have another year ahead of us, but alas, we also foresee that 2022 events are going to look very similar to 2021 and many will still be leaning on virtual due to Covid. With that said, our team has decided to take a much needed BREAK while we regroup, refocus, and realign after so much PIVOTING. Check out this blog from our Founder, Gina Rosales, explaining why we think every business deserves a break, especially during such chaotic and traumatic times. 

We will still be accepting REQUESTS for events that start no earlier than May 2022, and until then, we have endless GRATITUDE for our Clients, Event Partners, Vendors, and Community who stood by our side this year and helped this ALL WOMEN OF COLOR SMALL BIZ THRIVE!

Check out our countdown of some of our favorite magical, meaningful moments in true Make it Mariko form.


<3 Gina Mariko
Founder & CEO

1) Having The Woz, Steve Wozniak, himself on our livestream!

Yup, that’s the Apple Co-Founder himself on our livestream with our clients Postman Galaxy. What a nice guy!

2) Demanding Justice for Angelo Quinto Thru a Candlelit Livestream in the Park

Photos by Neil Yuzon

It was an honor to partner with the Justice for Angelo Quinto coalition to demand justice for this young man whose life was taken far too soon by police during a mental health check in call.

3) Producing one of the Most Inclusive Events with Othering & Belonging

Video by Amyra Soriano

The UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute has been an absolute joy to work with especially since accessibility is such a focus for this nonprofit. We helped coordinate Closed Captioning as well as ASL (featuring deaf and hearing interpreters!) which was a new concept to us, but as we learned is really impactful for people who use ASL as their first language.

4) Featuring Jazzy Jeff on our Livestream with Winter Music Conference

We’re huge fans of Jazzy Jeff, and bonus points, he is one of the most kind people ever! It was so amazing to partner with this iconic music festival normally hosted in Miami to bring their IRL event to the virtual space, as well as sit on a panel ourselves to talk about the future of virtual events.

5) Hosting 350+ Pinays at our First Hybrid Pinayista Summit

Video by Amyra Soriano

One of our all-time favorite events that Make it Mariko sponsors every year, we were so grateful to be able to gather with our amazing Pinay community in person and virtually to build Pinay sisterhood and find the necessary healing we all needed during this crazy time through Pinayista.

6) Re-Launching UNDISCOVERED SF with an Epic Cultural District Crawl Outdoors

Photos by The Mogli

We did it – we brought back our favorite Filipino Night Market, but re-imagined it during the pandemic as a safe, outdoor daytime Culture Crawl of the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District! Over 10 Venues, 45+ Vendors, 16 Performers, and our biggest day of retail sales EVER!

7) Working with NPR & Guy Raz for the “How I Built This” Virtual Summit

Video by Amyra Soriano

Yes, Guy Raz himself!! We’re huge fans of the How I Built This podcast and were so honored to partner with NPR to help bring this important Summit to virtual-land, as well as help them with strategizing programming content.

8) Making a Comeback to IRL with Ciel Creative Space “Rebirth” Event

Video by Amyra Soriano

We finally made it back to in person events! June 15th marked re-opening day for California and we were partnered with Ciel Creative Space to re-launch their new, expanded studio spaces with a big industry party like the pandemic had never seen.

see more photos

9) Almost Purchasing Our First 20-Acre Event Center!

Yup, we took a big leap this year to pursue what is the ultimate goal and purpose of Make it Mariko — to own and operate our own event space and retreat center in Northern CA! We raised over $700K from all women of color investors, and put multiple offers on a 20-acre property, but it wasn’t meant to be this year (thankfully).

read the blog

10) Closing 2021 with Brown is Beautiful and all the Creatives We Love!

Photos by Neil Yuzon

What an honor it was to host our industry creatives for our first Holiday Party celebrating POC creatives! It was an epic way to close out a traumatic and crazy year with the ones we love filled with JOY, dancing, and safe hugs.

see more photos
Thank you endlessly to everyone who has supported us this year through the madness! We love and appreciate you all.
Read the blog about our Make it Mariko Sabbatical