Mary has always been drawn to the arts. After beginning her career as an interior designer, dabbling in fashion and staging model homes, Mary’s love of creating an atmosphere and a feeling in the spaces she entered inspired her to launch Very Merry Events in 2008.

In addition to creating memorable experiences, Mary sent her clients’ home with physical mementos in the form of custom illustrations that became an indispensable part of her design process. In 2013, Mary took that love of illustration to the next level, launching The Sketchbook Series to help other event planners and designers learn a skill that had become a key way that she communicated with her clients. 

Although Mary no longer plans and designs events, she has become an impactful creative leader and has a passion for inspiring creatives everywhere.

Aside from traveling and teaching, Mary shares her adventurous days with her husband and 2 little boys located in the San Francisco, Bay Area.   

I love how my art has become a way to work with and support other event professionals. I love using it to empower and encourage creatives to pursue their passions. I want my art to inspire others to keep working toward their dreams.
— Mary Phan


Annie Mathew

Born with a crayon in her hand and a love of anything needing embellishment (walls included!), Annie's parents couldn't stop her from pursuing her artistic direction. Instead, they encouraged her with numerous art classes and lots of blank paper.

Annie studied fine art at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She went on to pursue her Masters Degree in Electronic Visualization and Virtual Reality but quickly realized that technology was not her passion. Instead she spent many years teaching hands on art to children of the Chicago public schools. She found her love of teaching and art to be perfectly aligned.

After moving to the Bay Area around 12 years ago, she started working with adults - a much tougher audience! She loves teaching adults to become more confident in their visual skills and childlike in their courage. Working as a TSS Instructor is the perfect position for Annie to encourage creativity and passion to adults who may need a gentle reminder of their innate artistic skills or to those who feel completely overwhelmed by the idea of drawing a stick figure! Annie loves the challenge of helping adults rediscover their natural talents that may have lain dormant since childhood.

Along with a plethora of art supplies, Annie shares her home with a wonderful husband and two lovely daughters - both of whom love to color on walls!