Meet Make it Mariko, an all-women of color event agency that built a new business line on Hopin

Meet Make it Mariko, an all-women of color event agency that built a new business line on Hopin

Make it virtual

Make it Mariko was set to have its best year yet in 2020. Then, the pandemic started – suddenly, all in-person gatherings were paused. 

Almost overnight, the all-women of color event agency lost 87% of its income. It took agency CEO and founder Gina Mariko Rosales weeks to come to terms with the situation. After all, she was in the business of creating meaningful, magical experiences, and it had all come to a screeching halt.

She realized the only way out was forward – into the world of virtual events. She asked her team to research every virtual event platform available for their upcoming venture capitalist experience, The Marketplace Conference. After extensive analysis and many demos, Hopin was their top choice. 

The platform's versatility and clean look won Gina over. As the creative mind behind the agency, it's her job to help clients put on events that don't compromise on quality. With Hopin, she knew she could achieve all the same buzz and excitement her clients had come to expect at their physical events.

"My biggest job is like, 'Tell me about your in-person event and what was beautiful about it. What did you love about it?' Now, give me the freedom to translate those activities to virtual in a way that's going to feel real."  –Gina Mariko Rosales, CEO and Founder, Make it Mariko

Since using Hopin for The Marketplace Conference, Gina and the Make it Mariko team have championed the all-in-one event management platform as their go-to choice for virtual events across a range of clients and verticals. Nonprofit fundraisers, galas, corporate conferences, tech conferences, leadership offsites, community events, and social justice gatherings – Make it Mariko brings all of them to life on Hopin.

6 professional women posing together
6 professional women posing together

"What I loved about Hopin was the [...] design of the interface. It was really clean [with] a lot of white space. And there were opportunities to customize, but not so much that it drove you crazy. So, if you want to go super custom, you can. But if you don't, then it's still really beautiful, and it's super branded."

Gina Mariko Rosales
CEO and Founder, Make it Mariko

Make it exciting

Gina makes it her mission to change preconceived notions about what's possible with virtual experiences. She aspires to build virtual events people plan for and get genuinely excited about.

"When I have people come to an event, I don't want them to think about it as work. I want it to be something fun. I want it to be something that you plan for, that you're excited for. I think that's what's great about Hopin is it really does feel like an event in a browser tab, and there are ways to explore – you can move around, you have agency." –Gina Mariko Rosales, CEO and Founder, Make it Mariko

Gina works with her digital production partners at AddVirtual who also DJ live during breaks as a way of injecting energy into events and connecting attendees who are often thousands of miles apart. Over half of the virtual chat messages at Make it Mariko events are about the DJ and the musical selections! They also use Hopin’s interactive features like polls, Q&As, and quizzes to ensure attendees stay engaged throughout talks and presentations.

Keeping things fun and collaborative helps the agency hold attendees’ attention – often for more than five hours straight during day-long conferences.

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Hopin’s features allow Make it Mariko to focus on key moments

As an event planning agency, Make it Mariko is held to certain standards for every event. Hopin helps them overdeliver with the following features:

  • Customizability: Hopin features extensive visual customization capabilities that help organizers tailor virtual experiences to clients’ needs. 
  • Event sessions: Gina and her team bring in live DJs and play music during breaks to keep the energy up and promote a sense of community among attendees.
  • Audience engagement: Hopin's polling feature helps keep presentations interactive. Q&As and quizzes also driveaudience engagement.
  • Chat: Gina and her team use Hopin's chat functionality to get instant feedback from attendees and bring them into the conversation.
  • Expo area: Hopin's Expo booth functionality helped Make it Mariko convince sponsors to participate in virtual events. The ability to switch between live and pre-recorded content, connect directly with attendees, and see leads as well as how attendees are interacting with their content convinced many big companies to continue sponsoring previously in-person events.

"It was very hard for sponsors to pivot to virtual, but I do think that Hopin was one of the most successful platforms to pivot the sponsor expo booth experience. The feature of toggling between pre-recorded content and going live is such a great feature."

Gina Mariko Rosales
CEO and Founder, Make it Mariko

Make it global

Gina and her team use the response to their events on social media as a key indicator of success and impact. They’re also regularly inundated with direct feedback from attendees, clients, sponsors, and organizers both during and after their events. 

Word of mouth has proved to be one of the biggest drivers of new business for Make it Mariko. Many of the key stakeholders involved in the agency's first virtual event, The Marketplace Conference, were so impressed by what they saw they hired Gina and her team to build their virtual conferences. 

Gina also started using Hopin for her nonprofit organization, Pinayista – a creative entrepreneur network for Filipina women. Pinayista used Hopin to host a virtual edition of their annual summit, which is usually in person.

Initially, Gina feared her team’s events would lack the magic of being together in person. But that couldn’t be further from what happened. Using Hopin allowed Gina to double attendance at the Pinayista annual summit, and she could now feature speakers from around the world.

"I would never have been able to feature those voices on our stage and have women from all over the world, like the Philippines, even joining. We got to double our community and connect everyone even more." –Gina Mariko Rosales, CEO and founder, Make it Mariko

After successfully executing countless events, Gina plans to continue partnering with Hopin to create one-of-a-kind virtual and hybrid experiences for Make it Mariko, her clients, and herself.


Average attendee NPS


Events hosted on Hopin


Average attendance rate

"When I see comments like this, I'm like, we did our job. [It] is people just saying, ‘I felt like I was at the event,’ or ‘I didn't feel like I missed anything,’ or ‘I felt super engaged.’ And that, for me, is always the most important thing to look at."

Gina Mariko Rosales
CEO and Founder, Make it Mariko

Lots of virtual audience buzz

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