D42’s Fortuna Ludmir pours her heart and soul into all the special events she creates for her clients—and shares the bounty with those most in need.
Photography by Andres Perona and Matt Horton
Fortuna Ludmir was an attorney in her native Peru. but when she moved to Miami she embraced the opportunity to use her talents and creativity to build an Event Planning business with the unique vision of helping create memorable moments for people. “I loved practicing law, but I always felt that I wanted to combine my passion for design and decoration with my business experience and build something that would make a difference,” she says. “When I moved to Miami, I realized that there was a market need for high end event planning services where clients can get the magical moments they were dreaming of at affordable prices. Beauty, elegance and professionalism doesn’t necessarily mean expensive.”
Fortuna created Design42. Since then, it has become a highly successful, full-service event design and planning team. Her work speaks by itself. Fortuna is able to create whimsical environments with an elaborate use of colors, materials and textures, and unique attention to detail. Her designs are modern, sophisticated and vibrant, similar to Fortuna herself. She is quickly becoming one of the most sought after event planners in all of South Florida. She has even begun creating parties in her native Peru and will be planning parties in the very near future in Panama.
From the very beginning, her dream was to make memorable moments special for all people, regardless of their resources. With her business becoming successful, it was time to turn that dream into a reality. “I am very sensitive, and I found myself—especially two years ago when the economy started to become very difficult—feeling weird putting together magical parties when things were so bad for so many people. I had a need to feel my job was more than a one-night experience.”
So Ludmir did some research and discovered a company which describes itself as a “unique green business that rescues items” from weddings, banquets, fundraisers, and other special events, then repurposes them for people in need, such as flowers and leftover food. The items are then sent out to family shelters, charities, hospitals, schools, churches and temples. “For example, the flowers are delivered to hospitals and seniors; people who haven’t received a flower in the last 10 or 15 years,” says Fortuna. “You have to see their faces when they receive them. It’s a very nice experience. Sometimes I even put the flowers in the pot to prepare them for delivery.”
Her social conscience is always foremost in her mind when she is planning an event. “I always try to find the human aspect in every part of the party,” says Fortuna. “If I need to buy party favors for my clients––I try to buy from artisans to benefit charities or foundations. I’m always looking to see what else we can do to add a humanitarian aspect or use green elements. It’s not a big thing, but at least it’s something I can do, for my part.”
As for her clients, they are able to write off the value of the items that are donated from their events as a tax-deductible charitable donation. “There’s a small fee for the delivery of these goods, so the clients can choose to pay it under their name or, if they don’t want to, we’ll do it under our name,” Fortuna explains.
Fortuna lives in Miami Beach with her husband, Ian, and their two children, Sebastian, 9, and Daniella, 7. She is as serious about her commitment to the program as she is about the events that bear her imprimatur, which she takes care to ensure is ultra-special for each client—and every other aspect of her life. “Everyone knows me for the care with which I approach things—my business, my faith, and my style of events,” she says, with a laugh. “It’s classic with a twist.”