As a small business wanting to branch out into the big wide wedding world, nothing can prepare you for the absolute size of the industry.
Champink has been a small wedding planning business since 2011 and we are taking the business into the next phase. I came across the 4 counties wedding community on facebook, perfect I thought, as we work within the region.
However I soon realised that this is more than just a facebook group, this is a family of people with the same passion within the industry, just with different backgrounds, skills and talents who are at various stages of their business journey. When I first posted my blog here, I was pleasantly surprised of the amount of people who replied to say hello, then I started noticing my facebook and instagram followers increasing…. this was great! Not only has this opened my mind to opportunities, but it has also inspired and motivated me at times when I need it most.
I found additional support through WedX which is run my Tracy Butterfield at Appleby Events. So I decided to take the plunge and started to book some of the workshops. In particular, Tracy encouraged me to join the WedX Seminar at the beautiful venue Chichley Hall just North of Milton Keynes.
On arrival, I was very nervous, I thought I’m a small fish in a big pond, and as much as I know my business I thought everyone was going to be a well established businesses and ‘what if I didn’t fit in’. Before I had any more time to overthink, I walked in and was greeted with a huge smile and a hug from Tracy, immediately making me feel at ease and happy that I had made the decision to take the leap. Before long I was involved in sharing and listening to stories from other people’s experiences.
We moved into a beautiful rustic converted barn to start the seminar. Tracy set the scene and spoke about her journey, from starting the 4C Wedding Awards and the 4C Wedding Community and the WedX workshops. It was fascinating listening to her story, even though she did not set out on this journey, this is where the path had led her to and is now a recognised member of the industry and recently taken on the Director of Development role for the NAWP-UK.
Throughout the day we heard from inspirational key speakers. First was Beverley Edmondson Millinery (https://www.beverleyedmondson.co.uk). A young entrepreneur who started making hats from her dads bedroom and now runs a very successful Millinery business. Her approach to business is very relaxed and has allowed her business to develop as she has grown as a person, She is hard working and passionate and by knowing her business and what she wanted to achieve this has opened new doors for her and now teaches people to become successful Millners.
Jess and Tom from the Vintage Suit Company (http://www.vintagesuithire.co.uk), who are a married duo, saw a gap in the market when they were planning their own wedding, selling and hiring tweed suits. Within two years they have created a well established and branded business and used their business model creatively to achieve success. Tom spoke about knowing your customers and the importance of making your customers feel significant, important and valued.
Prior to lunch Christine Jensen a luxury cake maker from Cornwall spoke of her journey staring from a small town and how making cakes for fetes which had little return had led her to create Peboryon (http://www.peboryon.com), a well known cake brand which has seen her work in places including Claridges. Yet still living in the small town, she has managed to create a brand which is well known across London and the UK. Christine also shared her pricing tool, by using the three legged stool model, with the seat of the stall being profit. No one want to sit on a stall without a seat!! a fascinating speech encouraging us to have faith is our pricing and our own worth.
A lovely buffet lunch of hot soup, wraps, samosas, chicken and a delicious rhubarb desert was served. This time we were able to network and meet new people in the group. I spoke to a lady who is starting her own business in destinations wedding in Scicily, Italy. I was able to share some advice and tips with her and we have spoken about working together in future. It was at this point I realised, yes I do fit in and yes I can achieve more and offer advice to others. I really felt part of something, a community and especially after listening to the speakers I felt pumped ready to tell the world I am here and look what I can do.
After lunch Nova from NuBride spoke about her challenges of being a black bride within the industry and the lack of resources and support for brides from other ethnic groups. Her speech was very emotional and after listening to her story and the journey she had been on that had inspired her to make a difference and create NuBride to promote diversity within the wedding industry. I knew as a wedding planner, this is something I can help to make a difference. Especially through marketing and how visual impact can make people feel. She also spoke about looking after yourself, after working within the mental health industry for a number of years, the importance to always give yourself some time and by doing this we give the best to our clients. (https://nubride.com)
Kylie Carlson was the final speaker from Academy of wedding and event planning (https://www.weddingplanningacademy.co.uk), Kylie focussed on the future of the wedding industry and how using video marketing for your business is key to future success. Knowing your target audience can lead you to making smart decisions when deciding what platforms to use. Kylie gave some great advice about how to create videos and good quality content. What do we want our video to achieve. (www.kyliecarlson.co)
Towards the end of the day we were invited into the Grand Hall to sample an absolute stunning cake made by Pure Indulgence, who had created a delicious masterpeice fit for the royal wedding as part of the Extreme Cake Makeover tv show. This was another great way of networking throughout the day, when everyone was relaxed.
So at the start of the day I felt nervous, was my business and me good enough to warrant me being part of this event. Well I had nothing to worry about, being here made me feel important and made me realise I can achieve success and be part of this wonderful and evergrowing industry. It allowed me to make new contacts and has given me new and fresh ideas and inspired me to go out there and start saying ‘Yes’.