Wow what a year 2019 has been for The White Emporium!
I’m not going to lie at the beginning of the year I was worried, 2018 had been all about keeping The White Emporium going whilst looking after a new born, so 2018 passed in a blur and it was all about living in the moment with barely a thought to the following year. So when I entered 2019 I didn’t have as many bookings as I would like, or needed. I had returned to my part time job 2 days a week but looking at my books I couldn’t see how I would make ends meet. So I crossed my fingers, put my head down and put faith in my little business that I could make it work.
I made some mistakes at the beginning of the year with the marketing of The White Emporium, I threw money at advertising that didn’t pay off and I got pretty disheartened. Then I found myself redundant from my part time job and the guaranteed income that had been my security. It was a real sink or swim moment! I was terrified and filled with the biggest sense of failure and guilt that I had let my family down, the worst moment came when we had to pull out of our house move. My little business that I had slowly grown, nurtured and loved needed to stop being a hobby job and become a fully functioning businesses. It was time to put my big girl pants on or let it go and walk away! I thought a lot, I cried a lot, I talked and I listened to those in the industry I trusted and the fact is I couldn’t let it go, this business is my second baby and I wasn’t ready to throw it all away.
2019 will forever be known to me as the year of the last minute. I threw myself into photo shoots, open days, Rustic Wedding Show which I love and I got hustling with my fellow suppliers. The result is 2019 has been my best year ever!!!!!
I worked on photo shoots with local suppliers in beautiful barns on elopement shoots and a pole tent and I assisted The Brand Studio Co on a gorgeous wedding dress brand shoot in the Cotswolds. My work has been featured in industry leading publications –Love My Dress, Outside Bride, Bloved , Mr and Mrs Unique, Magpie Weddings and many more. My work with photo shoots and experience from my former life as a designer saw me join forces with Wild Bird Marketing to assist on their branding shoots for clients.
2019 saw a new first for me… people paid me to write! I frequently write for Magpie Weddings about styling trends throughout the year and in the height of summer I also created blog posts for other bloggers and they paid me! Result!!!!
I had a record number of styled weddings at some of my favourite venues Cripps Barn, South Farm, Bassmead and Tip Top Venues. As well as heading to new venues Caswell House, Barns at Red Coats, Dodford Manor, Flaxbourne Gardens and Vanestone Park. Dry hire continued to be popular with White Emporium stock heading all over the surrounding areas with numerous returns to Newton Park Barn, Lattenbury Hill and lots of private functions.
My calligraphy signage has continued to grow and grow, my writing technique improves every time and this year has seen the creation of table plans, one of my favourites being an acrylic sign created for a stunning winter wedding and I even turned my hand to writing place names.
This year I introduced assistants to my main styling packages and I had amazing help the awesome ladies Nikkita, Jess and Vikki.
Nikkita has become my right hand lady but she is also phenomenology creative in her own right with Nikkita Palmer Designs we have joined together to create the Eclectic Collection, a one stop shop for a complete dry hire venues, combining the smaller dry hire items of The White Emporium with the larger furniture pieces of Nikkita Palmer Designs.
This year also saw the first The White Emporium overseas trip with 3 days spent in Italy at Castello Monaci to style a wedding with my gal Claire Clarke Weddings, I had the best time and weddings at the castle are truly magical. It was 3 days of travelling, hard graft and a few hours relaxing by the pool. In the evenings we ate and drank like queens under a fairy light lite sky.
Halfway through the year when I realised things were getting busy and I was starting to feel the pressure I turned to a business mentor who is helping me plan for the future and continue growing the business in a manageable way. The downside of the growth this year is I feel I have had another year of chasing my tail and that I may not have given all my customers the love I would have hoped. What makes my business unique is the personal service each couple receive and at times through the year I felt I sent more apologetic delay emails and than anything else.
2019 saw the year I joined forces with The Forest of Marston Vale and donated 9 trees to their planting campaign, I am so excited that through my weddings I am able to help protect the environment around us, it would be amazing if in a few years time I have contributed enough trees to have a mini woods!
December saw more firsts with wreath workshops held at Epanoui at the start of the year I never imagined I would be hosting two sell out workshops and receiving amazing feedback for them. It also saw us transform Tip Top Venues & Country Tipis Tipi into a winter wonderland Christmas party.
You maybe asking why I have written about the bad as well as the good, well this is an honest review and having a small business that you are emotionally invested in isn’t all rosy and that in all honestly some weddings I invest so much time that I barely make minimum wage.
When wedding season comes it consumes my life for 4/5 months of the year, I live and breath weddings but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This year has been a journey and I have no doubt 2020 will also be full of twists and turns. I have so much I wish to achieve but my proudest moment of 2019 has to be making The White Emporium a viable business that can help support my family and is able to make a small difference to the community I live in.
So what does 2020 have in store for The White Emporium? More amazing and beautiful weddings at old locations and new. More hire packages launched as part of the Eclectic Collection. More trees planted in The Forest of Marston Vale and more wreath workshops.
Lastly none of this would be possible without the support of my couples and wedding friends and acquaintances, their feedback and recommendations mean the world to me, so a huge thank you to everyone!
Photo Credits – Top to Bottom