As I sit here in my garden with a milkshake in hand I thought it was a good a time as ever to get back to blogging. It has been countless New Years resolutions to make this a weekly thing, but I think I might just have to face facts and admit it will be sporadic. However this is a blog post I have been meaning to write for sometime as I have some exciting news to share and it’s about chasing my dreams for The White Emporium.
As of the beginning of May I left my full time job to pursue my dreams with The White Emporium, admittedly I wasn’t brave/ crazy enough to stop paid work completely but I believe I have found a happy balance working part with my new family The Vintage Suit Hire Company. I wanted to share my story as it’s achievable to everyone, I’m just a normal girl with a dream and from somewhere I grew a pair and took the leap.
The White Emporium started after my own wedding, I loved the designing and styling so much I wanted to share my passion with others, I had previously never imagined working in weddings, but my won wedding gave me such a buzz I couldn’t let it go. The first year of business was more of a hobby, I honestly made little money and it was more about me having fun, some of the posts I shared on social media were horrific and as I have grown and learnt these have swiftly been removed, looking back there are a lot of ‘what were you thinking’ moments. I did some horrific wedding fairs, one where no one turned up apart from my best friend who came to be nosey and one where I felt so uncomfortable and out of my depth as the newbie I was to scared to speak to anyone. In hindsight I can see I had to experience these situations to be able to learn, however at the time I nearly gave up. In the summer of my first year I had bookings – Hallelujah!!!! I charged peanuts to style some weddings and I received great feedback. The White Emporium could be run in a couple of hours every week, I would share a few images on Facebook and Instagram, write the odd blog in my lunch break and send a couple of emails – it was fun!
Year 2, is when it started to get real! I got involved in some styled shoots, re-vamped the website, took more bookings and got behind with the blogging. The White Emporium could no longer be run in a couple of hours, I was now working on it every night and most weekends, I had the bug and I wanted to keep growing. I won The ‘One to Watch’ at the local wedding awards and people started to take notice, I was no longer the newbie, I started to forge strong friendships with other local wedding suppliers, this was a vital turning point in my business as they would recommend me to their brides and I began to develop a reputation. Year 2 however is when I realised I couldn’t have it all, there were dark days when I mentally could not comprehend the work that had to be achieved. I was working 9-6 with an hours commute each way, my job was stressful, demanding and sucking all the energy out of me. When I would return home from work I would cook a 15minute dinner and then hit my laptop, I was waking up before 6 to do an hours work on The White Emporium to return home to do a further work. My mind was stretched, my creativity destroyed and I was sad. My husband found it hard as I was always working in one form or another, there was little time for us. There was zero time for The White Emporium promotion, when I looked at other businesses and the outreach they were achieving I would kick myself and get so mad. I was in a vicious never ending cycle of work that I couldn’t see the end of. Yet year 2 I worked on some amazing weddings, the styling projects got bigger, the photoshoots bolder and I began to get featured in blogs and magazines. Year 2 was about fighting the battle!
Year 3 saw some hope! At the start of my third year in business I had already booked weddings for the next year which marked a massive milestone, it showed there was longevity in my plan. For some crazy reason I felt like this wasn’t enough and The White Emporium could do more, I had been touched by a couple charities and the work they do so decided in my infinite wisdom to organise a charity gala. I learnt so much from this event, what I am mentally and physically capable of, that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Without any previous event organising experience I managed to pull it off and raise a considerable amount of money in the process. Pat on the back for me but back to the dark days of working all hours. I lost weight, everyone would tell me how great I looked but I knew it was exhaustion, I would drive to and from work but not know how I got there, I felt like I was letting everyone down. In November 2016 I won the Venue Stylist of the Year at the Four Counties Wedding Awards, this got me thinking if I could win an award when I had no time to spend on The White Emporium, imagine what I could do with more time! More weddings got booked in and everyone wanted to get married on a Friday, something had to change. I sat down with my husband and we made a plan, if I wanted to make a success of The White Emporium I needed to dedicate more hours, but I still needed to pay the bills, the goal was to go part time by July. I started 2017 with a plan and a goal but like all well made plans the unexpected happens. I was still miserable, more miserable than I had ever been, finding a part time job that would allow me to work on The White Emporium seemed unachievable and my full time job had me at my lowest ebb, this is where I learnt my two biggest lessons… Never give up and open yourself to unexpected opportunities. My part time work with The Vintage Suit Hire Company was a twist of fate that I could never have imagined would fall my way. They took a risk, I took a risk and so far it is paying off. Within days of being presented with this opportunity I had handed my notice in on my full time job, it felt so right I wasn’t even scared, this was a job I had trained four years for, got myself in thousands of pounds of debt for and here I was giving it the big middle finger with a huge smile on my face.
So here we are nearly 1 month in and the sun is shining. I realise it won’t always be plain sailing and milkshakes, I am faced with the biggest challenge of all; turning my passion into a business, I have had time to re-stock, take on advice and get an action plan in place. There will be more styled shoots, more conceptual weddings and The White Emporium will become more visual. My styling packages will soon be better defined, more props and décor added and occasionally you may get a blog post! It’s going to be a bumpy ride but I am so glad I had those dark days so I can truly appreciate the freedom I have to dream now.
My advice to you is to have faith in yourself and follow your dreams no matter what they are.
The White Emporium