I was lucky enough to get to work with them on some web graphics + marketing materials in 2015. Truly creative women.
This entrepreneur interview series is an extra special treat because they are partners in business. One you decide to make your business a partnership, things are approached differently + the journey is definitely different. I love having this perspective to share with you all about what it is like to be entrepreneurial business partners.
How did you become interested in starting your own business?
For me, I think I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. I’m a self-starter and the idea of working toward my own goals and being able to impart the values I appreciate in a great boss to others were appealing.
I realized quickly that living off of someone else’s schedule for my life wasn’t what would creatively and professionally bring me joy. Starting my own business would allow for both the challenge and flexibility I craved.
What is your business + how do you get paid?
We plan weddings! Month-of planning, partial planning or full planning, we help couples organize and simplify the process to make their wedding day as seamless as possible.
Same as above! In the future, we’ll look at adding a retail side to our weddings as well.
What kinds of growth patterns do you see for your business/industry?
We see more venues requiring wedding coordinators for the day of the wedding and more brides understanding the value of having a wedding planner. I think when our parents’ generation was getting married they only thought of a wedding planner as a service reserved for the wealthy for a lavish wedding. Now even the simplest backyard weddings can still benefit from having a wedding planner by relieving the stress off of the couples’ families for vendor coordination, set up, cueing events and cleaning up when everyone else is exhausted.
There’s definitely more of a push for personal touches via creative design. While we see many instances of similar décor and thematic elements, more and more couples are really bringing their stories, their pasts, their families and their future plans into the wedding design and planning process instead of going with the ‘traditional’ things they often hear of from older generations. We love being able to use that as creative fuel when designing weddings.
From your experience, what personal attributes do you think are essential for success?
The love for your industry and your chosen career because that passion will keep you pushing through when it feels so easy to give up and run away. A persevering attitude with the inability to give up and a kindness and caring for your clients that will shine through in your work.
Humility in all you do, never-ending positivity in light of all instances and a constant drive to be the best version of yourself and your company. Surrounding yourself with those that lift you up both personally and professionally is also key.
What does success mean to you?
It means that in the most stressful of situations, you close your eyes and take a breath knowing what you do brings you and those you serve the utmost joy. Having that as the foundational reason of why you work, to us, is the definition of success. When you have a deep passion for what you do for others and it comes from the heart and not from the numbers in your bank account, I think that’s when you’ve made it as your own boss which for us is successful.
What skills are needed for being an entrepreneur?
You have to be a jack-of-all-trades. Creative, good business sense, basic accounting skills, very organized and able to ask for help when you need it.
Strength both emotionally and mentally and patience with yourself in your growing process. The ability to inspire others and the savvy to be successful simultaneously.
What are some habits to seem to make up a typical work day for you?
Having a framework for our day-to-day schedules but with the ability to be flexible for a sudden meeting or jolt of creative inspiration. I thrive when I’m comfortable and sometimes that means staying in and working from bed while other times I need inspiration from people watching and the white noise that comes from the shuffle of any coffee shop nearby.
What are some particularly difficult parts of being an entrepreneur that frustrate you? How do you deal with them?
The sudden anxiety that you’re not doing enough to further your business or to satisfy your clients because as an entrepreneur you must be on at all hours. It’s not a 9 to 5 job because our clients are typically planning their wedding in the off-hours. Dealing with that sense of always feeling like I need to be productive comes by realizing that it is critical to set boundaries and still maintain a solid work-life balance, something our generation is striving to find amidst the generation of constant connection.
Knowing that it will take time to cultivate exactly what you want and not letting the pace of those around you sway your outlook. Having realistic month-by-month goals and limiting the absorption of an endless stream of social media are great ways to keep yourself and your business in check!
How has the importance of having a business plan or business strategy been to your business? How often have you used these tools?
We developed it initially and had a brainstorming session of our goals for the next year, two years, three years and BIG picture dreams. Now we check in on those documents quarterly and can appreciate how far we’ve come in such a short time and how far we still have to go in certain areas. While my background is in marketing, I struggled to put together a marketing plan for my own business so we’ve been going at the marketing strategy little by little seeing what works and what we still need to adjust.
While it initially took a while to create, our business plan and our short and long-term goals have really helped us take a step back and reflect on everything we’ve accomplished and make us excited about pushing on in the future to reach those other goals we’ve mutually come up with.
What are your thoughts on the importance of marketing?
Marketing is critical to your business because it is the first face of your brand. Before potential clients contact you, they are interacting with your marketing and judging you based on what you have put out into the world.
How much involvement do you have in the financial end of your business or do you turn it over to a professional?
Since ours is still a pretty small and manageable amount, we keep it in-house.
All us for now!
How do you plan for retirement or do you have an exit strategy?
We independently opened up Contributory IRAs to deduct monthly but for now and as we grow we may establish a company IRA.
When did you decide you needed to add staff to your team? How many are on your team now?
Chelsea & Tatiana:
Currently, it’s just the two of us. We add staff on an as-needed basis for each wedding and will expand when we get a steady flow of weddings that can support both of us full-time without having to do the side hustle we both are still maintaining.
What efforts have you put into branding + how have they helped your business?
This was one thing we were and still are very particular about it. From the start, we both had a very clear understanding that we needed to guard our brand like our newborn baby and make sure that every photo, every post, announcement, stationery detail, business card etc. reflected our personalities and had a vibe that was fun yet not too feminine or trendy. We wanted to show that we are serious when it comes to handling your wedding and our experience had to be reflected in the way we crafted our brand. We analyzed, criticized, started over and finalized every element of marketing before we launched in order to make sure we had it exactly how we wanted it. I mean we still get into intense discussions about if a photo is good enough for Instagram!
Chelsea and I were both very lucky to have the same ideas for brand aesthetic from the get-go. Before we even began the actual design process, our conversations comparing design were always on the same page. We really want our branding to fluidly speak for our company across all mediums, which is why we try our hardest to maintain a level of cohesiveness from our website, to our stationery, to Instagram. The more time goes on, the more I believe we hone in on our visions and the ‘feel’ we want to impart!
What were some of your initial investments to help your business launch?
We were lucky (no pun intended) that our startup costs were pretty minimal. Being that we aren’t a brick and mortar shop but rather a service-based business, we needed to purchase basic marketing pieces like business cards, website hosting/domain, and liability insurance for the year. We initially split the costs evenly but starting off we already were booking brides through word-of-mouth so we were able to have the business pay the expenses pretty quickly.
What is some advice you have for creative entrepreneurs thinking about starting their first business?
You’re never going to feel completely “ready.” Starting a business is a risk but the reward is so fulfilling. Figure out the smart steps you need to take before starting your business and secure enough financial savings prior to quitting any full-time job.
Take the jump! Even now as we slowly move into making our business full-time, we look back at the scary risks we took and couldn’t be happier with their outcomes. Through lots of late nights, tons of prayers and unrelenting faith we are pursuing doing what we love: helping our clients have the best day of their lives. Another little nugget: don’t let those around you (whether it’s your friends, colleagues, closest relatives, even a potential business partner) hinder your creativity and big dreams. There will always be different ways of doing things and sometimes people may not see them the way you do: don’t invalidate your passions and your talent. Trust your gut and trust yourself!
Want to reach out to the girls? Here is their contact information.
Serving Southern California
Email: [email protected]