How I grew my wedding design company into a $1 million business

In Weddingful Business Blog

A little known fact that before I started Weddingful in 2010, I had a series of wedding businesses. Guilty as charged, I am a wedding serial entrepreneur. I guess I’m just crazy about weddings.

My dressmaking businesses started to expand into invitations and décor as well. Having chatted with brides-to-be for months, I noticed they didn’t really know how to communicate what they want which causes different levels of expectations. I added a few processes to my business and made communication and service better and easier. Here are the 5 things I’d suggest:

 1. Put a face to your products

You have probably looked under your lipsticks or the insides of your denims, finding cool names like “Intrigue”, “Raindrop”, “Chloe” or maybe “Love”. A name for a fashion piece is powerful in creating a persona, who are your products for?
Is she modern, hip and chic? Or a glamorous lady who smiles a lot? Creating this persona helps brides-to-be resonate and connect with your products and you. They can and need to create an emotional connection to deem you good enough for her perfect wedding.

And… it’s also way easier to say then “SFK-2039” and “DJS0384”

 2. Show it off

At first, I would have endless emails and coffee consultations with brides-to-be, discussing what she wants. It’s really difficult to see, in their mind’s eye, what they are envisioning without certain tools.

Showing photos and actual samples is a crucial tool. The key is having a wide variety of styles allowing some perfect fits, while others may not see exactly what they envision but did see a part of this they liked and a part of that they liked. It was very helpful for me, when I launched a wide variety of 10 different wedding invitation styles, giving a good coverage of a diversity of looks. My brides would order a certain style, or some may need a mixture of a few, customizing their own, but most of the time, they find what they need. Very rarely, would I actually stumble upon a bride who wants something entirely different, giving me a design/sample of what they want. (These type of brides almost always design and print their own so it wasn’t exactly the demographic that would choose me).


3. Give samples

Sephora, the cosmetics giant, shared that by giving samples, they get 20% of them coming back purchasing the items! A-ha, that’s why they are not shy about offering you, or complying to your request. Let me say that again, 1 in 5 customers who bring home the samples, come back and buy it later. In e-commerce world, average is 3-5% so 20% is a fantastic conversion rate!

I overprint and made extras on all the orders so when I chat with any new couples, I would offer to mail them or give them samples to keep. “Here, take this envelope with you to feel the texture. Oh, this is the invitation for you to take home, compare colours and see if you like it.” Most brides-to-be not only appreciate the gesture, but they are indeed contemplating on a few items to mix and match their perfect look, they need a little bit of time at home and you want them to keep reminded of your products on the coffee table!

Have a photography business? Give them free engagement shots. Have a bow-tie business? Make sure they are going home with a swatch of fabric or the measuring tape. Let them fall in love with you.

wedding business, marketing, wedding
Make your choices a no brainer

 

4. Standardize the buy

When I first started at the dress shop, the older ladies would teach me “Weddings are all about custom prices, just consult with them then send them a proposal of a special price.” It sounded so inefficient and the brides are always frustrated waiting for proposals after, missing that instant gratification.

 There must be a better way…

 I started finding out the price range that most of them would be happy to buy. Then I made a price list, in fact, a price calculator (some simple JavaScript, you may need seek a favour from a programming friend) right on the website or any social profiles they would be clicking on. I included any and all the add-ons, optional fees they could possibly want. Not only was it clear to them that there wouldn’t be any other (hidden) fees, but many even upgraded knowing now what options are available!

After standardizing the prices, I noticed my sales doubled. Not only were there 10, and then 20% of customers coming from online, viewing my prices on their own, contemplating quietly without even ever messaging me, saving me hours of consultations. I found when I do consultations, they already knew what I was about so they were way warmer meetings. They were expertly flowing through my process having answers already to any choices, resulting in 9 out of 10 consultations with an order. I was thrilled, it allowed me to do sales/marketing efficiently while making the cards too!

5. Ok, in fact, standardize everything

In addition to standardizing the price and making that super clear, I also started creating colour swatches for my paper and my ribbon choices, posting all possible colours with numbers and names (refer to pointer #1). Sometimes, I would even promote new colours and new collections of paper coming out!

 With such a clear process, I found brides much happier too. When I started getting into the wedding business, everyone warned me of the bridezillas, that brides are the toughest customers; they want perfection (understandably) and you can not miss a single detail – it has to be perfection – down to the width of the ribbon and the shade of the blue.

 Having this clear process allowed expectations to be met, brides fully understood what products they will receive – they even have a sample at home that they can go back to. They chose amongst options so they know exactly the total price and what to expect. After streamlining my business process, I was able to get the card-making time down to under 2 weeks instead of my normal 6-8 weeks – that really helps in wedding business, you see a lot more “rush orders” than you would think.

I hope these tips help you too, no matter the type of wedding business you may run. Brides and grooms are sometimes tough critics but with the right structure and process in place, you can deliver perfection like a pro and win over wedding businesses all the time.

 Share your tips below, what has worked for you?