Well friends, the 2015 wedding season has officially come to a close. I'm still pinching myself that 16 One Sweet Brides trusted me to create beautiful florals and let me be a part of such a special time in their lives. This was my first real year as One Sweet Day in May and I feel like I finally found where I belong in the world. For the off season, I'll be focusing on my 2016 clients and working on the back end of things. There are some fun styled shoots planned as well as the Creative at Heart Conference down in Charleston in about a month.
Because the 2015 season has come to a close, I've been thinking a lot about what changed my business for the better this year. There are 5 things that really stick out to me so I thought I would share them with you.
It's been about a year since I reached out to Ashlee Proffitt about branding. I remember her telling me that she doesn't usually take on new businesses, but for some reason she decided to take on One Sweet Day in May and I will forever be thankful! I've talked about my branding journey here and here, but I knew I didn't just want a pretty website. I mean, I could have just done that myself! Branding is more than just pretty graphics and a snazzy logo put in place on your screen. I wanted to dig deeper into OSDIM and find what this business meant to me and what I wanted it to portray. At the end of the journey I was left with a streamlined business and a meaning behind what I do. As a result, I started attracting my ideal bride and that is a wonderful thing. My brand will evolve over time, but going through the process in the beginning of my business really set the tone for my whole year and was a huge reason behind everything that has happened this year.
2. AMANDA VERONEE'S WORKSHOP
Back in January, I attended Amanda Veronee's workshop in Stafford, Virginia. I did a little recap which you can find here. Amanda's workshop taught me so much about the techniques, materials used, and mechanics of floral design. At that point in my business, I was just doing whatever seemed to work with whatever I was making, but after the workshop I knew better. I knew faster and more cost efficient ways of doing things. It really started my year out on the right foot and made me more confident going into my weddings. So my advice is whatever your business is, invest in a workshop specific to your craft and ask all the questions. Take in as much as you can.
3. STYLED SHOOTS
I know, I know, this is becoming a bit redundant, but that's how much I believe in styled shoots! Do them! Reach out to fellow industry ladies and create something beautiful together! This just may be the #1 thing that helped my business grow this year. There are so many wonderful reasons to be a part of styled shoots and they are HUGE when starting and growing your business. Be intentional when bringing on vendors that go with your brand and use the images from those styled shoots all over your website and use them to grow your portfolio.
4. A CORE GROUP OF CREATIVES THAT GET IT
Not everyone is going to get what you do. They are going to ask you all these questions to try and figure it out and you'll do your best to answer them, but they'll still be confused. That's life. My family has a hard time understanding when I tell them about un upcoming event or new booking. They just care about those dollars signs. Don't get me started on when I try to tell them about Community over Competition...Yikes! And I don't blame them, really I don't. And they don't have to get it. Why? Because I have a core group of fellow creatives (plus a super supportive hubby) that do get it. This year I surrounded myself with a core group of women and I don't know where I'd be without them. Between hilarious texts, lunch and dinner dates, and working together on multiple projects this year, they've made my first full year a joyful one. These girls have helped me through my branding journey, have been there to help me through moments of frustration, and have answered all the business questions i've thrown at them. They've pretty much been everything to me this year and grateful is an understatement. You need people like that in your life when you own a creative small business.
5. THE CREATIVE AT HEART CONFERENCE
This!! The Creative at Heart Conference is hands down the best thing I did for my business this year. I'm such a huge advocate of it and I can't wait to go back for their Charleston conference in one month! Hooray! It's hard to put into words what CAH has done for me and One Sweet Day in May. The business content was amazing and I managed to fill an entire notebook full of tips and how to's and gained the knowledge I didn't know I needed to take OSDIM to the next level. From work/life balance to authentic branding to blogging for you business to social media strategy, I related to each speech and learned a ton. My business wouldn't be where it is without that conference. Besides the business content, the greatest part of CAH for me was the people I met. All those girls (and two guys) inspired me so much. Creative at Heart is where I met my tribe. To be in a room with creatives just like you for 2 whole days is an experience like non other. You feel like you are in this big creative bubble in this safe space where you want to meet and get to know everyone. Creative at Heart is for every creative, not just wedding professionals. I've been so honored to worked with a whole bunch of CAH women this year from right here in Virginia, to Iowa and up in Boston. It's what you make of it. One hello can lead you to the most amazing of places. I will forever be grateful to Creative at Heart Conference for providing me with intentional business advice from ladies I look up to and for giving me the tools One Sweet Day in May needed to go to the next level. Creative is for the dreamers and the big believers and I can't wait to attend Round 3 next month!