The year that broke me, emotionally, but it opened so many doors

This year truly broke me. Truth be told it broke Bailey as well. It’s probably the most eventful year so far because of the impact it has had on us personally and the flow on effect to our business ventures. And as the final days of the year looms we did some soul searching on what 2018 meant for us, the wonderful relationships that were built, the amazing events we got to be part of, and the dreams pursued with all our conviction.

Let’s start my reflection of 2018 by telling you a bit about Bailey and I, because I feel it’s important that you get to know a bit more about us. We'‘re the type of couple that are up for anything, we find it hard to say no and are pretty trusting in human nature. We have a strong belief that human nature is good and most people have great intentions, so we’re trusting enough to say “yes” to a lot of things. We’ll give it a good go, and if it works out amazing, but if it doesn’t then at least we can say (to ourselves) that we didn’t procrastinate. That’s probably why we just work and get things done rather than hang about and over think things.

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Yes as business owners we do take a lot into consideration because we want to run successful businesses; after all we have a family, we have staff and people relying on us to succeed as well. But we’re also avid dreamers and are ideas generating machines. So 2018 was very much the year that a lot of these dreams and ideas started to come into place and opportunities came to us. So we couldn’t say no. How could we?

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So we launched a few projects, some still a secret, others not quite so secret

This closing year is definitely the year where we’ve ventured outside of our core business of creating amazing weddings and events in Sydney. It’s not that I grew bored of just styling weddings because that’s not the case as it is so deeply ingrained in me to be able to create as many gorgeous weddings for couples as possible. It’s just Bailey’s random ideas (or “brain farts” as he calls them) and opportunities keep coming up and they get the better of us.

Earlier in the year we launched a project to fulfil one of our biggest dreams that was supposed to a tremendous platform for the events and wedding industry, one that operated completely different to what is the norm. It was supposed to be a beacon in the community as a support for social programmes and social responsibility. The client experience to be magnificent, truly value-for-money whilst providing high-end experience like no other. But sadly it was short lived.

Our initial impact was felt but soon the vision changed without us, away from what we had set out and dreamt to create. Yes I promised to detail the choices made and why, but it’s not quite yet the right timing for it. It definitely is a story needing to be told, but if you look around on the feedback of the project and ask around enough you’d get the gist of the why.

This definitely was the emotional rollercoaster of the year where a lot of heart, soul, hours and tears went into it - but this isn’t the heart break, it’s the ongoing trekking in a swamp to come out of it strong and with as little scarring a possible. I’m not sure if you are superstitious or not, but the Chinese Zodiac says this Year of the Dog (which is my Zodiac) was ordained to not be the year to go into a new big project particularly the money we put in. Did I listen? Nah of course not!

What of the other projects that we have been secretly working on?

Sharing is definitely caring, and caring is all that matters

Being in a profession for over a decade, and running businesses in it, you would agree that Bailey and I had picked up a thing or two about what works, the pitfalls to avoid even though mistakes are just as crucial as successes, and skills I’ve taught myself that I know every event stylist and florist should have. I’ve shared these already for anyone interested enough to reach out, and I’ve had people go through internships and on-the-job training with me for quite some time, even the odd 1:1 sessions.

This year I finally recognise my love for sharing has its limits, at least in relation to the time I can dedicate, so we realised sharing knowledge through workshops would be the better option in order to impact as many people as possible, within the little time I could dedicate to you. I will definitely give you heads up very soon on these for 2019!

Our commitment goes beyond creating workshops that people pay for

Bailey and I are passionate for supporting the business and social community because we truly want to give back in the most humblest way we are able to, and whether that is through outreach programmes in conjunction with Chambers of Commerce, entrepreneur mentoring and business growth educator  The Entourage, and social responsibility initiatives such as OzHarvest and the Monash Children’s Hospital.

I think having children, Katana and Arribelle, has changed my perspective of giving time and being part of making a difference! Yes we are stretched as we are, but it’s great to give where we can and we would love for you to be involved as well. I admit this falls under Bailey’s purview and he has been spearheading our involvement with said organisations and constantly searches for social initiatives that we can be part of, whether in the smallest way or more actively.

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Giving you more than just my secret sauce

Showing you how to make things or giving you insights into the reasons behind my designs is definitely a great step, but it would be remiss of me if I weren’t able to share what we have so you too can style weddings and create amazing events. I’ve heard it several years now:

  • it’s hard to find quality items

  • lots of people ask where I source my artificial flowers from

  • do I hire my custom pieces out for DIY or other wedding vendors?

  • where do I buy my range of decor from?

Lots of them are from different manufacturers that I have worked with and it takes quite a few goes to refine who are reliable enough to produce the custom wedding decor pieces I’ve designed. It’s a long process of design, sampling, manufacturing, QC and QA to ensure quality is delivered. So rather than having you go through all that, each time, I will be sharing with you the products that I use and design.

More info about this in February 2019 so look out when I do the official announcement!

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Thinking outside of the box takes more than a few flowers, it took 10s of thousands

You’re going to be seeing more and more commercial projects that involve either designing the floral decor of a restaurant cafe, such as the cafe brunch hotspot in Parramatta and Waterloo Social Hideout, or event management for shopping centres in Sydney (more on this very soon), overseas project work to fitout a new high end restaurant from the same owner of Noname in Bangkok Thailand. These are but a few that we are engaged in this year with many more that we’re concurrently working on for 2019 because we’re set to launch our commercial and corporate design services.

Why are we you might ask as surely we’re busy enough! The simple answer is: it would be great to have something else to channel our creativity rather than just weddings and events. Week-after-week of creating dreams for brides and grooms, and special events, is very much a joy and engrained in us, but to keep the fire alive requires other projects and outlets that my team and I could tap into.

Melbourne weddings can’t wait until when I am “ready”

We have the most amazing and accomplished business advisor / friend, Stuart Cook of TWIYO, that is our consigliere - he runs mind mapping sessions, day brainstorms with Bailey, and connects all the dots with his network of contacts for any role/industry/business you could imagine.

On one of those sessions the question was raised about whether we should pursue creating Melbourne weddings and events yet or not. We all worked out that we didn’t need to from a financial perspective. The business is growing and we’re in a pretty good space. So weddings in Melbourne could wait until whenever I am “ready” to go beyond the Sydney wedding market and knowing me, probably never!

So Bailey ended up “planting seeds” in Melbourne, as he calls it, and prodded me enough to give into offering limited availability for 2019 events and weddings in Melbourne. Except it didn’t quite work out that way when we held 2 day appointments in Melbourne a few months back. Rather limited bookings in 2019, we ended up having couples book 2020 and 2021 as well! For that I am very much grateful and honoured for their trust for me to create the most amazing experience.

Moving beyond a heartache didn’t take too long, especially when there are suiters

It’s ok we’re getting over a heartache because Bailey and I are pretty positive people, well we try our hardest to be because it’s more than just us. We have Katana and Arribelle relying on us, we have our clients who we cherish too, and we have venues and people who have reached out to be a positive force.

So rather than constrain ourselves in a state of forever negativity we figure we should  continue to exert our energy in positivity, make a difference to the people around us (and our children), and work to be the best that we can.

Everyone have a wonderful New Year celebrations and see everyone in 2019!