Sarnia Ontario wedding planning

5 Things I've Learned About Owning a Business.

 

Once Upon A Time Weddings has been opened for five and a half years.  I was twenty-four when I first opened the doors.  I was super excited, a little naïve and a lot underprepared for the journey that would be owning my own business.  It’s been a wild, crazy ride!  There are some things that I wish I knew then that I know now.  For those of you who own a business or are contemplating owning a business or for those who just like to know what it’s like to own a bridal store these five things are for you.

Photo by Nova Markina www.novamarkina.com

Photo by Nova Markina www.novamarkina.com

1.       Your life will never be the same. 

Last Saturday as I was getting ready to work a full day I was thinking about how my weekends are totally different than most peoples are.  I get up Saturday mornings and mentally and physically prepare to work all day.  Saturdays are our busiest days and I spend most of my weekend working!  When I opened the store I didn’t really think about how it would affect my life as I knew it then.  I love working a busy Saturday and meeting new brides and the hustle and bustle of the shop.  But my Saturdays {and my poor husbands Saturdays} look very different than most couples.

2.      You will become a bit bi-polar {and that’s ok}

Monday I was having a pretty crappy day!  Tax season does that to me every year!!  I was just frustrated with some dealings I had with one of our designers too.  Then I had one of my most fun & easiest bridal appointments.  I got to work with a bride whose getting married on New Years Eve and had one of the greatest wedding parties!  It was pure joy.  I went from super stressed and super frustrated to super elated in the time frame of about an hour.   I said to my husband, it’s amazing how a good bridal appointment can totally change your whole mood.  It sometimes feels a little bipolar.  I love, love, love my job.  But there is definitely high stress, high energy moments that can suck the life right out of you.  Somehow, someway you just have to find the balance each and every day.  It’s definitely something that I never really experienced before I owned my business.

3.      Don’t just trust everyone.

This one is hard to write.  I have a super trusting nature, especially when I first opened my business.  But I have definitely been burned by freely giving my trust out to people within the industry.  There is a lot of competition and a lot of store owners who just copy what you do rather than come up with their own ideas.  One of the hardest things I have learned is not to trust people until they have proven to be trustworthy.  I’ve been burned too many times.  Sometimes sharing the knowledge that you have, unfortunately comes back to hurt you in the long run.  You just have to be so careful with information.  But on the flip side, I’ve met some really cool wedding professionals that I’m blessed to be friends with.  I have just learned to proceed with caution.

4.      You will not ever truly be off work.

When I first thought about moving the store into my home, people told me that I would truly never be off work.  I laughed and thought and that would be different than my life now how?  For crying out loud, facebook now gives brides an estimate of how long I will take to get back to their message.  It’s part of the job and in our technology driven world, it’s just how it is.  People expect an answer back quickly.  I wouldn’t change it because I think it’s a necessary part of the job.  But I do wish that I could just turn my brain off at night and get a good night’s sleep, even once a week!!  It’s my entrepreneur nature to constantly be thinking about the business, thinking about things I could do differently, things I could improve on, things I need to do.  But again, wouldn’t change it for anything!

5.      It is hard to work independently.

I am a hard worker. I work long hours.  But sometimes it’s ridiculously hard to work when there’s no one asking you for work to be done or holding you accountable for hours spent on projects.  It’s all up to me to decide how to divide up my time and what I will work on next.  It’s a lot of freedom, which sometimes can be a bad thing.  It means I have to have a lot of self control and motivation.  I have to learn to be persistent and consistent.  Even more so now that my office is in my home, the distractions can be endless!

Photo by Soul Photography www.soulphotography.ca

Photo by Soul Photography www.soulphotography.ca

Owning a business has a ton of rewards, but it’s also a ton of work.  I love what I do and I love making a difference in brides lives.  If you are thinking about owning your own business, it has to be something that you are passionate about.  You also have to be realistic about the time commitment it will take and the sacrifices you will make to reach your dreams.  You also have to be willing to take risks and to do scary things. You will ride through some tough times, you will make some mistakes, but if you hang in there the reward will truly be more than you could ever have imagined.

3 Reasons Why A Pop Up Bridal Shop or Sale Might Not Be For You.

One of the latest bridal trends are these pop up bridal shops.  Sometimes they pop up in a particular city, sometimes they appear at a bridal show.  I have worked so hard to understand brides over the last few years.  With that in mind, I wanted to share three reasons why you might not be the pop up sale kind of bride.

1.)    It robs you of that say yes to the dress experience.  We know you are craving it.  Every bride wants to have that “moment” when they are standing in a gown and they can picture walking down the runway to Mr. Right and saying I do.  That’s okay, it’s part of the experience.  We know you’ve been secretly imagining that moment.  I mean what’s not to love about standing on a pedestal and having all the people you adore and cherish tell you that you’re beautiful!  For many brides it’s the first time that they feel like their getting married and it’s the only part of wedding planning that’s all about you!!

 I bet that when you imagined it, that it didn’t include 200 other women pushing and shoving to get a deal.  I bet it didn’t include changing in a fabric changing room with high school students or other brides who are just there to earn their own cheap gown the ones helping you.  I bet it does include having someone who lives and breaths weddings and bridal fashion assisting you every step of the way.  I bet you imagined having time to think, picture it all come together and finalize every detail to perfection.

Photograph by Soul Photography (www.soulphotography.ca) 

Photograph by Soul Photography (www.soulphotography.ca) 

2.)    You are more fashionable than you give yourself credit for.  Yes, saving money is great.  Yes, staying on budget is even better.  But the gowns you’ll find at a pop up shop average between 5 and 10 years old.  Bridal fashion changes a lot in 5 to 10 years.  Take my wedding gown for instance, I got married 9 years ago this June and while I loved my gown at the time, it’s definitely not the style that brides are looking for today.  And that’s okay because I’m not trying to sell them my gown.  Even if you aren’t the type of bride whose being pinning gowns on Pinterest for a decade you can recognize that styles have changed substantially in the last few years.  And while your gown budget may not afford you that Pnina Tornai that you see on TV, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for something that a designer or bridal store couldn’t sell themselves for the last five years.

Photograph by Rebecca Nash Photography (www.rebeccanashphotography.com) 

Photograph by Rebecca Nash Photography (www.rebeccanashphotography.com) 

3.)    You want to 100% love your gown.  A lot of brides go on to resell the gown they’ve purchased from a pop up shop because they made a hasty decision that was based principally on the price of the gown.  It appeared to be a good savings.  They got a designer gown for a fraction of the price.  But then once they begin planning the rest of the day, that style of gown doesn’t suit their overall feel of their wedding day.  Or they realize that they settled primarily because of cost.  While cost of gown is definitely a factor in choosing your wedding gown, it shouldn’t be the only factor.

Don’t be discouraged though, there are lots of way to save money on your gown without sacrificing your experience, your fashion sense and your sanity.  Here are three tips:

1.)    Be honest with your consultant about your price point.  It’s okay if you want to stay under a $1000, just tell her before she puts you in that $2200 gown you fall in love with.

2.)    Decide on what’s really important to you.  If you want lace maybe you can opt for less beading, or if you want a lot of beading, maybe you can opt to borrow your friend’s veil.

3.)    Realize the importance of your gown.  Your wedding gown will really set the tone for the rest of your day.  There are so many ways you can cut back on other areas, after all no one will remember if you served three vegetables or just one.  Decide what’s most important for you & your fiancé and then work towards those things.

Three Reasons That A Bridal Boutique Might be For You:

1.       It’s a calm, relaxed atmosphere.  There aren’t brides pushing out of their way and you don’t have to share mirrors.

2.       Your consultant is highly trained and can give you guidance for alterations, custom changes and colors available for your gown.  She has literally thousands of hours logged in working with brides.  And she’ll be there to answer any questions you have throughout the entire process.

3.       Your gown will be handled with utmost care.  You can bring it back {and we’ll still be here, not on to the next city} and we’ll press and steam your gown to perfection.

Where and how you purchase your bridal gown is a very personal decision.  We understand that not everyone will chose a bridal boutique and that's okay.  Just make sure you do some research and make the best decision with all the information that you can.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings we love working with brides and helping them say yes to the dress in the most magical bridal shopping experience.  To book your own bridal experience please click here.

Ramblings of A Bridal Store Owner.

January is here!  I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone.   And here we are right in the middle of gearing up for bridal shows, lots of bridal appointments being booked and working hard to finalize details for many summer and fall weddings.

This month I turn 30.  At first I didn't want to celebrate my birthday.  If I'm being honest it's because I don't ever want anyone to think that I'm too young to run this business.  I was 24 when I first really started preparations to open Once Upon A Time Weddings.  Although I am young, I think my age brings a tremendous advantage to running a bridal store.  First of all, I actually remember my own wedding.  I remember those feelings of being engaged and planning my own special day.  I also have a pulse on the styles that brides are looking for and completing an entire bridal look.  

Last week I had a customer in whose birthday is 4 days before mine.  She said that so many people die young and don't live a full life.  So she embraces each year as an opportunity and with gratitude for still being around.  I thought that was a great attitude to have.

I'm turning 30.  I have been married almost 9 years.  I have two wonderful children who I simply adore.  I get to spend my days doing a job that I LOVE.  Some days {like today} are hard.  Some days I feel like all I'm doing is solving problems and putting out fires.  I feel like I have a lot of responsibility for someone my age.  But I'm grateful, our store celebrated 5 years in business.  That's a milestone as an entrepreneur.  Every week more and more brides send their friends, coworkers and family members to our store, which we are so grateful for..  We've gained a great reputation and I'm proud to say that I own Once Upon A Time Weddings.  So I'm embracing 30.  Because after all, I do have so much to celebrate.

How about you?  Do you embrace your birthday? Do you have any fun birthday traditions?

To celebrate this milestone, we thought we'd do a little birthday sale for our lovely brides to be.  Appointments for this sale are limited so call 519.245.7997, book online at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca or text us at 519.319.9441.  



Wedding Inspiration - Summer Weddings.

As the summer wraps up and we begin gearing up for our busy fall season {AKA bridal show season} we wanted to take a few minutes and share some of our favourite ideas for an elegant summer wedding.  Summer weddings can be so much fun.

We ADORE these prints for a fun summer wedding.  Whether you go long or short, you really can't go wrong with a soft, delicate print.

We ADORE these prints for a fun summer wedding.  Whether you go long or short, you really can't go wrong with a soft, delicate print.

This naked wedding cake is perfect for a relaxed summer wedding.

This naked wedding cake is perfect for a relaxed summer wedding.

Don't forget to have lots of liquids available in case of a hot, humid day.  You could even have them in your wedding colors.

Don't forget to have lots of liquids available in case of a hot, humid day.  You could even have them in your wedding colors.

If the festivities are outside, don't forget a little sunscreen, bug spray station.  Your guests will be ever grateful.

If the festivities are outside, don't forget a little sunscreen, bug spray station.  Your guests will be ever grateful.

Isn't it amazing how some of the greatest ideas you see, are also the easiest and most cost effective.  Love this for an outdoor, summer wedding.

Isn't it amazing how some of the greatest ideas you see, are also the easiest and most cost effective.  Love this for an outdoor, summer wedding.

This flowy chiffon gown is perfect for a summer wedding.  With just a touch of lace & adding a touch of sparkle, you combine comfort with elegance.  This gown is sold exclusively at Once Upon A Time Weddings.

This flowy chiffon gown is perfect for a summer wedding.  With just a touch of lace & adding a touch of sparkle, you combine comfort with elegance.  This gown is sold exclusively at Once Upon A Time Weddings.

This updo with a few small flowers is the perfect summer wedding hairstyle.

This updo with a few small flowers is the perfect summer wedding hairstyle.

Whatever season you are planning your big day in, Once Upon A Time Weddings would love to walk with you through your gown shopping experience.  Click here to book an appointment.