Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of the newest members of our team, Sam Lloyd. Sam is the founder of The Wedding Owl and an experienced Wedding Business Consultant and soon-to-be Tutor for the Academy of Wedding & Event Planning. She is also a Venue Consultant for ProVenue. Sam is a talented and creative member of the wedding industry in the UK and along with our interview I am excited to be able to share with you some of her work; please see image credits below. But for now, I hope you enjoy meeting Sam Lloyd.
Christine: Sam it’s a year since you launched The Wedding Owl. For those reading this, who don’t know what you do and how you might be able to help them, can you introduce your business to us?
Sam: Yes I have been busy this week, popping a few corks, as I have been celebrating my first year of starting up my own business as a wedding consultant, but with a difference; I work for businesses in the wedding industry.
I have the privilege of working with wedding venue and vendor owners to help them with market research if they are just starting-up, or launching a new product. I also work with business if they want their systems improving, or an area I really love, they want to grow their market share. My work has included devising marketing plans for Blossom Wedding Stationery and writing website copy such as for Fleur Challis Photography and I write press releases, host open days for venues and do venue styling; all of which I totally love doing.
I can work in an emergency capacity covering illness and maternity leave (when I go back to hosting weddings etc), but I also have experience of builds, having worked with some incredible architects such as Sir Norman Foster and Daniel Libeskind and I have converted a historic building into a four-star hotel. So I advise on how best to layout wedding venues, to give the best experience for couples, but also advise on menus/service, delivery/ kitchen layout and food hygiene if an owner wants to bring the catering in-house, which we did successfully at The Old Kent Barn. I’m currently working on a very exciting project with Hayne House, building a new purpose built Orangery. We are opening April 2018; more cork popping on the horizon and we can’t wait!
Christine: What motivated you to start this business and what do you love about
what you do?
Sam: I love all things to do with Weddings and have over 170,000 followers on Pinterest; so setting up a business that allows me to think about weddings 24/7 was all the motivation I ever needed.
Christine: What have learned from your career so far, that you are using in the work you are now doing with Wedding Owl?
Sam: Throughout my career, the most important things for me is never to be afraid and to always deliver the very best experience you can under the circumstances. I have to be honest, I’m a little competitive, so if I’m set a challenge, I will rise to the occasion, as I hate losing. Recently a client was extremely nervous about a couple who when they booked announced that they had already cancelled two venues and they were taking a caterer to court. Throughout the planning process they were demanding, but I built up a strong relationship based on trust. I hosted their wedding. Even with all my 11 years experience of delivering weddings and more, despite feeling nervous at the start of the day, I wasn’t afraid, as I knew the team and I would give them the very best day they could possibly hope for. Subsequently, the venue has received a five-star review on Facebook, the owner is extremely pleased and grateful.
Christine: You are clearly passionate about helping others and for making a contribution to the success of the wedding industry in the UK. What is one thing every wedding business owner could be doing right now, to make their businesses better?
Sam: Wow, such a great question, as it depends on the venue or the vendor.
However, for me, the most important thing is to train, train and re-train. You can never know everything, you can get lazy and cut corners and of course, you can forget things. For me learning is inspiring, motivating, gives you confidence and enables you to ask the question; could I do things better?
Christine: You are clearly a busy person with a lot going on. Even though you love what you do, you must have strategies for staying on top of it all. Do you have any tips for how others can manage their time, especially when following a dream or passion and combining that with other commitments like family, work and study?
Sam: For me planning your diary is really important. I use it for everything. If you have a task to do and it needs to be done by a certain date, add it to your diary, just the same way you would an appointment. That way you don’t have to think about the task until the reminder appears on your screen. I even put in my diary when my husband and I are having days off, that way he can also check my diary and arrange social events. It doesn’t mean when we are down at the beach-hut, I’m not thinking about some aspect of work, but I am relaxing as it is really important to take time out.
Christine: Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Sam: Hopefully, my business will go from strength to strength and that I can help more wedding owners improve their business and students to pass their modules.
Christine: Do you have a message for students reading this?
Sam: I totally love sharing, as I’m like a big sponge who absorbs information and I just love passing it on, so I am happy to field questions from students if they want a venue perspective. I also love when I get the opportunity to learn something new, one is never too old to learn. Last week I passed my first aid training, at the ripe age of plus 50, such a great days learning and just yesterday I was privileged to attend a seminar put on by www.sleepinggiantmedia.co.uk where we learned all about How to Build a Kick-ass Brand: – great title and great content, all about having a competitive strategy and realising your business can come under threat from really wide balls. The example they gave was carrier bags manufacturers who have been hit with legislation (which is a positive thing for me, as the winner of the best wild life friendly garden in Kent, UK), so don’t forget to diversify!
Easter Styling: Easter Styling entitled Melt Some Hearts with an Easter Wedding. Venue www.Haynehouse.co.uk; Photographer www.seanweeklyphotogrpahy.co.
Chair covers www.bowschaircovers.co.uk; Stationery by www.byblossom.co.uk; Jackalope by Lynsey, Creative Mash Ups 07952827806; Flowers by www.dreamofflowers.co.uk
National Fragrance Day: Client www.Haynehouse.co.uk; Photographer Emma Midgen www.whitelightphotographic.co.