Today I’m going to go back behind the scenes again. There’s a saying that you should take time from working IN your business to work ON your business. And when you’re a sole trader this can be difficult, in fact it can be like juggling jelly!
But a couple of weeks ago I took two days away from STHQ to go to Wed Meet Up at the very beautiful Deer Park country house near Honiton. I regularly attend the Devon and Cornwall Wed Meet Ups that are evening networking events, but this was two full days. Last year I couldn’t get there because my bestie was over from America and had got us tickets to see Hamilton in London (the irony was not lost.) So I was determined to go this year. And I’m very glad I did.
The lovely Hazel Parsons from Out of the Ordinary Weddings asked me to exhibit as well, which was an honour considering the amount of talented cake makers there are here in the South West. I had never exhibited solely to fellow wedding industry professionals before, so it was a bit daunting.
I shouldn’t have worried though, it turned out I already knew many people there, which put me at ease. The wedding industry is a super supportive and friendly place.
So what happens at Wed Meet Up? Well according the Craig (videographer) ‘what happens at Wed Meet Up, stays at Wed Meet Up.’ And that might be true regarding the dinner and party after, many sore heads the next day (not mine.) In fact it’s an intense two days of networking and expert speakers. I can safely say I was as inspired as I was exhausted!
One highlight was getting meet people that you never get to talk to when you are working on actual weddings. We are always so busy doing our thing, and coming and going, that it’s just not practical to ‘network.’ Another highlight was being approached by the lovely Anisha from BrideLux. If you haven’t heard of BrideLux I highly recommend googling them and finding their Instagram, especially if you are London based. They are a high-end wedding showcase of hand selected suppliers, and Anisha asked me to be one of those suppliers! Sadly the dates are the 29th and 30th of March, and I have a wedding cake booked in. Unfortunately this is the down side of being a sole trader, you can’t be in two places at once, however much we might try. But at least I know that I’m doing it right, and that my work is getting noticed and liked by the industry as well as clients.
Building good industry relationships is so important. When you are planning your wedding the chances are you will ask around to find suppliers. You’ll book one supplier and ask them if they can recommend others, or you’ll check out the recommended list from your venue. So meeting up with each other and getting to really know each other means we can recommend each other to you with confidence. And I recommend other cake makers too, if there’s a reason I can’t do your cake I know several other cakers who I can pass you to.
These events are also an excellent learning opportunity. When you’re in business you never stop learning. And when your business is also creative that’s doubly true. I’ll always happily share with others how I make my flowers or do a particular technique, one of the joys of learning anything is being able to pass the knowledge on. At Wed Meet Up there were lots of industry experts happy to pass on their knowledge to us, in order to help the whole industry grow.
I’m very lucky to be in such a beautifully supportive industry. And I wanted to share a little glimpse into that world ?