So how did I end up with my own Business making Wedding Newspapers and bespoke Wedding Stationery?...that's a very good question!
To tell you, we have to go back to Christmas 2012 when my friend bought me a beautiful notebook. I had been with my now husband a little over a year and had this fantasy of being married. I was dropping heavy hints left right and centre, he was having non of it (I wasn't even sure he was tuned in to my hints!). I wasn't sure about getting married, but I loved the idea and security of it. So I started using the notebook to write down what I wanted my fantasy wedding to look like. I quickly realised that my plans would involve me being creative and making stuff.
We got engaged in November 2013 and I already had my wedding planned in my notebook (and head). Part of this planning had been scouring Pinterest for ideas. At some point I had seen a Newspaper with wedding images in and I thought it was perfect for my wedding thank yous. At that point I had a quick look to see if I could find anyone who did them. I couldn't but was not really looking at that point and was happy to do it myself if needed.
Then 2016 came along and a few major things happened.
I started a new job as an IT Development Project Manager (in May), my mum died (in June) and I got married (in July). Then I went on honeymoon and got gastroenteritis and was the most ill I've ever been, spending several days in bed unable to move.
As you can imagine, this wasn't at all the fairy tale lead up and happily ever after I'd searched for, planned, written about or expected. There's something that says you should be flexible, some things always go wrong...this wasn't the level of flexibility I had prepared for. I felt like I had been picked up, chewed up and spat out. My wedding day was perfect and there were zero issues but it was the before and after that I started to struggle with.
Firstly, I was incredibly unhappy in my new job. It wasn't what I expected, it was the wrong company and job for me and I was feeling unfulfilled and frustrated.
Secondly, my mum dying caused lots of feelings and upset. I hadn't spoken to her in 9 years so this caused me so much heartache and difficult feelings, as well as being an added stress. She died exactly 3 weeks before my wedding give or take 5 minutes. Being an only child I had to organise all of her funeral arrangements and deal with all the legal stuff registering her death and notifying banks, family and friends etc...whilst finalising all the details of my wedding. Also throw in that I live in Bristol, my mum was in hospital, died and had her funeral in Teesside and I got married in Cornwall...I honestly don't know how I got through it.
And thirdly, getting married gave me everything I ever wanted. Mostly a family and a husband, but also stability and the confidence and courage to change things.
I spent a lot of months DIYing for my wedding that after it I found I had so much spare time...I also missed doing stuff. I realised I'd had this creative side for a very long time, I'd just done nothing with it. I had started wanting to open an Etsy store at some point and planned to do this after my wedding. There was just one problem...I couldn't find anything that I enjoyed and thought would be profitable enough to justify the time and effort needed.
After my wedding and all the things that happened, it took me a while to get organised. About 5 months after receiving my wedding photos, I finally made Newspapers to send to our guests. It took me ages and I had loads of issues with my software crashing and stuff...it was a steep learning curve...but eventually, about 8 months after the wedding, I sent them in the post.
The reaction from friends and family was amazing. I had kind of expected some positive feedback, but when my friend said "This is your thing...this is your business" I swear a light bulb went on in my head. In that moment, everything fell into place. I knew nobody else did this because I couldn't find anyone when I was looking. It felt perfect...all the things I knew about myself, what I wanted...it all seemed to work...I couldn't find any reason not to try.
By this point I was so unhappy at work, I realised the negative impact it was having on me and my personal life as well as my working life. This was partly because my mum dying had changed something in my brain. Suddenly the reality of 'life is too short' triggered me to assess what I was doing with my life. If I was so unhappy, what was I going to do about it? I knew that only I had the power to make myself happy, I just had to figure out what that was.
So I thought about the Newspaper thing over night and it made so much sense and for the first time in years, I felt really truly excited. So the next night I set up my website (a lot more basic than I have now, but the basic structure was the same) and started spending all of my spare time and lunch breaks contacting people, connecting my business to others and researching. Within a few weeks I'd created a basic website, got some volunteers to make free Newspapers for, been accepted as a supplier for Rock N Roll Bride magazine and booked several wedding fairs. I was going all out and it felt like I was on the fast track. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I was totally winging it, but I felt great. This was definitely the right thing.
I was going to work part time building up my business until I could make enough profit to quit my full time job, I had it all planned.
Then something happened. I had a problem at my job and I felt like working there any longer was going to be detrimental to my health, I just couldn't do it to myself anymore. I also realised that I didn't care about IT or Projects anymore. How could I do a good job and deliver Projects if I couldn't care less and my brain was thinking only about Newspapers.
This gave me a decision...do I quit or go all in. So being the impulsive, determined person...I decided to go hard... I spoke to my husband and he agreed to support me, he just wanted me to be happy.
So the next day, I handed my notice in at my job and it felt amazing. I had worked there exactly a year by the time I left, it felt like such a waste of time, but I was relieved and excited about the new chapter ahead of me.
That was 18 months ago. Since then I've done 15 wedding fairs, been to 10s of networking events, met 100s of suppliers and couples, made around 60 Newspapers, been featured in magazines and blogs, been part of lots of styled shoots, diversified into graphically designed wedding stationery as well as family, birthday and marketing Newspapers and created a great online and social media presence for a small and/or new business. I've made huge leaps forwards and smaller steps here and there, but I have achieved a lot in a small space of time and every day, I get one step closer to where I want to be...after all I'm in it for the long game.
I'm excited to see what the future holds, but I'm so glad I was brave enough to take control of my life and make myself happy. I know not everyone has that chance, I feel so lucky and grateful to have the support to follow my dreams...this is just the start!
Live the life you love,
All photos my own.
Wedding aisle Photo MeliaMelia
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