Today highlights our very first guest blog - the work of Kirsteen and Colin of Your Wedding at Loch Lomond and CIA Photography:
Please introduce yourself
I'm Kirsteen and I'm part of the team involved in Your Wedding at Loch Lomond, which is an on-line wedding directory for Loch Lomond brides to be. It lists a wide variety of wedding suppliers serving Loch Lomond and is free to advertise in.
As well as being involved in this directory, I have three other jobs, including providing wedding favours through www.canyoudomeafavour.co.uk and assisting my husband with his wedding photography business www.ciaphotography.co.uk. I am a mother to a two year old and an active volunteer in the community.
How many years have you been involved in the wedding industry?
My husband and I have been involved in the wedding industry since we were teenagers. However, CIA Photography was established in 2004. Can You Do Me A Favour and Your Wedding at Loch Lomond were established in 2010.
Its been very interesting to see how the wedding industry has changed over the past 10 or more years – back then people rarely, if ever, spoke of chair covers, cupcakes and candy buffets!
What pros and cons have you found while being in this industry?
Our aim of making the directory 'everyone's directory' has been achieved. Its demonstrated by the fact that many advertising requests come from wedding suppliers who have been speaking to our listed suppliers. We do appreciate our suppliers spreading the word and helping with recruiting other suppliers! Many suppliers have become friends with each other, recommending each other, purchasing from each other etc. We love it!
We have made so many friends from our suppliers and received support from many experienced and respected wedding professionals and from other wedding directories.
That said, not everyone in the wedding industry has been supportive. We're seen as a threat to some because we target the same customers. Also we are free, not all directories are, plus we are less restrictive, especially regarding who can advertise. We only have two rules – cover Loch Lomond and link back to us.
However, as a wise man once told me “You're not in business to win their approval, you're in business to win the approval of your clients” and that's working well so I no longer worry about it!
What made you set up "ywall"?
Earlier this year, we got talking with a group of wedding suppliers. We were all in agreement that brides to be in Loch Lomond were not getting a TRUE picture of the wide range of wedding suppliers available to them and also that local businesses were suffering as a result of, for example:
• very high advertising rates in newspapers and magazines
• favouritism in other directories, magazines, and brochures – eg different in size of advert if you pay more...
• Very high cost of tables/stands at wedding fayres – often as high as £400.
We decided to create an on-line wedding directory that would be free to use and free to advertise in. We would treat all suppliers equally, and show no favourtism. Our only rules would be that you would have to supply to Loch Lomond and link back to our website. No one who meets these conditions would be refused an advertisement on our site.
We felt this would support both established businesses and also new, small businesses. We feel very strongly that its not the hours you work, or how long you have been in the industry that matters, its the end result you produce and how your supplier gets on with other suppliers such as your venue.
It has grown very rapidly from one venue, a few photographers etc into successful directory with a large number of suppliers and a very full email inbox!
Tell us about "ywall" wedding fair
The Your Wedding at Loch Lomond Wedding Fayre will be held at the Dumbuck House Hotel in Dumbarton on Sunday the 27th February 2011. This will provide the venue with an excellent opportunity to attract brides to be and showcase their function suite.
In addition, it will allow brides to meet a wide range of wedding suppliers, including yourself, to assist them in planning their weddings. There will be a competition on the day, discounts, goody bags, live music and pampering.
Interested exhibitors should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org but only a few tables remain.
What are your plans for the future?
In 2011, we are holding a wedding fayre in February and if this goes well, we will do another later that year and also continue this into the following years. We also hope to exhibit at wedding fayres ourselves and promote the YWALL brand.
We have also just completed brochures for YWALL which will be given to brides to be visiting our fayre in February 2011. These brochures have information on all of our suppliers as well as information on who YWALL are and what we do.
We've had advertisements in magazines and are in discussions for newspaper advertising also.
facebook: Your Wedding at Loch Lomond