If you love surrounding yourself with beauty and love, then the perfect business to explore will have to be wedding planning. However, it’s not all glamor and, in order to get things looking this wonderful, a lot of hard work has to be done. Are you ready to get your hands dirty so you can help a bride achieve the wedding of her dreams? Do you have an eye for details? Most importantly, do you love networking? If so, Rubina Tiyu, Principal Planner and Founder of Inside The Knot, has some important trade secrets to share.
1. Why did you start Inside The Knot?
“I’ve been in the wedding and events industry since 2004 and knew I wanted to start my own company by the time I’m 30. In 2010, I actually started Scarlett Creations but the company closed down after a year because I wasn’t ready – both financially and mentally. Then in 2012, I decided to try again. I noticed there was a gap in the market for quality wedding information and supplies, so after doing my numbers, I started Inside The Knot!”
2. You mentioned you had to go back to Malaysia for a year after you started Scarlett Creations. What happened?
“Because I was unprepared for the financial commitments of running my own business, I decided to move my operations to Malaysia so I keep my costs to half. It was tough year and after folding Scarlett Creations, I went back to working in PR and Marketing, all the while doing wedding planning on the side. In the one year I spent working in PR and Marketing, I worked on expanding my network and gaining more contacts, and also on rebuilding my confidence.”
3. What foundation do you need to build in order to get started as a wedding planner?
“Industry experience and knowledge are definitely crucial. These, you will have to obtain through working in the industry. You’ll also need to possess a lot of contacts and these you gather in the course of your work.”
4. How does a wedding planner make her money?
“We earn through consultation fees, commission for referrals … some wedding planners, like us, also earn by taking charge of wedding decorations and providing wedding stationery like invitations and place-cards.”
5. What are some “industry practices” a new wedding planner has to bear in mind in order to maintain the goodwill of competitors and vendors?
“Competition is always good so respect your competitors. This will also make you a better business-person too. Do not ever backstab the competition – what goes around comes around and you don’t want to be known as someone with such a toxic reputation.
With vendors, be honest and always communicate with them. If you are marking up their prices or you are expecting a referral commission, you have to be open about this and tell them. Clearly convey what your couple is expecting – word for word – to ensure they deliver according to expectations. This will prevent double-work on everyone’s part.”
6. If someone wants to get into the wedding planning business, how should she plan her career route?
“Gain experience by starting at the bottom of the ladder. Nothing beats on-the-job training and this will also help you see the operations from every aspect.
Be conscientious about doing research. You need to stay abreast of the latest trends and maintain scrapbooks so you can better advise your clients and inspire them.
Although there are now several places that offer courses on wedding planning, I still believe that you’ll be better off knocking on the door of a wedding planner and offering to help as a part-timer or an intern.”
Did you find this interview helpful? Do you have more questions for Rubina? Tell us in the Comments section below and we will try our bestest to get her to help you. If you are interested in learning about other industries, tell us too and we’ll seek someone out to do an interview too. Meanwhile, if you are interested in Entrepreneurship or are an Entrepreneur yourself, please take 5 minutes to complete this survey.
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She thinks all brides should enlist the help of wedding planners because Stressful is simply not a good look to wear on your big day. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.
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