2015 / 2016
2016 is here. That was fast, huh? In the wedding world, the winter months that fall across the New Year are usually free of events and full of reflection on what worked and what didn’t this past year. 2015 was my fourth year in business and my first full year as a mom. The combination of experience designing events and absolutely no experience parenting was an interesting mixture. It let me more easily say no to projects that weren’t a good fit for my business. On to the juicy pulp of this post…
What worked in 2015
1) I consistently produced creative events with strong teams. I’m immensely proud of every wedding that I designed this year. Each was drastically different than the other – from an Indian/American party on a boat to a love filled B&B celebration in the Hudson Valley to a destination wedding in a loft – all of the couples I was honored to work with this year were creative, smart, and open to unconventional decor ideas. Every single freelancer that I hired was crazy talented, 110% on board with my insane ideas, and worked hard to make these weddings come alive.
2) I grew my prop styling portfolio. Although I love working on wedding celebrations, after having Dean I made the decision to give myself a maximum number of weekends I would work a year. This left some room in my schedule to grow my prop styling portfolio, which has been rewarding creatively and monetarily. My work on HGTV has blossomed into my brand being prominently featured on their site. Weddings In Color, the modern wedding decor book that I styled, officially hit book shelves in October.
3) My schedule worked for my personal life. The decision to take on a limited number of full event design clients is the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s let me leave room in my schedule for professional projects, such as styling and blogging, and for personal things, like taking Dean to the pool in the summer and busting my butt at Crossfit. Having part-time childcare means that I sometimes work at weird times of the day – like from 6-7am before everyone else gets up – but I’ve been able to serve my clients, produce events, spend time with my family, and go to Crossfit five times a week – all while technically working a part-time schedule.
4) I launched the Michelle Edgemont Shop (with new site and updated branding). I’ve been dreaming about this shop for years. It’s finally here! The Michelle Edgemont Shop is a place for couples to find modern, colorful, simple decor to liven up their wedding celebrations. I have plans to add more patterns, more products, and curated goods to create a one stop shop for contemporary, fun event decor. Creme Brands updated my branding with fresh colors, patterns, and a clean website that speaks to how my aesthetic has grown in these past four years in business.
What didn’t work
1) Dealing with the busy season. I should give myself a break here since it was my first season with a kid, although when I was busy, I felt it 100% more than I used to. When the to-do list grew too large the overwhelm gave me a short attitude to the people around me. I don’t like being a not nice person.
2) Florals in my apartment. Yep, I’ve been working out of my apartment for the past four years. It was fine when we didn’t have a kid. It even worked when he was a baby. But a crawling/walking toddler who is curious about everything? It’s not working anymore. It’s time for a studio space in 2016. Whether that means renting a space on a per-event basis or find a studio to call my own, I’m not sure yet.
What I want to do better in 2016
1) Work out of a studio. See #2 above. Specifically for my floral work and photographing larger DIY projects, a studio space is crucial. Who knew a child would take up so much space? Oh yea, everyone. It’s not even necessarily his toys and clothes (which there is a lot of), it’s more of him touching and eating everything. I’m looking for a space within walking distance of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn – anyone have any leads?
2) Submit my work. I’ve got weddings from years ago in my files that haven’t been submitted to be published yet. It takes so much time. Whine, whine, whine…blah, blah, blah. I have to sit down with a pile of gummy bears and a coffee and just get. it. done. I was luckily enough to have work featured in a few blogs this year and I was quoted in the NYtimes….but I’ve got so much awesome stuff you guys haven’t even seen yet!
3) Get things done faster. The quicker I can finish the tasks on my to-do list, the more work I can get done in the limited hours that I have. That’s the thing about being a parent and owning a business – the work hours are now limited. It’s not like it was before Dean was born when I could work whenever I wanted for as many hours as I wanted. Now I have a limited number of hours in the office, which means that I have to get as much done as possible. Working smarter and faster, not harder and longer. Processes are going to get automated, a lot of backend tasks are going to get outsourced, and I’m going to stop dicking around on facebook during work hours.
1) Grow the Michelle Edgemont Shop. Whew, my first line of party decor is out in the open. The next step is growth. Marketing. Partnerships. Sponsorships. Generally getting the word out there that modern, colorful wedding decor exists! That there is somewhere to buy cool stuff for your party that isn’t covered in crystals or white tulle. That a shop is live in this world where your color-loving, contemporary-aesthetic-wanting, unconventional soul can dance around in happiness.
2) Partner with planners across the country with my Virtual Event Design service. I’ve had a blast in 2015 partnering with a few local planners on my Virtual Event Design service. I want to take it across the country in 2016. Basically, it’s an event design service where I partner with wedding planners to design their client’s weddings at a much lower price point than hiring me to do full in-person event design. The couple gets a professional design plan for their wedding and then the planner is able to take that plan to their favorite local vendors to execute it. Are you a wedding planner who wants to offer design services to their clients without having to do it yourself? Let’s work together!
3) Get smarter with expenses. I could be better at constantly buying lattes on the company’s dime.