How This Wedding Pro Takes a Business-Minded Approach to Chasing Her DreamsBy
There has been a lot of talk about pivoting business over the past year. While figuring out ways to diversify your income has been a necessity during the pandemic, there are pros who have been building businesses with diverse streams of income for years. Whether you call them serial entrepreneurs or mini-moguls, it is always inspiring to watch someone build an empire. And, today we are thrilled to introduce you to Tamuel of RW Events—a wedding business proving that when you take the time to strategically pivot, you can build upon it and end up with more than one successful venture! Read on to learn more about how Tamuel approaches her goals, assesses her business, and is always looking to what’s next.
Tell us a little bit about your company.
We’re a bit of a hybrid firm—small and mighty. We started off as wedding planners and transitioned into venue management and ownership more than 10 years ago. Then, we added specialty rentals 5 years ago and, most recently, a retail store.
Is there a particular moment or story about why you decided that being in the wedding industry was what you wanted to do?
In 2003, I left corporate America to be a stay-at-home mom—which lasted all of 5 minutes! During my journey of discovery, I kept in touch with my old boss and helped them with some marketing events as an independent contractor. When his daughter got engaged, he asked if I could help plan the wedding and the rest is history. Being in the wedding industry was never a personal dream, but I’m so glad I discovered this path; I couldn’t be happier.
Looking back, what was the most important thing you did in your first year that ended up setting you up for success? And, what has been the thing that has helped you level up since?
I’ve always treated my business like a business versus a hobby because I wanted to make sure I was able to pay myself. By the end of year one, I updated our pricing to plan for growth and leased my first office for accountability.
The one thing that has helped me level up (since the beginning) is ignoring the white noise. There are so many distractions that can hinder your success and cause you to procrastinate. Being that I’m very detail-oriented and goal driven, I’ve mastered the art of tuning out the distractions–making me more available to my team and our clients.
What do you know now that you wish you did when you started?
How important customer relationship management systems are for a growing business! It’s totally fine to change your CRM’s if they are not working for you or if you’ve outgrown their offerings. I think reviewing them annually and listing the pros and cons is essential for continued growth.
Once you’ve reached a goal, how do you decide what goals to set next?
My goals are centered around profit, sales, efficiency, personal growth, and customer service. The next goal to tackle is contingent on the need during that time-period or priorities of our business.
Tell us about a pivotal moment you have had in the last year. What was the impact it had on you and your business?
A pivotal moment for me was when I realized plans and procedures were fluid. Yikes! For someone with a busy calendar, solid procedures, and a semi-perfect workflow this was extremely hard. Last year forced us to map out plan B-Z in a matter of weeks. Our team is much smaller than it used to be but more driven and efficient. We fine-tuned and streamlined our internal processes and quickly developed plans to operate virtually. It was like pressing a reset button. We got a second chance to do it right!
I stand for…equality for ALL.
My clients are…the absolute best and the reason I love what I do!
If I could…sprinkle common sense like glitter the world would be a better place! And, I’d always make sure my dresses had pockets.
One time I…travelled a lot. Now, I’m secretly jealous of everyone I see traveling right now.
How many weddings did you do during your first year? Do you remember how much you were charging?
We did 6 weddings our first year and all of them were day-of with a rate of $795 (this was 16 years ago!). By year three I had hired my first full-time employee, and we were averaging 30 weddings a year with fees between $1200-4000.
Tell us about a time you actually did a happy dance!
When I secured my first long-term government contract! Knowing that we’d have a consistent influx to our cash flow (on a monthly basis) had me dancing for weeks. It was such an exciting moment that got us closer to the goal of owning a venue.
How would you describe your favorite couples to work with and is there something you seem to connect with them over?
My favorite couples are working professionals that care more about the marriage than the Insta-moments. They are realistic about how the budget should be allocated and splurge on the guest experience. They are typically very gracious hosts! Something we tend to connect on is our love of culinary trends, textiles, and laughter—which is such a random combination. 😉
If you could do something to encourage diversity in our industry, what would you do?
As a woman of color this question is always difficult for me to answer because I refuse to understand or accept that diversity must be “encouraged.” Why was it acceptable to avoid embracing diversity for years? How did we get here?
Real conversations about the underlying issue of racism and bigotry should be consistent at every conference, large meeting, and private meeting with influencers until the problem is fixed–especially for those that choose to remain willingly ignorant on the subject. A shift in mindset is necessary for real change! Conferences should consider enforcing more well-rounded speakers and topics versus placing so much emphasis on the fluff and portfolios.
The most important investment I have made in my business is… My team (both internal and external). Don’t be afraid to hire individuals to pick up the slack in the areas you’re not excelling in. Whether it’s hiring a graphic designer, CPA, attorney, or personal assistant, we can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all!
5 years from now, where do you hope to be?
In a healthy place of contentment with measurable success. The reset of 2020 is allowing us to get it right this go round and I’m doing everything in my power to do just that!
Want to connect with Tamuel and follow this inspiring business woman? You can find her on Instagram at @rwevents!
Photo Credit: Ashley Jane Photography
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