When Vancouver-based business partners Melissa Harris and Traci Myles launched The Wedding Architects in September 2013, they were already seasoned entrepreneurs.
Traci had run her event planning business TM Events for 13 years, while Melissa had already owned a graphic design company called Splat Designs for 15 years. During a business planning session for their individual companies, they realized that a huge opportunity lay in joining forces and starting a new company together.
A Bright Idea and a Natural Fit
Luckily, Melissa and Traci had more than just a clever new business idea – they also had the past experience, passion and personality fit needed to set the stage for a solid business partnership.
Melissa had become a small business owner because she “wanted to do things my own way – creatively, efficiently and with high value.”
Traci on the other hand “fell into” running her own business through charity involvements that morphed into paying clients who needed event coordination services. “I craved the freedom to work on projects I wanted to, and getting paid to do it was such a bonus,” says Traci.
Today, their new venture provides a one-stop solution for couples getting ready to exchange vows – from stationary design, to planning services, to day-of support, Melissa and Traci have it covered. What’s more, clients reap the benefits of the expertise of not only a seasoned event planner, but also an expert creative designer.
Giving Them What They Want
Based on her previous years of experience in event planning, Traci knew that brides and grooms need assistance in three key areas: concept and design, coordination and planning, and day-of services.
But these partners still did their research before launching their new business. “Sometimes you can be too close to things. We hosted a focus group with both married and single girl friends to bounce ideas and perfect our service offer,” says Traci. “We are in business to please our clients – best to just ask them what it is they want and provide it.”
With all of that in mind, they modeled their business so clients can choose from a range of services, from full design and coordination, to day-of execution, to a few hours of consultation. Ultimately, it was Melissa and Traci’s top priority to create easy-to-implement – and easy-to-understand – solutions that were affordable for their wedding clients.
Help Along the Way
When Melissa and Traci joined forces they drew support and inspiration from a number of external resources including the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Leadership, Dress for Success, BC Women’s Health – Illumination Luncheon, and Small Business BC.
With the help of Small Business BC business advisor Amy Elgie, they were able initiate the process to secure their business name, which turned out to be a bit of an undertaking.
The original name request was denied because it contained the word “architects.” However, with a little persistence and help from their lawyer they were able to appeal the name rejection and eventually secure it – and luckily so, because they were already quite attached to the name that articulated their service offering so well.
What Does the Future Hold?
Melissa and Traci have big plans for The Wedding Architects in the future. “In three to five years we hope to franchise across Canada,” says Traci. “Our dream is to give budding entrepreneurs the chance to succeed by benefitting from our proven systems while having fun and building magic for others.”
And their advice for all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there? “Do what you love, follow your passion,” says Traci. “It will work out if you follow your dreams!”
Melissa echoes, “Being your own boss has its tough moments, but the benefits and rewards that come with it can make such a fulfilling career.”