I recently had the chance to catch up with Amy Aldridge, a young entrepreneur who has started up her own company in the wedding industry. Keep reading to find out what her inspiration was and what encouraged her to take the leap and pursue her dream career path. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to get a little motivation to take the leap into the career you genuinely aspire to be in!
1. What inspired you to set up your wedding business, Ink and Alder?
I got married back in 2017 and LOVED the whole process. We did a lot of our wedding on a budget and did as much DIY as possible – our venue was a blank canvas. We hired rustic tables/chairs/cutlery and vintage bits and bobs from the amazing Jane and Doug at Cogmith and Co and (another awesome) Jane from Birdcages and Dragonflies. After chatting with Jane x2 and Doug about their work, I think they helped me realise what my dream job was in the wedding industry. I wanted to work alongside happy, excited couples helping them make their big day a little more beautiful.
We then headed off to South-East Asia for a very long honeymoon/year of traveling! I kept dreaming about having my own wedding business making bespoke signage pieces and renting out my own hand-made rustic tables. After returning to the UK, my desire was still very much there, so I plucked up the courage (did a lot of research) and went for it!
2. What is unique about your business that adds value to peoples lives?
I love, LOVE! Being in the ‘wedding bubble’, and being able to be in contact and around happy (sometimes a little stressed) couples. I want to help couples by reducing that stress as much as possible so they can focus on getting excited.
When we got married we found it so tough getting hold of our vendors, I want to be on hand and available to my customers. Whether that’s bouncing a few ideas around, chatting through the run of the day or giving a little advice. I want to provide support in the process, not just a product.
3. Was starting Ink and Alder an easy transition from traveling?
It was a biiiiig transition – no more iced coffee’s on the beach! That being said, when we were abroad I had time to think up ideas and hit the ground running. It also helps having a flexible online teaching job (which I also love), so I’m able to devote a lot of time to Ink and Alder along with keeping financially stable!
5. You mention that you put a lot of effort in to simply get set up. What would your advice to someone trying to do the same be?
Plan, plan, plan. Start the mundane jobs early and keep them up to date! I can get so bogged down backlogging through months of purchases and statements – if only I kept on top of it, my future self would thank me! Also it means I get more time doing the fun creative things.
6. What changes would you make if you did it all over again?
There have been a few things that have slowed down set up. I’m aiming to expand into the furniture rental by summer 2020. which means making 20 tables from scaffolding boards and up-cycling 120+ chairs… I’ve been a little slack on the (hugely expensive) storage front which is slowing the whole process down, so I’d definitely aim to be more organised with the receipts, taxes, accounts etc …. the important, yet boring side of the business!
7. What will the next 3 months look like for both you and your business?
My aim is to be furniture rental ready by summer 2020. This means getting my arse into gear with a website, purchasing and up-cycling 120 chairs, making 20 tables and also sourcing rustic vintage pieces… Anyone want to help?
The wedding industry is constantly changing and trends rapidly swap, so I need to make sure my rustic pieces align with these trends! Finally, broadcasting the process and interacting with people via social media.
8. You are a lone wolf, working for yourself, how do you find a work-life balance?
I work from home which is great, but it can also be difficult. I’ve just read your recent blog post on work-life balance and I’m definitely a ‘night owl’! I struggle to get motivated, especially in the morning and stay on track which can also impact my life outside of work if I’m not careful! In 2020 I want to change that and get myself organised and motivated!
I also work well with deadlines. Cogsmith & Co and my husband are currently helping me with building tables (lifesavers!) which keeps me on track because I also have other people and deadlines I’m affecting.
9. What has been the hardest thing about starting up a business on your own?
I think I underestimated how much time it would take. Don’t get me wrong I’m loving (almost) every second of it, but wow have I put pressure on myself because things weren’t getting finished in a time frame I wanted. As a creative I have so many ideas buzzing around my head and I want to make EVERYTHING. Putting things on hold and listing the priorities is an important coping strategy for me.
10. As an entrepreneur what is it that gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’ve genuinely always struggled with motivation when it comes to my career, never feeling fulfilled or like my job ‘suits me’. Sounds cheesy but being able to do what I love is the only motivation I need! Witnessing the joy and satisfaction of the wedding party strives me to continue in the wedding industry. Being able to make things pretty for one of the most special days of people’s lives – that’s enough for me.
11. If you had to meet your 18 year old self now, what would you tell her?
Sounds extremely cliche but, do what makes you happy. Don’t get bogged down with grades and the mundane 9-5. Go with what you’re passionate about! Take risks and learn from the process. Passing and failing is the journey to your success.