Image by Danielle
Planning two workshops at once may be double the work but it’s also double the fun - especially when it came to picking our scholarship winners for both cities at the same time.
The three of us trawled though all the amazing entries late last night, emailing back and forth with our favourite ones. Although we were pretty unanimous that our Los Angeles winner had to be Danielle. Her entry was so cute, creative and fun. We might have just been a little swayed by the paper headmistresses (& Gareth!) in the video too - so damn cute!
Some of my eagle eyed readers might actually recognise her – I not only featured her wedding waaaaay back in 2008 (!) but we met in Las Vegas last year and Lisa did a shoot with her and husband Jose. They really are the sweetest couple ever and nobody deserves this more than Danielle.
Last October I was honoured to be asked to act as a judge for the bridalNEXT! awards which were taking place as part of A Most Curious Wedding Fair. Alongside fellow judges Peta Hunt, fashion editor of You & Your Wedding Magazine, Rachel Atwell, owner of swanky London wedding boutique Luella’s Boudoir, and Hazel Holtham of vintage store & blog Rag and Bow we selected Veronica Dearly as our overall winner, and the one to watch for 2013.
As part of the prize Veronica and the three runners up were invited to take part in an editorial fashion shoot. Now I don’t know about you, but if this is the caliber of bridal talent coming out in 2013, it’s going to be a very exciting year indeed.
“We were so thrilled that Veronica was named the winner by our judges last year”, writes Rebecca, the genius behind the show and awards. “In her we feel we have found a graphic designer and stationer kindred spirit as her work stands apart from the vintage crowd and is influenced by everyday lifestyle trends and pop culture, not necessarily just weddings.”
“This is a very special photo shoot to promote bridalNEXT! put together by Gemma Goodwin or Gemma Most Curious as we call her. Gemma is always a huge creative force in the team and steers the visual side of our brand amazingly- but this is her first shoot as art director and as you can see, I better watch my back.”
The Blogcademy has been a life changing new direction for me and my career. Making the decision to teach others was not an easy one and was something that the three of us knew would take some time to perfect. Going into something thinking you have nothing to learn yourself is a fast-track route to failure. In fact I haven’t learnt quite as much about myself, or the way to run a business successfully, in such a short space of time… er ever.
1. Build a strong team
When you go into any new venture, it’s vital to have co-workers that you can trust. Even if you’re going it alone, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do everything yourself. Be sure to hire or collaborate with people who have the same overall vision as you. You need to openly discuss your objectives early on to make sure you’re all on the same page and have the same ultimate goals.
Communication is key. Be sure to talk through any issues or concerns right away – as soon as you feel them arising. Being open and honest about these things with not only help to maintain a healthy working relationship, but will allow your team to help you work through any personal concerns along the way.
2. Not all advice will be good advice
Asking for feedback from past customers or collaborators is a necessary evil. Sometimes it’s all to easy to bury our heads in the sand and aimlessly convince ourselves that we’ve done a perfect job. But perfection takes time (in reality it will never be met!) and although you may already be aware of areas that need improving in your business, asking for feedback from people who you know will give it to you honestly us a great way to grow. But it can be tough to hear – especially if you feel you’ve worked really hard and put your all into something. It can seem like people are picking holes in everything you’ve done, but they may have noticed things you didn’t and may offer you some really valuable advice about how to improve things next time.
Just a little note to let you all know, I’ll be switching over the majority of my coverage of The Blogcademy to The Green Room from now on. The reason being that I anticipate that these posts will be of most interest to the people reading the business and personal updates on my blog rather than the weddings. So make sure you’re checking in here regularly if this kind of stuff floats your boat.
Portland & Los Angeles venues
Plenty has been going on behind the turquoise curtain since London. We did a soft launch of our next cities last month so the eager ones amongst you could plan ahead and now we’re able to finally share all the nitty gritty details, starting with the most important thing – the venues!
I’m thrilled to let you all know that the Portland event will be taking place at the uber cool The Cleaners at Ace Hotel (and there’s a photo booth in the lobby!) with the LA leg going down at Beachwood Studios slap bang in the middle of Hollywood. Oh yes, I can’t wait to get me some of that Californian sunshine!
I’m also super duper head over heels excited that the always epic Made U Look Photography will be joining us in Portland to shoot the workshop and generally hang out with us all weekend. Y’all have to meet these ladies, they are seriously inspiring. If you are interested in film and experimental photography they really are the best of the best. We love them.
In other news, after some feedback from past Blogcadets, we’ve decided to switch up some parts of the curriculum for upcoming workshops. First off, we called upon Richard Wakefield of FX Films to shoot Lisa Devlin‘s photography talk in London so that we can offer it with your ticket purchase – you’ll receive the password and can watch the video as many times as you’d like. Lisa is an award-winning photographer and has a lot packed into her talks and this will benefit you since some of the technical info can take a few viewings to get down.
Are you having a festival themed wedding? 2012 was certainly the year that this idea exploded into weddings, but it would appear it isn’t going anywhere during 2013 either!
This festival-inspired wedding shoot was pulled together by wedding photographer Becky Joiner and Muddifords Court in order to promote their latest venture, the FabulousWedFest wedding show which is taking place on 16th March. Shot in and around the venue itself, and using suppliers that will actually be exhibiting at the fair, this shoot shows that festival weddings are far from over. It’s clearly a theme that we’re going to see gaining popularity in 2013 and beyond. Wellies at the ready guys!
“The inspiration behind this photo shoot was to create festival inspired event in a day”. wrote Becky. “I aimed to conjure up the feeling of wilderness, fun, freedom, love, glamour, magical, party, music, creativeness as an eclectic mix and represent it in the photographs.”
“I totally loved creating this shoot as I had the freedom to create the whole look. The dresses from Alexandra King were particularly great as they helped to showcase the idea that wedding can be whatever you want it to be. I also took some of the shots on an old 35 mm film camera as I wanted the pictures to look a bit dirty, grungy and most of all festivally!”
I was more nervous than usual for The Blogcademy‘s London leg. Not only did we have two sold out classes to do (oh the added pressure!) but being on my own turf I really felt like it was little old me that had to make sure it delivered – like if it wasn’t as awesome as the New York event it would all be my fault. Oh and the weather decided to go all kinds of cray cray two days beforehand too. That’s always fun.
But I need not have worried. With my fellow headmistresses by my side and 60 eager bloggers waiting in the wings we had the best time ever! The English, Irish, Scottish & Welsh contingent all turned out in force and, yet again, we had many an international babe flying in especially for the occasion. Vienna, Estonia, Sweden, Canada and New York were all represented and they were eager to laugh and learn with us all weekend!
I could bang on and on about how amazing the two workshops were for an age, but honestly, our graduates did it so much better than I ever could. So instead, I’m handing the reigns over to them…
“Well I have to say that it was officially the greatest weekend I’ve ever experienced! I have never in all my days, felt so inspired or excited in my life. My head is jam packed with ideas, my notebook is full and my head is now covered in sparkly bows and bunny-ears”. Emma Rose Black
“Something inside has clicked. I’ve done B-School, I’ve read numerous books & listened to countless voices, but the bringing together of like minded souls is something really special. So for now I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the time, energy & love you put into The Blogcademy. It truly feels like a gift that will keep on giving and one that will enable me to grow and pass on the gifts I have for the benefit of others.” Jayne Rusby