You know what Monday's mean around here-- you get to read about and learn from a favorite industry friend of ours! Today you're going to hear from Allison of Engaged & Inspired, a wedding design & planning company in Northern California. I (Michaela) can attest to how WONDERFUL Allison and her team are because they were my wedding coordinators. There is absolutely no way we could have had such a beautiful day without Engaged & Inspired! Being in the industry for over 6 years, Allison has so much insight to share. Read on for the interview!
1: When did you start your business and how did it come about?
Engaged & Inspired started as a wedding blog in 2009 and transitioned into a wedding planning & design studio in 2011. I had another site and blog prior to E&I so I was used to sharing daily, but having a space dedicated to weddings and wedding planning felt like the perfect transition for me. After going full-time with the blog in 2010, I was receiving a lot of requests to plan reader’s weddings. I said no for about a year and focused on content and building out products for the blog. I was finally convinced to say yes to planning and wedding, and the rest is history!
2. Where does your passion stem from?
I’ve always been very drawn to solving problems. I love working through something and being enveloped in a challenge. I am at my best when I’m working on something I can bite my teeth into and problem solve around. Add a spreadsheet in there, and I’m set!
3. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? (business, social media, balancing personal and business life, etc.)
Take the time to develop yourself, your mission and your purpose. I went really fast, developed a strong brand did everything “right” but at a point I realized I was busy and successful but hadn’t really thought about the purpose behind what I was doing, how I had grown in the past 5 years, what my new goals were, or what I was doing all this for. When you are just starting out you have a “hustle and do whatever it takes” attitude, which I definitely think there is a place for. But you can’t hustle past some of those deeper questions, so making space to check in with yourself and course correct as necessary is incredibly important.
4. What is one way you stay inspired outside of your industry/field?
Recently I’ve been inspired by cooking. A year ago I put a lot of time into nourishing my body through changing my entire diet/lifestlye and adding in exercise. I found that I really enjoyed cooking and have been doing more and more of that recently! I even started an Instagram account to post my food/recipes and am planning on taking some plating classes soon.
I also try to have one in-person meeting with someone new every week. I love getting inspired by others, hearing different perspectives and exchanging stories. The discussions are always entirely different and it keeps my mind active in many different ways. The amount of positive energy I draw from these interactions is priceless.
5. Favorite project AND your most challenging project?
My most challenging projects are always private estate wedding. My most favorite and more challenging project happen to be the same event, a private estate wedding I planned in 5 months. The couple was incredibly laid back, had amazing style and had an inherent level of trust in me that allowed me to do my best work.
It was a hard one because it was in the middle of a field with no access to electricity, plumbing, water or just about anything else you need to throw an amazing event, but we figured out those logistics and created the most beautiful event! The entire team worked so hard and the end result was amazing. They are still one of my favorite couples ever!
6. Favorite business tool? (Camera, program to do bookkeeping, wholesaler etc.)
My Rais Case fanny pack! It is the perfect wedding day fanny pack! My entire team has them and not one wedding goes by where someone doesn’t ask me where I got it from. I’m obsessed
7. Best business advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received wasn’t actually business advice, but it is advice that I apply to my business daily. “Don’t listen to all the well-meaning advice. There are a thousand right ways to do something”. Trying to figure out the right way to start or run a business can be overwhelming, and through all the noise it is easy to forget to listen to your own intuition. There are a thousand right ways to do something! (I just really really love that line! There is so much value in those words). The amount of information and the number of examples out there are endless, it can be very paralyzing to try to figure out what the best next step is. People mean well and are actually trying to help, but sometimes the steps you need to take to make your business succeed are going to be completely different from your competition or that person you are obsessed with on Instagram. I did things differently when I started my company. I posted my pricing (and still do to this day), I put out a ton of free content, and I did a whole bunch of stuff that people told me I shouldn’t do. But at every step, I simply did what I felt inclined to do. Stop questioning yourself, do the next thing, and then the next, and you’ll find your own way. Oh, and it won’t happen overnight, so be prepared to put in the time and effort to make something happen.
8. What are you most looking forward to in the coming months and year for E&I?
We are looking forward to a very full year and lots of gorgeous weddings, but we are working hard behind the scenes on so many things to create more growth! For now, all that is under wraps, but we are excited for the future of E&I on many different levels, that is for sure!
9. THREE favorite things right now.
1. The Beet Latte at a local coffee shop
2. The BBG Sweat app which allows me to workout at home whenever I have time. It is my favorite
3. Cookbooks of any kind!
Thanks for sharing with us, Allison!