Hello lovely people, it’s time to introduce the first in my new monthly series – Girl Boss.
More and more women are taking the leap and going freelance, moving halfway around the world, taking on huge roles to further their careers or starting their own businesses. I love hearing peoples’ stories to find out what inspired them. First up we have the gorgeous Amy and Mel who set up WedShed:
- When did you first get the idea to start your business?
We were living in London a few years ago and an engaged girlfriend back home asked for help finding a unique wedding venue, as she was struggling. So we jumped online (naively thinking *this can’t be too hard*) – and were quickly stumped. Unless you stumbled upon a very lucky search term, the same traditional venues kept cropping up.
We knew there had to be more amazing spaces out there, and that there must be plenty of venue owners who wanted an easier way to connect with couples. At the time, Airbnb had finally hit the mainstream and the concept of renting out privately owned spaces for holidays was no longer foreign. Yet, there was no Australian platform offering a similar service for events, particularly weddings.
It was very much a lightbulb moment – we realised after about an hour of searching for venues for our friend that there was a serious gap that needed to be filled and that we could be the people to bridge it.
- What were your main motivations for starting WedShed?
We recognised that we were soon to be in the same boat of our friend (that is, engaged and looking for somewhere amazing to get hitched), so that was a big motivator to get WedShed up and running! We knew that so many couples must be hitting the same roadblock and the more we thought about WedShed, the more excited we got.
Mel and I had been tossing around business ideas since we were in our early 20s, including but not limited to a pop-up sandwich shop, a pet-treat delivery service and a masculine equivalent of flower-giving. When we returned to Australia, we sat on the WedShed idea for a couple of years before we realised that it really had legs, and that it was now or never.
Once we began to flesh out the business, we realised that the venue owners and their local communities were just as much the benefactors of WedShed as the couples themselves. A big proportion of our venues are based outside of metropolitan cities in rural regions. Weddings generate a significant financial boost to the region surrounding the venue – when you consider that guests need accommodation, food, transport, etc. It was really rewarding to think that we could facilitate some amazing win-win situations around Australia: couples get to party somewhere awesome and the community benefits from an injection to the local economy.
- What has been the hardest thing starting a new business?
Oh, this is a hard one to answer – do we have to choose just one thing? Haha.
This is such an overarching answer but the hardest thing has been learning how to run a business. It’s taken us almost a year to figure out certain systems and to even recognise the need for them. It still feels like every month we have a major business-shifting learning, which is awesome because we feel like we’re getting somewhere but also frustrating because we’re also like *how the hell did we not see this before?* That happens a lot.
- Now that it’s up and running what are your aims for the next couple of years?
We’ve got a lot we want to achieve in the next couple of years – from building an online marketplace, to creating a wedding planning guide, to taking WedShed overseas. Fun times ahead.
- Any plans to go international?!
It’s definitely on the cards. There are some mighty fine venues in the UK that we’d love to work with…
Check out http://www.wedshed.com.au/ for more from the lovely girls. For now, I’ll leave you with this image of one of their favourite venues, the gorgeous Waldara in NSW: