“I always had a nagging feeling that I’d made the wrong career choice and wished I’d gone into event planning from the beginning; however a lot of the skills that I learnt are vital in my career and business today”
- Melanie Helen, Director of Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events
In the below interview, Melanie Helen shares with us her experience of building her own weddings and event consultancy, Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events.
Tell me more about your career before launching Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events?
I studied Fashion Design at University so the natural first step was to embark on a career within the same industry. I initially worked for the designer Roland Mouret in various capacities, but the most interesting time was spent assisting with his catwalk shows at London Fashion Week. After a couple of years with the company I moved across to be a Fashion Buyer for a couple of well-known retailers but during this time I became more and more involved in event planning, from organising the annual Retail Conference through to the company Christmas balls amongst other things. I always had a nagging feeling that I’d made the wrong career choice and wished I’d gone into event planning from the beginning; however a lot of the skills that I learnt in the fashion business are vital in my career and business today.
What inspired you to start Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events?
I’m very organised and creative and as time went on in my Buying role I started to consider making the move into specific event planning. I’d been to several weddings as a guest and kept seeing the same things done over and over again and thought I could put my skills to better use. I was then asked to help out on the day of a wedding and that was it, I absolutely loved the whole experience and at that point I realised what I was meant to do!
What part of the journey have you enjoyed the most?
I’d say getting to the point of being lucky enough to start planning weddings with very healthy budgets, and looking back on where it all started and seeing the difference. Secondly it has to be seeing the company grow and take on very carefully chosen staff to work alongside me in order to do this.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business in the service based industry?
Follow your passion but make sure you research everything thoroughly before jumping ship. I would also advise to keep your current job whilst setting the business up to alleviate the pressure of a regular income and paying the mortgage etc. Be tenacious as having your own business is seriously hard work, albeit rewarding, so you have to be focused and determined to make it a success.
Can you pick out some highlights from last year?
We were lucky enough to work with some lovely couples and plan some truly beautiful weddings, some of our favourites include Alina and Ahmed’s that was inspired by the Great Gatsby ( click here for photos ), Gabi and Peter’s set beside a lake (click here for photos) and Rachel and Will’s black tie glamorous affair at Hedsor House (click here for photos).
We also received a prestigious award last year for ‘Regional winner for Best Wedding Planner’ in the 2013 Wedding Industry Awards
Lastly, we were featured in the glossy book ‘Covet London’ which showcases some inspirational female entrepreneurs in the Capital.
What’s next for you?
2014 is an exciting year for Cranberry Blue as we have recently taken on another member of the team as an Assistant Planner; Rachel has been working with us for over a year but now joins us in a full time capacity. We’re moving into new offices, and after a lot of searching have found the perfect place in the heart of London which means we’ll be closer to our clients and suppliers. We’re also focusing on developing our destination portfolio, starting with a beautiful wedding in Italy in June.
What’s your favourite quote?
I have two actually, neither were said by anyone famous, but by my wonderful Gran who I miss dearly – “Smile and the world will smile with you” and “All will be well”, both phrases are very apt and true I think.
To find out more about Melanie’s business Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events Consultancy click here
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