June Small Business Feature: Wicked Bride
How did your business get started?
Wicked Bride was founded in 2009 after a quest for one-of-a-kind invitations for Erica's Halloween wedding inspired her to make her own. Halloween + Boston + Wedding = Wicked Bride Those invites landed her in a magazine, and for several years she had the honor of designing some pretty amazing invites for some pretty amazing couples. But life changes, right? Even back in 2009 there were a million new tools to help plan your wedding - websites, apps - but Erica always relied on her trusty binder. They were never apart. Jokes were made about the binder coming with her on her honeymoon. So, in 2018 she launched a line of planners guaranteed to be your new best friend. (That's the website story) The behind-the-scenes story is that while planning my wedding, I couldn't find any invitations I liked - this was back in the day when you had to look through books in a shop and pick something out (why do I feel ancient? ha!). I was an Art Director at the time, with tons of printing hookups, so I decided to make and print my own. When my friends found out, they wanted me to do their invites as well. I started landing some featured work in magazines and things really took off. Until 2013. That's about the time other designers rolled onto the scene and short-run digital prints became the norm. Overnight, my business tanked. That's when I decided I needed a different creative outlet. I went back to school for my interior design certification, and took a job in the field working part-time. It was actually just what I needed, creatively. In 2017, I closed up shop for a year. After some deep diving, I realized what I really loved about the wedding industry was the planning part. Well, I wasn't going to open a planning business (although the thought crossed my mind!), so I pivoted my entire business to planners, and released a new collection in January of 2018. I've since left my part time job in interior design to focus on Wicked Bride again full time.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Business absolutely exploded. I had solid, organic growth from 2018 to 2019. When the pandemic first hit, all of my suppliers and production partners shut down. And weddings were being cancelled. The first 2 weeks of April I thought - this is it - this is the end of my business. But once things reopened a bit, and supplies became available again things just went bananas. I sell a recipe binder that was designed for bridal showers, but became ridiculously popular as people looked for quarantine projects like cooking or organizing their kitchen. And with people having to reschedule weddings, they needed new planners!
What are your favorite products or services that you currently sell?
I just released a new bound planner in April, and it's my baby. I make each one by hand in my home studio!
What are a few fun facts about your business?
People outside of Massachusetts never understand the name! They think it's clever and memorable - but I've had people from the midwest ask me if it's because I only deal with "really mean" brides (LOL). It's definitely a Boston thing, but not a name you easily forget!
What advice do you have for someone in the beginning stages of owning a business?
Just start. It's never going to be perfect or convenient, but start anyways. I've coached a few people (years ago!) in starting a business - and the first step is to do some research and make a list. And that can get SO overwhelming. But the mantra I live by is, "how do you eat an elephant?" (of course no one actually eats elephants - I hope!). But the answer is, "one bite at a time." So you need a business "punch list" per se, but don't get overwhelmed by it. Pick one thing, and start there. It might be picking a name for your company - that step alone can help bring clarity and focus as to what you want to do, what you want to sell, and who your customer is. From there, you can purchase your domain, set up your social handles, etc. But just START.
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