Back in 2013, owner Katie Walcott enlisted the help of her talented husband to create a range of locally handmade timber furniture to rent out for weddings and events. Fast forward to 2017 and they now have a large range of furniture, décor and lighting and offer styling and coordination services from Yamba up to the Sunshine Coast. Katie’s passion is to create stunning, one of a kind weddings that represent your personal love story.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My husband has his own furniture manufacturing company which he started in 2011. In 2013, I saw a gap in the wedding industry for timber tables and furniture so I started renting out furniture on the side while still working full time. I had my beautiful baby girl in October 2014 and when my current employer told me I wasn’t able to go back to work part time when she was only 4 months old, I took a big leap and started working for myself full time and I am SO glad I did!
Tell us about your business.
We offer a range of beautiful hand crafted timber furniture, lighting and styling pieces available for weddings and events. We also offer styling and coordination to help take some of the stress out of weddings for the couple. The collection is always growing to keep up with changing styles and trends.
Where is your business based?
Our warehouse is based in Worongary and we offer delivery and styling services from Yamba NSW to Sunshine Coast QLD.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first steps for us was creating the range of furniture we have. Once that was done, we set up our website and social media sites. In the beginning we attended bridal expos, wedding fairs and participated in styled shoots to help get our name out there.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Instagram is a really effective and easy platform for showcasing our products and styles. Most of our new bookings either come from word of mouth or from our website.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Keeping up with changing styles. Our main product is furniture and we saw a really quick shift in 2016 where boho was all the rage. At that stage we didn’t have any lounges, rugs or soft furnishings so we had to act quickly to source and add to our collection, otherwise we would have been left behind.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We bought new items like crazy! Now we make sure that we are more up to date with upcoming trends and colors so we aren’t scrambling at the last minute deciding what to purchase.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My husband and I both work full time for our own companies so it is really easy to relate to each others work. If either one of us is taking a off week, we know we can go out for coffee and work through it. Sometimes it is important to have a few days off – no email or phone – to recharge and get back into it. Being your own boss is great but it’s certainly not a 9 to 5 job!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We pride ourselves on sourcing as much of our product locally – all of our timber tables, bench seating, wedding arbours, photo booths, and timber coffee tables, were all locally made using solid recycled timber. We also work really hard to offer a personalized service where our brides feel like they can call or email me anytime and make changes when they need to.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Learn to network. I have never really done much networking until now. I guess I didn’t see the value in it when I had so much other work to do. I had to change my mindset with this recently as I have met so many wonderful people and made some lovely (and profitable) relationships!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Make sure you get the work-life balance sorted. So many people want to start their own business to have more balance or time to do things they want, but it can be so easy to forget that and before you know it, it is 10pm at night and you are still working at your computer.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
The admin side of the business! Especially bookkeeping. We are working really hard to streamline as much as we can so we don’t get too bogged down on email or spreadsheets.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I am in the process of updating the website and increasing our pricing to reflect our new packages and furniture items.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #goldcoastweddingstylist #goldcoastfurntiurehire #weddingcoordinater