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Philadelphia Business Journal – I Want to Give Personal Attention to Every Bride

  • Name Of Company: I DO Wedding Consulting, Inc.
  • Owner’s Name: Lynda Barness
  • Location: Philadelphia, but I cover Bucks, Montgomery counties and others, South Jersey… and I am also available for destination weddings.
  • Description Of Company, Including Its Target Market: I DO Wedding Consulting provides guidance, experience, expertise, and planning to make a wedding day enjoyable and stress-free for the bride, groom, and their families. I DO works with brides, grooms, and/or their parents to manage all the details, organize vendors, and coordinate wedding day events. Customized, personal services are also available.
  • Is location important to the company’s success? Not at all. Since weddings can be in any location, I will travel anywhere.
  • Age Of Company: More than a year and a half. I started doing the groundwork for this company two-and-a-half years ago but actually launched it a year later.
  • No. Of Employees: One full-time and a number of part-time assistants hired for “day-of” weddings.
  • Owner’s Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Tufts University, master’s degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and I have a Certificate in Wedding Planning and Consulting from Temple University.
  • Owner’s Prior Experience: Before starting I DO Wedding Consulting, I was the president of The Barness Organization, a real estate development and home-building company. I like to say that I have gone from dream homes to dream weddings!
  • How Did You First Perceive A Need/Opportunity? During the planning of my older daughter’s wedding, I realized how many details were involved.
  • What Made You Decide To Start Your Own Business? I started planning for my daughter’s wedding and loved it. I knew, though, that planning my own child’s wedding was very different from doing wedding planning as a business, so I took the Temple University Certificate Program in Wedding Planning and Consulting and then worked as an intern for another wedding consultant before launching my own business.
  • How High Was Your Anxiety Level After You Made The Decision To Start Your Own Business? I was excited and well-prepared. I was very eager to start!
  • What Were Your First Sources Of Funding? Savings.
  • How Are You Funding Operations Now? Through business operations.
  • Give An Example Of How Your Network Of People, Including Friends, Family, And Acquaintances, Influenced Your Decision And Launch: A friend of my daughter’s was engaged shortly after my daughter’s wedding, and she was looking for a wedding consultant. She hired me just as my Certificate Program was ending, and thus I was launched before I knew it! She then recommended me to a friend of hers whose wedding was about eight months later, so I was in business! And both of my daughters were extremely encouraging and supportive, which gave me the impetus to actually launch the business.
  • Who Or What Is Your Competition? The other wedding consultants in the area are my competition, but so are family members who take on the tasks of planning and assisting in wedding day preparations.
  • What Was Your Biggest Hurdle? Having the time to deal with all the elements of starting a new business. I was finishing up the sale of The Barness Organization, so I was handling a lot of details for both businesses at the same time.
  • What Turned Out To Be Easier Than You Thought? Working with brides I didn’t know before.
  • What Lessons Have You Learned About Controlling Costs And Deciding In Which Areas To Invest Resources? The initial investment in a Website was very important to the launch of this business. Brides do so much investigation on the Internet. Print advertising is helpful, of course, but so is online marketing.
  • Was There A Time You Regretted Your Decision Or Thought You Wouldn’t Make A Go Of It? NO!
  • How Has Your Role In The Company Changed Since Your Launch, If It Has? At the initial launch, I was still extricating myself from my prior business. Now this is full time for me, and I love it.
  • How Do You See Your Own Role Changing As The Company Grows? I will hire staff to handle clerical work, but it is very important to me to be hands-on and handle each wedding personally.
  • Was There One Moment Of Relief, When You Thought, “Yes! This Will Work!” I had such a good experience with the first bride… she was wonderful to work with, and I knew that I would love the business.
  • What Is Your Long-Range Outlook? I offer customized, personalized wedding planning and consulting packages, so I am able to be flexible. I think that this will continue to be attractive to brides and grooms.
  • In Your Dream Of Dreams, How Big Would You Like To Get? I want to give personal attention to each bride, so I intend to book no more than one wedding per weekend.
  • Finally, Do You Have Any Words Of Wisdom For Others Contemplating Starting Their Own Business? Preparing a business plan is essential for understanding the economics of starting a business. There are always more costs involved than initially anticipated.
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