A Little Branding Love

Branding, branding, branding. This seems to always be on (creative) small business owners' minds! For obvious reasons, though. We live and breath the success of our businesses. Most times, we are the face of them, the main contact, we've invested every dime we've made (and then some), and we unfortunately identify parts of our being with these brands and businesses. It's amazing, fulfilling and freeing but can also be exhausting and draining.
I've spent years working on my business (so far from where I want it), but it's just me, myself and I. Sans a degree in business (Family Studies.. what was I thinking, haha). I exhaust all my resources, and work really hard to do the one thing I know a lot about, right. And that is my branding. Of course, at the beginning, I would have loved to hire for this service. But I couldn't afford it on the long list of expenses so it continued to fall to the waistline. I always make sure to put out as much cohesive work as possible, which can be really hard when you work all four seasons with so many different types of clients. My first question to clients is always "have you taken a look at my work, or website?" because I want to confirm that they have, in fact, looked at my previous work. They don't have to love everything but I want to weed out as many inquiries as possible that could be barking up the wrong tree. Example; when an inquiry tells me they "hate greenery" or prefer a "tight, ball-shaped bouquet"... that's usually a dead giveaway that they haven't looked at my work and maybe got my name or contact from someone else. There is NOTHING wrong with this, but it's the perfect opportunity to direct them to your work so you don't waste their time, either. 

Victoria Austin Designs | Fairhope, Alabama Wedding | Joelle Grace Photography

This is all to say that branding is really important in your overall marketing plan. If your branding isn't cohesive, complete or on-point... you'll be booking the wrong clients for the indefinite future. And go through one season of that, and you'll never do it again! :) I've compiled a quick small business branding guide for beginners. These tips may help you get started on your own branding or even assist with your marketing plans. I'll expand on it in time! 

To View/Download the Guide:


Let me know if this guide helps you, or if you have any questions!
XOXO

Why Hire Victoria Austin Designs?

I want to knock out a few "why" and "how to" posts this Summer while i have the chance! I have so many things I want to share with lovely bride-to-be's and their men. I have a few SUPER helpful ones planned; What You Need To Know About Custom Stationery, Print Methods and Why They Matter, The Difference Between a Wedding Planner, Coordinator, Stylist and Designer (and who you need), The Importance of Photography, etc. Are there any points you want VAD to touch on or elaborate on that can make planning easier? That's always my goal!
I have been "interviewed" quite a bit recently by brides and their parent's so they can learn more about me and my services before they hire. I love this part, and feel like I truly can let them get to know me and then it is up to them to decide if I would be a good fit for them! So, why should you hire Victoria Austin Designs, and what will that entail/cover?

Victoria Austin Designs | Austin Gros | Tennessee Wedding | Why Hire Victoria Austin Designs


1. VAD services range - but no two proposals are the same. I don't fit all my brides in "packages", and I don't think I ever will. Custom proposals take a LOT of time. But they are worth it. Each bride gets what she needs and wants, we even include an "if" section to cover "if budget gets tight" or "surprise! bride wants to splurge on ___". I allow many changes to these event proposals (in regards to layout/design and florals) so my clients are never tied down to a piece of paper… even I change my mind/come up with new inspiration as the plans progress. We create personalized design boards, intricate timelines, accurate layouts, rain plans, and more so your day is magical and completely custom.
2. VAD is a stylist through and through and you benefit from this no matter what service we provide for you. Whether just stationery, or the whole shebang, VAD is your extra set of eyes to help you create your overall design and wedding style. Creating your own wedding style is important from the very beginning, with your save the dates - until the very end, with your florals and reception exit.
4. VAD holds your wedding to a very high standard. It is my livelihood that your day be as flawless as possible. I refuse to lower my standards for anything, not the weather, another wedding vendor or even the bride. As your planner or coordinator, I will encourage you to make tasteful, cost-efficient decisions as well as educate you on the wedding planning process and how to host an event to remember.
5. VAD looks out for you. Wedding planning isn't for everyone, nor is it easy. I don't consider myself your "babysitter", but I will remind you endlessly to sign contracts and book your vendors. I will not sign contracts for you or pay your bills but I manage your contracts and am assertive with them. I notice when your rental quote has too many tables on it, or your generators won't provide enough power for your event. I've done everything from feeding the bride, to replacing all the pink flowers with white because the bride didn't want pink (not the florist on that one lol). I have experience in many of the different areas, and thus can put out fires quickly. A chandelier fell and shattered? I'm all over it. Bride wants dinner menus now and her wedding is in four days? I'm already printing. I enjoy the set-up and break-down of events and I am there to make sure your tables not only look amazing, but are just how you envisioned them.
6. VAD is not a "one man show" nor a huge wedding factory. We are happily in the middle. I, Tori, run the day-to-day. I handle and manage ALL proposals and contracts, emails, inquiries, graphic design, floral orders, vendor relations, etc. This is good, because nothing gets lost in translation with employees. However, we are growing with hopes to provide quicker email responses and design more stationery. Your wedding weekend is run by 2-5 (depending on size of event) fabulous women. We get in early, we confirm your event space is perfect. We set tables, steam linens, light candles, we tip (and hug) the lighting guy because stayed an extra 4 hours to put that venue's chandelier back up after it fell, we sweep floors, wipe tears, pour champagne, layout shots for your photographer to capture, etc. The list literally grows and grows and your mother and best friend cannot do it all, but we can!
7. VAD can be your stationer, florist, stylist and/or coordinator (preferably all). Our brides have the luxury of working with us for so many of their needs, which eliminates miscommunication from relaying so many ideas/plans from vendor to vendor. We get to know our couples, learn about their needs and wants and we are able to effectively communicate that to their other vendors. It's less work/stress on the bride and more concise and streamlined for the other vendors. It's truly a win-win to hire VAD for as many services as we offer (that fit your needs and style, of course).
8. VAD doesn't overbook. Our calendar is just as important to us as your wedding day is to you. VAD only books about two weddings a month, so each bride gets the attention she deserves. We know a tired designer is as good as no designer, so we keep our calendars flexible and manageable. We balance large events with more intimate ones and know who and what we can handle because we take the time to get to know our brides/clients before booking. This allows us to get to your venue days in advance and truly immerse ourselves in your wedding! 
9. VAD travels! Yep, Victoria Austin Designs is covering a nice chunk of the Southeast right now and we are always open to visiting new places. We are able to bring our unique style and services to YOU and where you call home. Never settle!
10. VAD's got energy, enthusiasm and pride for your event! We have our sleepy days but when it comes to your wedding we are so pumped up! We don't quit until the job is done and we do whatever it takes to get it done right. We work our butts off, still laugh through the messes and get beyond giddy when we finally see the bride walk down the aisle to her man! We laugh with you, cry with you, and we will keep you on your toes. 

I hope you enjoyed this little blurp about VAD and please excuse the transitions from "I" to "we" and vice-versa as sometimes I am referring to me (Tori) and sometimes to the weekend wedding team (I promise I graduated from college)! Spring and Summer 2016 are already booking up (what?) so be sure to inquire TODAY
xoxo,
T