Become a wedding planner or stylist with the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning
It’s a fact that many wedding industry businesses started out with a newly wed falling in love with weddings, and wanting to make a career out of their new-found interests. I’m guessing there’s a few of you reading this post right now, mid wedding-planning frenzy, wondering if you could do it too? It’s how I started, and though I wouldn’t change my journey so far for the world, I could never have imagined how hard I would have to work (bye bye weekends) or the achievements I could have made (hello Wedding Blog Award!). One thing is for sure, I could not have got this far without an amazing support network, and as a blogger this has been easier for me to build than perhaps some other businesses.
Yesterday I shared a shoot I styled for the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning, a fantastic organisation that was founded to support new wedding planners and stylists with recognised qualifications, a professional team with experience of the industry and a panel of current industry expert advisors, ensuring their content and outlook remains fresh. Today I’m delighted to welcome founder Kylie Carson to b.loved to tell us more about the UKAWEP, how it can help you, and more about their bold new re-brand and shoot!
Tell us a little about The UKAWEP
UKAWEP specializes in training for the wedding and event industry offering courses in wedding planning, event planning, wedding styling and event design. All our courses are delivered using modern E-Learning software incorporating video, audio and written notes, which really help to bring the courses to life. Being a virtual campus it allows students wonderful flexibility as they can study from home at a time that suits them, although they are still held accountable for their course work by their tutors
How did you get started in the industry?
My start in the industry was an interesting one. I am a classical musician by trade and studied at the Royal College of Music in both Junior and Senior department, and it was whilst I was at the RCM that I started playing keyboard in a 70s disco band. This led us to doing many events around London at some great venues. That is where my interest in events started and before long I was more interested in the planning and design side of an event than I was in playing the piano professionally. I finished my time at the RCM and then immersed myself into finding freelance work for various event companies and soaked up as much information as I could. Before long I had a permanent job at a well-known London event company and loved it, I’d found my calling.
What do you think has made the UKAWEP successful or makes it different from it’’s competition?
The UKAWEP has been in existence for a long time now and we are the only Academy offering courses in styling and design in the UK. A big differentiator for us is that our courses are accredited by NCFE and are benchmarked at Level 3 & 4 NVQ. Another thing that has helped us with our success is transparency. We have made sure that we are very visual in the industry and have built great relationships with some fantastic wedding and event professionals, which really benefit our students. We are very active on social media and allow our students a lot of insight into life at UKAWEP HQ. Customer service is a key element to what we do and this is a big focus for us.
You’ve just launched your new look website & blog, what prompted the change?
Longevity in business is the ability to keep evolving and that is something we are very aware of at UKAWEP. Our brand was designed in 2004 when branding wasn’t really ‘a thing’. We spent £150 on a logo and chose red as a colour because I’d read in a magazine somewhere that it was a powerful colour for brands. That was it. There was no real thought process behind it. Fast forward ten years and we are in a very different world where we are constantly talking about the power of branding. So at the end of last year I made the scary decision that it was time to walk away from the old brand and put out a new brand, one that really encompassed everything we wanted our perspective students to see and feel when they looked at our company.
What was the launch shoot inspired by & how did the team bring your vision to life?
Our re-launch shoot was a real labour of love. We wanted to find a way to combine the creativity of our industry with modern and inspiring education. We are in a unique position in the fact that our branding needed to be pretty enough to attract students looking to get into wedding planning and design, but still look corporate enough to show people that we are a well-respected education company. The theme for the shoot was ‘old fashioned education values delivered in a modern way’ with a combined focus on technology and creativity. To turn this vision into a reality we called on the services of Advisory Board member Louise, and she put together a lookbook, which highlighted all the elements that were going to be used. She put together the creative team and so our Summer School Styled Shoot was born
What kind of students do you appeal to & what do you think attracts them to the wedding industry?
Our students tend to fall into a couple of different categories, but they are usually female and aged between 24 – 45 years in age. Many of them are either past or present brides and this is where their love affair with the industry begins, for others it is the creativity of the industry that inspires them and leads them to us. They are usually looking for a career change and a chance to start their own business in an area that they are passionate about.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting their own business, and what advice would you give for avoiding it?
Starting your own business is the most daunting thing you will do in your career. You are walking into the unknown without any real knowledge of what it is going to be like or how you’re going to feel. The biggest mistake I see people make is trying to rush into things. Take a step back and have a plan, a realistic plan. Don’t try to run before you can walk and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Running a business is pressurized enough without adding unrealistic expectations. If you haven’t written a business plan, write one now. It is your road map and your journey to success. It will change constantly, and that’s ok, it needs to. It will grow and evolve as you do, but without one you will simply be floundering around in the dark.
Thank you so much Kylie! If you are thinking about starting a career in the wedding industry and want to find out more about the UKAWEP’s courses for planners and stylists go to www.ukawep.co.uk for more information. Think wedding planning & styling is easy? Check out the behind the scenes video from the UKAWEP styled shoot here.