Industrial Romance with Sell My Wedding
We’re so excited to share this beautiful ‘Industrial Romance’ styled shoot! It was actually styled by B.LOVED with Sell My Wedding and we have interviewed Rebecca to tell you more about the company and services they offer!
Tell us about your business
Established in 2011, Sell My Wedding is an online marketplace for creative and stylish brides to buy and sell preloved wedding items. Everything from the dress to the décor can be listed for sale, from designer to DIY; you can shop for preloved, handmade and items to hire from the UK’s most fabulous brides and wedding businesses.
What did you do before and how does that experience help you now?
My background is in PR + Marketing both for agencies and in house for large public sector organisations. Since starting the website in 2011 I’ve run it alongside a full time job and juggling two children, but last year I made the daunting decision to leave my safe and secure job as Communications Manager in the NHS to take the leap into full time self employment.
My motivation was two-fold, both to give my family and my business the time and dedication to thrive. Six months down the line, so far so good. Although it’s a different kind of pressure, while I no longer have an hour commute and don’t have to feel guilty about not being able to pick the kids up from school and nursery, you do miss that regular salary on the 28th of the month.
While my experience in PR and marketing gave me knowledge of websites and content management systems, developing a bespoke website from scratch and dealing with the daily challenges and tasks has certainly been a learning curve.
What motivated you to set up Sell My Wedding?
My idea for the website came after my own wedding in 2007. I bought beautiful candelabras from Laura Ashley as my centrepieces and with no need for 10 of them after the wedding, I couldn’t bring myself to put them on eBay as it seemed like an impersonal platform to sell my wedding décor. In the end, I gave them to family and friends but the idea was sown.
At the time, while there were wedding dress resale sites there was nothing dedicated to everything else wedding. There were sites in the US where you could sell your wedding décor so I set about creating something for UK brides.
Who is your dream client?
Somebody who has had a fantastically creative wedding, who has maybe made a lot of the items themselves or sourced them from amazing suppliers, and is listing it all for sale on our site. We love it when people take the time to tell the story of their wedding, both on their profile and in their listings. It is great to see things that one bride has made being snapped up by another who wants that look without having to do any of the DIY themselves.
Brides who use their professional pictures to tell their story also have a better chance of selling their items as buyers can see the items in use. We wanted to create a platform where people could find items that they had maybe seen on a beautiful wedding blog and purchase it direct from the bride at a reduced rate.
WHY SELL MY WEDDING?
What service does sell my wedding provide & how to you help brides?
Sell My Wedding provides an online platform for brides to buy and sell preloved wedding items. The negotiation is all done between the buyers and the sellers – we create the space where they can meet. Our aim was to create a pretty and modern marketplace something that brides would enjoy visiting and using – I didn’t want to create an impersonal classified site.
That is also one of the reasons why we charge our brides a small fee (£10) for selling their items via the website so that a value is placed on their items and we can attract those brides who have beautiful items to sell. We didn’t want the website to be full of hen memorabilia and items that our target audience would not be interested in.
How can brides use your products to recreate wedding looks they have seen on blogs & Pinterest?
Many of our weddings have been featured on the UK’s most beautiful wedding blogs. We encourage our sellers to use their professional wedding images where possible so that brides can see how they can create that look, and buy the item now. We’ve added a favourite feature so that buyers can create a free account and add the items they like to their account, or to post them direct to their Pinterest board.
As many of our items are one-offs, where possible we do encourage people to make an enquiry straight away as some items are sold on the same day they are posted.
Is it possible to recreate a ‘blogworthy’ wedding using pre-loved items?
As this gorgeous shoot shows, it certainly is possible to create a ‘blogworthy’ wedding using preloved items. Our sellers have sourced their items not just from the UK but US based suppliers, many items have been handmade from ribbon wands to homemade prosecco bars – as well as being able to buy the items (cheaper than their RRP) you can also use the website as a source of inspiration.
Often the items have only been used for a few hours, so you could pick up a designer dress, veil or headpiece currently still in the shops for up to half the price.
How does your service work for brides?
Sellers sign up to create an account and the one off fee for this, payable via PayPal is £10, we don’t complicate the process by taking any commission so all the money that they make is theirs. Sellers list their items themselves and as long as the items are wedding related they can list as many as they like.
You don’t need an account to browse the site, however if you would like to message a seller or add items to your favourites then you will need to create a free buyer account which takes a few minutes. Once logged in you will then be able to message sellers, this message will be sent to their email address and then they can reply directly to you to arrange the details of the sale. We also recommend using PayPal to protect both parties.
Wedding suppliers who have items to hire, or handmade, sample, vintage items for sale are also invited to join our site and create a business account (limited price of £25).
You are currently celebrating your 5thyear in business – what has been the key to creating a successful business for you?
We’re currently celebrating our fifth year in business – the year that I’ve made the leap into full time Sell My Wedding – which is why we wanted to mark the occasion with this on trend shoot, celebrating the best of preloved. Most of the items featured have been sourced from either Sell My Wedding or high street shops, showing that you can create something fabulous on a budget.
The website has enabled me to meet some fabulous industry supporters and mentors who I would not have had the pleasure of meeting otherwise. Most importantly this includes hair and make up artist Victoria Farr who I first met at a wedding networking event in 2012. Victoria also lives in East Yorkshire and she has been a wonderful source of motivation and inspiration for both the high and the low moments. You need people fighting your corner to help pick you up when you’re having a bad day, and when it’s just you, dealing with every enquiry it can feel quite overwhelming.
Building a bespoke website from scratch has certainly been a learning curve. It is extremely important to choose carefully the people that you will work with. My website providers are on hand to support me 24/7 and are passionate about helping the business be a success – this has been an invaluable support to me.
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months?
There are so many things that I’m keen to get off the ground this year, things that (head in hands) have been on my to do list for such a long time while my previous day job was in PR, it was hard to motivate myself to do my own PR after a hard day’s work and getting the kids to bed.
Following enquiries, we’ve recently added four advertising spots to our site so I hope to grow this side of the business as well as the number of suppliers we have on board. I would also like to develop the Hire category of the site, to feature more wedding planners and stylists, as the hire element is such a nice fit to the recycling element of the website.
Continuing to fine tune the user experience and making improvement where we can. Unfortunately, resale sites are often targeted by people in foreign countries masking as a genuine buyer in a bid to try to scam the seller. Signing up as a genuine user they are hard to spot until you become notified, so we’re always looking at ways we can try to deter them from using our website. Oh, and You Tube how to clips – that’s on there too.
- Photography: Fiona Kelly Photography
- Styling + Coordination: B.LOVED Blog
- Floral Design: Moss + Stone
- Props: Sell My Wedding
- Linens: Table to Dine For
- Hair + Makeup: Victoria Farr
- Cake: Little Cake Garden
- Chair Hire: Hire-It
- Venue: B.LOVED Hive
- Stationery: Pea Green Boat
- Tableware: BLOVED Hive
- Calligraphy: North Doodle Co