I’m so thrilled to introduce you to HiveTribe Highlights, a new monthly feature where I’ll be sharing the stories and success stories of our Hive Tribe members! Since joining the Hive a year ago, our members have achieved so much – from launching and relaunching their businesses with a clear vision and strategy in place, to booking dream clients, working with incredible venues and getting their work published in some of the world’s top bridal publications – and I am so proud of them!

Today we’re hearing from Amy Hatch, founder of Vintage Amy, a styling and prop hire company based in Kent. Since joining becoming a HiveTribe member as a nervous new entrepreneur, Amy has learnt how to get herself out there and start creating business success while juggling life as a mum.

WHY DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS?

I was due to return to work after having my son and knew I didn’t want to head back  to my job as Office Manager in London. For years I’ve yearned to have a more  creative  job, ideally using my love of vintage, and suddenly realised I could have this  if I wanted to. So I started Vintage Amy, hiring and styling for weddings and events.

When did you realise that the wedding industry was right for you?

On a couple of occasions  – firstly the very first HiveGathering I attended after becoming a Hive Tribe member. I hadn’t  even started the business but came along knowing no-one, and I couldn’t believe how many wonderful, inspiring, kind and non-competitive women I met. What really cemented it for me was doing my first ever styled shoot – I loved every minute of it and met some wonderful suppliers, giving me a real insight into collaborative working.

We  all make mistakes, especially when starting out! What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?

Going back to that first ever styled shoot – I had no idea what I was doing and thought I needed to please everyone. So I decided to create a look the complete opposite of what I love and what I had in my little portfolio from my own wedding. I didn’t realise that you could get tons of suppliers on board for things like stationery, so I ended up with a bright, DIY affair. The complete opposite of my now-decided style of soft, elegant and romantic .

Many wedding businesses start as a hobby and become something more. What tips do you have for anyone thinking about making the jump to full-time self-employed life?

Network, network, network. And invest in learning. I would still be on the same page as that first styled shoot if I had not become a Hive Tribe member, had a coaching session and networked (and formed friendships) with other wedding suppliers. I have learnt so much from these small, little things. People often say “you’re doing so well” and that  is because I have learnt as much as I can with my resources. Sacrifice something small like a daily coffee to join the Hive, and it will pay off.

What support and advice have you discovered along the way, and how has that helped create the business you have today?

I have received some amazing  advice, the best being; think of your dream bride in every single situation. Will your dream bride be looking where you’re advertising,  will she like what you’ve posted on lnstagram and will she be gazing over the biog where you want to feature your styled shoot?

I have also learnt that if you don’t know something, ask. I ask so much in the networking groups I belong to, and everyone is so helpful. The support and advice I have had along the way is invaluable, when I’ve had bad days and worried about the business, I have been picked up and helped.

Do you think women can ‘have it all’ when it comes to running a successful business and having a fulfilling family and personal life?

I don’t particularly like the phrase to be honest. I think it can send us crazy trying to have it all and worrying that our lives are not like so & so on Instagram. I think you  need to accept that neither can be perfect (nothing in life is!) and you can have both and be happy, but you’ll need to put the work in, stay motivated and accept that some days you will be a bit overwhelmed, but other days you will be finishing your day early for a massage and feeling so lucky to be your own boss.

How do you balance running a business with family life?

Schedule it all! I pop everything in my Gmail calendar and batch out time for blogging, etc. along with time to pop the dinner on and go for a walk at lunch. If it’s not in the schedule  I tend to forget it! Also I like to work out of the house (cafe etc.) when I can,   it helps to get out as you’re seeing  those  four walls so often. Sometimes  my house is a right tip, but I know it will be sorted  soon and that working  on the business  is a better investment.

What’s your definition of success?

It’s very personal, I think. For me, I feel I will be successful when I meet my targets set, I feel more content in the juggle of life and not so overwhelmed, and when I am able to have some more down time to chill and be with the family. I am not after a huge income, just enough to be comfortable and have a few luxuries – like a cleaner!

What is your number one tip for anyone starting out in the wedding industry?

Find your niche. It’s a big industry, so you will need to stand out in it.

What’s next for you & your business?

I have lots of lovely weddings plans this year but am still taking bookings, I am also looking to start running some workshops this year, showcasing my styling – first one being an Easter table styling workshop. At some point I will also be branching out into interior styling.

Want to start finding business success like Amy? She turned her business around by becoming a Hive Tribe member – you can sign up here  and start finding the advice and support you need to build a thriving wedding business – for less than £1 per day!