In our final instalment of our weekend workers campaign, we meet Ashleigh and Clare who are claims handlers by day, and are the wonderful wedding stationers Lola & Elvis at the weekend. Clare (below, top) tells us all about how they balance their time, manage two jobs and continually build their business!
How did you both meet?
Ashleigh and I met through our day jobs in insurance, where we have both worked for 5-6 years now. We are both claims handlers within the household department, and we generally deal with household claims, leasing with suppliers and issuing settlement payments.
Where did the idea for Lola & Elvis come from?
A colleague was getting married and had invited Ashleigh to their wedding by giving her a save-the-date at work. We were discussing the construction of the save-the-date and both decided it was something we could do! We both studied Art at school and have always been creative so we just decided to give it a go!
How did you progress the idea into a fully-fledged business?
We firstly carried out some research based on what other small businesses were offering and then jumped straight in. Initially we started with cards but then decided we wanted to concentrate solely on wedding stationery. We spent some time finding a reliable printing company who could print on stocks we wanted to use and then got designing. It has been a huge learning curve and we have had some great feedback from customers.
How do you both maintain balance with your other job, especially with working weekends?
Balancing our time has taken some getting used to! We are working towards Lola & Elvis being our full-time employment eventually so we put in all the hours possible. We catch up a couple of times a week and are always chatting online and processing orders, replying to emails etc. We are slowly getting there though!
How do you network and promote Lola & Elvis?
We mainly use social media, although we are still trying to get to grips with Twitter! We also exhibit at local wedding fairs and we have an Etsy shop too.
What is it like being part of the wedding industry? Is it what you expected?
It is a privilege to be part of someone’s special day. To many it’s the most important day of their lives so far, and everything has to be perfect. We are both very meticulous and pride ourselves on the quality of our products. It is what I expected – stressful and hard work but completely worth it! We have had a few customers send us pictures of their big day and how our stationery played a part. It’s all worth the hard work!
What is your favourite creation you’ve made for a client?
It is so hard to choose because we design everything ourselves and are so passionate about it all. If I had to choose one I think it would be the bespoke wild flower table plan (above) that I designed to complement their existing stationery. Ashleigh’s favourite is the ‘McKenzie’ collection (below) that she designed to meet a client’s specific colour request.
What advice would you give to people who want to start up their own business?
Do you research and just go for it! You will never know unless you try, and it is hard work but worth all the effort when clients’ thank you for helping to make their day special.
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