Monday, June 29, 2009

Marketing, PR & Advertising

Well, here I am. A company in my hands and now I have to spread the word. Where do I start? There are SO many sites available to brides! I have talked with, and even Obviously any of those will be visited, and they each have their own pros & cons so it is really just up to me as to what direction I want.

Today's Bride will be available and directed totally to NE Ohio, which is really the only area that I would work in, in the first place BUT out of town brides getting married in NE Ohio might not know about a local site.

The Knot is well-known by almost all brides but it is directed nationwide so the cost is, of course, right in place with that much exposure, but do I need that much exposure? is the website of magazines such as Elegant Bride, Modern Bride and Brides. That is awesome, since those would all be magazines that brides would pick up when planning their wedding but their site isn't really well known.

Anyone have any ideas? Any other advertisers? Any feelings one way or another? I know that I have to advertise if I want to go anywhere with this. If I don't, I'm sure I can certainly "wait it out" for all the word of mouth business, but who has that kind of time?!?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flowers & Ideas

Well, I didn't plan on posting, as we are now at a point of just working on getting everything in order, but something wonderful happened.
I came home to find flowers that were left for me. I wondered what they were for and who could have left them. There was no note, so I just figured I would find out eventually. A bit later I went up to check my email and found that an out of town client, was in town, and had stopped by to deliver them to me. She said-
"Just wanted to let you know that I dropped by this morning to say thank you"

I LOVE what I do, absolutely 100% through and through. Anytime, anyone appreciates what you do, when you love it as much as I do, well that just makes your day!

That was incredible. Clients pay for your services, so it is basically a given that you are getting money from them, it is a basic business transaction. You get a nice email sometimes saying how much they appreciate you. (which I LOVE getting) But to actually get beautiful flowers for the little bit of work I'd done with her so far, was just great! Gives me a good feeling about knowing I have this great opportunity to work with the right kind of people.

Also, while I'm here, I'd like some ideas, suggestions and comments from all of you. I've been getting a few emails here and there about some REALLY great ideas and some REALLY great things to get involved with but I'm hoping for more. It seems like SO many people have so many great ideas, it wouldn't hurt to ask for them from everyone now. My neighbor stopped by with some ideas on my site and my tag line. They were AWESOME ideas and her feedback was great. Anything to make the company, website or even ME, better is welcome information.

So, with that being said either comment on the post with your ideas or email me at I look forward to hearing from all/any of you!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Things are moving along and I am getting pretty excited. I got an amazing email from a client that I worked with in June and she seems to be someone that totally "got me" and understands how much I love what I do. That's always nice to hear.

".....I gotta tell you, I felt so at ease working with you and felt so comfortable around you. Almost like I had known you for a long time. All of my bridesmaids trusted you, as well. When the day of the wedding arrived and we all saw that Fieldcrest had put the chairs for the ceremony in the wrong spot, they were all like, "Brandi will be here soon and we can tell she has everything together." Jeremy also was so thankful for you and told me shortly after the wedding how great of a job he thought you did! :)"

That was a fabulous email to receive. I want to print it off and have it made into a t-shirt and just wear it around all the time. Speaking of t-shirts we are getting into having marketing materials produced. Cards have been ordered and they are fabulous. Haven't seen them printed but online they look great. More thanks to my husband for designing them. His theory is you've got to have the best to be the best and I definitely agree, so we aren't sparing many expenses when it comes to what we will have out in the public to represent me.

The website seems like it will just constantly be a work in progress, which is fine with me. It looks great now, but it will just continue to look better as we go along.

I've got to say there are SO many people that I will have to thank for all their care and support. I guess you really don't know how many people in your life are willing to help you, until you ask. I've even gotten some offers from great friends to "work" for/with me! Everyone that has asked has been someone I would have approached one day anyhow, so its great we are all on the same page! It is good to have event planning friends too!

Next up will be getting some PR out there. I've got something pretty awesome in the works, but won't mention it until I know if it is going to work out. If it doesn't, I'll definitely understand but if it does, it could make my business go from 0 to 160!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More work on the website

So, after about 2 or 3 different versions, colors, texts, etc...I think we've found one that works. I love the layout and design. I wanted to keep everything simple, I am good at what I do, I don't need cheesy designs and graphics to sell my services, well, I shouldn't need them, who knows though.
Check out the site, it is definitely a work in progress and at this point we actually just have it at a presentable stage, not really a completed or even near completed stage.

So far, so good. The logo/company name is done. Now we just have to get cards designed. I'm trying to stay away from too much of anything and just keeping everything simple. So the cards will probably be a basic (but shiny) white with a bit of text. We will see how they come out when they are done though, we keep working through 100's of ideas.

I've already received emails & calls from people about the company. Some people wanting to help, some needing services already and some just to tell me how excited they are for me. That's a great feeling, so thank you to all of you, your support means SO much. Fortunately, everyone I've talked to has only had great things to say, so I think, no I know, this is a really good decision.
Example of an email I received, this from a good friend and past bridal client-

".....I will recommend you to ANYONE whenever I hear about weddings... I'm so excited about your business. How fun for you... a lot of hard work I bet, but you are so good at what you do, it'd be a shame not to use your skills!"

That's pretty amazing to hear from anyone, let alone someone who worked with me.

So, blog is going on, website is being worked on as I type, cards will be completed by next week. Now to move on to marketing, or some ideas on how/where to market. I have a great friend who works with one of the papers who has agreed to try to help me get in somewhere with the local paper. At this point a sentence or two would be amazing, so I'll take anything!

I'm thinking of getting some photos of myself done my local photographer/friend Dawn. I think it is always good to be able to immediately put a face with a name when choosing someone like a coordinator, someone you have to work so closely with. I'm sure some people will immediately know that they do/don't want to work with me, from the picture alone. I think that's a good thing, right?!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wedding Website

There are 100's, no 100,000's of choices when it comes to website design. I have to be able to communicate my style, my ideas, my personality, my professionalism, my experience...well, everything in 1 page. The colors have to be right, the photos, the text, I mean I think I could spend the next 10 years working on this and still not be sure I'm getting 100% of "me" on the site.

I want people to click on my site and just "know" they want to work with me.

I want them to know that I'm fun to work with, I'm great at what I do, I'm easy to communicate with, I'm happy to be assertive, when necessary, I love working with people and about oh, 100 other things. What color says that? What font type expresses my feelings best?

I don't know that I'll ever get it totally right but thankfully I am working with an amazing designer so I know I'll get it pretty close.

I've been researching websites, I'd say I've looked at about 50 in the past 2 days. One thing is for sure, you can REALLY mess up a website, enough that even I, as a nosy planner, won't wait for your page to load to find out your info. Nor do I need to see your photo unless you are 100% sure you come across as the neatest, friendliest and happiest person in the world. I've seen a few photos that say the exact opposite. In this day and age of web use, you'd think people would invest almost everything into making their site the best, but they don't.

I'd love to post a few that I've found that are just out and out terrible but I'd hate to offend someone by doing that but if you do a few searches yourself, you'll know right away what I mean. There are GREAT sites, there are GOOD sites and there are HORRIBLE sites. I just hope I get somewhere in between GOOD and GREAT, I think I'll try to come closer to GREAT though!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Registration of the Name

And, officially the name of the company will be....

All Events Planned.

While I loved the idea of using my name in the company, I just felt like it was too long. My previous company was A Planned Event, which I wanted but it was taken already. (I had my company almost 5 years ago, so I didn't think the name would actually be available still) I didn't want anything too corny since I didn't want to sound too much like every other company starting up. My biggest fear is coming across as just another one of those companies started by someone who watched "The Wedding Planner" too many times. I have the experience and for the record, I hated that movie.

We've registered the webname and we are dropping off the documents in the mail to register the company as a LLC. That would be the start of it. A few minor expenses up front to make me realize this is for real, but nothing too bad.

After almost 10 years of planning events, weddings, parties, corporate meetings, retreats, reunions, ceremonies and any other event that someone would want a planner for, I am ready to do this on my own and to be in charge of what I represent. This is a great opportunity for me at a grea time in my life and I'm so excited to know that I'll have something pretty amazing to teach my daughter.

I've had so many suggestions, ideas, emails and calls from people who want to help, have advice or know of someone who knows a thing or two about having a successful event planning company. That is definitely a really motivating factor, knowing so many people who have worked with me and/or know me, really believe in me.

Now, we are on to design the website, we've got some GREAT ideas. Get a good concept on the company, start marketing and get some materials printed. I'll keep you up to date on all of it and when all else fails at least I'll have documented how to start a business this time.

Company Name

Well, this is my first attempt at a blog. I've always thought that I have a TON of useful things to say but never found the time to actually type them out.

In the interest of starting my own business, I thought the best place to start would be, where else, a blog.

I have been an Event Coordinator, Planner, Consultant for almost 10 years now. I did have my own company, years ago, and then went back to working for catering companies and hotels. (i.e. other people)

Now, I'm ready to be a business owner again.

I'll get into more detail about me, my business, my life and events as we go along but our first task is to pick a business name. I've gotten SO many great ideas from SO many of my friends. I'm amazed at how creative people are! I'm going to list a few and if you could, pick, vote, suggest and feedback on any or all of them, it would be greatly appreciated!

Ideas to remember-
1-It is best to be able to get your website followed by .com, so that availablitly has to be there
2-It is best for your target market to KNOW what you do by your name
3-It is best to have your business name start with the letter "A" so that you are always listed first

Brandi Hamerstone Event Management
Brandi Hamerstone Event Planning
Hamerstone Event Planning
(the theme in all of this is to incorporate my name, to make it a household name, thank you to Sue for that concept as I find it VERY appealing. Although I find Hamerstone to sound a big harsh for Wedding planning)

Details Done Right


Elegance Simplified

An Event to Remember..

All Wedding Details

A Wedding Timeline

All Details Covered

A Stress Free Event (lame)

Any Event Necessary

A Bride's Best Friend

A Wedding Assistant

An Excellent Event

All Your Dreams Come True

A Moment to Remember

All the Plans for You

All Details Handled

Any Event

An Event Planner

All Details Considered

Events Simplified

Consider It Handled

Consider It Done

An Event to Remember?
(this has been the reoccurring vote so far, but the problem is that the website isn't available)