When I started imagining myself as “professional botanical illustrator”, I very much thought about the life I wanted to be living: how work would offer creative fulfillment, financial stability, and – most of all – work around my family commitments and not vice versa. So I didn’t start with a product or service in mind, more an outcome I wanted to achieve.
Am I there yet? No. Can I imagine getting the balance right one day? Yes, certainly. One proactive step I’m taking to achieve this is to broaden my offering beyond selling artworks of my own imagining or taking commissions. My wedding bouquet illustration service is up and running and I’ve already worked with some amazing brides and their families. Big tick for the creative fulfillment goals. But in terms of income, it’s sporadic. Pre-Christmas was great, January was quiet, Spring is looking promising.
Then Lucy White popped up in my inbox, Co-Founder of British/Italian wedding planner partnership Wiskow & White. We talked about an added value offering for her brides, based around original compositions inspired by their bouquets. Fast-forward a few weeks, and we’ve committed to working together with a retainer-style relationship. Suddenly, I am no longer an artist working alone hoping to sell my end-product, I am working to a brief and a deadline with flexible, confirmed work and income. Repeat: flexible, confirmed, paid work – which my friends and I agree is the Holy Grail for working mothers with very young families. It’s a very different set-up, and one that is so positive for my mindset and business objectives. I am confident working with other harmonizing brands is a massive step in creating a viable business, and one that I am truly grateful for.
I spoke to Lucy about her working life with a baby at home.
How do you answer the question “What do you do?”
I plan weddings in Italy for awesome couples.
Has the entrepreneurial life met your expectations?
It’s as hard as everyone says it is, but very rewarding. I always wanted to have my own business and I’m so thrilled with what it is and what it’s becoming.
What’s been your biggest success?
This coming year! We have more weddings to plan than ever before and I can’t wait to live it all out. Nothing makes me happier than putting my feet up at the end of one of our weddings after seeing (sometimes) years of planning coming to life and making people so blissfully happy. Bring on the summer!
Do you proactively plan out goals and objectives alone and with your business partner, or does your business take more organic route?
Until now it has been completely organic. This is way out of my comfort zone as I’m a planner. I haven’t had time to be planned when it comes to our business strategy and planning, until recently when we decided that we should have a little more control. We’re really lucky with how things have gone so far but we want to make sure it continues. We’ve just been through our first planning cycle this winter and it was great fun.
Has there ever been a failure that nearly broke you? How did you turn it around?
I’m a perfectionist, so I find any failure really hard to manage. But I’m learning to grow from them thanks to the help of Danielle (my partner). Luckily we’ve never failed on any sort of large scale which would of course be mortifying because of the responsibility we have. We ensure that cannot happen!
What’s your favourite way to work with a client?
I love video Skyping my couples. Many live on the other side of the world and it’s a way to feel like we’re actually meeting up.
What’s next for you?
Once we’re through this amazing year ahead, a break! A re-think and planning for 2020!
Tell us something surprising about you…
I was once quoted very seriously saying that I would never work in the weddings industry. Funny how things turn out.
For further info about Wiskow and White: