Wendy Daoud El-Khoury founded Wedded Wonderland with the aim of pursuing her passion in providing consulting services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Wedding industry, as well as brides themselves.
Wendy has a mixed background in Adult Education, Project Management, Fashion Styling, Business Consulting and Wedding Planning. She decided it was time to bring her comprehensive experience and skills to consulting to the SMEs, particularly to the industry she loved most, the Wedding Industry.
Stay true to your brand and build that strategy through your online footprint.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
Wedded Wonderland was really born as a passion project. I was working as a wedding planner at the time and after planning my own wedding, where I was constantly frustrated with the lack of options available to me, I wanted to share my knowledge with other brides. I decided to connect brides with amazing suppliers and from there my blog grew, becoming a successful business and the largest wedding blog in Australia with over 500 000 followers on social media.
Please explain your business model
Initially I found it difficult to charge for my services. Not many people knew advertising existed through Social Media, let alone budgeted for it. I learned very quickly of the impact Wedded Wonderland had on other businesses. I would post a single image and that business would grow 200 new genuine followers and receive anywhere from 10-30 enquiries as a result. I started creating content marketing packages for the Wedding Industry that facilitated this, engaging an audience that was interested and active, and generating enquiries>leads>sales. I now organise events, creative marketing strategies and campaigns for the Wedding Industry all for the purpose of ONLINE exposure and strategy.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
Wedded Wonderland has been conducting Social Media Seminars around Australia which has been hugely successful. We have built over 1,000,000 genuine followers for the Wedding Industry and can really see the impact of Social Media on small businesses, it is a MUST for our industry. We have also brought out to Australia world renowned floral stylist, Karen Tran, who will be hosting master classes and a media event, which will be an exciting platform with which to launch the Wedded Wonderland brand to the domestic and international market through this partnership.
How do you make ideas happen?
A great team. I have a million ideas a day and am constantly brainstorming with the team around me. I have realised that for ideas to be successful, they must be effective for your business at that particular point in time. I often have ideas that my business is not yet ready for, and after discussing with my team, we determine which ones to back and execute for the good of Wedded Wonderland.
What does your typical day look like?
No one day is the same however it most often includes a staff meeting and external meetings with whoever I am working with, blogging, attending events – lots of networking, often travel – I head to Dubai and NY for Bridal fashion week shortly. Then emails and more emails – our work days are usually 12 hours. My workspace is really anywhere. I am currently based at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel overseeing Karen Tran’s Australian tour.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
Resistance to change initially. There are still a lot of people out there who have no idea what I do or the impact it is having on the Wedding Industry. And $$. When growing a business you really need to budget (I hate that word) but it’s true – you need to have the support of funds to sustain your business.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Stay true to your brand and build that strategy through your online footprint. Allow people to recognise your brand without having to give anything away.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
There are few magazines out there which I find really quirky and unique. Hitched is one of my favourites, I like the idea of appealing to the niche bride, we are not cookie cut people after all. And gone are the days of the sweetheart neckline tiara wearing bride.
What about internationally?
Fashion is now setting the trends for the Wedding Industry. This has always been a huge focus for Wedded Wonderland and we are seeing it come through the options designers are now offering brides.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
There has been a social shift since the birth of Wedded Wonderland. Brides now find their suppliers through our referral program. It has become a benchmark for the Wedding Industry. We are very fortunate to be in this position.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
Absolutely. What we would really like to do is offer support to brides who need financial support, or cannot get to the supplier they are after. I’d love to rent a truck and drive Wedding dresses all over the country to be honest. A fun run for Ovarian Cancer has always been on the cards too. It will happen!
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
I LOVE redcarpetfashionawards.com and netaporter.com. I know it’s not a ‘reading’ website, but if you read between the lines (and by that I mean dresses) you can really work out what is trending in the market. Also the Huffington Post – because it is mind numbingly great and there’s always a story!
Name 2 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Absolutely!! ALL of the above.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about start ups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
It would be about working a digital marketing plan into a traditional marketing landscape. People don’t plan for their online presence, sometimes it just happens- like social media. My question would be relating to how to make it most affective for your business
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel! The new refurb is brilliant. Great for a wedding reception, girls lunch, or drinks with friends !
We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?
I would offer a Social Media Training Session, I’ve never worked with a business who hasn’t benefited from this!