5 Things I've learned While Owning a Business for 3 years!

I've been meaning to write this blog post since January, when our wedding rental business turned 3! I could say that life got in the way of my writing but the truth is, I procrastinated out of fear.  What's there to be afraid of? Opening up and sharing my experience as a small business owner is tough and I wasn't ready to open up and put myself out there like I had in the past (read: year one and year two blog posts here). But now we are planning for the year ahead and I'm feeling a bit nostalgic as we get ready for some exciting new changes and so here we go, it's time to open up, buttercup. 

1) If you're tired, learn to take a break but don't quit! We were very tired this year. 67 weddings + full time jobs + trying to figure out how to adult in life as 30-year olds kinda tired. And there were times when I felt like a crazy furniture lady as I tried to move a heavy piece up stairs and thought to myself, "Why did I not fall in love with Photography instead?" And every time we BOTH found ourselves thinking that way (it usually involved a very heavy piece of furniture and stairs) we planned a BIG trip. The kinda trip that's on your bucket list and would give you something to look forward to... This year we went on TWO big trips - Greece and a Caribbean Cruise (with 20 of our family and friends). These vacations allowed us to discuss our life, business and dreams with a clearer head and fully recharged hearts.

 Riding around on our moped in Mykonos, Greece!

Riding around on our moped in Mykonos, Greece!

2. Comparison is the thief of joy. Those 67 weddings I just bragged about (I know, it's not quantity it's quality)...Well, I was feeling super proud and accomplished with our little husband-wife team until I spoke to a rental friend in another state and heard they did over 100 events that year. And *poof* all of a sudden I felt like my proud number wasn't enough!!! Looking back now I want to tell myself, CHILL OUT GIRL, that was the perfect number for us at that time! We've learned so much from every single event we did and it gave us knowledge and EXPERTISE so that when we do hit over 100 events in one year, we will have the logistics and planning down pact and can continue to pull off flawless events time after time.

3. Change is ok!  Funny story, When Brian and I first started living together he had this habit of moving all the furniture in one of the rooms while I was out of the house to surprise me. I would come home from food shopping and our sofa would be on the wrong side of the living room and I don't know why he did it but he really thought he was doing me a favor! And I of course hated it but didn't know how to tell him so I would instead tell myself that I could be open to the change for 24 hours before vetoing it and moving things back to the way I liked it. But you know what would sometimes happen? Every so often I liked some of the changes and kept it the new different way. I've learned to apply the same concept in our wedding rental business in Wilmington, NC and it's helped me to grow and adapt in this business world. 

4. Stop Thinking Small! I recently spoke to a rental pro (and idol) about some upcoming developments we have planned for this year and she said " I don't want to scare you but years 3-5 can make or break your company, so be prepared". And although it was slightly terrifying to hear, it was also exciting because it meant in order to continue to thrive and grow the way we have these first 3 years, it's time we think BIGGER and BETTER. And when our local paper wrote a story about us for the business section it felt like validation (read it here). We also have lots of new exciting things on the horizon this year and in the words of Joan of Arc, "I am not afraid, I was born for this" (I know what you're thinking...dramatic much Martha?! haha)

5. We are better together- I'm not sure if anyone noticed but this year Brian has taken more of a lead on all things with the business. I used to think that I was the captain of this ship and had to be responsible for everything from meeting with brides, to making invoices, to confirming delivery times and even delivering furniture. But the truth is he is much better at some of those things than I am. I stopped pretending that I was the best at everything and let him take the lead on things he was good at. And THANK YOU JESUS because it not only made life easier for me, but certain aspects of the business ran a bit smoother too. There was one time when I went to a venue to help him with a delivery and the person on site was all like "Ohh you work for Brian?!" Yessss, I do and we may have to consider changing the business name to Brian, My Dear<<---he actually says this every time he pulls something off without my help... and I secretly love it!

 Photo by Anna Taylor Photography

Photo by Anna Taylor Photography

This past year has been such a rewarding, humbling and enlightening experience! We were able to play a small part in so many dream weddings but really they all just played a big part in my own dream. We were able to see the benefit of our sweat equity in so many ways and I feel really lucky to call myself a business owner. Cheers to all the crazy furniture ninjas out there and the significant others who support the beautiful habit! Thanks for following and supporting our journey!

Meant to be at The Atrium- Brittany & Matt

While looking back at photos of Brittany & Matt's wedding the first thought that comes to mind is "This Wedding was meant to be at The Atrium". When you first meet the couple you can immediately tell that they are super cool, fun and kinda just belong together. But the story of how they came to get married at The Atrium is my favorite and one that we are very proud of. Brittany actually saw a snapchat photo of a wedding we did at The Atrium months before she was actually engaged. Her friend was helping us to set up for a wedding there and posted a photo of our wedding rentals there and Brittany immediately fell in love all the way from Raleigh, NC! 

 Brittany &amp; Matt. Photo by  Sean Carr

Brittany & Matt. Photo by Sean Carr

Months later, when Brittany and Matt did get engaged, we were one of the first vendors she called and the rest just fell into place! We were so happy to help Brittany & Matt plan their wedding here in Wilmington, NC. Even though they had other beautiful venues to choose from in Raleigh and had the option to bring in another rental company from their area, they choose us and we think it all worked out wonderfully!

 Setting up our Sir David Farm tables with a few Distressed Chiavari Chairs

Setting up our Sir David Farm tables with a few Distressed Chiavari Chairs

Enjoy the awesome photos by Sean Carr of one of the most perfect and meant to be Weddings at The Atrium by Ligon Flynn. Our little Event Rental company here in Wilmington, NC is so proud!

 Our Vintage Mantle with floral and candles added by  Design Perfection

Our Vintage Mantle with floral and candles added by Design Perfection

 Nell Sweetheart Table with the Velma Love-seat&nbsp;

Nell Sweetheart Table with the Velma Love-seat 

 Our Elena Distressed Chiavari Chairs are one of a kind!

Our Elena Distressed Chiavari Chairs are one of a kind!

gold end tables at the Atrium.jpg

We can't decide which is cooler, their dance moves? Or the fact that they had us come back after the ceremony to flip the space and add lounge furniture!

Brittany & Matt Bridal Party.jpg

Or this Bridal Party Photo?!