When entrepreneur Trudy Croad attended her sister’s wedding, she was so inspired that she decided to enter the lucrative wedding industry, offering brides-to-be planning, styling and fashion advice through her company Events By Design. In doing so, she has carved out for herself out a market niche in Noosa, Australia’s premier wedding destination.
Croad launched wedding planning and styling company Events by Design in October 2007, offering full-service wedding coordination and design for brides on the Sunshine Coast.
While working in the magazine industry in London, Trudy was inspired by her colleagues who were crafting clever and creative reader events that grabbed the attention of consumers and the media. “We were encouraged to take risks in order to create event ideas that were new and eye-catching,” she says.
After whetting her appetite for events in the fashion, beauty and celebrity arena, Croad prepared a business plan for a distinctive events company; one she could manage in time to come. That was four years ago. Despite having a sound appreciation of the wedding industry from her experience as group marketing manager at Time Inc, which managed a host of fashion and bridal titles, it was not until her own sister took the trip down the aisle that she decided to specialise in weddings.
“My sister’s wedding was uniquely different, beautifully styled, and so much a reflection of the individual bride and groom, it inspired me to create a new business concept concentrating on wedding planning and styling.”
With an initial outlay of $20,000 to start up her business, Croad established a virtual office in her Peregian Beach home, spending a significant proportion of her initial investment setting herself up as a completely mobile enterprise. She conducted extensive market research and factored in long-term consumer growth patterns such as age, migration, potential size and make-up of the market as critical to the success of the business.
“I looked at the existing competitors and their activity, unique selling points, relationships within the industry, marketing techniques, and used this to create an exclusive offering with a unique look and feel,” Croad says. Her sound knowledge of the continued migration and holidaying of couples from Sydney, Melbourne and England helped position her company as more premium-end, and by adding fashion styling expertise to her offer, Croad created a unique selling point in the Noosa bridal market.
With a vision to expand her wedding planning and styling business in key destinations including Noosa, Sydney and the Gold Coast, she also plans to diversify her business into reception décor, launching an Events by Design signature range in 2009. Initially retailing online, Croad aims to establish a suite of Events by Design outlets, commencing with Noosa. “The plan for Events by Design is to create a self-contained, vertically integrated business. I am interested in looking at alternative and new styling and design opportunities and will travel next year to either Europe or America to get further ideas,” Croad says.
She maintains that her significant experience in creating business plans that build profitable brands and a strong marketing background will make for a fairytale ending for her lucrative wedding business.