Getting married is unquestionably one of the happiest days in anyone’s life.
However, ask anybody who has attempted to organise a wedding and you’ll likely find that, whilst the wedding day itself is joyous, the stressful moments building up to it are many and frequent!
One business assisted by one of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free loans is working to alleviate that stress – The English Wedding Co.
Founded by Hayley-Dawn Belcher, the Syston-based company delivers bespoke décor to provide the unique look and feel to any happy couple’s special day. However, what’s key is that The English Wedding Co. caters for those happy couples that are looking to create that bespoke aesthetic on a budget.
“I have always been extremely artistic and I find it quite stressful if I don’t have a creative output to focus my creativity,” Hayley (right) told us. “Having been made redundant from the fashion industry, I found myself at a loose end and this came at the same time as I was due to be married. Having found there was nothing available that suited our personalities and having a strict budget due to my redundancy, I took to creating our own wedding stationery and designing the decor for our wedding day. Our guests enjoyed the decor and loved our wedding invitations so much; I decided to start selling my invitation designs online. This went from strength to strength, but I found myself recreating the same design over and over again. After applying for an assistant wedding stylist vacancy, I was hired by a venue decor company. I enjoyed the freedom and creativity styling allowed me, but felt there was an opportunity in the wedding industry to do more than simple table styling.”
After working for the company for over a year, Hayley realised there was an opportunity in the market for couples who wanted bespoke wedding design, but simply didn’t have a sizable budget to spend on their dream day.
“I’d known about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s process in 2012, as my husband applied and opened his tattoo studio with their help,” she said. “I decided to apply and start my own wedding decor business. The process was simple and the team at the charity are helpful, friendly and extremely approachable, so any worries I had were quickly put at ease.
“There are a lot of props required to decorate a wedding and a majority of business is created through word of mouth, wedding fairs and social media,” continued Hayley. “The majority of my loan was used to purchase stock, attend wedding fairs and help me create a workspace I could showcase my styling abilities.”
Hayley started The English Wedding Co. in October 2019. Of course, as we all know, March 2020 would become the month everybody’s lives changed dramatically as the world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sadly the pandemic meant I had to rearrange the bookings I had taken for 2020 and I had only three weddings that year due to lockdown,” she revealed. “Enquiries continued to trickle through and with the announcement of the lockdown roadmap, I had a surge in couples contacting me. 2021 and 2022 are going to be incredibly busy and I’m now looking to take on staff to assist me, as the number of weddings I’m booking means I’m already looking to expand. Starting a business in lockdown was daunting, but it allowed me time to focus my creativity and really get ahead on my website, which I built myself and I’m really proud of. At present I have some of my most popular decor items showcased in a converted room in my house which clients get to view virtually, but one day want to open my own showroom that will be open for clients to visit and that will allow me the room to have multiple tables styled at once and display some of my larger decor pieces.”
Hayley credits The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity as being crucial to starting her own business and would recommend using our interest-free loans to anybody ready to follow in her footsteps.
“Without the help of the charity, I wouldn’t have The English Wedding Co., which to me is more than just a business, it’s something I live and breathe and the thing that gives me confidence in my own abilities,” Hayley said.
“It can be daunting borrowing money, but the charity allows you to take the steps you need to put you on your path. I am thankful, grateful and proud to have gone through the process and would highly recommend The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, as without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now, with high hopes for the future and a business I am passionate about and proud of creating.”
Discover Hayley’s stunning bespoke décor at www.theenglishweddingcompany.co.uk
Alternatively, please click here to find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free loans for business.