As an outsider looking in - you really don’t always realize how much time and energy, blood sweat and tears go into a person creating their business.
I remember when I first started Runway, I worked a full-time job as a sales executive for a music company and evenings and weekends were completely dedicated to branding, creating my website working on emails and selling Runway. When I booked my very first wedding - you can imagine that I was beyond excited. Of course, I didn't know then what I know now (especially the real truth about Florida weather) but my first wedding was outside in the heat of August in 100° weather in a clear tent. For those who don’t know or aren't from Florida, a clear tent is beyond gorgeous and makes incredible photos - but during the day it is a crazy sauna. The family was so rude and wouldn’t let us in their air-conditioned house to take a break or use the restroom. I remember that the chairs and tables were supposed to be set up when we arrived, but instead the tent was in shambles. It looked like they had a crazy party the night before and left us with the mess (and nothing set up). My cousin was in town from South Carolina so I enlisted her as an unofficial event assistant and between her and my other teammate, Vita - we somehow made that day happen. Also, if it couldn't get any worse - the air conditioning for the tent broke, too.
After that event, I did over 20 more events for free or next to nothing. I showed up at almost every networking meeting, met vendors, volunteered for whatever I could to SHOW that I was good - not just talk the talk.
It was hours and hours of backend work and 12-16 hour wedding days but it was freaking worth it. I began to build my portfolio, gain more experience, develop trust in the industry and establish my brand.
I have to be honest that there were times I questioned myself and wanted to give up. I remember asking myself if this was worth it. I was exhausted - sometimes defeated and I missed a lot of events with friends and family and sacrificed time with my husband. I didn’t even give myself a true paycheck until just this year.
I don't say any of this to complain or for anyone to feel sorry for me. It's just the truth - and a true example that success takes work and doesn't come easy.
That being said, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about finding your "why". Over the years I’ve had an internal "why" but never really wrote it down and didn't really realize that other people may need to know, too. I felt like now was the time to explain why Runway. So here I go...
I worked many jobs in my life - most around serving others (which is a nice way to say "customer service" lol). I was a server, a worship leader, an office manager, a production planner, a bartender, a restaurant manager and a sales executive. I know how hard it is to find a job you truly love, are passionate about AND are good at. Even more, a job that you can give back and make a difference in someone’s life. I always had the heart to serve and to give. To be honest, most of the reasons I left the jobs that I had was that I never felt completed - I never felt like I was making any difference in the world. Just clocking in a paycheck and someone that was easily replaceable.
I saw myself being more, doing more - ministering to young women, empowering people to chase after their dreams - inspiring them to BE the best they can be and give that best to others as well.
I work A LOT - probably too much but keeping food on the table and keeping my staff working keeps me going. I grew up with nothing but it showed me that it doesn't matter where you come from it's what you believe in. I know it’s going to pay off in the long run and right now I have #goals and am working towards an empire.
Runway, at its heart, was developed to give people work that they loved and give our clients the wedding day that will bring amazing memories for a lifetime.
Truthfully, I could have been a self-titled wedding planner that made her paycheck and called it a day. It probably would have been easier and to be honest - I probably would make more money. BUT my end goal is so much bigger. My goal is to bring Runway global and give so many more people work that they love (and they aren't just another number to us) and more clients an honest and authentic experience and memorable and relaxed wedding day.
They say it takes a team and it SO does. Just because you have a captain, you need a crew to man the ship to keep it moving. I could not keep moving without these incredible ladies and truly believing in Runway’s mission and vision. I know I’m beyond blessed every day and do not take anyone for granted. I have a full-time Office Manager, a Director of Operations, a Floral Manager, a Brand Coordinator, four Lead Planners and Five event assistants.
Truth be told, the overall MVP is my hubby, Frankie. He has supported me and us as a family so I can chase my crazy dreams. He doesn’t judge me when I ramble on and on about my life. He loves me unconditionally.
So, why us? Why Runway? Here is the true "why" I came up with.
We truly care, we strive for excellence, we go above and beyond, we ask questions and truly want to be friends and even more like family to our clients, vendors, and peers.
We aren't just any wedding planning company. We are authentic, we encourage, we are fun, we bring our clients vision to life, we are honest and real.
It’s so crazy to think that in four years Runway came from one girl believing she can change the world to less than four years later built a six-figure business and a team of thirteen.
I don't believe in just being average and I will continue to grow, be better and learn and always put my best foot forward. But for now, that is "why" Runway.
I encourage you to think about your "why" in whatever you do and always strive to be your most authentic self and change the world in whatever way that means to you. <3
Until next week...