SAMANTHA Wiley is a 24-year-old small business owner, planning and designing weddings in one of the top wedding destinations in the US: Charleston, South Carolina.
With years of experience in the wedding and event industry, creative drive and exceptional customer service skills, she is a huge asset to the clients she serves.
Samantha's feminine, sophisticated style has been published on The Wedding Row, Smitten Magazine, A Lowcountry Wedding, and her expert planning advice has been featured online on BRIDES Magazine. Her passion for planning, infectious energy and dedication to the details has solidified her as one of the leading wedding planners in the Lowcountry.
To learn more, visit www.ChanceyCharm.com/charleston
Samantha took an internship in a design company. She really loved it there but unfortunately, she tore her ACL (The ACL is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint. It runs diagonally through the inside of the knee and gives the knee joint stability. It also helps to control the back-and-forth movement of the lower leg.) and had to move back home.
Samantha worked an uninspiring job and had to go through Physical therapy. Her Physical Therapist asked her, “Have you ever failed before?” Samantha said that she had never failed before. Then her Physical Therapist asked her again, “Why would you start now?”
This was Samantha’s defining moment. She told herself that she would recover from her injury, then move back to Charleston and then start her own business.
A year and a half later, Samantha is in Charleston, planning beautiful weddings with amazing clients.
Samantha shares with us some myths about the wedding industry and busts them
One of the biggest myths is that wedding planning is all fun and glamorous and trying on amazing dresses and tasting delicious cakes. It’s a lot more than that.
What Samantha tells her clients is that, “Yes I can create a beautiful wedding for you, but what your guests will remember is how logistically seamless it was.”
It really takes a lot of wisdom and knowledge, and time and effort to make sure that an event is as beautiful and as seamless as possible.
Another myth is the bridezilla myth. Samantha’s clients are fantastic and a lot of them have become dear friends of hers. She had never experienced a bridezilla before.
People get stressed out but that is common in all situations. It’s her job to make sure that there are no bridezillas. It’s her job to organize and take care of things and take away the stress in wedding planning.
What were the steps that Samantha took that helped her start her wedding planning business
- The first step is do your research. Learn from other professionals. There are a lot of resources in the web about different topics and it surely has the topic or business that you are interested in.
- Samantha wanted to be in Charleston so she looked up Charleston wedding planners and contacted them. She asked them about the pros and cons of being a Charleston Wedding Planner and then she decided if she wanted that kind of lifestyle.
- Do your research and know what you’re getting yourself into.
- The second step is to reach out to other wedding planners. See if you can intern for a reputable wedding planner and see if you can visualize yourself in that area of work.
- Can you handle the stress? Are you organized?
- Is this something that you can actually do?
- Samantha interned with several wedding planners so she can see how they work and how they do things differently. That’s how she gathered information on how she can run her own business.
- The third step is creating your own business. You already have the tools and experience.
- Samantha was lucky to be with Chancey Charm Weddings. They are a nationally known brand and they take care of her branding, website and SEO.
- You need to focus on getting your name out there and meeting with other vendors, photographers, florists, calligraphers, designers.
- SEO has been the key to their success because you can find their website at the top of the page. That shows their clients that they mean business. It’s a credibility ranking. Their clients already have an impression that they are a very legitimate company.
- The final step is to get published. They collect portfolio that they will share with magazines and online publications so they could get their name out there so that more brides can find them.
You need to make sure that your sales game is strong because everything in life is about sales.
Samantha shares the first thing you have to do to get started today
The most important thing is to find a mentor. Find a role model who you want to be like. Then ask them what they did to get there.
What can you do? What are the things that you wish you could have done differently?
It’s wonderful to have a mentor so you can keep track of your goals. Create those goals so that you are always working constantly towards something.
Goals are fantastic and you need to have accountability to be successful. Having a mentor shortcuts your learning curve.
A little push helps us catapult to much quicker results.
Samantha shares with us exciting things about her business
They have a full planning service. Samantha is a full time planner because this is what she loves to do. Chancey Charm is here to walk you through the entire process of planning your wedding – planning your guest list, finding your venue and any vendors that you might need.
They have an online platform that they use to connect with their brides.
The biggest thing that they can offer is the design and branding. They make sure that the brandings are specific to each of their clients. They try to make it a cohesive event to provide the best experience.
They also have a mentor who helps them make great business decisions.
You can also apply for business sponsorship from American Small Business Championship by SCORE and Sam's Club. They provided Samantha with a full year of coaching and a thousand dollars to build her business.
What should you do if you want to become an event planner
Don’t be afraid to take the risk in building your own business. Don’t be afraid to get more experience and to put your name out there.
You have to tell people that you want to plan weddings.
How soon should you contact Samantha if you want to avail of their services
Charleston is a huge destination for weddings and there are venues which book out two years in advance.
One year to one and a half year in advance would be a good timeframe. You can still contact them within 3 months but you will have to make decisions quickly.
Having more time is beneficial, but if you are in a crunch, they can still help you out.
Samantha’s parting words for you
Don’t have a fear of failure. There are so many different things that are new to try and to do. Don’t be afraid to try and put your name out there. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a wonderful tool to learn. Some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world have failed multiple times but have overcame it.
Don’t be afraid to fail, go out there, follow your dreams, find what you’re passionate about and you never have to work a day in your life.