Wendy Markum-Scanlan of The Savvy Bride
This week, we got to visit The Savvy Bride’s Wendy Markum-Scanlan. She has an awesome work cave, equipped with a wood shop, crafting zone, tons of glitter and a Harry Potter den. To our delight, she is usually accompanied by one of her four dogs. Wendy has a background in theatre design and stage management so she is extremely talented in creating beautiful custom design elements that make weddings stand out. From warm up to curtain call, Wendy makes sure your wedding is romantic, lively, fun, memorable and authentic.
What is The Savvy Bride?
The Savvy Bride offers Wedding Planning, Wedding Coordination, Wedding Design, Wedding Florals and Custom Wedding Decor.
What made you go into business and create the Savvy Bride?
If you had asked me this question my first year, I would have said I just fell into it. After a few years and some reflection, it seems that I had been working towards owning my own wedding planning business for the past fifteen years. My background was in technical theatre and directing, and I worked as a high school drama teacher but found the education system to be ridiculous. Then I worked in the non-profit arts, and they had different, but still ridiculous rules. I finally decided that after earning a bunch of degrees and working a bunch of jobs that paid crap, I could be just as broke if I just worked for myself. As it turned out, wedding planning is not much different than directing a theatre production. We have sets, costumes, lighting and sound, props, an audience and of course the cast of stars. It was the most natural fit, and I finally felt like I was no longer a square peg trying to force myself into a round hole. Now I make the rules for how I run my business, and it works really well.
What do you struggle with the most as a business owner?
My biggest hurdle is not valuing my worth as much as I should. Some of this comes from the conditioning of my previous “public service” work where you are praised for “giving all and asking little.” Is there any wonder why women are so drawn to public service jobs, that is how we are brought up, or at least in my day. This is still a work in progress for me when it comes to pricing services and selling my value to potential clients who can choose between cheaper companies or mine.
What is special about The Savvy Bride? What do you do exceptionally well?
I think the thing that makes me stand out is that I try to form real relationships with my clients. I don’t put restrictions on their communication with me during their planning process. Even my lowest package price comes with the same level of genuine excitement for their wedding. By the time their wedding day arrives, I am not just a vendor, but the brides biggest alley for that day. She knows in her heart I have her best intentions in everything I do for her.
What is your favorite story about The Savvy Bride?
I love that I still get texts, emails, calls, and letters from my earlier clients who are some of my biggest cheerleaders. There was one mother of the bride who came up to me the day of the wedding and said to me “I was worried because I didn’t know how I could be part of the wedding and still make sure that everything went perfectly for Chelsea. But now we have you, and I know she is in good hands today.”
Have you faced any adversity being a woman entrepreneur in the wedding industry?
While I have the occasional “woman-hating DJs,” it is more laughable than anything at this point. I think the wedding industry is a lovely place for women entrepreneurs. It is a female dominated industry, so there is some power that comes with having a support system of strong vendors. It is refreshing to have to prove yourself based on your talent and not your gender.
Is there any advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting her own business?
There is a saying that “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 60 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.” This is so true! I have never worked harder than I do for myself, but it doesn’t matter because I am doing what I love and I have a great boss. 😉 I would honestly encourage any woman who just can’t seem to find her space in the corporate world to try working for herself. If you work for the challenge, nothing will challenge you more. If you work for the recognition, you will receive as much as you deserve. If you work for the money, it won’t be there at first, but when it comes, the only one standing in your way of making what your worth is you. Doesn’t that sound like an excellent job description?