Hayley Ruth Photography

Friday, 24 September 2010

'Flourish' your business

I went on a brilliant workshop yesterday with the very lovely Fiona Humberstone from Flourish.  We had a great day by the river with a plentiful supply of homemade cakes and coffee and a delicious Tagine for lunch.  It didn’t seem like work at all!

I look forward to telling you all about plans for my own courses.  In the meantime, if there are any brides out there that who are daunted at the prospect of organising their own wedding and are interested in attending a workshop, do email me kate@katefletcherevents.co.uk

Fiona will really inspire you and I can recommend anyone to attend one of her workshops.  

Blogging Workshop - Thursday 4th November, 2010
Blogging is quite possibly the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal. Work out how to do it correctly and you’ll build relationships with both current and prospective clients, position yourself as an expert and drive traffic to your site.  Join Fiona on a day-long workshop to discover how you can turn your blog into a client magnet.

"The workshop gave a great balance between the technical aspects of blogging and the tricky business of writing engaging content" Philippa Varey, Oriel Marketing

Focus & Flourish - Thursday 9th December, 2010

How can you make sure that the time you are spending marketing your business is productive?  How do you make the best use of your limited resources - both time and money?  And how do you cut through the fog, reconnect with what really matters and rediscover your passion for your business?

Both courses

Time :
9.15am – 4.00pm 
Price: £177 plus VAT (see early bird discount)
Location: Surrey

Book either of these courses two weeks early and receive an early bird discount

Maybe I'll meet you there!

Fiona’s Story

I’m very proud of Flourish and what we’ve achieved over the past five years. From the outside, being able to fit my business around my family, the time to bake and garden (though mysteriously not to clean…)  and the active blog and social media profile look effortless. 
But we’ve all worked incredibly hard to get where we are today. And whilst I’m happy with the work-life balance and where the company is at now, things haven’t always been easy. We had our children unexpectedly young, moved to one of the most expensive areas of the country (Surrey) and were determined to make a go of things.

My life-changing moment

I genuinely believe that most business owners have a life-changing moment that takes them out of their corporate comfort zone and into the world of self employment. In 2004 I was an ambitious, successful corporate hotshot working as a Regional Director for printing.com. I was living the high life in Clapham and was looking forward to my then boyfriend (now husband) and I buying our first flat together.

Everything changed when we discovered I was pregnant. Having Ellie at the age of 25 changed both our lives and my priorities had shifted. Rather than focusing on climbing the greasy corporate pole, I felt that working for myself would be more rewarding and would enable me to work more locally.

My problem was that unlike many of my newfound mummy friends, we didn’t enjoy the financial stability that having a baby in your thirties brings. Nor was Pete a Banker or Management Consultant! I needed to set up a business that would be serious enough to pay the mortgage.

The printing.com franchise

I founded up the printing.com franchise in Guildford in June 2005 and we became one of the fastest growing printing.com franchises in the country. I’m naturally entrepreneurial so from the start I was thinking about how we could build on the offering and create something with real customer loyalty.

We focused on delivering creative graphic design and quality print to small businesses in Guildford. And by February 2010 we had created more than 250 logos for small businesses in and around Surrey.

Five years on we’ve stayed true to those guiding principles, but the business has grown and evolved. We’ve developed a reputation as the business branding experts: creating intuitive corporate identities that powerfully represent the businesses we work with and help them become more profitable. And we now work with many companies – large and small, local and international, award-winning and start up: testament to our creativity and talent for creating strong brands.

A flourishing business

We launched Flourish in February 2010 having been lucky enough to be able to adapt my franchise agreement to accommodate both businesses. Six months on from launching Flourish has worked better than I could have dreamed of. Flourish has opened so many doors for us and we’ve worked on some truly inspiring projects.

The personal stuff

I’ve been pretty entrepreneurial over the past five years in setting up marketing workshops, a local 'Grow Your Business exhibition, a networking group for my village and writing a book 'The SME's Guide to Using Exhibitions to Grow Your Business'.
They’ve helped me position and market my own business. And they’ve seriously benefitted many of my clients.

And as the business has grown, so too has my family. Ellie, who was just 15 months when I started the business, is now at school. Pete and I married in September 2005, and we have a new addition, Jasper, who was born in September 2008. No business owner would ever claim that running a business is easy, and taking 5 months maternity leave, navigating the business through the recession and maintaining our high standards has certainly been a challenge! And yet, with a lot of support from my husband and the team in the studio I have a thriving business and a family I am immensely proud of.

And to the future?

Flourish is already opening up some exciting new opportunities and I look forward to working on some larger and more in depth brand and marketing projects.  I also have a second book planned for the summer and that holiday home in Dorset is still very much up there on the wish list!

An inspiration to us all, don't you think?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Local press

I am really pleased to be featured in two regional publications this month.

'Wedding Days' is a packed full of interesting ideas for planning your wedding.  A favourite of mine is the multi-coloured macaroons on Page 67.  Serve them as sweet canapes at the drinks reception or with coffee in dishes at the end of the meal.

If you can't get hold of a copy, flick through the flip book

You'll find my Q&A's on Page 82 - lets just say the back page!

'East Magazine' is a great little read.  A contemporary and stylish publication with a diverse range of articles such as a 'Whats On' and dining, shopping and entertainment guides throughout East Anglia.

I am thrilled with the three page spread, featuring two of my weddings and 'Kate Fletcher's Top 10 Wedding Tips'!  So have a flick through September's edition. 

It just so happens that the town where we live is also on Page 76.  A visit to Poppy's Tea Room is a must!  http://www.poppystearoom.co.uk/ 

Maybe Liza will make me some Macaroons?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

First impressions

Totally unrelated to weddings, events or infact anything of interest to most, but I thought I would share my dilemma.  This really shouldn't be something to agonise over, but I have been deliberating over what colour to paint our front door.  Our house is cream and every cream house in the town has a pale green front door. Whilst I like pale green, I don't like to be the same as every other cream house in the town!!

So ... what to go for?

Charcoal Grey?

Slate Grey?



I'm really not sure any of these will go with cream?

Pale Green it is!

Any suggestions?  Answers on a postcard please! 

Friday, 10 September 2010

A glorious garden party

I am delighted to share Sian and Peter's 'garden party' themed wedding at Hengrave Hall.  As my featured venue, it was great to meet a couple who got married there.  I would love to say I helped organise their wedding - unfortunately I didn't, but it has certainly given me quite a few ideas!

Sian Townsend and Peter Anderson decided they wanted to go for something a bit different for their wedding so they chose an old-fashioned 'garden party' theme. The wedding breakfast was an afternoon tea party, followed by a fish & chip supper. ‘We knew we didn’t want a traditional wedding from the start,’ says Sian. ‘We both wanted something relaxed and informal with some quirky touches to make the day special.'

Once they started planning the wedding it took on a handmade theme. Sian's dress was handmade by local designer Erica B and the invites were made by Lisa at Letterpress Design and guests were even asked to make a cake! They also made their own napkins from vintage curtain material bought from charity shops.

Some of the most memorable touches came together for the couple just days before the wedding day. ‘My mum had been keen for me to hire an ice cream van and for ages I put it off because I felt that was tempting fate with the weather,’ Sian explains. ‘Once we saw the forecast we booked up and I was so glad we did – everyone was hot when they came out of the church and seeing our guests tucking into a Mr Whippy was something I’ll always remember.’

The couple wouldn’t change a thing about their day. ‘It had a lovely relaxed feel which is exactly what we’d wanted,’ says Sian. ‘I had thought I’d be stressed but I didn’t stop smiling all day.’

Photography: Sophie Ellen Lachowycz  http://www.sophieellen.co.uk/
Venue: Hengrave Hall http://www.hengravehall.co.uk/
Dress: Erica B Designs http://www.erica-b.co.uk/
Invitations: Letterpress Design http://www.letterpress.co.uk/
Flowers: Vintage Bloom http://www.vintagebloom.co.uk/

There are so many lovely elements to this wedding. It means so much more when you spend time rather than money on the personal things to make the wedding really special. Congratulations Sian and Peter.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Everything you could wish for

Hengrave Hall has been lovingly restored into the most stunning venue. I have been to many venues over the years and it offers everything you could wish for your perfect day.

I went to meet Hannah Bibby, the venue Manager in March.  Hannah is an absolute delight and has, in my opinion, the enthusiasm required to turn viewings into bookings. The person showing couples round a venue is paramount, as a faultless venue can be overlooked if the staff are unwelcoming.

Not many venues can boast a church in their grounds. The charming church of St John Lateran sits just a few steps from the Hall itself. Believed to be of Saxon origin and with it's own organ, this small church is perfect for an intimate marriage service and can accommodate up to 120 people.

You can also choose to have a civil or partnership ceremony in the Hall itself, followed by a reception in the grounds which offers formal rose gardens, ancient hedges, rows of pleached limes, secret courtyards, lakeside walks and wildflower meadows - a photographer's dream.  Your wedding breakfast can be held in one of the wonderful function rooms, including the Long Gallery and the Library for more initimate celebrations.

What I love most about the venue, is you do not need to worry about the weather as there is an option for every eventuality. This makes such a difference, especially for a wedding planner! There is a beautiful courtyard at the heart of the venue where guests can enjoy a drink outside and not be too far away from the evening celebrations.

The venue hire includes exclusive use of Hengrave Hall, the Church and gardens and the Queen Elizabeth Suite for bridal party preparations . There is also a Grooms chamber, complete with chunky sofas and a pool table for them to relax too.

There are ten luxurious bedrooms in the Hall itself with four posted beds, crisp white linen and modern bathroom facilities.

An additional six en suite bedrooms are located in the Walled Garden with an orangery and dining room where a banqueting breakfast is served. I would love to stay there with a group of friends myself!

All the catering at Hengrave is organised by Talbooth Catering. I can certainly vouch for their exceptional quality and high standard as I introduced them to the venue I helped set up in 2004 and worked with them for many years. You only have to go to one of their restaurants http://www.milsomhotels.com/ to experience the standard for yourself. The catering, management and waiting staff are faultless and such a pleasure to work with.

I very much look forward visiting again soon. If you are looking for a venue for your special day, contact Hannah Bibby on 01284 768024 or email her at enquiries@hengravehall.co.uk and arrange to visit too!