Let’s learn from Rachel Bowes, whose Seattle-based Finch & Thistle Event Design business has been growing steadily ever since she was laid off from her salaried position in 2008.
How did you start your business?
I hired someone to design a website and do some basic branding. Then I started networking and putting the word out that I was looking for events. People started getting referred to me. I’d worked for the Seattle Symphony before, and they hired me on a contract basis to do all the event flowers. I built up my portfolio doing weddings for friends of friends. I look back on those days, and I can’t believe how little I charged! But I had to start somewhere.
When did you know your business was going to work?
I received a lot of publicity in various magazines and on blogs about three years in. Having my business out there in the media gave me a lot more credibility with potential clients. People were coming to me saying, “I saw your wedding in this or that magazine.” I got a lot of new calls. I track my website traffic, so I saw I was getting a big bump after articles were published.
What insights from starting up can you share?
I feel like my business has really developed alongside my own personal growth. There is no better way to learn than figuring it all out as I go along.
I redid my branding a few years ago and am on my third website now, but both have grown with me at Finch & Thistle has changed and my experience has increased.