We are delighted to shine a light onto another special wedding stationer and to share her story. A valued customer of wowvow for many years this lady has given us a wonderful opportunity to get to know her better and we know you will take great inspiration from her work/life challenges and joys.
Mandy runs Elegant Creations by Mandy in Walsall – here’s Mandy’s story
MANDY PRICE - THE PROUD OWNER OF ‘Elegant Creations by Mandy’
wowvow: Tell us a little about the journey you made to launching your business.
Mandy: Back in 2009 while I was a very senior manager in the banking sector, I ordered a card making kit from QVC presented by Dawn Bibby. I just thought it looked like something I would enjoy. The day it arrived I got everything out of the box all over my dining room table and started assembling the different elements into what must have looked like something very amateurish. When my hubby came home that evening I showed him what I had made and he didn’t believe that I had made the cards but I assured him that I had. I enjoyed making them so much that I already had the crafting bug.
Immediately I started making cards for birthdays, anniversaries etc and I used to watch Create and Craft whenever I could to pick up tips and ideas. Soon friends and family started ordering special cards from me and it well and truly became my passion. In 2010 one of my friends asked if I could make her wedding invitations for her. I just laughed and said I honestly can’t do that I’ve never done anything like that before. She said please just have a go and if they are rubbish I can find someone else to do them. So I made them, she loved them and I loved making them and that was the beginning. Initially I was in partnership with my Sister and we decided to do venue styling as well as wedding stationery. Our business was a great success and we were soon so busy that I had to give up my job at the bank. My Sister retired in 2014 but I carried on and I had quite a team of ladies working with me, we all loved what we did so much.
In January 2017 my hubby was diagnosed with liver cancer and it was at that point that I made the decision to sell the venue styling side of my business to one of my staff and I would just concentrate on my wedding stationery. This enabled me to be around more for Gary during and after his operation to remove half of his liver. It was also at this time that I rebranded and changed the name of my business to Elegant Creations by Mandy.
I am absolutely passionate about what I do, I am so so busy but I love it. It also enabled me to give my friend of 53 years, Carol a job working with me 3 days a week. We are always getting into mischief together, we laugh the whole day long and we still amaze each other at some of the things that we create.
wowvow: What were some of your biggest challenges in starting your business?
Mandy: My biggest challenge without a doubt was having to get work from scratch. Starting a business with absolutely no work in your diary is hard!! Trying to get booked onto wedding fayres was harder than it seems because most of them already had a regular team of suppliers that they used. Fortunately I did manage to get onto a fayre after about 20 failed attempts. It was at this fayre that I met a couple of suppliers who had been in the wedding business a long time and we got talking and they gave me some pointers and some contacts. It was very valuable information which put me on the right track.
wowvow: How do you differentiate yourself from other wedding suppliers?
Mandy: I am so much in love with what I do, the passion and enthusiasm just pours out of me for all to see. I also use only the best quality of card, ribbon, paper etc and I am not prepared to compromise on that quality. I offer a completely personal and bespoke service to all of my couples and whatever they want, they get, and I always throw in some extra touches for free. For example anyone who has invitations from me gets them delivered in beautiful keepsake box which is so unexpected for them.
Also because I have been around for a while now I know many quality suppliers so during my conversations with my couples I always ask if there is anything else that they need that they haven’t booked yet i.e. cakes, photographers etc and I always point them in the right direction making the introductions for them. My old venue styling business is still going strong so where possible I pass my couples to Stacey and that way, because we still work closely together we can make sure all of the colours match from stationery to room décor.
I think the biggest thing of all however is that I remember above all that it is an honour to be asked to create something for the most special day in someone’s life. It is their day and I never forget that.
wowvow: What's your favourite wowvow product?
Mandy: I absolutely love the diamantes, wow they are amazing and also the huge range of glitter card its just ace!!
wowvow: Why do you like to shop with wowvow?
Mandy: I love to shop with wowvow because the service is just second to none. The deliveries arrive pretty much the next day and all the staff are wonderfully friendly and helpful. I love the website too.
wowvow: What is your favourite wedding design trend at the moment?
Mandy: My favourite design trend at the moment is using glitter in my designs. I am a total glitter junkie personally so this trend sits perfectly with me.
wowvow: Who is your design hero?
Mandy: My design hero is a lady name Sue Wilson who I have followed pretty much since I started crafting. Her cards are simply incredible and she now has a range of dies which I use on a regular basis.
wowvow: What else do you like to do when you're not designing or creating?
Mandy: When I’m not designing or creating I spend time at my holiday home in Wales with my Gary. My Sister lives there so it’s a great family time whenever we go there. Its so peaceful and beautiful, it gives me inspiration to create more.
wowvow: What do you imagine you'd be doing if you didn't have your business?
Mandy: If I didn’t have my business I would probably have gone into property development along with interior design, I have a huge interest in both.
wowvow: What is the best gift you've ever received?
Mandy: The best gift I have ever received without question is my husband. He is my soulmate and my whole world and I am truly blessed every day to have him. He is still fighting his liver cancer battle but we are strong together and hopefully we still have many more wonderful memories to make.
wowvow: What is your personal mantra?
Mandy: My personal mantra is ‘Live in the moment’ you can’t change yesterday, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so all we truly have is right now….make the most of it!
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wowvow: What are you reading at the moment?
Mandy: I am currently reading the set of novels by Tania Carver. They are off the scale in terms of gripping. I love psychological thrillers and no one does it better than this husband and wife team that write under the pseudonym name of Tania Carver.
wowvow: What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
Mandy: What reflects my personal style mostly I would say is classic elegance so I tend to wear classic pieces. In the summer mostly pretty maxi dresses with matching jewellery of course!
wowvow: What are you going to do next?
Mandy: What am I going to do next? Well I have recently stumbled across a couple of items that I would like to make as part of my wedding packages!
wowvow: Is there anything else that you'd like to tell us?
Mandy: I guess the only other thing I would like to tell you is that I realised far too late in life that I had talents that could give me the opportunity to own my own business. All the skills that I had developed during my 25 years of working in the banking sector were completely transferrable. I now have 3 businesses, obviously my wedding stationery business, my husband and I set up an Independent Financial Advisor business which has been going now for 5 years and is extremely successful and together with my friend Jane we purchased a commercial property. We have created 13 individual office spaces and we rent them out to new and small business who would otherwise struggle to pay high street prices for rent. The building has been full now for 2 years and is working brilliantly for all the businesses in there.
They all have the support from Jane who is an accountant, her daughter Rebecca who has a business providing admin support, they get financial advice from my hubby and I am always on hand to offer any help with leadership and management issues.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my little journey and what makes me tick.