I am always excited and inspired when I stumble upon a numbered selection of personal facts about someone- something I've seen on the "About" page on many a photographers website. Reading each one makes the person behind the lens, well, so much more of a person. I always enjoy reading them, and usually find I have a quite a lot in common with others in the creative fields. Although I would one day like to incorporate a comparable rap sheet to my own About page, for now I thought I would give you a little insight into myself and the company I created via the blog that I too often neglect.
10 Things About Jen and Hello Bella Events
1. I got my university degree from UBC and planned on following in my father's footsteps in financial planning. I later learned that there's a creative part of me that just wouldn't let go. I couldn't squash it, so I nurtured it and went back to BCIT for marketing and wedding planning.
2. When I was younger, I started many a small business. Here are a few:
Age 9: West Coast Hemp Creations: Hemp jewelry store run out of my bedroom. I had my own phone line that went direct to my room, and I advertised it on my flyers around the neighborhood. My little brother and his friend were my employees, and I was the president and lead designer.
Age 13: Jenna Moore Designs: Yes, I wanted to be a fasion designer, and since I didn't like my name, I changed it. I sketched many a horrid design (which I'm sure at the time were fashionable but now, just awful), and the only items that actually made it to production were halloween costumes.
Age 15: Horizon Learning: I was a nerd. I was academic, and I liked kids, so I set up my own tutoring company for elementary school kids. I wanted it to be a group class with different tutors for different subjects, but I had difficulty finding a free space to host it in. I ended up doing private tutoring instead. I made my first website for Horizon, which I was very proud of (I wish I could see what it looked like today... but alas it's lost in the internet netherland of trash).
3. Planning my own wedding was not what prompted me to start my own company. Planning incredibly detailed and fabulous parties and showers is what got me addicted, and a push from a few friends is what got me started.
4. Through Hello Bella, I have discovered even more new passions. I love love love stationery design and pretty printed materials (come on, we all know it's the little details that make the biggest impact). I think somewhere deep down there's a graphic designer wanting to come out to play. I plan on going back to school part-time for graphic design, pursuing it as more of a hobby, and will try and incorporate it into Hello Bella in a bigger way someday.
5. Before Hello Bella was Hello Bella, there were many names in the running. A few off the top of my head: Bella Luxe, Ciao Bella, Bella Blu, Bella by Jen, Luxe Couture Events, Bella Couture.
6. Where did the name Hello Bella come from? Well, I can try and deny any reference to Hello Kitty as much as I want, but really, I love Hello Kitty so I'm sure subconsciously it played a part. But mostly, I've always loved the moniker "bella" (yes, loooong before Twilight- and unfortunately I'm finding that the dawn of Twilight is leading to an overuse of MY business name- damn you Bella Swan!). My hubby is Italian, which makes it even more fitting, because he often calls me Bella ( or did I force him to call me that...hmm, not sure, can't remember). Anyhoo, at the end of the day, I wanted something that was cute, not overly wedding related (I love doing events almost as much as I do weddings), and something that was original. I also wanted it to feel good. And when I think of waking up, or walking down the aisle, or entering into a room, I can't imagine anything more "feel good" than having someone who loves you look you deep in your eyes and softly whisper into your ear " Hello, bella".
7. I sometimes feel like a little girl dressing up in my mother's cloths in her closet. I have no doubt in my abilities, my creativity, or my talent, but truth be told- I'm a newbie. There are professionals who have been in this industry for 10, 20, 30 years, and that's something I can't compete with. I mean, 10 years ago I couldn't even drive let alone contemplate running a real life business. Being around seasoned professionals is at once both intimidating and inspiring. It's amazing to be around such company, of people I look up to and who are essentially celebrities in their lines of work (Erin Gilmore, I'm talking about you!), but I feel like more of an observer than a colleague. I want more than anything to be taken seriously, but sometimes time is equated with serious, and time is what I don't have. However, if time continues to fly by as it is currently, I'm sure this won't be a problem!
8. I don't worry about my competition. "What?" you say. Well, truth be told, I'm not trying to compete. I know that there are companies out there that I will never be. Countdown Events is by far one of the largest and most reputable wedding planning companies there is in Vancouver. Their business model is divine and their work is impeccable. I don't want to be them, however. And I don't want to be their competition. I have a vision for Hello Bella that doesn't really fit in with any other business model I've seen in Vancouver. I want to keep it small, personal, unique and hand-crafted. I want to be friends with my clients, not just the hired help. I want to design small and creative parties and showers for people who are hosting them (because we've all been to too many shindigs with red plastic cups and dollar store decorations). I want to change the way people see hosting (it's not about just gathering friends around, it's about showing them you care enough to put some effort in, to pay attention to details and really create a night out that they will enjoy and savour). I want people to know it's not about the money spent, but how you spend the money. Simple details such as pretty labels and fabrics that really don't cost much can go a long way. Coming from someone who doesn't really get out that much as a guest, we really do appreciate the little touches and conveniences that our hosts have planned out. The details will be remembered, and I am all about the details.
9. I'm a vegetarian, and so is Hello Bella. Wait, that doesn't make sense! Oh well. I also don't like mushrooms, or any imperfect produce. I spend WAY too much time in the grocery store inspecting my apples for bruises and my peppers for soft spots.
10. In 5 years, I see myself with a store front/boutique. Well, not really a store and not really a boutique. I guess I'll have to think of another word to describe my vision. A "bridal resource lounge" is more fitting. Ok, let's break it down: I want a pretty space, full of plush white lounge furniture, gorgeous crystal chandeliers and tons of pretty inspiration. A free, no-obligation place for clients (brides and hosts alike) to come and pull their event together over a glass of champagne. Clients can come in, chat with me, sift through magazines and portfolios of local wedding professionals and taste their cake all in one place. For many wedding vendors who might not have a store front (photographers, videographers, etc), the space will be the perfect place to meet their prospective clients for a consultation. In the back is a stylishly decorated room complete with bar set up, flat screen TV's and more delectable furniture. This room can be rented out for meetings, but will mostly be rented out to clients for small events (showers, birthdays, engagement parties). It will be pretty place that's as comfortable as your own home to host your friends and family, except with expert decorating and concierge service.
I can't tell you how excited I am about the future, and how grateful I am to have had the support I've received over the past year. I've had some incredible clients that really do affirm that I found my calling, and my friends and family (most specifically Mr. Hello Bella) have helped me so much in making this dream a reality. Thank you, thank you, thank you!