Graduate Feature: Jenna Pelcher
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am originally from New Jersey. I went to school in New York for Fashion Design and made a living designing children’s clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, and bags! Eventually, I moved down south for an opportunity to start a design department for a small company.
I am a creator and artist at heart. I like a good craft project and getting lost in Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or AtHome. I also love to cook, entertain, and dance—I’ll challenge anyone to a dance off! I have a sweet boxer dog named Willa (after my company). I am very close to my family and they are a huge support system for me and my endeavors. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Why did you switch from a career in fashion design to a career in wedding planning?
I have NOT fully switched…yet! I am still in the early stages of my wedding planning career, just going into year 2. I have some financial goals to meet before I take the plunge!
I decided to start my event planning business because I wanted to feel rewarded after creating something. Right now with product design, I design so much so quickly that I do not get to see the end result of the consumer buying my product. With events, you are part of someone’s special day. To see people so happy and enjoying themselves makes the planning and designing process worth it. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.
How has your fashion design background helped you become a successful wedding planner?
My background in design has 100% helped me so far with my wedding planning business. I am educated and proficient in many digital graphic design programs that allow me to fully render a design space for clients. They have the chance to see what their event will look like before it actually happens. Besides helping my clients visualize their event, it also keeps all vendors on the same page!
On top of that, I have been able to expand my wedding and events business into a one-stop-shop for planning, styling, and design. I have goals to eventually add floral design and stationery to my business as well when the time is right.
What’s your wedding planning business’ most popular service? What do you do differently from your competitors?
My design and styling services are the most popular. I don’t just use the generic, event planning-specific programs out there. With my design background, I am proficient in Photoshop and Illustrator. Therefore, I take my event design renderings to the next level, and I make them as “photo-real” as possible. This has been critical when working with clients.
This service makes my clients excited to work with me. They can visualize the event so there are no surprises. I create a detailed design packet with their decor options and include mood boards and color swatches. Sometimes, if I hand-sketch initial concepts of the event, I’ll frame a sketch and send it after the event as a nice little gift to the client!
How did you make the decision to own and rent your own event decor?
Renting event decor is still very new to my wedding planning business. In fact, I am still figuring it out! It is a huge endeavor, so I am still working out some kinks… but I try to source or make different decor pieces that other local companies don’t have.
I call my decor business a “boutique”, offering exclusive products. I am lucky to have my talented father’s help in making some of my custom pieces. He has built me custom shelving, display pieces, and backgrounds that are exclusive to my brand. I am still in the process of building my decor inventory. Right now, if my client books the Design Suite or my “Whole Enchilada” package, the client has full access to my inventory since it is a big purchase. My goal by next year is to curate my inventory to become more cohesive.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before earning your event planning certification online?
I have no regrets about obtaining the actual wedding planning certification. I am glad I did it. There is some basic knowledge geared towards events that I didn’t know. Having this background and knowledge really prepared me and made me more confident about my decision in starting a business.
In my area, it is uncommon to have the certification, so I do think that sets me apart as well. Having a solid background allows my clients to feel secure when hiring me. I believe credentials and education are important.
Why did you decide to enroll at an online event planning school over a physical school?
I was working full-time, balancing my personal life, and wanting to start a side business… I did not have time to actually go to a physical event school. I loved how QC’s online event and wedding planning courses were affordable and I could complete them on my own schedule.
QC’s tutors work in the actual industry. They gave me a good, basic knowledge of event planning standards and industry terminology that I wasn’t exposed to at the time. As a current student in my Luxury Event and Wedding Planning course, I’m still learning. So far, the most useful thing I learned is to ask tons of questions. No event or client is the same.
I believe knowledge is power! So the more I learned in my planning courses, I only added to my success. I also love the live webinars QC has on Facebook. I still tune into them—I will never stop learning!
Wow, you’re a social media goddess! How much time and effort do you dedicate toward your Instagram marketing?
Thank you! I try to dedicate one to three full days toward social media when planning out my posts. I try to map out a whole month’s worth of posts out. I then use third-party apps to schedule the actual posting to make things easier.
I’d like to dedicate more time to Instagram if I could. I believe social media is extremely important as it legitimizes your company to your potential clients and vendors. The more you interact with people, the more responses you get! Clients typically gravitate toward someone who is approachable and relatable. Therefore, it is key to engage through these social media outlets.
What is your biggest career highlight so far?
I was asked to sponsor a local charity event. My team and I decorated the space, and I got to really showcase what I am able to do since there weren’t any restrictions. It was great marketing for my event and wedding planning company and it also showed that we give back as a company, too. The fact that I could be part of an event that gives back to the community is an awesome feeling!