Besties in Business
Trevor Maddox and Stephanie Footman, owners of We WOW-U Events and Wedding Planning, discuss what its like to be in business with your best friend, how they got started, and the hard word that takes place behind the scene.
The name of your business is We WOW-U Events and Wedding Planning. Tell us what does We WOW-U mean to you?
It’s just as the name implies. Once a client hires us, we want the impact to be beyond their expectations, over the top, extraordinary, so that the first word that comes out of their mouth, at first glance, is WOW! Which means our work speaks for itself.
Whose idea was it to make We WOW-U an official business?
It was mutual agreement.
Was event planning something you both saw yourself doing?
We both have an eye for beauty, exquisiteness and glamour. However, while we always talked about it, we never acted on it. Trevor is a meeting planner and has always had the desire to expand to the more creative side of events and wedding planning. I have always had a creative mindset.
How did you get your start planning weddings and events?
We started out doing small events when friends and family would come to us for help regarding events planning. The more we helped, the more we thought about doing it as a business—getting paid for what we’re good at and enjoy doing.
How is it running a business with your best friend?
We started out as friends but now we see ourselves as sisters. We have a very close and special relationship and it has been that way for almost 30 years. Never a harsh word, never “fallen out” over anything. We agree to disagree. We have the same thoughts, sometimes that’s scary. I mean really scary!
When it comes to planning and formulating our thoughts and ideas, we think the same things and it’s so hilarious, it’s like we’re twins. Sometimes, we speak the same thing at the same time. And our response is “Get out of my head” in unison. The irony is, we were raised in completely different environments. Trevor is a city girl, born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. I am a Southern girl, born and raised in Florida. We’ve heard before that friendship and business should not mix. That doesn’t apply to us. Having a bond that’s beyond friendship, doesn’t affect our business relationship.
As co-owners, what is the most challenging aspect about what you do that people do not see?
People do not see the behind the scene work. We spend hours laboring on the initial design, the layout concept and the setup. These are things that take hours of collaboration. There are lots of things that go on that the client is not even aware of. We really focus on the vision of our client(s) and we make it our business to put that special touch on our work and even sometimes we go above and beyond what is expected.
Tell us a little about your approach to adding the wow factor for your clients and their guests.
We always want to add that extra special touch to not only wow the clients, but their guests as well. Our work must speak for itself because our next client could be one of the guests from an event that we stage. We want our work to make a lasting impression.
During the initial consultation with a client what are the first steps you take?
First and foremost, we keep in mind that this is our chance to make a good impression on a potential client and have a successful outcome. Therefore, we must have a clear sense of the client’s vision, style and expectations. We discuss the services that we offer as well as their budget. We ask many questions and allow the client to talk about their vision for their special day. By listening to their vision, we start to form a bond with them and also, we get a sense of whether our style matches their expectations.
What do you consider to be the perfect venue for an event?
The perfect venue needs to meet the needs of the clients and their guests. We feel there is no perfect venue, nothing is perfect, only God. When the venue is selected, it is our job to add the wow factor and make it perfect for that special day.
You have planned many beautiful and breath-taking events. Can you tell us about some of them? Is there any type of event you would like to plan that you haven’t done?
We’ve done all types of events—parties, baby showers/ gender reveals, and weddings. You name it, more than likely we’ve done it. The one event that we haven’t done is a destination wedding. We are not limited or afraid to take on any type of event.
In addition to event planning, what are some of the other services We WOW-U Events and Wedding Planning provide?
We rent throne chairs and design and provide floral centerpieces. We offer full services from start to finish which includes full design, planning and coordination of events. These services can be broken down to planning or even services just for the day of the event, making sure the event runs smoothly. Recently, we have taken on the task of room design.
What brings you the most joy about what you do?
The expressions of delight on the clients’ faces as well as their guests. Earlier in our career, we designed a 90th birthday celebration and one of the guests walked in and said “WOW”. During her speech, she stated that she made the comment, not knowing that the name of our business was WE WOW-U. So, knowing that our clients are pleased, and their expectations are met brings us joy.
What are 5 tips to planning an event on a budget?
Outline the event planning expenses – the most obvious ones are catering and venue rental expenses. Also, by stating how much the client will spend on each component, shows the parts of the event that are most important to them.
Ask your clients many questions about the event and help to guide their expectation to what is fiscally manageable for them.
Start with a basic event budget, have a vision for the event and estimate how much money you have to work with.
Avoid overspending on unnecessary items.
Ultimately, even if you’re working with a limited budget, at the end of the day, the purpose of your event must shine through.
What do you feel are the most important steps to planning a wedding or event?
Vision is the most important. However, the clients’ vision, may not match their budget.
What advice would you give to a young woman looking to get started in event planning?
Pray about it. Is this something you really want to do and really, really enjoy doing it? Start out on a small scale, shadow a professional so you can see what is involved. Take an event planning class. Event planning is a lot of work and it takes dedication.
To book We WOW-U Events and Wedding Planning for your next special occasion contact them at:
850-242-3439 or 850-264-7759
Be the first to know about special deals and discounts by following them on Facebook @wewowu.