Hello! Jess here. If you didn't know, I run W Collective. Here I am, looking out of a window. The 8th of March is not only the eve of my birthday, but it's also International Women's Day.
Today I've decided to make the blog a little more personal, in honour of international women's day, and I'd like to share with you a selection of inspiring, inclusive and down right wonderful women who have supported my little business in one way or another throughout the last two years. It's hard being new in any industry, and, as with any industry, there's a little bit of cliquey-ness to overcome. I once read a saying: 'instead of begging for a seat at the table, build your own table' (I can't remember where I read it to credit the author - sorry!), but it truly resonated with me and quite rightly ever since then I've sought out, and been sought out by some fabulous creative babes who really 'get' me, and have shown great support in various ways. I'm grateful for these women who have helped me along the way, with a true and genuine sense of community, not competition.
Firstly I'd like to start with Karen from the awesome Rock The Frock. Karen was the first person to stock my veils in her boutique, which are now also sold online through the Rock The Frock website and in the Cheshire boutique which is run by the lovely Helen. Karen runs a super supportive Facebook group too, the Indie Business Club Community, where I can always voice my worries and get advice almost instantly from a community of likeminded business owners. I've always admired Karen, as she is a mega busy boss lady but is so involved in her businesses and her Facebook group, finding the time to respond to emails and queries despite her hectic schedule. She's super honest and open about the highs and the pitfalls of being self employed, all of which make her so approachable, and generally bloody ace.
Last year I had the privilege to be approached through Instagram by Hannah of Rocksalt Photography, inviting me to work with her on a styled shoot at the AMAZING wedding venue she BUILT!!!! (Yes! Hannah and her husband built a wedding venue!). It's called The Giraffe Shed, and I'd been not so secretly stalking them on Instagram for a while prior to Hannah getting in touch.We met up, alongside a wonderful team of creatives including Hannah Carson MUA and Katie from Hair At Hurst Barn, who helped to make our vision come to life. Rosie and Chelsea, our gorgeous models battled the cold and looked immense in every single shot. That day was a real confidence boost for me, it really reignited my passion and made me want to go ahead with more styling projects in the future (hit me up if you're interested in a collaboration!).
More recently, I organised a styled shoot featuring all Shropshire suppliers, and through that I have met some local creative ladies who have been on my doorstep this entire time. My sister in law Zara of RD Lux provided the jewels and her photography skills, whilst the lovely Gilly Page Jewellery created some bohemian flower crowns and floral fedoras that made the shoot really come to life. Colette Bailey did my makeup which was a real treat as the last time I saw her was on my wedding day! I also got to see her new business venture, her Wellington salon Girlcode, which is so beautiful. Cat from Ginger Moon Hire came along and set up some beautiful back drops to use, and I'm beyond thrilled with the outcomes and the new bonds made - I hope to work with all of these ladies again in the future.
Erin of Way Out Wedding has been supportive of my work for a long time and has been kind enough to let me do a guest post on her blog, and feature my styled shoots. We're working on a cheeky little collab too, so keep checking back for updates on that!
I need to say a big massive thank you to my dear friend Rosie for always being up for being a model, getting changed in bizarre places and putting herself into odd scenarios for me without any hesitation - she is seriously an angel. She's frozen her tits off on multiple occasions for me, and helped me carry random props (like a giant crescent moon) through the woods, and for that I owe her big time. My sister-in-law Dominique deserves a shout out too, not only for being a model but for choosing me to make her veil for her wedding day. It's truly an honour and I feel so proud to have had an important role in her big day. Another real bride I want to shout out is my oldest friend Fae, who not only chose me to make her veil but should really work on commission as she's often texting me telling me she's recommended me to brides-to-be and people within the wedding industry she's come across along the way.
And finally, my mom and my sister (there wasn't much male influence in our family!). They're the first to like my Insta posts, rave about my work and generally big me up, whether it be turning up to support me at wedding fairs or telling the girls in the local beauty salon about my little business.
So there you have it, the women who have kindly taken a seat at this table I decided to build (and there's room for more - we're not exclusive over here!). It's nice to reflect on all of the little moments that have been stepping stones to where I am today, and note who was really there. even in the not-so-glamorous moments. So once again, THANK YOU LADIES, you da best.