Welcome readers, to our latest Feature Friday article - today we're featuring Gillian Bell of Starweds.
My name is Gillian Bell and my company is an online wedding gift service - http://www.starweds.co.uk/. StarWeds is an exciting and unique service for contemporary couples who don't need any more toasters or towel bales. It is an innovative gift list alternative which allows your wedding guests to make monetary contributions as a wedding gift.
StarWeds has your very own personalised wedding website to which your friends and family can contribute money as a wedding gift. Guests can choose from a variety of quick, easy and secure payment methods (ie credit/debit card via PayPal, cheque or balance transfer).
We provide beautiful, customised invitation inserts so that you can tell your wedding guests all about your website.
Please visit http://www.starweds.co.uk/, and if you would like to view a sample of the personalised wedding website, then please visit http://www.starweds.co.uk/sample.
After your wedding, your personalised wedding website can be saved to a souvenir CD, so that it can be yours to treasure forever.
We came up with the idea in May last year. My partner, Chris, and I had attended five weddings in 2009 and given money as a gift at every single one. We found that there was no safe and/or easy way to do this, so we developed the idea of StarWeds.
What do you love most about your business?
One of the things that I love most about my business is exhibiting at wedding fayres and meeting our prospective clients face-to-face to advise them all about the dedicated, personal and world-class service that we provide.
Recent research conducted by Wedding Magazine found that 45% of couples would prefer their guests to give them money as a wedding gift. We would like to be responsible for increasing this percentage. In other countries, such as China, Poland, Japan and India giving money as a wedding gift is traditional and we feel that with the truly personalised service we provide, we could lead the UK in following this trend.
What is your aim for the next year?
Despite only launching our business in February this year, we have already been lucky enough to have StarWeds featured in both the Scottish Wedding Directory and The Best Scottish Weddings Magazine. In 2011, we would like to reach a wider audience and aim to be featured in national wedding publications too.
Where do you ultimately see yourself?
Ideally, we would like StarWeds to become renowned as the leading UK provider of not only personalised wedding websites but also as the number one facilitator of online wedding gift funds.
What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women?
Tip 1 - Provide First-Class Customer Service: The most important tip is to treat your customers as you would like to be treated yourself. Ensure that you provide a high-quality, personal service and make clients aware that you are there for them every step along the way. Chances are if you have your own business, you will be putting your heart and soul into it, so this should shine through in the service that you provide. We understand that a couple's wedding day is one of the most special days of their lives and we want to ensure that they remember their StarWeds experience as enjoyable, stress-free and truly exceptional.
Tip 2 - Daily To-Do Lists: I am a strong believer in to-do lists. If you start each day with a list of what you need to achieve to accomplish your goals, then this helps you to focus and direct your energies more effectively.
Tip 3 – Know your Market: I spent several months researching before I finally set up my business. You need to know who your competitors are, that you are pricing your services correctly and that you have plenty of unique selling points.
Tip 4 - Be Dynamic: Technology-based business is one of the most dynamic environments. We are constantly reviewing, updating and improving our site. Technology business landscape can change in a flash as new technologies are launched every day, so we are forced to be flexible, forward plan to stay ahead of trends and embrace change.
Tip 5 - Network: I have found that networking events, particularly those with other business women are very helpful. These events are a great opportunity to promote your business and to gain feedback. Contacts from these events can be potential customers and possibly open other doorways of opportunity.
If prospective customers would like to get in touch, how can they contact you?
I can be contacted via my website at http://www.starweds.co.uk/ or by email on email@example.com; I'm also on Facebook on www.facebook.com/starweds or you can Tweet me at www.twitter.com/starweds.
Thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us today Gillian, your service is really clever and innovative and I can see a lot of people being really interested.
We really hope you enjoyed today's Feature Friday - remember, if you are a businesswoman running your business from home and would like you and your company to be featured, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Feature Friday" in the subject line. And don't forget to join our forum at http://www.creationcollaboration.myfastforum.org/ to chat with like minded businesswomen.