Chitter Chatter is a series I’ve been running all about inspirational women in the wedding industry whom I greatly admire. These women successfully combine running their own business with married life and, in a lot of cases, raising a young family. The ‘Chitter Chatter’ twist is is they have to answer my questions in just 140 characters or less….
I started this series as I approached maternity leave back in April of this year, and now that my beautiful little Zara is 14 weeks old, maternity leave is very much behind me. It’s time to close the series, and we are going out with an absolute bang by interviewing the A-class Bloggess, Annabel Beeforth, founder of Love My Dress.
Annabel has been blogging about weddings since 2009 and took the leap of faith to become a full time professional blogger in May 2011. She’s had phenomenal success, reaping all kinds of awards for her blog, writing a published book, and taking on a wonderful team of writers and contributers to support her ever-growing blog business. She has, over the years, been searingly honest about her own personal juggling act of being a wife and mother to her two little girls alongside running a young business, and I for one have definitely drawn strength and inspiration from her self-employed journals.
Annabel lives by the seaside in Whitby, North Yorkshire with her husband Philip, daughters Eska Eleanor (aged 9) and Leanora Rose (aged 4) and two rescue dogs, Izzie and Winifred.
Let’s hear what Annabel has to say about business and marriage, and everything in between.
What was your first job?
Washing dishes on a Sunday in the pub opposite our house. Think I was about 12.
Tell me more about your career before launching Love My Dress
I was a University Principal Administrator managing two teams. I loved the job at first but found it difficult to adjust to after returning from maternity leave.
What made you start Love My Dress?
I shared my ‘wedding report’ in a popular wedding forum after tying the knot – the response was phenomenal and it encouraged me to share my wedding to a wider audience. I chose to set up a blog to do so.
Annabel’s book launch for Style Me Vintage :: Images by Ashton Jean Pierre
What inspires you to keep growing and developing your business?
My family. I want to create a legacy for my two daughters. I also really genuinely want to support the industry and create a truly valuable resource for those planning a wedding.
What obstacles have you overcome along the way?
Learning to delegate! From invoicing to writing blog features and providing direct customer service. It has been utterly transformational for me and my business.
What is the best opportunity that Love My Dress has brought you?
Becoming an entrepreneur and running my own business. Best leap of faith I took. Ever. It has enriched my life with new friends, creativity and confidence.
What’s your best tip for a work / life balance?
Don’t kill yourself striving to achieve one. I think we can cause ourselves an inordinate level of anxiety and stress trying to achieve the perfect balance and punishing ourselves mentally when we feel we’re not achieving it (or kidding ourselves that so many others are – the perils of social media!). I say set a good daily/weekly routine and just do your ruddy best.
What are your top tips for working from home when you’re self employed?
Sleep well, stick to a daily routine and create a space specifically to work in. I’ve also recently discovered the benefits of standing whilst working -takes your productivity levels into the stratosphere! Take regular breaks and try to intersperse the working day with some stretch/basic yoga poses. Helps me anyway 🙂
Images by Naomi Kenton
97% of Britain’s small creative businesses are run by women. Why do you think this is?
Possibly a result of so many women seeking to find more supportive and rewarding income solutions after having a baby? It’s partly what led me to setting up my own business. Either way, that’s a powerful and very encouraging statistic!
How did you meet your husband?
Through my sister. Who is married to his older brother.
What was the highlight of your wedding day?
Our ceremony. We spent a long time making it really personal and meaningful to us both. One of the loveliest memories of my life.
Was there anything standout about what you wore?
I wore a 1930’s Hollywood style gown by Jenny Packham. Sadly I had to sell it after our wedding. I do regret this and wish I’d have kept it as a family heirloom. Was a case of needs must at the time.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about your wedding?
We’d have hired a professional film maker.
What are your tip tops for brides-to-be when planning their wedding?
Pay for the best wedding photographer you can afford. Stretch to having it filmed if you can. But above all else, be true to yourself and always follow your gut instinct in relation to any decision making.
Secret to a happy marriage?
Make regular time for one another. And protect that time fiercely.
Annabel on her wedding day :: Images by Karen McGowran
That almost indescribable, warm and comforting feeling you get inside when you think of the one you love. And the excitement you feel at all the life adventures and memory making you have yet to share and experience together.
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” â€• Erin Hanson
My iPhone 6 Plus. What an incredible piece of technology right there in your hands. Does just about everything but wash the kitchen sink 😉
Too many to pick one! I just watched Forrest Gump with my 9 year old. A fair few ‘PG’ style scenes but I love the warmth of that movie – and it’s fun discussing the life themes with a 9 year old! I’m a huge movie buff – watching films is one of my fave ways to relax.
Our last family holiday was to France last Summer. We drove and it was quite hard work to be honest. This year we’re staying in a beautiful old converted barn in Devon. I can’t wait.
About 70 job applications for our first social media manager 🙂
If you could be trapped in a lift with any living person who would it be and why?
My husband. I can’t imagine wanting to be with anyone else in that lift.
Tell me something about you that most people don’t know… preferably non work-related
What is your guilty pleasure?
Binge viewing on Netflix. Considering diving into Game of Thrones next. Trying but so far failing to encourage the husband to join me!
What did you do today?
Had a rare lie in! Helped my children make their Daddy breakfast in bed (it’s Father’s Day). Made porridge breakfast with heather honey, banana and blueberries.
We launch a big new project in the next month or so. Once that’s up and running, I hope to turn my attention to the big passion project I’ve been dreaming and scheming about for the past 2 years now.