Hello to all our valued readers, Insta followers, Friends and Family (because let's be honest, I still share my OMG moments with my Mum, so she's probably reading this!)

Firstly, it's great to be back! I haven't written a solid post for quite some time and in a moment I will share my reasons but I just want to say how happy it makes me feel to reconnect with our amazing audience and get back into my inspiring groove again in hopes to nudge a little 'Aha!' moment in my readers.

I love love love writing and connecting with an audience and sharing my highs and lows and lessons in between with you all. You may have read our start-up story online or on social media and may gather that Family to me is like nothing else. Ours sick together... sometimes in a supporting way and sometimes in a 'annoyingly family' kind of way (Ok, I am the eldest of all the grandchildren and probably the blondest so I cop my fair share of smart arse comments from the younger ones haha) But through personal as well as professional highs and lows, the rocks of our family were always there for me. That being my two favourite women, My Mother and my Grandmother. 

After every client knock-back, after every businessman/high school friend /teacher/colleague/supplier not taking my vision seriously they were always there to pick me up and reassure me. They reassured me I wasn't crazy or too ambitious or not worthy enough. To them, I mattered.
From the very beginning my Mum has been a part of our team helping sew, calculate, setup, pack down and photograph all of our events and my Grandmother always there at the end of a massive hot day to greet us with Ginger Beer after work, receiving a posy of flowers from the wedding setup and asking if she dyed her hair red would that make her cool enough to join our team.

After beginning with writing the love stories of our couples online when we shared their story with our audience, I had quite a few people tell me I had a knack for writing really nice things about these couples. I was like, really!?... I mean I actually really cared about our clients and fell in love with their wedding and their story as if it were my own but I didn't ever think there was anything more to that. And thats when my Grandmother told me it came from a good place and thats what made all the difference. 
So, after having my Mum ask me to write on Birthday cards and then Grandma asking me to share my blog posts with her I was encouraged to do something more with it.
And this is when The Etc. Effect Magazine was born.

A carefully curated mini magazine that featured the kind of visuals and creative talent you just couldn't stop flicking through, backed up with actual useful content to educate our readers on topics that mattered and solved the problems that kept them lying awake at night thinking about, articles with real substance to the wedding industry all bound in a beautiful fabric cover with a hand-sewn spine. Oh the details!
My Grandmother was presented the first ever copy rolled off the press. I felt this belonged to her for all the amazing support she had given me right throughout my life.
We then launched the first Edition, on the house, at our debut at the Melbourne One Fine Day Wedding Fair.

Over two days we had 550 couples leave the Royal Exhibition Building with a copy of our hot little mag, another 300+ couples with our postcards and a further 250+ couples with our business card. We ran completely out!
I had emails asking if we had any more copies of The Etc. Effect and so we went into re-print and set up a web page to handle enquiries. It was absolutely nuts! I couldn't quite believe it and all of this excitement was shared in my Grandmother's lounge room. A pinch-me kind of moment for sure.

The next chapter for us was to make the move to the Big Smoke to pursue our market and the lifestyle we longed to live (Hello south Melbourne coffee at our doorstep!)
The week before the big move, we sadly lost Grandma to a long battle with illness. At 71 she'd left us and it tore my heart out. Family is what had kept me grounded all my life and now who was I going to go to for advice or to share the excitement of booking another client, selling another copy of the magazine, doing another interview. 
I tried, but I just couldn't bring myself to write another edition of the magazine. The words wouldn't flow, I actually couldn't put my heart into it and felt if I published it I'd be cheating my audience. Fooling them into the amazing inspiring Lauren I was trying to be again.

Eight months have past since she left us now. Every time we pack up a wedding and unload into the storage shed I still go to hand her a vase of flowers from the wedding or fall on her couch exhausted but instead I take a breath and smile knowing she's looking down on us and sharing that same excitement we used to.
I still take a ginger beer from time to time but we now donate the flowers to the nursing home my Pop now resides in, in memory of Grandma and to share that same happiness with everyone there that I used to share with her.

Our last wedding for the year was yesterday and a trip back home reminded me of why I started this company. My artistic little brother had painted our company Vision, Mission and Values which are still displayed in my parent's office where it all began. I stood there yesterday and read these and reconnected with our Why.
I started this company to share and celebrate all those amazing milestones in our lives. Some the big ones like a Wedding and some the small ones like 'I just had THE best day ever!' The point being we don't need a huge excuse or budget to celebrate with loved ones and at the time, in my community I felt like this contagious feeling had dwindled so I wanted to bring it back in a loud and creative way. 
The thing is, without those little celebrations and nudges of encouragement we often don't hold belief that we can achieve the things we want or that we are deserving of opportunities. And what better way to start off an exciting new chapter together than encompassing thee value in an amazing wedding day. 
This is why I love talking about such a topic, because who knows what spark will ignite in us all if we stopped and took a moment to appreciate and celebrate.

I drove back to Melbourne tonight chatting with a new friend who asked what my next big venture would be. I mentioned the magazine and he asked why I had stopped writing. 
I got home and realised the reason was my Grandma but the answer was also my Grandma.
Funny how life gives you nudges of encouragement like that. So with a glass of wine and a few tears I now share this little story to appreciate and celebrate.

Best wishes,
Lauren x
 

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