A look back
As the 2019 season kicks into full swing, we wanted to take some time to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and look back at our amazing entrepreneurial adventure!
Back in 2012, I was working at full time at my 9-5 cubicle design job for a big company and I was hating it. I was tired of all the office politics, toxic boss and so much gossip and backstabbing. I was looking to start something of my own, but what… This was about the time etsy and pinterest started to be popular and I fell upon some wedding blogs like 100 layer cake, green wedding shoes and style me pretty. I was instantly hooked!! ‘I love weddings’ lightbulb went off in my mind. I saw that vintage weddings were in style and you could actually make a business from renting props. I had always loved going to flea markets and antique shops. So it was the perfect fit. I researched a lot online and then just launched myself into creating my brand. I registered my business name, La Mariée Bohème and participated in my first wedding show. With such a small inventory and even smaller budget, I rented a half booth alone and I was so nervous! So many people were stopping and telling me how nice my booth was, they were happy to see a unique concept and I felt like I had done somethign right. I had made so many connections and networked with other wedding professionals. I was on the right track…
I started of 2013 participating in my first styled photo shoot with the lovely Sonia Bourdon and Sophie Asselin. I packed a bunch of items into our pickup truck and headed to the location. I had no idea what I was doing. But it all came together and I was hooked. I had booked one wedding and during the summer had my first miscarriage and it was really hard balancing my personal and work life. The bride’s mother invited me over to talk, although she cancelled my services, she was there for me and told me it was okay. That year, I did a few contracts here and there for friends and friends of friends just trying to get a feel and break the ice. I felt like a wedding virgin…
This was our first real season with some real bookings! I had 8 weddings booked and I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Our first wedding ever, was a bride from New York and I was so excited I could hardly sleep. I planned the whole wedding over the phone, never meeting until the wedding weekend. I packed up our trailer and truck and headed to Hotel Sacacomie, about 3 hours from Montreal in March. There was a lot of snow and our truck got stuck, I almost lost my toes to frostbite when we were putting up lights outside. It was the craziest wedding, the bride was so unorganized I was running all over the place, alone. When it was over, I started to cry once we pulled away from the hotel. I told myself if you can get through that, every wedding after this will be easy…
This was our second official season and we doubled our 2014 sales, doing over 50 events and weddings that year. We exhibited at salon marions nous and was growing our network more and more. We were doing a lot of collaborations, events and of course styled shoots. We were finally featured in Mariage Quebec and were growing our brand more and more.
In 2016, I finally decided to quit my day job. It was the best thing that I ever did. It was really hard working full time and doing weddings nights and weekends. I had no life, was fighting with my partner and hardly sleeping. It was the real grind and was either going to break or make me. So I told my boss I was fed up and wanted to leave and have never looked back. I had found an amazing property for rent which we had almost acquired, but with relationship issues we decided to postpone. We were living in a small apartment with our two dogs, wedding stuff everywhere, in storage, at my parents house, his parents garage, it was mayhem…
We had a dream, a dream of hosting our own wedding show in our brand’s image! We launched the first edition of Festival coeur bohème, which was a huge success. My 14 years old dog passed away during the first setup of the season and I thought I was going to fall apart. At the same time, we were buying our first home and were moving in the middle of wedding season. It was hectic and insane, but we continued on and had a great season as always. We had our first celebrity wedding with Val Roberts and Martin Juneau and were so proud of everything we had accomplished.
We decided to expand into planning and coordination and offer one stop shop packages! This was a great idea and the response was amazing. We had some of our BEST weddings ever. Couples were giving us full control and we were able to plan, coordinate and style from A to Z. We finally got published in Junebug Weddings, which was one of our ultimate goals! Our team was growing as well and we even hosted a wedding at our home, La Maison Bohème which was an awesome experience (will be puslished in Mariage Quebec print edition this June!)
Present day, we have expanded into Quebec city, hosting a small open house event at Auberge Sainte Antoine. We had doubled the turnout and all the vendors were really happy with the result. We also had a little mini festival at the Dream it yourself boutique in the middle of a snowstorm, but the couples still came out to support us and it was great experience. We now have an amazing team of coordinators and stylists, were fully booked out for the season with 3-5 weddings per weekend and we are ready to go! We have been working on another project of course and will be sharing more with you soon.
I just want to thank all the amazing people in my life that have supported, loved and helped me get to where I am now! My partner, Raymond who pushed me from the beginning to follow my dreams, came along on late night pickups and had supper ready for me on late weddings nights, my dad, my role model, who has built most of my inventory, my mom, my rock both emotionally and financially, is the voice of reason in my head and my shoulder to cry on, my grandmother, who has been my biggest fan and supporter, my brother Jake, coming along on deliveries and was my rock the day my dog passed away, my brother Jesse, who has been acting as business consultant along the way, my parents-in-law who have been adding to our inventory, Nadine, who has been with me since the beginning and has been crucial to the success of Le Coeur Bohème, our badass team - Clarissa, Rebecca and Natacha, and all the awesome vendors and friendors I have met, had the pleasure of working with, and continue to work with, you guys ROCK and we we wouldnt be where we are without you!
Cheers to another 5 years xo
La Mariée Bohème