Over the next month, we are featuring successful wedding and event planners who started their business after age 40. Today we are featuring England wedding planner Carol Nyahasha.
Name: Carol Nyahasha
Business: Lily & Lavender Events
When and why did you decide to start a wedding planning business?
Lily & Lavender has been ten to fifteen years in the making! I have always loved anything related to planning, be it a birthday party for my husband or dinner parties at home. I planned my own wedding and was instantly hooked on the creative process and organization that goes into planning such a big event.
At the time, I was happy in my job as a lawyer and put my wedding planning thoughts on the backburner while I carried on with my day job and had two children. In between, I planned a number of events for friends, family, and at work. Everyone who got the ‘Carol experience’ kept telling me how great I was at it so when I was faced last year with the decision to either return to work after maternity leave (post baby number two) or to follow my passion, I chose my passion!
Take a passion for events, combine it with an insane love of flowers and Lily & Lavender was born…
What was your previous career or work experience before starting your business?
I worked in the legal field for over 14 years and had a great career as a trademark attorney, specializing in the legal side of brand management, design protection, and trademark issues. I also have a diploma in interior design (another passion of mine), which I have found to be useful when it comes to understanding the mechanics of designing an event space (colors, lighting, proportions, among other things), plus the world of interiors provides much inspiration!
What advantages do you have over younger wedding planners?
Life experience! Over the years, I have lived in Africa (I was born and raised in Zimbabwe), the US and the UK and have met so many people from different cultures and walks of life. I find being a planner requires me to be a friend, agony aunt, counsel and sometimes ‘tough-love-giver’ to my clients – it’s so important to know how and when to be each if these things, whether dealing with clients or suppliers.
Having previously worked in such a high pressure and client driven environment has certainly been a plus for my business!
Does your age present any disadvantages in our industry?
Not so far – most prospective clients I have dealt with are keen to know that I will deliver so I have found that it is important to inspire clients with confidence in my abilities. I have found that clients are reassured by the fact that I have had life experience and the experience of working in the city (it’s not for the faint hearted!)
What are you most proud of in your life/career?
Taking the step to pursue what I love doing which is creating experiences for people and storytelling through design. It was an agonizing decision but I haven’t looked back and my mind and soul are the better for it.
What advice would you give to someone over the age of 40 who is considering starting an event planning business?
I believe age is nothing but a number. Approach it like you would any other new project: fully armed with the knowledge of the industry and with a clear vision of where you want to take your business.
I have also been fortunate in having found other creatives and entrepreneurs who are encouraging and are cheerleaders when I have those dark days of self-doubt (there will be those!). I believe in the adage ‘we rise when we lift others’ and I surround myself with people who believe the same and it has been so great for me and for my business.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your business?
Authenticity is very important to me so I love to focus on the client’s story which really helps in the creation of an event that is personal to the client and memorable to their guests. Stories are what make the world go round.
Ready to start your wedding planning business? Learn more about our professional guide: 25 Steps to Start Your Wedding Planning Business