Blogger Interview Series #2 | Jessica English from Apple Brides
About Apple Brides
Founded in 2013, and based in northern Idaho, the goal of Apple Brides is to inspire and assist local brides and grooms plan the wedding of their dreams. From Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Walla Walla to Chelan, they only feature local weddings, vendors and planning tips, all in an effort to make your wedding experience a whole lot easier.
About Jessica English
Jessica is the owner and Editor of Apple Brides, bringing years of journalism, public relations, and wedding industry experience to the team. When she’s not obsessing over wedding details, she enjoys skiing, traveling, reading, binge watching The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones or shopping. She is certifiably obsessed with her dog, Lola, who makes frequent appearances on her personal Instagram. Her favorite part of working in the wedding industry is seeing how each couple makes their big day their very own, and being able to read wedding magazines for ‘research’.
Blogger Interview Series
What got you started in the wedding business?
I started in journalism, which transferred to public relations and corporate event planning. I loved that so much, I wanted to move to strictly weddings, so eventually made the career job, and I haven’t looked back since!
What helped the most when first starting out to gain readership/views/credibility?
I think in any industry consistency and finding your voice is key. Being able to identify a specific target audience, being consistent in your voice, posting, what you offer, etc., will eventually create a solid, genuine following. On that note, being genuine is key also! Don’t force it– whatever it is. Let things come naturally that will resonate with people.
What did you do before you owned your own business and how did those jobs help you succeed?
I did many things– worked for several PR firms, worked for a newspaper, worked retail, worked in insurance (cubicles, ugh!) and eventually found a job working for an amazing event planning firm. I actually still plan events with that firm, which is a fun balance between owning my own business & working for someone. Everything I’ve done, whether I liked it or not, has in some way prepared me for what I do now. It’s given me skills I still use, knowledge about what I do or don’t like, and gave me experience that I wouldn’t have traded for anything. You can learn from anything!
What plug-ins/applications/resources are essential to your business?
We use everything from WordPress plug-ins to manage how our site looks, to QuickBooks, to graphic programs like Canva and Picasa. It’s amazing how many resources are out there, but not everything works for everyone. We keep things fairly simple; I’m a big pen and paper fan still. Keeping it old school!
What advice would you give a blogger who’s just starting out and wanting to make it a full-time career?
Again, consistency. Keep up with it, even when it feels like no one is watching. Ask questions, find a mentor, do business consulting or coaching. Things don’t happen overnight, but if you’re genuine and persistent, it will happen!
I see you also offer blog and business consultations. How did that come about?
I’m a unique situation in that my blog was actually founded by someone else, and switched ownership several years into the business. The consultations were something that the original owner started, and I kept up with because I have experience in blogging and mentoring as well. I really enjoy getting to chat with people about their various businesses and goals and helping then achieve those objectives!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
No day is the same, which I love! Usually, though, I wake up, answer emails, and then head out to several meetings of some sort. Sometimes most of my day is back to back meetings with clients or potential clients, work on various projects, etc. Hopefully, in the afternoon I’m home answering emails, working on content or projects, and just generally catching up on things. In the evenings, I attend school to work toward my Master’s degree, and then I come home and work for a couple more hours before heading to bed.
What are you busiest months of the year? And how do you handle the lull when it’s not wedding season?
Winter and engagement season are our busiest since that’s when the most brides are starting to look into the planning process, securing vendors and things of that nature. Spring/summer is slower because that’s wedding season, obviously, so brides aren’t planning as actively, but then I’m busy executing events, so year round is busy in some capacity for me!
Where do you see your business in another five years?
There’re so many ways to answer this! I would like to expand, although not much because at it’s heart, Apple Brides is a hyper-local blog, which is why we’re so successful, so we’ll never get too big. We have some other fun projects in the works to expand our brand– I don’t want to give too much away, but maybe something a little more hands-on than online? Who knows where life will take us 🙂
What’s the hardest thing about running your own business that no one warned you about?
The accounting aspect. Numbers are not my forte, and it’s a constant struggle and learning process to understand that tax portion of being a business owner, keep things organized and tracked, as well as look at growth, etc. I basically can’t add without a calculate, so Excel, QuickBooks and my very intelligent, numbers-driven husband are a huge help!
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. I am so young and literally live my dream every single day. Not everyone can say that! Every experience and job I’ve had has led me to this point, and I’ve worked really hard for it. I’m so proud, and can’t wait for the future!
What websites and/or blogs do you visit almost daily?
So many! I try to scan a whole laundry list of wedding blogs each day to keep up with trends, see what other people are doing, and just generally drool over the beautiful pictures– I always love what Rocky Mountain Bride is posting. I check out a couple of big name event planners I love (Kristin Banta!), as well as enjoying a couple of fashion blogs (Atlantic Pacific , Franish & Barefoot Blonde are great!). Hayley Paige is my favorite dress designer who I love to insta-stalk as well. My guilty pleasure is pictures of dogs on the internet, so I also follow an embarrassing amount of dog accounts on IG. I don’t get as much time to scroll the Internet as I used to, but I always enjoy catching up on Instagram in the evenings!
If your house was on fire and you could only save three things what would you save?
Besides the obvious answers of my husband and dog, I’d say my computer, my personal library (which I can totally carry easily in an imaginary world) and some old photo albums.
What artists are you currently listening to?
It varies so much! I always love classic rock (The Eagles are my all time favorite band), but I’ve been digging Ellie Goulding and The Weeknd’s new albums, as well as Justin Beiber, which I’m still half embarrassed/half ‘sorry, not sorry’ about. Also, Johnny Cash is a standby favorite, always.
If you could visit one place in the world right now where would you go?
Bora Bora is my dream vacation. One day! I want to stay in those glass-bottom huts.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Hands down, macaroni & cheese. No doubt.
Describe yourself in four words.
Driven, ambitious, independent and type-A.
If you weren’t in the wedding business what career would you choose?
Probably PR still. I wanted to go into corporate crisis communication for a long time. I apparently love high-stress jobs.
Is it better to beg for forgiveness or ask for permission?
Depends on the situation, really. Probably forgiveness, as a general rule. Sorry, not sorry 😉
What are three of your biggest weaknesses?
I’m impatient, and can be stubborn at times. I also have a very hard time stepping away from work, which is both a blessing and a curse. Take it or leave it, though, right?
If you could live for one day in a fictional world based on a book, movie, or TV show, where would you live?
Anything involving Tom Hardy is a safe bet, but I’d also be really into visiting Gatsby’s mansion. That’s my favorite book, so I’d love to see what it would be like in real life.
If you’re planning a wedding in the Inland Northwest, Apple Brides is the blog just for you! If you missed last week’s installment of our blogger interview series with graphic designer and owner Stephanie Marie of Marie Branding Co., check it out!