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Roxy Zapala | Toronto | Be PASSIONATE!!

I started off in the industry as a florist (I actually grew up with flowers as my parents owned flower shops). After spending nearly a decade creating floral and decor displays for weddings and other functions, I decided to further hone my expertise and became a certified event planner and a certified destination wedding planner. I always LOVED weddings and events and I also loved beautiful interiors. I went to college for Interior Design but decided to stick with the event industry. I thought it would be an amazing idea to combine my love of floral design and interior design together with my event planning knowledge and start an event planning + design firm so that I could provide brides with the ultimate wedding planning experience.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

A wedding planner is a bride’s best friend. It’s someone that the bride entrusts to create the most memorable and beautiful day of her life, and it’s rather difficult to try and convince a bride-to-be that you are THE person she wants without knowing you first. So the beginnings were really difficult as I was relatively unknown to new brides, even though I have worked in the industry for many years and had a great knowledge of it even then. However, because I was always behind the scenes, no one actually knew who I was so it was like starting at the very bottom, regardless of how much experience I already had. There was a whole lot of “no’s” at first, which can be very very discouraging.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

I’m one of the lucky ones that never had to deal with discouraging comments or ideas from my family and friends. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, my husband is an entrepreneur so it was only natural for me to also go in that direction. I got all the support in the world from my close ones as they have gone through building businesses themselves so they knew exactly what it takes. I don’t think there’s anything that I would do differently. I really listened to the advice of my parents and my husband when I was starting my business. They prepared me for what was to come and I think I handled it quite well, because of their continued support.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

The love and support of my family and of course their advice. I really don’t think I would have been able to do it without them.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

That time and referrals are the biggest factors in building your brand (especially in something as personal as wedding planning). There is no amount of advertising that you could do that would replace the good old word of mouth. You have to be patient and let time take its course so that people can really get to know you and your company. I thought that if I put enough money into advertising, I will get enough responses and work right away. But that is never the case. People want to know that you have been in business for a significant amount of years before they can trust you. Had I known that from the beginning, I would have avoided a lot of disappointment in the first couple of years in business.

What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Be patient and be passionate about what you do! Being and entrepreneur means living and breathing your job. If you don’t love it enough to put your whole hart and soul into it, then you will never succeed. And be patient as there will be many obstacles and disappointments along the way – it comes with the territory.

Be Patient!!!

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