We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathy Bull and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind our brand is communication. Brides, couples, moms…are easily stressed out when they aren’t properly communicated with and when they feel like someone isn’t listening or telling them the truth. We are extremely clear with communication, timeliness of responses, our intent, our capabilities and our level of professional execution. If we aren’t the right fit for a particular client, we will help them find someone who is. But if we take you on as a client, you’ll never feel like you are left alone to navigate the wedding process. We guide our clients 100% of the way, so they can truly relax on their big day.
What should our readers know about your business?
The “planner” part of building Plan It With Me came easy to me, but the business side did not. I’ve definitely put in the hours learning about how to build the business, make it sustainable, scaleable and how to build it big enough that it would take over the day job that I did along-side of it for so many years. That was probably the hardest part…letting go of a full-time job with secure pay, benefits, insurance, 401K, etc. to take the plunge and just do it. It’s extremely scary, especially when you didn’t come from money and aside from the savings I had, there was nothing else to fall back on. The good part is that I’ve had a wonderful support system around me, with really smart people that have helped guide me along the way. And I can truly say, that every day I seem to still learn something about how I could be better from the business side. I feel like as long as I’m still learning, I’m doing pretty well.
Over the last 13 years, the thing I’m most proud of is that I built this business by word-of-mouth alone. I have never purchased advertising to promote our methodology or business model. That tells me that not only are my clients happy with the work that we’ve done, they’re so happy, that their telling others and those folks are hiring us too!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, and am still learning, is how to not get overly involved. Wedding planning is an extremely intimate business. You get deep in the families lives, their complexities, and finances…even when you are trying not to. It’s very hard to take a client on as just a client, and not the beginning of a new friendship, which many of them do turn into. At the end of every wedding, there’s a bit of sadness that you won’t talk, email or text that person everyday anymore…that’s the hardest part…letting your little bird fly off into their new life without you. Sounds silly but it’s true. And I do think that’s part of our success though, we care and people know it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Then it’s off for beach cocktails at Tommy Bahama, and a walk around Legacy West for shopping and people watching. And then we’d cap the night off at Legacy Hall to get our live music fix. Plus the food options there are amazing and there’s truly something for everyone.
Other notable places are all the touristy spots around town: Dealy Plaza; the JFK Memorial; The Arboretum (Spring and Autumn are my fav!!); the Nasher Sculpture Center; Reunion Tower; Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum; The French Tea Room at the Adolphus Hotel; and we can’t forget Southfork Ranch. A little unimpressive now-a-days, but it’s still a “must do” for anyone that lived through Dallas in the 80’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve always been very organized and in control, but it was a former manager at the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce that honed in on my skill and helped turn me into the planner, and business woman that I am today. Judy Anderson hired me, oh so many years ago, and was extremely patient with me while I asked question after question, came up with new ideas for old events and gave me the opportunity to truly showcase my personal offerings.
After I left the Chamber, I continued to work in Marketing & Events on the corporate side but it wasn’t until 2008 that I started thinking about stepping out on my own. It actually took an episode of Bridezillas to finally push me to make it happen. That particular episode focused on a bride that wasn’t a “bridezilla” at all, until all of the friends (and family) that she had assigned to help out on her big day, all bailed out on her at the end of the nigh. The worse part was watching the bride pick up trash, while trying to hold her dress off the floor and crying…just awful! It was then that I thought, “okay, I can do this, and I can help brides do it without breaking the bank.” The basic foundational belief being that everyone deserves to have at least one day where it is about them and not anyone else. And with that, Plan It With Me was born in the summer of 2009.
During that time, I built the foundation of Plan It With Me, and got married in 2012. Since then my husband, Russell, has been extremely supportive with not only helping to build the business but also in supporting my decision to turn a part-time side-gig into a full-time realization.
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