Find out more about digital content expert Caroline Bradley of Sorella + Co, as well as how she can help your business at bridal trade show London Bridal Week’s Business Advice Clinics
I am trained in broadcast journalism and have worked in digital publishing for almost ten years and in weddings for more than seven years. I am the former editor at hitched.co.uk - the UK’s leading wedding planning website - and I left last year to pursue my new venture Sorella + Co.
Sorella + Co is a digital agency offering support primarily to wedding businesses - including everything from website copy to blog writing, social media support and training. Unlike other digital agencies, we are focused on the wedding market, we understand the uniqueness of this industry and combine this knowledge with our digital expertise.
There was so much I enjoyed in my role as editor at hitched.co.uk but one of my favourites has got to be meeting wedding business start-ups and watching them grow from just an idea into an amazing and well recognised brand. There are a few designers I met early on in my career and they were just starting out with sketches and sample dresses and to see them at the forefront of some of the biggest bridal stores is just incredible and so inspiring.
I never set out with a goal to be a business owner - and had I realised just how hard it was going to be it may have taken a long time for me to make the jump! But it’s really been the best decision I ever made.
Weddings and bridal is such a unique industry and primarily is made up of lots of small business owners, seeing them enjoy their work so much and knowing that I could have the skills and expertise to work with these kinds of businesses is really what pushed me to make the move.
I suppose this is life advice as well as business advice, but it actually came from my sister and it’s that you can choose your response to any situation.
There will always be bad days at the office and there’s a whole extra set of pressures when the full financial success of the company sits on your shoulders but when bad things happen knowing I can choose to learn from it and move on rather than feel stressed and distracted really does help. I definitely don’t thrive in a stress-fuelled environment and that little piece of advice has lodged in my mind and reminded me that to a certain extent - I can choose to stay calm and keep looking forward.
One of the things I love is that no two days are the same. One day I’ll work with a client in their busy London office, another day I’ll be meeting with a wedding planner in a local cafe for coffee, cake and a chat and other days I’ll be working from home or alongside one of our fab copywriters.
Sorella + Co has a mix of long standing regular clients who need content written on a regular basis - right through to one off projects such as full website rewrites and I really enjoy that mix of regular faces and brand new challenges.
I love the fast pace of the wedding industry - with the average time between engagement and the wedding being 15-18 months, it is a constantly regenerating market. Although this causes its own problems with issues such as establishing brand identity, it’s also quite exciting for wedding businesses to have a fresh new audience every few months.
I’m really looking forward to the catwalk shows as - if you hadn’t guessed it already - I absolutely love weddings and it’s always exciting to see the new styles and trends emerging. I’m also really excited to host my first business advice clinic and start helping bridal retailers with their digital presence.
Retailers can expect their session with me to be personally tailored to their business and their needs. I don’t want to sit there and give a monologue about what they should be doing on social media and with their website. I want to start a conversation, see how much time each retailer has available to dedicate to the digital side of their business and help them to decide where their time should go and which platform suits their needs, their brand and their time frame.
When running a small business it’s all about building relationships - even if you just meet someone in passing, it’s always good to be helpful, courteous and friendly as you never know when your paths will cross again, it’s those small things that people remember.
I’m a big fan of Instagram - although it’s not the best channel for providing direct traffic to your website, it’s a great way to create your online persona, share things you love and build a little community. Unlike other channels such as Facebook - it also doesn’t require a huge budget to build a strong following.
This changes about every three months but I have to say I’m in quite an embellished phase at the moment and Needle and Thread are probably my current favourite - I just adore their fabrics, their styling and their silhouettes.
Some days it can be really difficult to switch off and I am guilty of late night email checking. The best way for me to switch off is to keep away from technology - if my laptop is off and my phone is out of reach that probably gives me the best chance of switching off completely.
You can register for London Bridal Week here. To find out more about who else you can see at London Bridal Week’s Bridal Retail Success Academy, why not read our interview with social media expert Warren Knight?