If you want a successful business, you should never overlook the power of marketing. Anna Wood hasn’t and it paid dividends very early on.
Meet Anna Wood
Disappointed at what was on offer for brides-to-be, Anna Wood has created her own wedding dress store and her smart approach online has got people talking and award judges listening!
1. Why did you start Anna Wood Bridal and what were you doing before?
In March 2018 my husband proposed. For both of us this was our second marriage, however that didn’t matter to me – I still wanted to have the whole wedding planning experience. I visited local bridal boutiques and was expecting a magical experience but was disappointed with the experience I received, and to be honest the service I received was similar to that of high street shops. I saw a gap in the local market for a bridal boutique focused on providing customers with a magical experience, and amazing customer service.
I already had experience of running of retail business – albeit an online retail business – as I had founded an online basketware company back in 2016 and had run the company for nearly 10 years. I saw this is an opportunity to get back into retail so set up Anna Wood Bridal which opened in October 2016.
Before setting the business up, I was a director and shareholder for an Intellectual Property Law Firm running, and although I am still involved with the business I have now taken a back seat.
2. What were the biggest sources of inspiration and support when you were starting out?
My biggest source of inspiration and support was my father. He’s owned his own business for 44 years and growing up I knew I wanted to own a business just like he did. My father has always been very supportive and it’s been fantastic having someone so close who knows what you’re going through!
3. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting the business?
Don’t do it all on your own, don’t try to be a hero. I realised, pretty late on, that I was not an expert in many areas. And since we have grown a huge amount, I’ve learnt that 9 out of 10 times other people are better than me at many things. People are key, they are your team.
4. What has been your proudest moment/biggest achievement so far?
Growing the business from my bedroom to where we are now, a team of 14 people, with over 10,000 tutors, gaining investment to grow even more this year. It’s very exciting what we are doing and what we achieved.
5. What piece of advice would you give to anyone starting out?
It’s hard, but anyone can do it. I’m dyslexic, and it was a real struggle. But if you work hard and build a good team, you can do it. Never give up, and make sure you always learn.
6. What piece of investment did you make in the business that was worth every penny?
Writing – we spent the early days writing and writing. It was so long and such hard work, but now it’s paid off, we rank so well organically and have hundreds of highly ranked SEO efficient pages. People are calling up to write for us, tutors write for us, it was a great investment of time. (And tears)
7. Which element of marketing has made the biggest impact on your business?
Again, I would say content. We still believe it’s king. SEO is so important, and once you get the hang of it, it’s an amazing driver of traffic. Find some good people to write for you.
8. What do the next 12 months look like for you?
Growth. We’re on course to be in every major UK city, Australia and the US within a year. A big step, but you have to aim high. We’re growing every day and expect that to continue.
Do you have an interesting story to tell about how your business got started? Tell us about it.