"Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life...." Lies - you'll work, and work and work some more - because you love it so much - you can't let it fail.
We have gone through quite a transition over the last decade - and one business turned into 4...
Its so important for customers, be it brides and grooms, suppliers, or venues to know us, who we are and how we have got to where we are today and how we came to be trusted by brides, customers,
venues and suppliers alike.
I am asked frequently, how things worked out the way they did, so we decided to add a personal page to the website...
You can also follow me on Instagram for more behind the scenes of running a business and being a mum - @sophiesherief
So you know the faces behind the names, and the names behind the brand...
I (Sophie) got engaged in 2010 at just 20 years old. I had dreamt of my wedding my whole life and knew I wanted it to be spectacular. I knew the flowers I wanted, the decorations, and of course – the dress. Living in Hereford meant that there wasn’t much on offer - decoration wise - on the wedding circuit, so we needed to go further afield. We trawled the internet for ideas and the closest supplier and found the nearest big
event décor company was in Cardiff – around 70 miles from Hereford.
We made a trip to see them and I explained everything I wanted and gave them the budget. After only about 10 minutes I knew this company wasn’t for me. It was run by a man who didn’t seem to know what he was doing and didn’t have half the things I wanted for my special day.
My mother, business partner and absolute rock, Jacqui, was with me – we walked out with a brochure and price list, feeling very deflated – looked at each other and said “we can do that – and we can do it SO much better”.
We spent the car journey home discussing what we would call our imaginary company, that was going to help so many Brides achieve their dream.
Around a month later – In September 2010 - Divas was born.
I had always dreamed (like most girls I think!) to have my own wedding boutique and with the wedding magazines and planning my own underway - what better time to start! So with the help of my father, we decked out the back room of my house, my dining room, in to a dressing room and office (It was around 3m by 3m big!!!) and found a dress maker to make me my first batch of bridal dresses and 4 bridesmaid dresses as the large companies wouldn’t take a chance on a small town, 21 year old, who worked from her dining room, stocking their dresses. (Understandable really!!!)
I had a friend who dabbled in web design that built me a basic website and I also created a facebook page for us. I soon began to market us as the new Wedding Company in Hereford. Time went on and enquiries slowly started to come in. At this point I was also working full time as a Teaching assistant, and also doing an Open University Degree in Primary Teaching. So – things continued and we sold one bridal gown. Just one. In about 4 months.
I remember feeling gutted that it wasn’t working – but have never let that get in the way before – so plodded on and changed tack. My mum Jacqui – who could see I was struggling – decided to come on board and help me. We then moved forward as a team, dropped bridal and changed to Bridesmaid and Prom and started to market ourselves in a different way.
I phoned Eternity Bridal – who we had met at a trade show a few weeks before and their rep, Giles – came to see us along with the most incredible set of Prom Dresses. Eternity took a chance on us – one which we will never forget – and allowed us to stock “Tiffany Prom” as it was then known.
In around 4 weeks we had sold 10/11 prom dresses and needed to move to a bigger premises to accomdate the larger dresses and more dressing room space (as my dining room was just too small!!!)
Jacqui had a large basement in her house and since there was no way we could afford a “proper” shop – we moved everything to there and began trading as Dresses for Divas – and hoped for the best. We sold prom dresses to 23 girls in our first year – all of which I remember – including most of their names - some of which we now welcome to our shows as brides - which has been a lovely transition.
We found as the months went on we were being asked more and more, for chair covers and centrepieces as we had already discovered there was nowhere in Hereford to provide them. We registered Diva Weddings and Events Ltd. in January 2011 and we had our first booking a week later.
Diva Events grew at an outstanding rate and we had 36 bookings in our first year (2011).
Still not being able to afford a shop, or any real advertising we rented a room at Holmer Park and had regular Pop-Up Shop days. This cost us an absolute fortune, took hours of prep and work (mostly the lifting and carrying that my dad did!!) but was the first steps into getting our name known.
2012 and 2013 both companies continued to grow and we took the plunge into our first showroom in September 2013. This was a huge step, a very daunting jump and a big risk. 2013 also saw the birth of the smallest Diva - who most definitely lives up to her "Baby Diva" name - and at 20 months old was helping to fit chair covers and now spends most Sundays parading herself around our wedding fayres loving the attention she gets! She helps out as well now she's a bit older! :)
2014 saw us decorate and help over 200 brides and their weddings and we have also moved into our brand new showroom – with private dress boutique and hire item area.
Diva Wedding Fayres....
In 2014 Diva Wedding Fayres was launched and we started with one of the biggest wedding fayres Hereford has ever seen at the stunning Lyde Court. With almost 100 exhibitors and 189 brides on the day, the presidence was set - and we decided to let go of Dresses 4 Divas and focus on Diva Wedding Fayres and our events business.
Diva Wedding Fayres grew at an astounding rate and with myself and Jacqui and capacity we knew we had to make a change. DIVA Weddings and Events was put up for Sale for us to concentrate on DIVA Wedding Fayres. The business sold in August 2015 and in hindsight - was one of the best decisions we ever made.
Over the last 6 years we have held over 110 shows and continue to host over 40 shows a year in high profile luxury venues around the UK including Stanbrook Abbey, Chateau Impney, Sixways Stadium and most of the ARC Racecourses.
2020 and Diva Media
2020 hit and all shows were OFF. The Covid-19 Pandemic made it impossible for us to run large events and all events were postponed or cancelled. We still pride ourselves on the fact that not one of our exhibitors has left this horrible situation unhappy - refunds were given where needed, and transfers always accommodated - we couldn't have our amazing suppliers who were going through just as much of a hard time as us - out of pocket.
It was time to diversify and move online. Diva Media has been running in the background of our business for about 3 years, with my experience in marketing I developed relationships with wedding venues and starting running their social accounts for them.
With covid now in full swing and the only way to keep business going, by moving it online - we didn't have a choice but to make more of DIVA Media.
Diva Media over the course of one year has grown exponentially and now helps to monitor and run the Social Media Accounts of over 20 wedding and event professionals. I also help with all their digital marketing and social needs and guide over 60 suppliers through running their own socials effectively in "The Digital Diva Society." This is an amazing group of wedding suppliers who all took a huge step and faith in me back in June 2020 that I would deliver on my promises!! (If you're a new business, a well established business, or one that just needs additional exposure - for £19 a month this is a MUST for all businesses!! I give you an extra hand on social media and to be teach you how to effectively turn those followers into income!)
We care about every supplier and every bride that comes to our shows and cant wait to enjoy more show in the coming years.
So for now – that’s our story – but who knows what the future holds….
Sophie & Jacqui x