Today we speak to our wonderfully inspiring friend and founder of the renowned Wild Hearts brand and Wedding Fairs, Samantha Gerard. Samantha shares with us some of the recent changes to Wild Hearts in our current landscape along with her positive mindset towards the future and drive to support our wedding industry and the vendors within it.
She also speaks with us on the launch of the Wild Hearts Creative Master Class – an exclusive, innovative and collaborative course for creative entrepreneurs to develop the foundations for a thriving and sustainable business.
We are so grateful to have friends like Samantha in the wedding industry working to support and inspire our wonderful vendors and couples with her creativity and kindness.
From your perspective how has the industry changed in the last two months?
The last couple of months have definitely been a huge changing point for the Wedding Industry here in New Zealand and around the world. We have seen some businesses making huge pivots, some taking time to fine tune their offerings, some creating exciting new packages and most of all we have seen a rise in connecting with couples online, spending more time searching and planning the fine details.
The ban on international travel has definitely been a big knock for our dreamscape destination country. We were actually in Queenstown when the full COVID effect started to hit New Zealand and I had vendors in tears over couples cancelling and the unknown future of events even had us worried for the future too.
It took one person, which was actually Greta from Together Journal, to say to me “It will be ok, we are in this together and you need to think differently”.
It is amazing how one person’s words can affect how you approach a difficult situation and that afternoon (before lockdown was put in place) we went on to shoot a feature for Wild Hearts with a group of truly amazing local vendors. The light was golden, inspiration and creativity flowing, there were no tears, no negative words, just magic… It was the perfect mindset switch and a shakeup for us to look at the bigger picture of creating a sustainable business in the Wedding Industry and the push to launch our 3 month Online Business Course – The Creative Master Class by Wild Hearts – more on this soon…
What is Wild Hearts doing at this time to adjust to this current landscape?
With the restrictions on events and an ever changing economy, we made the decision early on to postpone all of our Wild Hearts Wedding Fairs for the rest of the year. This was a huge call to make and one we did not take lightly.
Our first and main focus was our beautiful community of vendors and couples. Our natural response has been to be positive for them and make sure we are there to support in any way we can. Community is everything in times like this, and we are very grateful to be surrounded by so many inspiring, caring humans and insanely supportive sponsors.
With a business which is hugely event based, we knew there were only two options – wait it out and potentially lose the business… or completely restructure the way we run events and connect with our couples. And in the last few weeks we have done exactly this!
We are very grateful that Wild Hearts offers many different platforms for our vendors, including a fast growing digital side which will now be key to implementing our next game changers. We have extracted the best parts of why people love our Wild Hearts Wedding Fairs – They are a beautiful, inspiring, interactive day out for the whole bridal party, fashion lovers, and others in the industry. A place to celebrate and get to know the industry leaders and new creative wedding and event businesses doing great things. In 2020 we are taking our signature “Wild Hearts experience” and turning it into a digital format for both couples looking for vendors and vendors looking to inspire or build their business.
Does this mean no more Wedding Fairs for Wild Hearts?
Absolutely not! Everyone knows we love to throw a great day out and we will be back in full celebration mode in 2021 with our much loved Wild Hearts Wedding Fairs and will be making that launch into Australia we had planned for this year. Depending on what next year brings we may make these events more intimate and exclusive, with a series of events in each location instead of just the large events.
How are you feeling personally?
It has definitely been a pretty wild rollercoaster trying to navigate through these uncertain times. Overall I am positive the industry will get through this, we just have a tough next few months for the next season ahead. But our business was built on shaking up the industry, making changes and doing things differently, so we are ready to take this on! I have had to restructure the business a little, change up our events team, to add in content writers, digital experts and we have spent more time researching and listening to our audience.
Even though it will be hard for everyone over this next chapter, we are in the business of love and love will never disappear, there still is and will always be weddings – it just might look a little different for awhile. We will connect deeper than ever before, and either be forced to step outside of our comfort zone or take that much needed time to slow.
Now is the time to reinvent, and implement any of those crazy ideas you had. And if you know me well, you will know I am never short of a wild idea.
What are you looking forward to?
Changing up the industry, connecting our vendors and couples on a much more purposeful and deeper level. Having the platform to enable couples from anywhere around the globe to experience Wild Hearts and to offer inspiration like never before!
I am looking forward to inspiring more people in different ways than ever before. To build up our industry and creative entrepreneurs with our new online Creative Master Class. And I am also excited to see how strong our community really is when we support each other.
Tell us a bit more about the Creative Master Class?
The Creative Master Class by Wild Hearts is truly a first for New Zealand – there’s never been an industry collaboration quite like this before! Kicking off on June 15th this is an exclusive 3-month online programme encompassing the drive, passion, tools & training you need to accelerate your success as a creative entrepreneur.
The Creative Master Class (or CMC as we like to call it) is designed to help creatives build the foundations of a thriving & sustainable business.
Over the course of three months, you’ll have an all access pass to inspire your business. Every week you’ll gain new knowledge and practical skills to help creatives level up, adapt to change, develop (personally & professionally), and ultimately be brave in business. PLUS we are super lucky to have the help of some of the biggest names in the industry who will share more on parts of business that they are really passionate about, with live Q&As and a really honest conversation on business with our BONUS fortnightly Power Sessions.
Our expert speakers include the likes of Greta Kenyon of Together Journal, Beks Anderson of Chaos & Harmony, Cam from Chasewild, Anya from L’ETO Bridal, Kath of One Fine Day, Michelle of Half Light Studio, Si Moore of Bayly & Moore, Sara & Jean from Twelve Tables and more…
This will be the ultimate online business course for creatives – not just the wedding industry and will be accessible from anywhere in the world. We are excited to announce bookings have opened today, with a special Early Bird price. Head to our website to sign up or to check out more information here.
What messages do you have for Vendors in the industry who are trying to navigate through this right now?
When you get thrown a curve ball that is completely out of your control, remember these things: You can not control what is happening around you, but what you can control is your mindset and how you react. Stay positive, stay on purpose, remember why you started and wholeheartedly believe in your why. Be adaptable and open to change. Show up online, learn more, dream more, and connect with others. We are all going through this together, some more than others, but the easiest way to get through it is by reaching out and supporting each other. Surround yourself with positive people, take new risks and take the steps you need to make your business sustainable in this new chapter of change.
What messages do you want to get out there to couples planning to marry?
For couples out there that have had plans change, or are currently planning a wedding, know your day will be beautiful no matter what. A strong marriage is built on love, resilience and trust in each other. Take these moments to really build on this, use a notebook or your wedding planner to write down your marriage goals and dreams. Write what you love about each other, and everything in your life right now that you are thankful for. Support your vendors, they are going through a bit of a rough time right now and even just a little message means the world.
We are in this together! Stay safe, dream more, and know things are going to be wildly beautiful on the other side of this crazy ride.