Meet Team Bride Club ME
Meet Team Bride Club ME
Hello lovelies, I’m popping by today to give you a little insight into how I run this ship, my baby Bride Club ME, and am introducing you to two very important people with the photographic assistance of one of my fav photographers, Melissa Beattie.
The below images were not pre-planned – it was all very last minute, no fancy clothes needed. We all headed off to our regular meet-up point, discussed business over coffee and let Melissa do her thing … and, of course, we had to get some obligatory ‘posed’ shots in too, he-he!
I launched Bride Club ME back in 2012 with CPI Publishing after becoming engaged and finding very little locally online to help me plan my wedding. Back then, there were virtually no wedding blogs or media sites dedicated to the needs of brides in the UAE I casually starting blogging about my wedding planning over at www.expatbride.com and immediately got a positive response from other brides. After working in the media industry for more than 12 years, I decided to take a huge risk and launch Bride Club ME in partnership with CPI. At around the same time, my fellow wedding lovely Joelle launched her awesome blog My Lovely Wedding.
A year later, I went independent, using all my savings to obtain my trade licence. I left CPI on amicable terms and they’ve supported my entrepreneurial spirit from the start. For me, Bride Club ME is far more than a business though – helping and advising brides and wedding entrepreneurs is my passion. As the website has grown, I’ve also seen Joelle grow and prosper, becoming a wedding stylist too. It’s been great having a friend in Joelle – she’s someone I can relate to and respect, and is just as passionate about this industry as I am
While I had many years of print and digital media, advertising and marketing experience, I had no idea how to actually manage a website, so I spent months researching and teaching myself the basics. I also conducted lots of wedding-related market research and met as many wedding professionals as possible. When it came to selecting my web developer and designer, I chose very carefully – both were women and experts in their field.
Fast forward a year and I was feeling totally overwhelmed, playing numerous roles, from sales and marketing manager to editor, admin, creative director and so forth. Something had to give.
Last year, we ramped up our expert panel contributions, meaning more content on our site is being written by industry insiders. I’m in the process of seeking additional contributors in the areas of fashion and travel to bring our readers more exciting honeymoon content and bridal fashion-related articles … so watch this space.
From the day I went independent, I have relied on the assistance of two integral people in the running of Bride Club ME: my designer Maha Ibrahim and my husband and IT guru Adam Hurst.
Design Goddess & Admin Queen
Let’s start with Maha. She’s my rock and designs all those cute little quotes and introductions you see in our posts. She designs our newsletter, event signage and so on, too. Not only is Maha my design queen, she’s also recently taken on the role of admin assistant. Not being the type of employee to say ‘that’s not my job’, she helps out at some of our in-house events and is willing to support us where needed – for that I am truly grateful. Maha has described me as her ‘business mentor’ and I’m honoured to have been given that title by such a wonderful woman!
IT Guru & Soon To Be COO
Next up is my hubby, Adam. He boggles my mind when it comes to his knowledge of the digital world and all things IT related. He handles all our back-end system management, minor web issues and email systems. Like Maha, he also dabbles in other responsibilities such as managing our accounts and pushing me to be more business savvy in areas where I am weak. He has a great vision and treats Bride Club ME like his baby too – which is why, very soon, I hope to have Adam on board full time as our holding company Club Media FZE’s chief operating officer.
As well as expanding this little site and becoming a fully fledged digital media publishing house, we will soon be launching a website for our newlywed readers! We’ve been working on it for nearly a year now, slowly and carefully. In addition to this, we will be growing The Engage Academy, a community and series of workshops for wedding entrepreneurs, and hope to have a dedicated website up and running by the end of the year.
Lots of things are happening and they are happening organically, when we see demand or a niche. The Engage Academy came about almost by accident after noticing that many new wedding entrepreneurs in this region need help setting up their businesses, getting to grips with social media and so forth. This is why Club Media FZE will also offer social media consultancy, IT and website development support, and general consulting to wedding and creative professionals, along side our workshops and networking events.
To be honest, while all of this is great and I am thankful that we are growing, I still feel totally overwhelmed at times. But I’m putting systems in place to alleviate some of that workload. As a small, niche business, I don’t have shareholders, large investment funds or business partners. I’ve grown BCME and Club Media slowly and carefully. It’s been a struggle, but totally worth it. Over the next few months, we will be looking to hire a dedicated account manager to look after the needs of our wonderful BCME vendors, and an assistant editor, who can continue bringing our fabulous readers lots of up-to-date wedding inspiration, tips and advice, alongside myself as editor-in-chief.
At times, I have felt like getting a stable job, both for the income and to get my weekends back! But when I receive emails from brides or vendors saying how much Bride Club ME has helped them, all those thoughts vanish. The UAE wedding industry has developed tremendously over the past three years, and Bride Club ME and the other industry websites/bloggers, such as My Lovely Wedding, Arabia Weddings and Lace in the Desert, have played a part in that – I’m super excited about where we’re headed.
We are ambassadors for the UAE wedding industry, encouraging brides to marry here, acting as middlemen and listening to the needs of our readers and industry professionals. Joelle and I know more or less every single vendor we work with or promote – oh, and we are both brides who chose to marry in Dubai, so we can relate to our readers!
I adore what I do, and always welcome your feedback, the good, the bad and the ugly. We are also working behind the scenes at Bride Club ME to improve our website with a fully customised mobile site, more information on vendor profiles, an easier-to-use forum and so forth … so watch this space for the improved BCME coming soon.
I hope you enjoyed my insight – it’s not often I get all personal on here, but the time felt right.