Lets talk about the old days
What was business like pre-pandemic?
Before March 2020, business was on an upward trend for both of my companies. The Pop-Up Chapel Co. was actively expanding across the country and into New York and Chicago. Love by Lynzie Events + Design had another full schedule of weddings and corporate events for the 2020 season. We were on track to achieving our revenue goals and growing out team. I had spent 2018 and 2019 saving money for business expansion and we’d just leased our biggest studio yet which required a full renovation. We were half way through that renovation in March 2020.
When did stuff really hit the fan?
Well, we had a Chapel booked at Evergreen Brickworks a mere 4 weeks from the date I told my staff to go home and stay home indefinitely. I had to cancel that chapel and move 10 couples to a new wedding date which was not easy. We were thrown into conversations about postponements, cancellations and non-refundable deposits. We were not prepared. There was no clarity around government restrictions. Clients were angry and broken-hearted. We were watching our calendar empty before our eyes. To date, we’ve lost count of weddings we’ve had to postpone, but at one point last fall it was over 70 couples. As the lead decision maker for my business, I spent the majority of my working hours in this time guiding my team through postponements and understanding restrictions and legalities. All the while trying our absolute best to help upset couples through this and it was stressful.
How has your business been affected?
When the pandemic hit, I had to lay off one staff member right away. She was new and the immediate loss in events meant there wasn’t any work for her. After that I held on to my staff for as long as I could and eventually the wage subsidy was announced which has helped keep my team employed. Everyone on my team experiences losses in some way- whether financial or just watching so much of their hard work become cancelled. Our revenue dropped 75% in 2020. We’ve been in survival mode for a year now. I am grateful that we had business savings that held us for a while. With government programming and some successful pivots, we’re now in a good place to survive this.
How has the pandemic affected you personally?
How have you adapted?
The pandemic has brought creativity in me that I didn’t know existed. We’ve come up with idea after idea to shift our offerings and continue staying relevant for as long as this lasts- we’ve launched a shop, began offering virtual interior styling, developing our own proprietary events, incredibly valued micro wedding packages and more. The Pop-Up Chapel has been our saving grace through all of this. Despite the pandemic, this side of our business continues to grow and provide a safety net for LBL and everyone on my team. In 2020 we married around 85 couples through our chapels and we’re set to marry over 150 in 2021 alone.
How have you been affected? What was your lowest point(s)?
This has been really heartbreaking for me as a business owner. I’ve worked really hard to grow my company and when I saved that money to expand the business, I never thought I’d be spending it just to help us survive. It’s also exhausting. As the leader of the team, I don’t get to “be down”. I have to rally the troops, exude positivity. Last year, I’d say October was possibly my lowest point. We had busy months from August to October and we killed ourselves to absolute burnout to earn the majority of our 2020 revenue in about a 6 week timeframe. There wasn’t really any other option. After the final event, I took 4 days off and mostly slept, read, ate or cried. Just like everyone else, I’m tired.
There is no right answer- there is only the knowing inside of you and what you need personally.
What sorts of activities have you done to keep a level head?
Personally, I have continued to move my body through this pandemic with no excuses. I have anxiety and movement is my medicine. First and foremost, my schedule starts with when I am working out. I walk as much as I can and music really lifts my mood. I joined a virtual choir to keep singing. I’ve also blocked off time in my weekly schedule to be creative for the sake of creating, so I’ve been painting a lot- whether its murals in my home, artwork for my kids or products for the shop. I’ve also worked with my incredible accountant Lisa Zamparo (The Wellth Co.) and team member, Diana to keep on top of finances. Lastly, I’ve committed to more boundaries around work- I’m trying to remember it does not fully define me and that it is ok to step away for 24 hours twice a week.
What do you see happening for your business in 2021? Where do you see your business going in the future?
All of the pivots and projects we’ve delved into have really opened my eyes to the diversity of services our brand can offer. I’m so excited to be able to bring these to our corporate clients. We have so much to offer when it comes to art direction, content creation, and marketing campaigns. I think you’ll see us flourish in these areas alongside corporate events in the coming year or two.
Once the US opens back up, I do think we’ll foray into expanding The Pop-Up Chapel Co. into some major urban cities in the US starting with New York and Chicago. My dream for The Pop-Up Chapel Co. is to be in 12 cities across North America by 2023- it just got pushed a couple years. I hope that 2022 is our biggest year yet, and that all the work we’ve done to expand our service offerings really starts to define our brand as a powerhouse Creative Agency.
With vaccines starting to roll out, what sort of upward momentum are you seeing?
Vaccines or not, we’re seeing couples finally embracing the restrictions and moving forward with micro weddings that have macro style. We’re also seeing corporate companies wanting to get involved in experiences that are uplifting and creative. We’re developing and sharing new concepts each week!