Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! I'm Ta'Veca Collins, MSW, Registered Clinical Social Worker (Florida) Owner and operator of Romance On The Go, Concierge Services (ROTGO-Est. 2012), a small business that promotes romance and intimacy.
Two years ago, I recently lifted the suspension of operations and have been promoting business again. I have taken a lot from my marriage (9 years), my parent’s marriage (62 years), and my clinical background as a Clinical Social Worker (I have over 13 years of experience working with families and couples) merged them and created ROTGO.
ROTGO's services include; standard romance concierge services (Romantic Room Designs (AKA Suite Experiences & more) date night planning services, marriage proposal services, membership services, wedding night concierge services (AKA Honeymoon Suite Designs), and wedding vow concierge services.
I believe in keeping LOVE & ROMANCE ALIVE in relationships and marriages! I'm a self-proclaimed romantic who truly enjoy working with other romantics to create priceless memories. I truly care about EVERY "Romantic" (Clients) and enjoy getting to know the couple and being able to execute "The Planner's" vision. I'm known for my fresh, innovative style and impressive attention to detail!
As a romance concierge business, we understand how life can become overwhelming and people have little to no time to plan dates or they may have planned a date in their mind, but have no clue where to begin to execute their plans.
Well, that's where ROTGO services come to the rescue! We specialize in planning dates and romantic room designs (Birthday, Anniversary, Wedding night/Honeymoon, Naughty & Nice, & more), without the stress! Our couples literally just show up! We have a wide range of vendors that we have established partnerships within our service area (South Florida) and a few out of state. Romance and Intimacy often dwindle in long term relationships/marriages, which is why our themed room designs help couples in long term relationships/marriages reconnect with one another.
Our motto is, "We Bring Romance To ANY Space or Place". Romance On The Go, Concierge Services handles everything from concept to execution all the details for couples with a romantic evening perfectly designed just for the two of them! Everything is for Keeps, so our couples can recreate their unforgettable night at home or on their next romantic rendezvous. Our couple always remember when their spouse called Romance On The Go, Concierge Services!
We recently became a preferred vendor for The W Hotel Fort Lauderdale. Since this vendor contract, we are primarily responsible for styling suites for various occasions from Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties, Birthday, Honeymoon, Proposals, and more. We are literally at The W at least 2 – 3 times a week designing a customized suite experience! Since these recent preferred vendor relationships, word of our services and how we significantly enhance guest experiences during their stay, we have been contacted by several other hotels interested in adding us to their preferred vendor listing. We are currently in the process of hiring and training Romance Concierges to expand our team and meet the demands of our new partnered hotels.
Prior to becoming a preferred vendor at The W and other local hotels, we were only being hired once or twice a month. Since April 2019, we are steadily booked and executing services every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and at least twice throughout the week. I’m always telling potential “Romantics” during a consultation, that any day of the week is a day to be romantic! We are grossing approximately $3,200.00 monthly. One of the most amazing aspects that we value is that we are constantly generating business for our local preferred vendor network (local small businesses) (Private Chef, Massage Therapist, Treat Maker, Florist, Gondola, and Transportation). Not only are we spreading romance, but we are also spreading wealth too!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Before I officially started ROTGO, I was planning and designing romantic rendezvous for my husband, family, and friends, for FREE!
I would get calls asking if I could set-up a room for this birthday, that anniversary, or help me get out the dog house!
I would get calls asking if I could set-up a room for this birthday, that anniversary, or help me get out the dog house! The defining moment that allowed for Romance On The Go to be born was in October 2010, when my bridesmaids and close friends surprised me on my wedding night. My bridesmaids and close friends very strategically sneaked off and decorated our Honeymoon Suite with candles and rose petals throughout the suite. Hear me when I say “strategically”, I mean I never noticed that they were missing from the reception.
I learned later that they went up in pairs to do a little bit at a time! They even timed it so perfectly that a HOT BATH was ran for us! We could literally see the steam! Initially, my husband and I thought the hotel had set up everything until we saw some very personal and provocative messages written in lipstick on the mirror and note cards. They also had some personal “Love Items" (Those very products eventually became staples in our honeymoon suite packages) placed throughout the suite for us to enjoy our first night and throughout our honeymoon.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it was to walk into a suite on my wedding night, that screamed ROMANCE! I also kept saying to my husband, “Is this how people feel when I set up their room?” I was obsessed with the thought and I spent most of my honeymoon thinking about how I would’ve paid someone to do what my friends had done and what I had been doing for FREE for years! When we returned from our honeymoon, I started to research and explore the internet for businesses that were offering a similar service. I found one business in California, but the business wasn’t doing what I envisioned. I wanted to be a one-stop-shop for Romance! So, I started to charge my family and friends (this eventually became my “Seed Money”) and get feedback about the prices and effectiveness of my being able to plan and execute their romantic rendezvous. My family and friends became my beta test group!
During this time, I was working full time as a Master Level Therapist and I was doing family and couples counseling. I started to notice that I was constantly addressing intimacy and romance issues in my couples’ therapy sessions and soon saw the need for my business service and how it would alleviate the stress that planning a romantic rendezvous created and solved the “I don’t have time” issue that several couples would indicate in session. So I continued to further explore and consider a full line of services that couples would benefit from and how to make a fully operational business to meet the couple’s needs, “on the go”. So, I spent the next two years networking, building and branding Romance On The Go and made it an official business in February 2012 (Just in time for Valentine’s Day)! I still work full-time in my respective field. I have a business plan to eventually merge my professional career with my entrepreneur business.
Nonetheless, it is my plan to eventually take my “Side Hustle” to a full time operational small business in the next three to five years.
Take us through the process of designing your services and starting the business.
We have spent a lot of time networking with local small businesses to produce products (bath spa items, body butters body oils, customized treats/sweet indulgences, adult bedroom accessories, and more) that we use in our packages and services (private car service, private chef, massage therapist, photographers, and personal stylist/shopper) that we render.
We have experienced a lot of trial and error when it comes to using the best silk rose petals and led candles. Initially, we were purchasing products on an as-needed basis. However, as the business grew and we needed to follow our own advice and to reduce time spent shopping and running around town to get items, we eventually began to purchase items in bulk/wholesale. My husband and I recently created a storage space in our garage for inventory and product storage.
I took “seed money” from charging family and friends and purchased our domain name and legally registered the business. I used a barter system to get legal documents and other business-related necessities completed with some of my personal family and friends that are attorneys. For instance, I had my client terms and conditions, hotel/home waiver of liability, and vendor partnership documents, (Non-Compete, Non-Disclosure, & Partnership Agreements) and more drafted all in exchange for ROTGO services and packages.
In the beginning, I was dipping every order of chocolate-covered strawberries. It was the most difficult task for me because I have a slight touch of OCD and I needed every berry to be dipped perfectly. I watched countless YouTube videos on technique and purchased products to help me master my craft.
As the business grew and the demand for the berries increased, I soon had to find a Master Treat Maker to partner with, so that I can maximize my time on other aspects of the business. Today, we offer more than chocolate-covered strawberries for our sweet indulgences (chocolate covered Oreos, candy apples, pretzels, and more) and I’m free to focus on key aspects of the business and deliver A+ sweet indulgences.
When we design suite experiences, I try to consider adding items that are functional and will be enjoyed by the couple or individual (We have a lot of self-care packages). I often ask our social media followers AKA “Romantics” as to what they would like to see implemented and used or ask for them to send us inspiration pictures. I believe it shows that as a company we value their opinion and they get excited when they see those inspirational pictures executed. i
Describe the process of launching the business.
Launching the business! So, I initially used VistaPrint to host our website, it was pretty easy and basic.
I used their website builder and kept it status quo. However, we have since transitioned to using GoDaddy and it has been serving its purpose to be a visual aid and introduction to our services and packages. We strive to update the website often when we have new testimonials and images to share.
When we first launched we financed the business from personal income. I allocated approximately $500.00 to build an initial inventory and staged some room designs at a relative’s home and hired an up and coming photographer to take some pictures. He was able to build his portfolio and get a meal or two from us! After we started to post pictures.
embed:instagram Honeymoon - 2018
Everyone was contacting us and inquiring how they could book us, for Valentine’s Day! I literally had four family and friends over to help fill strawberry orders, I organized dipping and packaging stations for everyone to assist. It was a LATE night, I’m almost certain that we dipped more than 1,000 strawberries that night! However, after Valentine’s Day passed, people seemed to forget about ROTGO and the services we provide and that we were a year-round business.
I learned that in this industry, you have to essentially advertise services that solve problems within a relationship. Most couples have a lackluster intimate relationship and often don’t consider themselves to be romantic or feel that they could be more romantic towards their partner.
I spent a lot of time considering other services to add and how to market to couples, that we were a business that was not exclusive to Valentine’s Day and couples needed us! So, I used my parent’s (They have been married for 62 years!) and my marriage to consider additional services and packages to implement.
I needed to think outside of the box and think like a consumer. I don’t regret launching officially around Valentine’s Day (we had some amazing profit margins that essentially allowed us to have some residual income allocated to the business for vendor events and more), but it was an experience that forced me to create fresh and innovative packages for our suite experiences or other services that people/couples would be interested in purchasing.
I learned that in this industry, you have to essentially advertise services that solve problems within a relationship. Most couples have a lackluster intimate relationship and often don’t consider themselves to be romantic or feel that they could be more romantic towards their partner. So, I thought of couples’ occasions or gifts that are the most frequently celebrated and instantly thought of anniversaries, birthdays, and of course our business inspiration honeymoons. Eventually, I added proposal planning services when I assisted my brother to plan his proposal.
“Just Because” gift membership shop (this was inspired by my husband and me “Happy I Love You Day” – We randomly give each other gifts and say, “Happy I Love You Day”, which is our “just because” gifts.
Every service that I offer now, has been carefully implemented with our target “Romantics” in mind and how each and every service contributes to the sustainability of a healthy romantic relationship.
Some of the biggest lessons that I have learned since launching ROTGO, is that I can’t be afraid of failing and trusting that I am more than capable of running this business. I’ve also learned that it’s my job as a romance concierge to tend to the needs of my “Romantics” and ensuring that they aren’t stressed or overwhelmed in planning their romantic rendezvous or romantic occasion. ROTGO is unique in so many ways and that a blueprint doesn’t exist for me to see how to successfully run a romance concierge business, so I have become extremely mindful in building a platform for others that are considering to launch a romance concierge-style business. I currently offer romance concierge consulting services for those who are interested in starting their own romance concierge business or have already started and need assistance with fine-tuning their business plans.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
ROTGO has worked hard to brand our services, to ensure that our “Romantics” return for more services, either the same services or different at least twice a year.
Essentially, we are concierges and we can plan and most importantly execute our services at the drop of a dime! We can do what the average person can’t do, due to our wide range of vendors that are readily available! Our “Romantics” like that we are always pushing the limits and coming up with new designs and services.
A lot of our business comes from word of mouth and we thought for a while that we needed to reward those who sent business to us. Eventually, we developed and implemented a referral program, so we can reward our “Romantics”. If a past “Romantic” refers us to someone and we ultimately render services, we reward the Referral with a 10% credit of the purchased package in the form of “Romance Bucks” (“Romance Bucks” are ROTGO’s Coupon Token). “Romantics” can refer to as many referrals as they choose, we don’t place a quota on the number of referrals that a “Romantic” can make. The “Romance Bucks” essentially accumulate and can be used towards a free service or a significant discount on a product or service. During our consultations, we always ask if they were referred, so we can track “Romantic” referrals accordingly. Several of our preferred vendors also refer us “Romantics”, so we give them the option to accumulate “Romance Bucks” or receive a CASH referral fee from us following the same protocol as our “Romantic” referral program. It amazing because our vendors essentially are afforded the opportunity to personally use our services! It’s a win-win for everyone!
Over the course of being operational, we have attended several vendor events for wedding expos.
Pop-up markets, and small business mixers. We attempt to attend at least one local wedding expo a year. The wedding expos affords us the chance to promote and market our honeymoon suite experiences and more! A lot of potential “Romantics” attend the wedding expos and don’t necessarily know that our business exists, so we are able to engage and promote our services accordingly. We always offer a FREE Honeymoon Suite Experience at the expos, but the guests have to engage by playing our “Kissing Game” (Guess how many kisses in a mason jar). This “Opt-In” allows us to obtain demographic information and engage with guests and eventually pitch ROTGO’s services. The highlight is when guests realize that we have a wide range of services and packages that they can utilize beyond their wedding day! The Grooms eventually cycle back around to our table -ALONE and participate in our game with the hopes to win and surprise their Brides and maintain a healthy romantic marriage! We always tell them they are stuck with us after one experience because we promote the sustainability of an intimate relationship.
Almost every host of the wedding expos and other events provide LEAD Lists within a week or so after the event. The LEAD lists contain a lot of demographic information that we use to follow up via email campaigns or directly. We typically offer a 20% discount promo code specific to the event, that guests can use towards our services because they attended the event! We understand that not every guest makes it to our table and we want those guests to know that we were vendors at the event, so they also get added to our monthly newsletters.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The business is definitely on the up and up! We are growing every day!
We are constantly being asked to be creative in our suite experiences and we are stepping out of the box when it comes to making every suite experience, proposal, or romantic occasion just as unique! We have been asked to execute non-romantic suite experiences.
For instance, We have designed some bachelor and bachelorette suite experiences and kids themed suite experiences at our partnered hotels. We are being booked out sometimes months in advance as couples finalize their travel plans or budgets.
It's okay to stand out and be different. I decided a while back that it was important for me to share my goals and dreams with people that wanted to see me succeed and who believe in my business.
We are definitely looking to expand and to have services offered beyond our current service area (South Florida). We have been networking with vendors in some select cities and we are planning to host some Pop-Up service dates before the end of the year!
Last year, I launched a podcast - S.U.C.K.E.R.S For Love Podcast (we stream across all major platforms. S.U.C.K.E.R.S is an acronym for Sex, Unions, Coins, Kinks, Emotions, Romance,0 & Standards.
I have two co-hosts who are “Hopeless Romantics” and we talk about SUCKER experiences. Every episode focuses on a “S.U.C.K.E.R.” topic with special guests here and there to educate and bring awareness to a SUCKER topic and/or experience. Our goal is to have the podcast serves as a platform for EVERYONE that has ever been in love, looking for love, fighting for love, or just tired of love!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Oh Yes! I’ve learned that it's okay to stand out and be different. I decided a while back that it was important for me to share my goals and dreams with people that wanted to see me succeed and who believe in my business. I’m a wife and mother and my family is my first priority, so I’m always balancing and making sure that I take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I’m a planner, so I’m very intentional about how I can make things happen for my business and family. I run a business that is a service and requires a lot of time. I’m very mindful of how I spend my time.
I came across a quote a while back, that I have implemented in my daily affirmations and business practices, “I can do anything, but I can’t do everything”. This quote has allowed me to recognize that my business can grow faster when I relinquish the inner control freak and delegate accordingly! So, I’ve been adding people to my team and we have been able to maximize and serve more couples!
Last year, I wanted to target a hotel and pitch them ROTGO and how we can improve their guest stay with ROTGO’s full services. I spent several weeks in constant communication with the hotel for them to essentially decline our pitch. Nonetheless, I took that situation as it wasn't ROTGO’s time. Fast Forward to current year and I’m currently the preferred vendor for two major 5-Star hotels! I was able to apply the lessons learned from last year and apply it and make it a successful business move and partnership.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
So I’m a little ashamed to say this but I haven’t really read any entrepreneurial books since starting ROTGO.
I have purchased several books with the intention to read them, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
The most recent books I’ve purchased are “Chillpreneur” By Denise Duffield Thomas & “Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today” By Lisa Nichols. I’ve literally been carrying these books around in my bag with the intention to read them.
But the reviews are amazing and it’s my intention to read them before the year is over, I made a promise to myself!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
This may sound a little cliche, but JUST DO IT! It can be a very scary process and overwhelming, but rest assured that the baby you want to birth and share with the world is worth it! Be prepared to make mistakes, but most importantly learn from those mistakes.
Get a business mentor! Find someone that you admire and they have a level of success that you are striving to obtain. Meet with that mentor at least monthly and stay in constant communication with them as you move through the process.
I would also send a simple thank you gift or card after every mentor meeting, it shows your gratitude for their time. I have my business mentor on speed dial and I always have a pen and notebook in hand whenever I speak to him, because he always providing me some business jewels!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, We need some Romance Concierges Up In HERE!!!!
We recently started looking for some paid per diem Romance Concierges to add to our team, as we expand! A Romance Concierge will be primarily responsible for styling suite experiences at our contracted hotels, special deliveries, and more!
We are also looking to hire a few unpaid interns. However, we are offering some perks as part of their intern experience. We plan to utilize our interns for marketing and promotion for our traditional business services, but also for our podcast (S.U.C.K.E.R.S For Love Podcast).
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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