How Ship Our Wedding is Disrupting Event Rentals with DIY

$6.25K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
4
Employees
product
Ship Our Wedding
from Detroit
started January 2014
$6,250
revenue/mo
1
Founders
4
Employees
3.11M
alexa rank
263
followers
market size
$300B
avg revenue (monthly)
$70.6K
starting costs
$23.6K
gross margin
50%
time to build
11 months
average product price
$20
growth channels
Word of mouth
best tools
GoToMyPC, Menards, Home Depot
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
34 Pros & Cons
tips
5 Tips
Discover what tools Robert reccommends to grow your business!
reviews
social media
Discover what books Robert reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Diy Business

Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Rob and I am the founder for Ship Our Wedding®. Our company provides party lights like uplighting, led cafe lights & wedding monogram lighting. We ship do-it-yourself event solutions nationwide that save you time and money.

You can checkout online, the package arrives (2) days prior at your door and includes a (5) day rental. You can cancel anytime (31) days or more before your event and FREE shipping is available on most orders. All orders come in protective hard cases and feature helpful setup videos to guarantee your DIY success.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

We make it easy and affordable to plan beautiful DIY events with fewer vendors. This is why we also have other do it yourself wedding rentals like cloud dancing, backdrop rentals, ceiling draping kits, chuppah rental services, & photo booth rentals. Ship Our Wedding® is backed by the experience of thousands of events and built around the focus of empowering others so they can plan the celebration they deserve with easy-to-setup online wedding decor rentals.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

What makes Ship Our Wedding® unique is our experience and approach to events. Our background comes from our team coordinating and executing over 5,000 successful events since 2003. We understand the perspective of clients when it comes to the importance of their events. We have built our company around this insight so that our clients benefit directly.

Our nationwide DIY event rentals are affordable, look beautiful, and set up easily. We provide popular decoration rentals that most clients would have to rent from a local vendor. This gives our clients back the control knowing that they can set everything up themselves. When you do it yourself then you don’t have to pay another vendor to set up your rentals for you.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

For the past 15+ years, we have operated a local wedding company. My wife Nicole and I understood that some clients couldn’t afford our expensive prices. This was mainly due to our overhead and labor costs. We knew that if they were able to do it themselves then they could plan an event they deserve. This is how Ship Our Wedding® was born.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

Beat to your own drum and don’t compare yourself to others. The goal in business is to stand out. You only have one competitor in this world and that is yourself. Take the road less traveled and blaze that trail.

We had this idea in 2013 and started developing our platform in 2014. This startup was different from most industry-related concepts. The wedding industry is fairly new with most traditional spending trends dating back to less than 100 years ago. We pivoted into a business model focused on a supply chain that adds value through lower costs by minimalized labor. With a background in Event Management, Supply Chain, and System Design we knew this was not only doable but had to be done.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

Our proof of concept wasn’t evident at first. In all actuality what we did was the definition of insanity (doing the same thing day after day expecting a different result). The reason we were able to commit to 7 years of development is that we believe in our service, clients, and team. If Ship Our Wedding® was not created then how else would clients be able to plan their wedding on a budget? We ask ourselves that question daily and it is the motivation behind our dedication to our industry.

Take us through the process of designing and launching the DIY service.

Before we became Ship Our Wedding®, we were working out of a closet getting started with events. I was a DJ and had a passion for music. I was a college student with a couple of entry-level speakers and an old-school mixer. I needed a way to talk to clients.

Automation is key to success because you can scale more quickly without stress.

How were we supposed to offer value if no one knew what we provided? We had to get creative to grow in a competitive landscape. Google was a new form of advertising in 2003. I went on a long and dedicated journey to better understanding SEO.

This required trial and error. Eventually after a decade or so I started to figure things out. We knew we needed a system that would be streamlined into our marketing cycle. This was built before we had the traffic. Once clients started contacting us, it allowed us to scale more quickly. Instead of being focused on how to address a new problem (our follow-up process), we could trust the system and be more efficient.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

This led to our growth as a business within our industry. My wife and I started to plan 20 events a weekend. We had to hire a team and eventually got a warehouse space. Automation is key to success because you can scale more quickly without stress. Clients started requesting more services that we did not have.

Looking back on our growth it was very humbling. You can’t be afraid of the unknown. You have to embrace change and thrive off uncertainty. For example, we turned down clients requesting draping for at least 2 years. Then we had a client request a very large order. We gave the quote thinking they wouldn’t book, but they reserved their date. That put us in fight or flight mode. We had to modify our insurance policy, storage, & transportation. We had to make new connections with suppliers and learn a whole new service. It took us an entire year to prepare for that order.

We are now one of the largest DIY wedding draping suppliers in the country. What if we never took that risk?

We pioneered uplighting in 2005 way before it was a common rental item at events. We immediately saw the opportunity in lighting. We thought what if we could aim these on the walls and ceilings of an event to change the room color? Lighting back then was much more difficult. Battery-powered uplighting didn’t exist. Also, you had to run a dedicated data cable around the perimeter of your room to every light to change the colors. It used to take hours to set up uplighting in a banquet hall. Now we help DIY eventeers™ achieve the same look in a matter of minutes!

We manufactured our photo booth in-house with welders and plasma cutters and got a utility patent on it. That was a 4-year journey. Our entire operation was changed so that we could cut, fabricate, and assemble our photo booths. They were large and bulky and over the years they have become more compact and user-friendly. Clients can now rent a photo booth through our website that offers convenience along with all the bells and whistles they have come to expect.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

Little did we know, we were not just training our team, but perfecting a system to coach others through a new DIY approach. The same videos we used for our team are the same ones we make available to clients for their set up tutorials. We even have QR code technology for clients to scan so that they have fast access to these same setup videos.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

Official Launch

Ship Our Wedding® officially launched in the whirlwind of the pandemic. We had 0 events on books because a year's worth of revenue was rescheduled from 2020 to 2021. The pandemic devastated our business and put us back to square one. I personally believe that there is something to be learned in every experience of life.

Our response to the pandemic was crisis management mode. As most of our vendors' friends stopped following up with leads, we called every single one of them for our local company. We were very grateful that we started our concept back in 2014. It would have been nearly impossible to have a successful launch if we didn’t start so early. As our local company was losing business, we were able to make up for the loss through e-commerce.

We sympathize with all event professionals that had to make difficult choices during 2020. We have seen this devastation in our industry and believe it is a time for healing. The wedding business is made up of a mix of new and established companies. Competition is healthy for local communities. We thought there must be a way we can help these newer companies grow in this new environment.

Our Response to Covid-19

Ship Our Wedding® launch was focused on helping vendors through our Super Local Initiative. Our partner program gives smaller event profs more resources so that they can scale their business and be more competitive against already established companies. This portion of our business came from a place of authenticity.

We have seen vendors in business for 20+ years exit the industry with early retirement. If the industry is to survive we need to adapt and offer innovative solutions that help clients plan their events beautifully and affordably. The industry hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. We need to increase customer satisfaction by better leveraging our resources.

Our DIY rentals allow vendors to grow without having to invest in equipment or storage space. When smaller companies can offer more services, then clients can better find vendors that fit their expectations. As more of these smaller companies can thrive they invest in their local communities; helping the industry recover in cities nationally.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

Having free time to invest is critical to the success of a startup. We were able to take our newfound time and devote it entirely to launching our platform. You need to be hands-on to build relationships and manage projects. Our experience comes from events. The best way to put it is to imagine every weekend you have a different boss. This is the most important project in the world to them. It has to be done on time, under budget, and done right.

When you live in a world like this anything is possible. You become immune to stress. You push yourself daily and create solutions. The launch is very stressful because you want to make sure everything is dialed in. However, you won’t really know what works and what breaks until you flip the switch. Once you launch all bets are off. Nothing beats getting real-world feedback.

Since launch, what has worked to find more customers and grow the business?

A lot of Ship Our Wedding® orders require custom rentals. Our experience in the field allows us to give the right advice. It is important to have online tools (videos, FAQs, photos, product specifications) that team members can reference as supplemental information. We have really enjoyed using chat as a way to share and recommend products quickly.

A lot of Ship Our Wedding® customer base comes from referrals and our existing network of event pros. Our company promotes digital assets that DIY clients look to for inspiration. This generates interest and offers solutions so clients can either do it themselves or go partially DIY with the assistance of our rentals. Our business is both B2B and B2C. In today’s business world, clients want solutions now. With e-commerce, they can find what they need in a matter of minutes. The main goal is building that exposure to get your brand in front of your target audience. The days of gaming the Google algorithm are long gone. You need to provide useful content that is detailed and share-worthy. This takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.

Also, our clients are looking for supplemental information to increase the success of their rental experience. We provide helpful blog articles that cover common questions about our most popular rentals. Some helpful articles we have published are:

  1. How Much Uplighting Do I Need to Rent for a Wedding
  2. 9 Best Uplighting Colors [90+ Photos in Guide]

  3. Top (11) DIY Wedding Draping Kits (Actual Cost)

  4. DIY Project: Hang Glass Globes with Candles & Crystal Beads

  5. DIY Tutorial: How to Drape A Ceremony Arch

  6. (3) Popular Wedding Themes: Thrift Shop Your Way to DIY Glam

  7. How to Select Your Wedding Party (Avoid These Mistakes)

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We feel in the new digital age people are becoming their own brands. The power is moving from large conglomerates to individuals with influence. This trend will only continue to accelerate as the business landscape changes.

This amount of influence will consolidate and change the way we network and do business. As a company, we need to remain transparent and understand our customers may acquire a new role within the marketing cycle.

Also, e-commerce will change as more of the world moves towards the ‘pick pack ship’ business model. The pandemic has only accelerated this transition of the business. It is leaner, offering cost savings to the company that can get passed on to the consumer.

There has been a recent spike in demand with packages putting strain on the courier industry. This temporary uncertainty needs to be factored into your business model to best position your brand.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Timing is important but what matters more is your reason why. A lot of people go into business to be successful. Remember you are only successful if you are offering solutions. If you are genuine with your purpose it will put you in better control. Customers can tell if you care about them and their issues. You can not fake authenticity.

how-this-couple-is-disrupting-the-wedding-industry-with-a-diy-approach

The caveat to authenticity is that online presence takes away from the human element. You need to use every avenue possible to display your value proposition. This requires video, video requires editing, editing requires footage, footage requires a script, a script requires someone that believes in your brand.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Ship Our Wedding® uses YouTube for displaying tutorial videos, Facebook for starting discussions, and Instagram for sharing photos of our brand. There are many tools available online depending on your business that will determine which platforms you may need for integration.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Back when I first started many books left their impression on me. The Art of the Start gives a crash course 101 on how to bootstrap.

E Myth Revisited discusses standardization in your business. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini covers how business can be impacted by the psychology of persuasion.

Think and Grow Rich is the gold standard for positive thinking and manifestation.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

Beat to your own drum and don’t compare yourself to others. The goal in business is to stand out. You only have one competitor in this world and that is yourself. Take the road less traveled and blaze that trail.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking to hire people with extraordinary talent.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Robert Reno,   Founder of Ship Our Wedding
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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