How We Switched It Up During COVID To Remain Profitable

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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Have you read any good books in the last year?
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Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
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Romance On The Go...
from Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
started February 2012
$3,500
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Employees
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

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.

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 flagship 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 enjoys 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 and look like THE MOST ROMANTIC PERSON IN THE WORLD! We have a wide range of vendors that we have established partnerships within our service area (South Florida) and several states.

Romance and Intimacy often dwindle in long term relationships/marriages, which is why our services are wrap-around and our “Romantics” use our services year-round to help sustain an intimate and healthy relationship. We often tell our “Romantics” that they are stuck with us for LIFE! We are a one-stop-shop for Romance! Our themed suite experiences are our most popular service that’s rendered, but our Romance Gift Shop and Date Night Planning service are our second most popular services. All of our services help couples in long term relationships/marriages reconnect with one another and never get dull.

Our motto is, "We Bring Romance To ANY Space or Place". Romance On The Go 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 remembers when their spouse called Romance On The Go!

Before The COVID-19 Pandemic, we were on track to exceed our previous revenue margins. We had recently become preferred vendors for three additional hotels and were on track to gross approximately $5000 monthly. But we were able to pivot with some new concepts and added products that our couples could use during The Pandemic.

how-we-pivoted-with-new-concepts-and-added-products-that-our-couples-could-use-during-the-pandemic Ian & Ilyssa - She Said Yes Suite Experience, W Fort Lauderdale, FL, Credit: LexD Photos

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since our last story, we’ve added some new team members and Romance Concierges! Our In-House date night planner, Danielle has this amazing ability (we actually call it a “Romance Super Power”) to plan unique and out of the norm date night experiences for our couples ALL ACROSS THE WORLD! Say good-bye to that standard dinner and a movie date nights and say hello to romantic adventure date nights or days! We curate custom date nights to our “Romantics” couple personality, interests, and budget. We find all those hidden gems that our “Romantics” didn’t know exist in their area and network with the vendors to get rates that are exclusive to ROTGO. Our itineraries are simple and take the guesswork out for our “Romantics” to be consumed with contacting businesses and getting information and booking! We take care of EVERYTHING!

In addition to creating unique date night plans, Danielle is a certified Travel Planner and she gets amazing discounts for our suite experiences to be designed for our “Romantics”! I mean HUGE Savings! Plus, she saves our “Romantics” countless hours on-line searching for hotels that meet their needs, location, and budget. Danielle puts together a visual package full of the details for our “Romantics” to review and make an informed decision for their destinations, lodging, and activities.

Danielle has been busy during The COVID-19 Pandemic curating “Rona Dates” for couples to enjoy at home. At the beginning of the quarantine, she wrote a blog full of ideas for couples to enjoy. Throughout the quarantine, our “Romantics” have been sending us “Romantic Mail” of them enjoying “Rona Dates” and they’ve shared how they have been intentional about reconnecting and maintaining new intimacy even after the pandemic. Now, you know that was music to our ears! Yes, we want our “Romantics” to keep the intimacy alive and continue to redefine their relationship.

Before the pandemic, our “Just Because” gift shop was membership-driven. Several of our “Romantics” who are in long-distance relationships or who have partners that travel for work or that “Romantic” that just wanted to continue to look like the MOST ROMANTIC PARTNER in the world were enrolled in our membership program! The membership program would allow the “Romantic” to receive or have a “Just Because” gift sent directly to them or their partner once a month. No more worrying about the last time they did something romantic or thoughtful to show their love!

Due to The Pandemic limiting us and not being able to render services for our Suite Experiences in our partnered hotels, our monthly revenue declined significantly. However, we tapped into our creative side and focused on redefining our “Just Because” Gift Shop. We launched an e-commerce store and now sell custom mini gifts and D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) kits. The Romance Gift Shop is filled with small gifts that are curated from small businesses from across the country that was also impacted by the Pandemic. We brainstormed and thought about how we could create a hub for those small businesses to showcase and sell their products. It’s a win-win situation, our “Romantics” get these amazing gifts to send to their partners and several small businesses can continue to thrive.

We intend to continue to reach out to small businesses and add more gifts to The Romance Gift Shop. If you’re reading this and you own a small business or know someone who does and would like to collaborate and promote your or their products in our gift shop, please send us an email at [email protected]. We would love to collaborate!

In addition to re-structuring the The Romance Gift Shop, we’ve also added several new and creative D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) Home Experiences for couples to enjoy! Check out some of our kits here. Our D-I-Y Kits have allowed our couples to reconnect and create some priceless moments during The COVID-19 pandemic. The feedback has been amazing and our couples have shared that the D-I-Y Kits remind them to do something romantic often since they now have everything on hand. Talk about No Excuses, right! We’ve put a lot of thought into the D-I-Y Kits, so that our “Romantics” that reside outside of our service areas, can experience Romance On The Go! We’re still adding new kits and have some new releases coming soon.

We were recently featured on MTV’s True Life Quarantine Stories for a Quarantine Proposal. The COVID-19 Pandemic has not canceled LOVE! Before the pandemic, we had several proposals on our schedule. We had to get creative with our “Romantics” so that they could still POP THE QUESTION! We created several Proposal Kits and have been sending them ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY! For our local “Romantics”, we created safe and contactless proposals. Planning a Quarantine Proposal that was self-captured for MTV was EPIC and had some challenges, especially when the Fiancee-To-Be was nine months pregnant and under the ruse that she was recording for a Pregnant and Quarantine segment. Nonetheless, we were able to plan and design a beautiful sunrise proposal with a violinist that serenaded the couple, all in the driveway of their home. It was the most nerve-wracking proposal TO DATE! At any moment, she would have looked out the window and the surprise would have been ruined! We had to be extremely quiet, as her room overlooked the driveway that we were designing. Then add that it was sunrise and it was totally dark! To plan the details, we utilized virtual platforms and video calling for our consultations and location scouting sessions. The most important thing that happened was that SHE SAID YES!

It was such an honor to work with MTV and have one of our “Romantics” have an EPIC Quarantine Proposal that was internationally televised!

how-we-pivoted-with-new-concepts-and-added-products-that-our-couples-could-use-during-the-pandemic Chris + Ameide, Boca Raton, FL, Credit: Captured Moments Photography

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

Oh, where do I start? Everyday, I learn a valuable business lesson. It can be something as small as finding a hack to make our systems and operations a little more fluid or managing my time with a new app. I’ve always been a journal hand person to jot down notes and client details, I’ve recently become more familiar with using my phone for notes and using its features to its full capacity. I don’t necessarily know if that’s a good or bad thing to have my phone in hand all the time or not! I still carry a journal for those things that I need to see and physically check off. I’m lowkey obsessed with journals and have a storage box full of journals. My support tribe of family and friends, know my love for journals and feed into my obsession, I’m always being gifted with journals!

Being a small business owner with BIG GOALS is not easy, it requires commitment and faith to see those goals manifest into reality. Set small realistic goals and once accomplished set bigger goals.

I’ve also learned how important it is to have a small circle of people that you trust with your vision and goals. My support tribe (I call them my “Silent Business Partners”) holds me accountable and recognizes when I drift from ROTGO’s business model and purpose.

I believe the most important business lesson that I’ve learned is to not allow fear to keep me from going after my goals or contracts with vendors. It’s difficult at times to explain the vision and business plan of ROTGO and what we do. Fear no longer lives within ROTGO! I recently relinquished the management of social media pages and hired a social media manager and intern to manage our wedding page and main page. I was initially afraid that the brand and integrity of ROTGO would be compromised. But I spent time and sought out independent contractors that spoke ROTGO’s Love language! It’s been an interesting journey, but the Social Media Team has exceeded my expectations and has been marketing and “Bringing Romance To ANY Space Or Place” on our social media platforms. Also, I've been able to focus on more key aspects of the business and network with vendors, and continue to expand into more cities.

After the premiere of The MTV’s Quarantine Proposal, we’ve been planning more and more proposals and expanding our portfolio. Our wedding pagefocuses primarily on our proposals and honeymoon services. We didn’t want to overload our main page “Romantics” with all things related to weddings.

In addition to being featured on MTV’s True Life Quarantine Proposal, one of our “Romantics” was featured on The Knot’s How They Asked, sharing their proposal story.

A super cool personal update...My husband and I are preparing to celebrate 10 years of being married (10-30-10). This is super exciting because that means that ROTGO was conceptualized ten years ago and we have been an active business for eight years! Romance On The Go was literally birthed on my wedding night! It was the first time that I had been the recipient of a now known Honeymoon Suite Experience. My bridesmaids literally sneaked off in teams during our reception and decorated our Honeymoon Suite. We were totally surprised and thought the hotel had been decorated for us until I started to see personal details that only our family or friends knew or would include.

I kept thinking about how personal the suite experience was and how I felt. After all the years of designing suite experiences for free for family and friends, I finally experienced what they felt and knew that I wanted more people to experience the joy and romantic ambiance of walking into a suite designed just for me and my husband. I also couldn’t stop thinking how some of my bridesmaids missed little parts of our reception, because they were off decorating the honeymoon suite. When I was brainstorming about the business, I thought how the business that I wanted to start would solve that problem and no one would have to miss the party or create ruses so that they could go and decorate for their significant other. I think I talked more about creating the business than reflecting on our wedding day fun! I’m sure my husband was tired of me and my honeymoon brainstorming thoughts of, “I can do this”, “What do you think about this?”, or “can you help me with this?” I’m grateful that he created the space for me to build ROTGO on our honeymoon!

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

What’s the plan, you ask! The plan is to continue to expand and offer ROTGO services in more cities across the country. We now have included Atlanta, Georgia, Cleveland, Ohio, Savannah, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee to our service area! We have some pretty dope Romance Concierges in those cities that are rendering services to our “Romantics” from suite experiences to romance errands, proposals, and more! We have some upcoming projects that we’re planning in those new cities and can’t wait for our “Romantics” to experience Romance On The Go!

In our previous story, we mentioned that we were looking to add mentoring and coaching services to our brand. We are excited to share that we have a few business one-on-one mentoring and coaching packages available and have assisted several small business owners to develop and launch their Romance Concierge business plans into fully operational businesses with profitable income.

The Romance Concierge Mentoring and Coaching (https://romanceconciergeacademy.com/) programs focus on how to start a Romance Concierge business, effective implementation of marketing strategies, brand development, how to target and sustain client demographics, and more!

Our five-year plan includes adding on more hotels as our preferred vendors and to include some international ROTGO Romance Concierge Teams. In addition to expanding our service areas, we’re currently working on some E-Books and Couples Journals for our “Romantics” to enjoy and utilize to continuously put forth the effort to sustain an intimate and romantic relationship.

We’re truly excited to see ROTGO continue to grow and “Bring Romance To ANY Space Or Place” across the world.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

Yes, I recently (two weeks ago) started reading The Profit First - Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine. One of my fellow “Silent Partners” suggested it and said it was a GREAT read! I gotta say, it truly is. I’ve been taking my time reading it and applying some of the strategies and doing mini checks and balances, as it pertains to ROTGO.

Unfortunately, I’m still carrying around some of those books from last year in my bag! Please don’t judge me!

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

A while back, I came across a quote by Jay Danzie that says, “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”

This quote has become my daily mantra and I apply it to literally everything when it comes to my business. ROTGO is a business that is driven by experiences and creates priceless memories, my trademark. I intend to continue to leave our “Romantics” with that feeling that I experienced on my wedding night! I would strongly suggest other entrepreneurs apply it to their business, especially when they feel that one of those business lessons has them feeling down and struggling.

Don’t compare yourself to other businesses' rate of success. The Egyptians didn't build the Pyramids of Giza in a day, so set small goals that are measurable and realistic for you and your business, don’t lose sight of reality by getting caught up in what is perceived by other’ success.

Being a small business owner with BIG GOALS is not easy, it requires commitment and faith to see those goals manifest into reality. Set small realistic goals and once accomplished set bigger goals. Most importantly show yourself GRACE!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

YES!! We’re always looking for creative and romantic Romance Concierges to join our team, especially in the South Florida area! We recently added a social media manager to our team and we have a Romance Concierge Intern on our team.

We’re looking for Romance Concierges that are interested in planning and designing proposals!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Ta'Veca Collins,   Founder of Romance On The Go, Concierge Services

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