Bridget Garrett

Name of Your Project? 
Bridget Garrett Ceremonies

And a little bit about yourself…
A northerner by birth I’ve lived in Suffolk for almost 28 years - I think they’ve almost accepted me now…. I’m happy about that because I truly love Suffolk and Ipswich in particular.  It has a fabulous waterfront and the best array of public parks I think I’ve ever seen.  I’m married to a London cabbie and we have two teenage children who keep me grounded.  I’m a bit of a career butterfly so I have tended to move about with jobs that take my interest.  Luckily I think I’ve now found something that can keep me occupied in its never ending variety.

I’ve set up Bridget Garrett Ceremonies following two intensive and very practical courses with Civil Ceremonies Ltd, so I’m now a fully fledged and working Civil Celebrant.  Basically this means that I’ve been trained to design, write and deliver ceremonies of all kinds, from cradle to grave really!  

I work with young families welcoming new babies, help people to celebrate significant birthdays, wedding celebrations, vow renewals and big anniversaries.  I also help families to create funeral ceremonies to celebrate the life of a loved one.

How is your business progressing?
My business is a slow build and that’s quite deliberate really.  Word of mouth recommendations are by far the best way for me to get work and allows the business to grow organically and in a way I can cope with.  I can only really manage to do 3 or 4 ceremonies in any given week as they take between 10-15 hours each to plan, prepare and deliver.  

As I qualified as a funeral celebrant first, in 2014, funerals make up the major part of my workload.  I have good working relationships with local funeral directors who pass the work onto me directly, so this business finds me.  All other ceremonies rely on my advertising my services far and wide.  I am looking forward to a working balance of all the ceremonies eventually, but I really enjoy creating them all - I love an excuse to talk to people about their lives!

What are your key achievements/ milestones to date?
In May 2015 I exhibited at my first wedding fair which was good in terms of meeting lots of wedding professionals and a few couples - it’s all about contacts in this business and your network can’t be big enough.
I have my first wedding bookings for September this year and also one for July 2017.  I’m hoping they will be the first of many.
I’ve managed to obtain a lot of really great feedback from my funeral families who have appreciated what I’ve done for them at a very difficult time in their lives.
Graduating from the Ipswich18 2015 cohort was also a significant moment for me as I really felt like a bone fide business whenever I left a session.

Started business when?
June 2014 for funeral work,  January 2015 for all other ceremonies.

Where are you based?
Based in Ipswich, but I will work across the East Anglia region.  Further afield on request.

Best thing about the Hub?
I really liked the breadth of subject matter and topics covered.  The speakers that were brought in to talk to us were knowledgeable and interesting and local - no-one else is better to speak about the environment in which we’ll be working.

The best thing for me though was the networking opportunities, within the group and beyond.  I’ve met some really helpful people over the last few months in the Hub, whose advice and guidance will have real impact on my business now and into the future.

Golden nugget of advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Never say ‘no’ to an opportunity - you never know where work will come from.  Sometimes it will come from the oddest direction.  Be open and friendly and have your ‘elevator pitch’ ready and raring to go…. and listen to people - they will often tell you things in conversation that can be very valuable.  Maybe not even for you, but for a colleague or friend.  Always pass on recommendations if you can and then people may do the same for you.  Pay it forward, that’s my motto.

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