Katherine joined the Aisle Planner team last fall after relocating to sunny San Diego from (even sunnier) Phoenix, Arizona. She was in the process of building out a new professional network when she realized that Aisle Planner HQ was literally right down the street from where she lived! A few coffee dates later, we “popped the question” and she said yes!
Katherine brings a ton to the table with not only a professional background as a wedding planner but in public relations as well. She is the PR ying to my marketing yang and her willingness to do whatever is needed has proven to be a major asset to the team.
So today, let me introduce you to our Director of Public Relations, Katherine Oyer. Read on to learn about when she first fell in love with weddings (side note: ask her about her Martha Stewart Weddings collection!), how using Aisle Planner for her wedding planning business was a game changer, and everything else she’s learned along the way!
What’s the most exciting part of being on the Aisle Planner team?
Being a part of the Aisle Planner team is always changing – there’s never a dull day! It’s been such a joy working with a team who is so passionate about growing the company and moving things forward. The “all hands on deck” startup atmosphere is something I thrive in, and I truly look forward to going into the office each morning!
What about your background do you feel like has helped you thrive in what you are doing now?
Something in my brain snapped at the age of 10, and I became completely and utterly obsessed with weddings. I’d beg my mom to buy me the new Martha Stewart weddings magazines, take me to bridal shows, and even began hoarding “how-to” wedding planning books from garage sales and second hand bookstores. This passion never left, and I eventually grew up, and started my own wedding planning business. Knowing the ins and outs of wedding planning has been such a benefit since joining the Aisle Planner team, I feel I bring a real benefit to our community who often looks to us to brainstorm ideas with them, help solve client problems, and empathize with their tough situations.
What are you most proud to have accomplished as a team?
The growth we’ve seen in our numbers in the time I’ve been a part of the team has been astounding. We rely heavily on word of mouth and referrals from other users in our system – so each time a new planner joins the community or sends us a hello message it feels like such a big win! Collectively, we all believe in the company so much, it’s rewarding to see it grow each and every day.
What is the hardest thing about building a business that you didn’t expect?
I think it’s no secret that when you’re building a business from the ground up, resources can be hard to come by. Not only money, but time! If you can imagine, there are about 100 things any of us could be working one minute to the next, and since we are such a small team we’ve really had to prioritize what will make the most impact “now”. It certainly teaches you to be focused, and strategic about what energy you’re placing into certain areas of the business.
What is your favorite thing about working with wedding planners?
I love wedding planners, probably because I’ve been there! You really don’t know how tough it can be to be a wedding planner until you’ve really gone through the job yourself. The amount of pressure that rests on one person to make someone else’s dreams come true (while on a budget!) is a ton. Between all of the moving parts, staying in communication with each person involved, tracking spending, and pulling creative ideas out of thin air – the job can be exhausting. Yet I’ve never met a group of people who are more endearing, kind, calm and DRIVEN to make the best happen for someone else. My kind of people.
What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
I have to say I am a big fan of the checklist, closely followed by the design studio. I am a fanatic about to-do lists, and when I first used the Aisle Planner checklist I was blown away. Taking the time to truly customize a template to a planner’s own workflow and planning process takes some time – but then you never have to do it again! I remember creating a brand new checklist in Excel for each and every one of my clients – it used to take me HOURS. Then having to update it, crossing out lines for completed tasks, and send it back at the end of each week or two, what a time waste. I quite literally squealed with delight the first time I saw the checklist in AP – how you can drag and drop items to move them into different time periods, assigning things to clients, notes that generate a notification so I didn’t even have to follow up?! A dream.
Where do you see Aisle Planner’s technology influencing the future of the industry?
When I made the transition to Aisle Planner for my own wedding planning business, I felt like I was emerging out of the stone age. I can honestly say as a planner, NOT using Aisle Planner is such a mistake (admitting to a slight bias of course!). Technology leads our lives in every other area, and couples planning their wedding are no exception. They want to use the newest, easiest, most tech friendly tools – and Aisle Planner is leading the pack. As we continue to build out more tools and become more of a complete service for business owners, it’s going to be a “must have” for planners to utilize some kind of cloud based service in order to stay on trend, and continue to market to those millennials who can’t live without it.
Aisle Planner is a lean startup and all-hands-on-deck team. How do your roll up your sleeves and tackle projects that just need to get done?
I’ve always appreciated working on a team that is comfortable jumping in on any given project at any time. On a daily basis, I work with Tayler to help execute marketing ideas, I work with Christina and Charis on product development and dreaming up the next features to release, and I’m knee deep in chatting with our planners with Meghan, answering questions, solving problems and teaching them the ins and outs of the platform. Not to mention connecting with our media and industry influencers spreading the word about Aisle Planner as the director of PR! It feels like I touch 80% of the business on any given day – and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
As a professional wedding planner yourself, how did incorporating Aisle Planner into your business change things?
It. Changed. Everything. And I can confidently say that I felt this way well before joining the Aisle Planner team, which has only made my love for the company grow exponentially. Honestly, I don’t know how I stayed on track and organized while planning in the past! Between real life folders with printed materials, desktop folders filled with words docs and excel spreadsheets of budgets and to-dos, Pinterest accounts, Google Docs created by myself, Google Docs created by my clients, and an exploding inbox of client emails…it gave me heart palpitations. And that is just for one wedding! The administrative time I spent organizing and reorganizing how I executed weddings was a nightmare, and Aisle Planner completely cleaned this up. I felt more professional from day 1 with my new fancy client portal on my website, custom login page and entirely personalized tools – and I knew that my couples felt it too.
Prior to starting your wedding planning business, you were part of the in-house public relations team at Neiman Marcus where you planned more than 300 events a year (WOW!). What did managing events at that pace teach you about being a successful planner?
Working at Neiman Marcus changed the direction of my entire career, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It was the head-first dive into the event planning space that I needed to refine my own skills, which I then transitioned to my wedding planning business. There were two of us on the PR team tackling those 300 events, and every day from the minute we stepped foot in the office it was full steam ahead. Communication was absolutely key – we had our own events as well as joint efforts, so we needed to be in constant contact about where things were at with each project. There also wasn’t a whole lot of time for procrastination! As soon as we found out a designer visit, a fashion show or a charity event had been added to the calendar, we started our checklist of to-dos, calling event partners, pulling price quotes, choosing models, etc. Getting as much done from the start as possible was always key – and that transitioned smoothly into the wedding planning space, and even into my daily to-dos at Aisle Planner. It was stressful, but so fun!