In the weddings and special events space, there’s an amazing—almost overwhelming—amount of resources available to every professional of every type and size. It should be no surprise when you consider the size of the industry globally, and the sheer breadth of professional segments, each with their own unique needs, paths, and processes. Some of these resources have been born in boots well-worn from working in the trenches of the industry. Others have come from the outside to deliver a unique perspective pros can benefit from to improve upon their business. When the two collide—and at such epic proportions as these—it’s worth taking a moment to hit the ‘pause’ button and get to know a little bit about them.
The Abundance Group team know an awful lot about our industry, about business in general, and probably way more about each other. To describe the father-daughter duo of Dale Henry and Ashley Ebert as anything short of dynamic would be an understatement. With Dale’s senior management and Fortune 500 consulting pedigree paired with Ashley’s acute perspective and a fiery tenacity that led her to build one of the biggest wedding planning businesses in the world (that’s The Simply Elegant Group), the two have set out in a new venture called The Abundance Group. After our first conversation with them, then learning their mission, “To profoundly help wedding professionals from all across the country create the business of their dreams,” we needed to get to know them and share their story with you.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry and start The Simply Elegant Group?
Ashley: I think for me initially, I knew that family was always the most important thing in my life. I realized that I was always gravitating towards celebrations and times of joy. So that’s when weddings, and being involved in them as my career, really became apparent that it was the way to go for me.
What motivated you to grow it to the multi-state planning powerhouse it is today?
Ashley: Once I realized that my company gave a platform for planners to have a job they loved, that was the moment I knew I needed to really be intentional about expanding. I was all about creating more and more job opportunities. There are so many incredibly talented wedding planners out there that really just want to do the planning side, but so many feel they need to start a business to do it. I feel like Simply Elegant is a home for planners that just truly love the craft.
What’s that one “thing” that you’d say makes your business thrive and not simply survive?
Ashley: We’re all about strategic growth. We have a plan and are evaluating every move we make. This piece obviously goes to Dad and his devotion to helping our organization thrive through all of this coaching. We also aren’t afraid of risk at Simply Elegant. Sometimes we try things and they totally fail! Then we get back up and learn how to continue to move forward. I think those two components have been key for our team.
Why did you start The Abundance Group?
Ashley: This is simple. I wanted every wedding professional to have the strategic advantage that I had when I grew my business. As many dear friends built their businesses, they would always ask what my edge was. I knew this was the guiding force of my dad always there to help me pull the emotion out of it and get back to the fundamentals in business. So I convinced him to take this crazy adventure with me to help as many wedding pros as we could!
Dale: I’ve loved helping ‘ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things’ for decades. That’s led me to working with a lot of entrepreneurs. Every time I met a wedding industry pro I just fell in love with them…their passion, their creativity, their excitement. They already had the hard part down (their profession or artistry). They often just needed a little help with the business side.
What is The Abundance Group model?
Ashley: We are a membership site built for wedding professionals. We like to think of it as a strategic business coach in your pocket. Always available to guide you whether it’s with building out your marketing plan, figuring out your ideal client, or simply a resource to find the best SEO specialist for wedding pros so you can outsource that piece of your business.
We want The Abundance Group to be the first place you go when you have questions in your business.
But beyond that, we wanted it to be affordable for every wedding pro, at any stage in their business. So we work with partners that serve our wedding community and they offer incentives and discounts to our members. The goal here is that these savings offset your membership fee!
As an Aisle Planner Pro Resource Partner, how can The Abundance Group benefit any member of the Aisle Planner community?
Ashley: If you’ve been frustrated in growing your wedding business, we’re here to help. Before you go to your favorite search engine to try to cull your way through the thousands of results, go to your TAG Dashboard. We’ve brought everything you need to grow your wedding business all in one place.
What’s your vision for The Abundance Group?
Ashley: For us, The Abundance Group is a truly passion business. I’ve lived through a decade of watching how grueling this industry can be for those vendor friends I love and care about. I so desperately wanted a solution for our industry that brings everything together and does the legwork of finding the answers. So we took almost three years to build it!
Our five year goal is to have 15,000 active members learning and growing the wedding business of their dreams that our organization is supporting. To have 15,000 thriving wedding professionals that feel confident, are booking their calendars with their ideal clients, and having a blast doing it!
If you could change one thing about the weddings and events industry, what would it be?
Ashley: I think it’s all about community and moving towards collaboration. I love when I see pros working together that would be considered “competition” and building their businesses together. I’ve truly seen this movement happen over the last three to four years in the industry and I couldn’t be more excited!
If you weren’t the owner of The Simply Elegant Group and co-founder of The Abundance Group, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
Ashley: Honestly…a lot more hollow. My work is such a spark and gift in my life! I would be a shell of myself it I weren’t able to run my wedding planning company and work side by side with my dad on The Abundance Group all day. I just LOVE this work. The difference I feel we’re making in the lives of our members is such a driver for me. My favorite part has been learning how to bring my husband and daughter into the mix. There has been a beautiful work-life integration that has happened and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Dale: My wife, Kim, retired this year. But I just can’t imagine not sharing what I’ve learned through the years and helping others achieve their goals and dreams. I have another ‘serious’ business where I help develop ‘great leaders of great teams’ throughout mid-sized businesses. And I have a ‘fun’ business, called The Real World Superhero Academy, it’s become known as the ‘professional coaching adventure of a lifetime.’ With that program I help people develop what feel and perform like real world superpowers! We’re already working on how we can incorporate that into The Abundance Group.
Just for fun
What song do you know every word to?
Ashley: Every single Backstreet Boys song
Dale: Happy Birthday (except for the person’s name)
Favorite book of all time?
Ashley: I’m actually more of a Podcaster than a book reader. Amy Porterfield is a favorite, along with Rick Mulready. I also really like Donald Miller and Jay Shetty. Give me all the Podcast learning!
Dale: “Now, Discover Your Strengths” (Buckingham & Clifton). It launched to the public the idea of leveraging your strengths to improve performance.
Ashley: My husband and I are movie and documentary buffs. We just watched the series “Inside Bill’s Brain” on Netflix and LOVED it. So interesting to see how other people experience the world we live in!
Dale: Mountain Biking and Fly-fishing
On my days off you can find me…
Ashley: Trying a new craft brewery with my husband and/or running around our kitchen island playing with our daughter.
Dale: Spending time with our grandchildren (and thinking about fly-fishing).
I’m dying to take a trip to…
Ashley: To Hawaii! I’m a beach vacation girl and Hawaii is the ultimate dream. Hoping to go for our 10 year wedding anniversary in a few years!
Dogs or cats?
Ashley: Dogs. We are super excited to bring dogs back into our family after we get through the toddler years with our kiddo(s).
Dale: Dogs. But I have always lived with cat-lovers, so…
If you owned a restaurant, what food would it serve?
Ashley: Irish Pub food and amazing local craft beer! (I served at an Irish Pub all through college.)
Dale: Burgers and fries…and milkshakes! I’m VERY sophisticated.
Coffee or tea?
Ashley: All the coffee..
Dale: Coffee, well mostly just to warm the flavored creamer (which is really why I say I drink coffee).
What skill would you like to master?
Ashley: I would LOVE to speak other languages. My brain doesn’t really work that way…so I think it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but I think that would be so cool!
Dale: Answering questionnaires in an interesting way. (I don’t think I’ve really nailed this one!)
What’s your favorite thing to do to show your multi-state team how much you appreciate them?
Ashley: We do a big retreat every two years where we bring everyone in and stay in a huge Airbnb. It’s time to connect with one another and eat and drink together. It’s truly some of my very favorite time.