In the fall of 2015, Red Shoe Media launched Happily Ever Iowa, a concept advertising business to help connect engaged & soon to be engaged Iowans with small wedding businesses.
Red Shoe Media Vice President & Co-Founder, Brenda "Brenmark" Webber, had a vision in 2013 while planning her own wedding to help those smaller businesses across the state become discovered.
"There are so many 'diamonds in the rough' around Iowa I never heard of, until I began researching for my own wedding. Trying to plan a wedding on a budget is one thing, however trying to plan a wedding on a budget AND get what you want...that's a whole different story. "
One of the most common marketing avenues for wedding businesses are bridal shows. Following Brenda's engagement, she took the first steps towards planning her wedding: attending a show. At first glance, the bridal show idea was quite interesting to her. Compiling a variety of different brands in one open area & allowing/empowering brides to visit all the businesses to learn more. That's when she discovered the first major flaw regarding bridal shows.
"It was like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans on Black Friday. It was impossible! You don't have enough time to learn about the brand, to investigate the quality of the material, let alone find a pair in your size, before you're either passed over by the brand representative who's main objective is to see as many brides as possible, or you're shoved out of the way by other women trying to get attention from that brand of jeans."
This aggressive & counterproductive activity has molded brides, grooms, & other involved parties in to focusing on one objective: availability.
"You can hear the most common question sang on high around the venue," remarked Brenda. "Do you have June 21st open? What days do you have open in June?!"
Upon speaking with a few easier to approach businesses, Brenda began asking more marketing related questions. She quickly learned that on average a wedding business spends well over $1,000 to attend a single event. Between registration & marketing fees, designing their booths, not to mention purchasing swag to entice people to spend time at their booth, it's no wonder the smaller businesses weren't attending.
There had to be a simpler way for both couples & business owners to connect.
Happily Ever Iowa first hit the map with a social media platform launch. A few shout outs to local businesses around central Iowa started the swarm of supportive Iowans.
"After the Happily Ever Iowa Facebook page hit 2,000 subscribers in the first month, I knew we had an opportunity. Not just for a business, but to help both consumers & small businesses alike."
Just a few short months later, Brenda developed a business plan, launched a blog, & built a website. Happily Ever Iowa was in full stride, with Red Shoe Media behind it.
Today, Happily Ever Iowa is in 13 different markets across Iowa; Ames, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sioux City, the Quad Cities, & Waterloo. With a social media reach of over 10K users between Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook as well as a blog subscription base of nearly 15K loyal readers, Happily Ever Iowa is off to the races to help those small businesses capture a part of the wedding market.