Weddings are one of the most important and exciting events in one’s life. But before the big event plans are have to made. Before everything is set you have to be sure about your guests, then the issue of invitation cards comes up. The cost of cards throws your expenses off budget, you can’t find a good card for a decent price, you get overwhelmed by other plans and forget about the invitations, your guest are few but cards are sold in large numbers, etc .
These are a few of the hassles couples find themselves in during wedding planning and it seems everything is about to go wrong. We met with Femi ‘Deolu, CEO myweddingIV and had a chat about his company and how they have solved this issue. myweddingIV is an online wedding invite retail company that delivers products directly to consumers around the world. They afford customers a wide selection of luxury wedding invitation cards at an affordable price.
I’m Femi ‘Deolu. I’m a graduate of Computer Science from University of Education, 2010. I’m the first child of a family of three.
What is myweddingIV about?
It is a brand that came alive because there was a problem. My kid sister was getting married and during the planning we discovered that we were a bit off budget. We tried to see what part of the preparation we could cut down cost on. So, we looked at stationeries and souvenirs and decided it was something we could try to cut down cost on. The guy we contracted to do the job gave us a price. Being the first child, I had a say in it. I looked at it and I thought for a while what exactly is in this printing and branding thing that makes it costly. I know a bit of photography so I know there are a few things you can’t change. But for stationery, I feel there’s a way you can do something in an elegant way but for a cheaper price. So, I decided to do it myself although I had no idea. I contacted a friend who does printing outside the country and asked a few questions. He advised me to go to the market where wedding cards are sold, choose the one I want and negotiate. I was like “that’s all?” and he said yes. I did as he advised and found out that the price we were given by the guy we contracted was fifty thousand Naira more for a quantity of 100 and they were almost the same design and everything. So, I thought “If we contact this guy we’re making him ₦50,000 richer”, which of course isn’t bad, he has other stuff to tend to. But for what we were doing, we needed something not so expensive. So, my sister went for what I did. I did the same thing for my brother’s wedding too. A bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding loved the IV and contracted me to do hers. So, I thought,” if I could do this then I can continue”. A lot of other couples have issues like this and then panic sets in, so I was like “why not go all out and sort it?” and that’s how it started.
How would you describe your brand?
Like I said earlier there’s an exotic way to do something for a cheaper price. My slogan is “luxury is affordable”. So, it means that you can get stuff that are so acclaimed to be expensive at a cheaper rate.
How many companies like yours are there in Ibadan?
There are about two companies that do something like this in Lagos and we’re the first in Ibadan.
Since you’re the first company like this in Ibadan has there really been any challenge?
Everyone believes that it is Ibadan people. Yes, Ibadan is better. People are getting to know more about Ibadan. Ibadan is like an encroachment of Lagos but they seem to not want to spend too much on something that they assume is cheap. Matter of fact, they don’t have any idea about it. But they had somebody who did somebody who did something and they felt it can’t be more than two thousand. That way we have a lot of calls and what you here is “we’ll get back to you” but now we know how to handle customers like that. We make it flexible, ask for their budget then we find a category that fits their budget.
How long have you been in the business?
Officially, it’s our 4th month but unofficially it has been 2 years.
Through all the customers you have had and the different orders you have handled, have you noticed any trend, any difference in the way things are being done from when you started and now?
There were two categories I figured out at first. There are people who tag themselves as premium which is where the luxury thing comes in, then there are some people who have a slim budget they want to look out for. Then we had to expand to 3 categories. We have locally sourced cards made by Nigerians, we have cards that we have to ship in from the US and the handmade ones. It’s your choice. Someone called me earlier saying she wants an IV, she saw the samples on our website and she chose the one she wanted. The one she chose cost 500 Naira and she requested for 700. 700 invited guests? For what kind of wedding? So, I don’t need to be told that her kind of customer is premium. So, that means we have to give her something she likes. We have cards with price range from 100 naira to 4000 naira each.
Another thing I think has changed is the number of IV’s that are made for customers. Some people would not want to invite guests that are not up to 100, so, logically if you go to a wedding card store, you order cards less than 100, they come in hundreds. But we have been able to break the norm, if you want 20, we give you 20. If you want 10, we give you 10. This makes it easier for people, so they don’t spend money on cards for guests that won’t come.
Do you still get orders traditionally?
Yes, we do.
What is your customer base like?
Our orders are majorly from Ibadan, Lagos, Edo and Abuja, we do a bit of advert. We hope to go international too.
Do you think that Ibadan has subscribed to the modern methods, ordering wedding IV’s from online retailers and sending electronic invitations through e-mail?
Yes. Some people in Ibadan would rather go for hard copy. But I’ve figured out that there are students, professors, learned business men in Ibadan, so we cannot judge Ibadan as being old fashioned at the moment. If you count the number of Jumia outlets in Ibadan at the moment, they are over 20, it means that people order online on a daily basis in Ibadan even though they can go out and get those things.
We’ve had an order where a customer requested for a design and wanted to send e-invites. We have a designer on contract for those that would request e-invites. He does two samples from which the customers would choose the one they like better.
Do you have series of template where customers can choose from or offer custom designs ?
Both. Some people have custom orders. They see a particular design they like but want it in their colour. Some want rose, glitter or ribbons on it, so we do that for them.
Have you had any experiences in dealing with a difficult customer?
Of course. We expect that, that was the reason I had to take some HR and Customer Care courses. I’m a programmer and my life revolves around my laptop, so I’m not really good at relating with people who are not my friends. So, we expect to receive a call from an angry person, someone not so well mannered. We’ve had customers who have banged the phone on us and we have to call back and reason with them and they eventually succumb to whatever we tell them. There’s a skill to it and we know how to answer them.
Do you think a wedding IV is more than just inviting people to your wedding?
Well, logically that’s what it is meant for. Some people would prefer word of mouth, some would rather do e-invites. But like what I said, there’s an Instagram post where I wrote that your wedding card talks to guests how your wedding would look like. So if you give me a certain type of wedding card, I understand where I’m going to, I have an idea. It doesn’t determine the attendance of your invited guests, if they love you of course they’ll attend your wedding, but it let’s them have an idea.
So with that you’d advice people to take their cards seriously?
A friend asked me sometime ago which would you go for first when planning your wedding, catering, photography, stationary and souvenirs?
And I was dumbfounded, which do I go for first? I’m getting married, what should I think of first? Venue, cake? I’m supposed to pay for all of them but I’ll think of photography first because that is what would make the event memorable. But before that people have to come. That’s the first thing. But most people put it behind, as the last thing. Matter of fact, they rush it. We’ve got orders where the customers are like ”can you deliver tomorrow?”. We’re not magicians. Then we tell them we would try our best. Yes, it should be taken seriously.
Do you offer other wedding services?
No. But we have had others where customers requested if we do wedding programs. They kind of go together. And I say yes. We have a printer we contract to take such orders.
Do you have an in-house printer or you outsource the printing?
We have an inhouse printer because it has to be someone who understands what we do.
What are your future goals and aspirations for myweddingIV?
Well, the dream is to have a store in all Palms mall outlets. When we get to that stage, if you mention wedding in Nigeria, we would be the first to come to mind.
Do you intend to add any other wedding service as it gets bigger?
I’ve not given it much thought but it’s not something impossible. However, I think would rather happen is partnering with 2 or 3 renowned event planners, this would lift a lot of workload off our shoulders, get referrals and this would help us focus on what we’re called to do.
What do you do for leisure?
Well, my definition of leisure, I spend a lot of time on my computer as a web programmer. I do photography weddings. I love movies and joke a lot.
It was nice having you.
Here are a few samples of their work.