Toronto-based August in Bloom is a design and event planning company with a unique spin. They organize events like weddings, dinner parties and corporate events with a fashion-centric and sophisticated twist. Founder Sara Sull and partner Mallory Cheung draw their inspiration through fashion, architecture and home decor. And when it comes to design, they like to think outside the cupcake box. For instance, they once complemented an immaculately layered wedding cake display with a pair of white Louboutins and expertly crafted signs using gold foil on quartz slabs.
Sara and Mallory know they are the faces of their brand and, in turn, position themselves as such. As a result, they attract clients who mesh well with their personal style.
Want to RSVP to this party? Meet Sara and Mallory of August in Bloom.
What was life like before August in Bloom and what motivated you to quit your day job and start your own business?
Sara: In my ‘former life,’ I did corporate and non-profit events and marketing, working primarily in the education sector. Then, life happened and I was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years. I knew I wanted a more creative job when I decided to get back into the workforce. I started doing my own parties and friends started asking me to do their parties, so I decided to turn it into a business. It just snowballed from there. I found something I loved to do. I always knew I wanted to go back to work after my kids got to a certain age but not necessarily back to my old job. My first year was just experimental but as soon as I decided to expand the business and focus on pushing August in Bloom, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I posted a job opening on Instagram and Mallory responded.
Mallory: I had just graduated from photography and was doing wedding photography. While I was working this job I realized I like the behind-the-scenes stuff (like styling) better than taking the photos themselves. I also tried bridal retail and spent two years doing custom wedding invitations. I’ve grown up in this industry and I love it—I’ve spent about a year focusing more on the planning side. Then I saw Sara’s post on Instagram and applied to be a planner for August in Bloom.
Sara and Mallory’s 3 pearls of wisdom for entrepreneurs:
- Find something you love.
- Do your research.
- Have fun.
Describe the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as a small business owner and how you dealt with it.
Sara: My biggest challenge has been work-life balance. The business is growing on its own and it just started taking over. I felt like I was always one step behind and trying to catch up. Any time there was a massive deadline or photoshoot, life would get in the way and home demands would pull me away. Meeting Mallory has helped a lot. I realized when it comes to a certain point, you need to expand and reach out for help when you need it. You can’t always do it on your own — it’s not always the best way.
It’s also a constant struggle to make sure I dedicate time for everything: the business, myself as well as my family. Scheduling is so important. Schedule in personal time and family time. Personal time is for personal use and not for business. Now, I’m a lot more focused and calm with myself.
Mallory: When I met Sara I was working full time at an invitation business. Trying to split my focus was really tough. I realized August in Bloom was the best fit so left my other job and decided it was better to be 100% focussed on our customers.
It’s a typical work day. Where can we find you?
Home, office, coffee shops, the car and anywhere the work takes us!
Inspiration or perspiration?
Perspiration mainly, however, luck certainly does help! Inspiration is necessary in order to stay adaptive and current for the long-term. Most importantly, you will enjoy the work more too.
Who is your role model?
Oprah is one of the most inspirational business people in our opinion. She has built an empire entirely based on contributing to the well-being of others.
Do you have a motivational mantra or inspirational quote that helps you get you out of bed in the morning?
Do it with passion or not at all. ~Unknown
Work-Life balance is *tough* for a small business owner. How do you stay balanced?
We became partners! With the same goals and mindset, we happily share the responsibilities, workload, success and joy in order to find time for the rest of our lives.
What’s next for August in Bloom?
We are aiming to grow further into the corporate side of the events industry to expand our market.
It’s no surprise that these two impressive women are currently drawing inspiration from #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso.
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About the Author: Amanda is the Community Coordinator at FreshBooks. She loves executing extraordinary experiences every day both on and offline. When she’s not doing that, she is taking her dog, Jonny, on adventures or searching Toronto for the best coleslaw.