Rebecca Marín Shepherd has an impressive résumé. She served a stint at Vogue, planned a wedding for Martha Stewart’s niece, and helped design parties for the Obamas. Now, Shepherd is executing events at her own Dallas-based company, The Wildflowers.
We asked Rebecca to walk us through her career path, and share her advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to start The Wildflowers?
After graduating from SMU, I began working at Vogue in the Home Accessories (now called Living) department in New York City. It was there I developed my love of interiors, creating meaningful spaces, and the art of entertaining. I later moved into Vogue’s Public Relations, Marketing, and Events department, planning for the Met Gala along with events Anna Wintour hosted with former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
My love for events led me to freelancing as a wedding planner. I had the opportunity to plan and design Martha Stewart’s niece’s wedding on her aunt’s New York property. After these experiences in crisis management, interiors, marketing, and event production, I moved back to Texas to create The Wildflowers. I now produce and design events all over the world.
What was the first thing you did when you decided to strike out on your own?
Once I decided to create The Wildflowers, I built a business plan. I defined what market segments I wanted to address, my marketing strategies, and a budget for operating the business and my living expenses. I set up an LLC and opened a business bank account. I then built and designed a website, my logo, and my business cards. I began promoting my brand and ideas through social media. Simultaneously, I was working on building my portfolio through editorial wedding photo shoots.
What is the best thing about being self-employed?
Being able to travel while I work is a luxury I will never take for granted.
What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own company?
Entrepreneurship comes with a continuous host of challenges. Rewarding challenges, but harsh nonetheless. Trying to establish a brand, innovating to outpace the competition, and keeping your business profitable is a challenge, no matter how many years you’ve been in business or what industry you are in. I’m also responsible for every aspect of my business: the livelihood of my employees, finance, accounting, marketing… all in addition to my primary job of producing and designing weddings.
What do you love most about event planning?
Beginning with ideas, images, and concepts that only live inside my mind and working hard with my team to bring them to fruition. Also, I love making our couples feel so at ease throughout the process.
Have you ever received advice from a mentor that helped shape you as a professional?
I learned from my former Editor-in-Chief to be decisive and to be the most prepared person in the room.
What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
It’s so easy to get discouraged when something isn’t going exactly to plan. Learn how to build self-confidence by getting rid of external dependency, where your self confidence is dependent on external factors. You’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish or overcome if you learn to trust yourself and your abilities.
Also, know that you don’t have to do it alone. Make sure you have a support system of family, friends, and professionals who understand you and your business. Use your intelligence and perseverance to your advantage and understand success doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t take “no” for an answer and exhaust all of your options. And finally, breathe deeply and trust your instincts.