Meet Phillane Cheng, the founder and wedding stylist behind Singapore-based With Love, Med Kärlek Inc. After her own experience in wedding planning, Phillane started Med Kärlek Inc. with the goal of creating beautiful designs for all events. On Weddingstory Business Blog, she shares her advice on places to look for inspirations, how to maintain work-life balance, and why you should say no to a client!
What kind of services do you offer?
From finding a theme to the execution, constructing, building and bringing together curated materials for the wedding, we take care of the big picture and the smallest details. We focus on the whole experience of planning and designing a wedding with our clients. We also conduct customised water colour, calligraphy and brush lettering workshops catered for private and corporate events. With that, we recently launched a Bachelorette Tea Craft Party to offer brides an opportunity to spend some quality time with their bridesmaids over tea and crafting!
What motivated you to start With Love, Med Kärlek Inc?
In the course of planning my own wedding, I realised that there was so much I wanted to design and include in the wedding decorations. Alas, even with the help of eight bridesmaids and a whole bunch of friends, my husband and I couldn’t manage to incorporate many design elements into the wedding. That’s why I was inspired to start Med Kärlek Inc soon after, with the sole goal to create beautiful designs for all events. The company started off with small scaled birthday parties and one thing led to another, and now we and design weddings
How would you describe your clients? What do they look for when they come to you?
Our clients are couples that need that extra help when it comes to creating the perfect wedding of their dreams. Often times, they are tired of the conventional wedding and solemnisation designs. They want personalised wedding that symbolises their love and reflects their characters. Some may have a theme in mind and would like us to help bring their ideas to life, but they definitely do not want a cookie cutter wedding.
Describe a bit about the process involved after you receive a business lead.
We know that every wedding is unique. While some couples may engage our services after going through our service menu and rate cards, we are always excited to meet up with couples to hear how we can help them on their big day. The meet up will also help us understand the couple better and customise a wedding that represents them. Couples also find it useful hearing from our experienced stylists and appreciate the opportunity to understand the services that we provide. Upon confirmation, we will help couples prepare mood boards for the designs and work closely with them to bring the designs to fruition. It’s like having an artist friend with you on this journey.
Ever had a hard time finding inspirations?
Yes, inspiration is something which I constantly seek. Some of the ways that I find useful in getting inspiration are to read, explore, and travel. Instead of the usual wedding magazines, I often get my inspiration from interior design magazines as they have excellent content on space decor, fashion styling and floral designs, all important elements for a beautiful wedding set-up. When I travel, I will also try to attend wedding shows, conventions, and speak to fellow stylists in the industry. It is important to be among like-minded people and hear first-hand their experience and best practices. Another place where I get inspiration from is through social media accounts of other artists and designers.
You must have heard this before, but what are the major differences between a wedding stylist and a wedding planner?
Not surprisingly, we get asked a lot about the difference between the two. While both play crucial roles in the success of a wedding, they each are very much different!
A wedding planner is like a much needed personal help. They plan your logistics, schedule of the day, tea ceremony, gate crashing, and even your guo da li (Chinese customary). In other words, he/she is there to take care of every detail of your wedding and has the important task of ensuring everything goes smoothly.
A wedding stylist/designer is like an artist and your wedding is his/her canvas. They take care of all things visual such as the venue decoration, floral designs, making sure the theme is consistent among your gown, hair, make-up, and wedding invitation. His/her job is to conceptualise the designs and execute the mock-ups so that your wedding will look even better than how you had imagined it to be. At Med Kärlek Inc, we believe in making friends with our couples so that we will be able to a wedding that speak of the couple and tell their story through every design element within the wedding.
As a working mom, what’s your advice on maintaining work-life balance?
I am thankful for a very supportive and loving husband who is always there to remind me to rest or to help me out at events. It’s very much about prioritising and having the discipline to stick with it. When it is time to be with the family, say no to work. When it’s time to work, then all attention should be on work.
You frequently conduct workshops, what’s the objective of holding these classes?
We run regular workshops to encourage people to spend quality time with their loved ones. I love it when people sign up as a group and spend a couple of hours hanging out with their friends doing something new together. It is also a good way for people to meet new friends while picking up a skill. How often do we get to sit on a table with complete strangers and do something together? I am always happy to meet participants at the workshops and many of them have become our friends!
Of those who attended, is there anyone who makes a career out of it?
Yes, during the workshops, I can see that some participants can already paint very well. After more practise, a few of them actually started passing on the skill to others! I’m glad that they have found the workshops beneficial and have put in effort to continue perfecting their skill.
Any advice for aspiring vendors and our Weddingstory Business Blog readers?
My advice to aspiring vendors is to not give up! This journey will be a roller coaster ride. On the outside, it may look like a lot of fun and full of pretty things, but there is a lot of work done behind the scenes and it’s not going to be easy. It’s about celebrating the milestones, no matter how small they may seem. As cheesy as it sounds, it is important to take time to remember what you have achieved. Also, don’t ever get complacent. Even when you think you have done well, don’t stop there and keep striving. Another important advice that I firmly believe in is always be honest and genuine. I think that is still the best attitude you can have, even if it means the possibility of losing some clients, others will appreciate your honesty and sincerity. Lastly, learn how to say no. It is something most brand owners find hard to do, including myself. But by learning how to say no, you will be giving more attention to your existing clients and help you streamline your portfolio. Opportunities will always be come knocking and you will be doing yourself and the people around you a huge favour by just learning how to say no.
CREDIT TO VENDORS:
Concept and photography: Chen Buxton | Styling: With Love, Med Kärlek Inc. | Flowers: Flower Story | Gowns: Silhouette The Atelier, Tiara Bridal, Soon Lee | Vintage props: Styled Story | Cake: Crummb | Macarons: Macarons SG | Desserts by Swirl Dessert Tables | Jewelry: Kristine Wong Fine Jewels | Makeup: Tang Yong Makeup | Nails: Glamourous Factory | Model: Si Pei | Venue: Lewin Terrace