Find out how she started and what's next for Helen and Pudding Bridge
0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence
Pudding Bridge is a multi-award winning luxury wedding and party company providing decorations to hire and purchase as well as a fantastic and creative online learning programme.
5-10 seconds: What's the business model?
Pudding Bridge is all about supplying the top wedding trends to the UK market. If I see something I love from overseas, then we take that idea and make it Pudding Bridge! I manufacture in-house so we can bring quality products to market in a matter of weeks. I have just launched my first online course all about Creative Christmas Entertaining and I’m so proud of it. It’s such a exciting growth market.
10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?
Pudding Bridge is unique. I hand-make the majority of our products and compile completely fresh content for our courses. There are only a few other companies providing a similar range of products and I’d say Gilded Linens and Table To Dine For are the nearest but our online courses are totally fresh.
15-20 seconds: What's your USP?
I lovingly supply items you simply can’t get anywhere else! We manufacture the majority of our stock ourselves here in the UK and are so proud to do so!
20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?
When I started the company I worked part time at the same time and that’s funded the initial start-up. Since that point, the company’s growth has been entirely funded by it’s own success. I also have wonderful relationships with other industry professionals so collaborations and special projects have driven growth without expense.
25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?
I worked in the events industry for nearly 15 years before I started Pudding Bridge. I worked for large charities initially, launching an acoustic music festival with BBC DJ Jo Whiley and arranging balls for over 500 people. I then went on to manage weddings at two of the most stunning venues in the UK.
30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?
Wedding in the US are massive and the choice of décor is so much greater. I saw a massive gap in the market, and that’s why I launched Pudding Bridge. UK brides were really beginning the embrace more personal weddings and they wanted fabulous products to help them style their days to perfection and bring a big dose of personality to their weddings. I thought ‘these are products I would love’ and that guiding principle hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Every idea comes from understanding what my clients want and then I set about providing it for them in a caring and professional way.
35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?
Asking a nationally recognised wedding stylist to work with me propelled my business forward. Kirsten Butler of The Little Wedding Helper is a massive name in the UK market, and after only meeting me twice agreed to work with me. She’s amazing at pushing new talent in the industry and I have been so lucky to work with her. Together, we’ve been involved in some amazing projects such as supplying products to Conde Nast Bride’s magazine’s birthday ball at Goodwood House and collaborating on styled shoots that have featured in consumer magazines and on super popular blogs. Also, my Creative Christmas Entertaining course was a smart move – it brings Pudding Bridge magic to a whole new audience outside of the wedding world.
40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?
Trying to do everything myself! As a small business it’s so easy to try and do it all but there comes a point where that stops working and inhibits your ability to move forward. I have learnt to concentrate on the things I’m best at and work with others who bringing specialist skills and knowledge with them.
45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?
It would have to be something a little special! I like to think we are a delicious handmade macaroon, possibly with a few flecks of gold leaf on top, that’s presented in a beautiful box. It’s something you just have on special occasions and that the packaging plus the treat inside combine to make something spectacular.
50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?
The iPhone! Tech really isn’t my specialist but to me it’s the perfect product. It’s beautifully designed, extremely clever yet simple to use and, most importantly, it’s just become part of our everyday lives. To have an idea that in a few years has just become part of every day life whilst retaining a sense of brand cool is such an incredible achievement.
55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?
The core income will continue to come from the hire items (our linen, photobooth kits and chair décor), with significant growth from our products sales. I would love to work with a national retailer to have Pudding Bridge on the high street. But, my real focus will be the online learning programme. In our modern day culture we have such little time, I want to show women how to host parties at home without getting stressed, enjoying the experience and enable them to spend time with the people they love. Injecting style and creativity into the every day for everyone is really an exciting prospect.
Extra time: Helen, we understand you have a secret Santa special offer to Smarta readers?
I certainly do! I've teamed up with Groupon to offer you my online course, 'Creative Christmas Made Easy', for just £16 instead of the normal £65!
So there you go! Why not check out Helen's course as a great example of producing winning digital products and give your Christmas party some extra sparkle in the process?