Meet Stacey Ferguson-Czersovski
How did the idea for The Venue Experts come about?
I spent 20 years in the wedding industry – 20 years, wow! – and the majority of that has been working for beautiful venues as an event manager, running the weddings. For many venues there wasn’t a separate sales and marketing team, so as well as planning the wedding and running the wedding, part of my role as an event manager was also to make sure that we were securing new business. This was fine outside of season, when you have some downtime and can be at your desk to keep on top of those enquiries and booking in the viewings, but April through September, when you’re running 4, 5, 6, 7 weddings a week it’s hard. You’re not at your desk, you’re not speaking to new couples because you’re so focused on the couples getting married with you.
You can’t give your all to everything all the time, so The Venue Experts was born out of that – creating a solution to the problem. I always say to our venues, “you concentrate on doing what you love – planning and running the weddings – and we will look after your sales and marketing, and make sure that your pipelines are full.” And it’s worked!
Have you always worked in the wedding industry?
I’ve always worked in hospitality, even from a very young age – my first job was waitressing and through that I was asked to wait weddings and I just absolutely loved it. My ambition was always to be a manager of a Michelin-starred restaurant – very high end! But as soon as I started working on weddings I thought straight away this is me, this is my bag.
I’ve worked in so many roles to do with weddings, including waitressing, as an event manager for a catering company, outside catering company manager, freelance event manager for weddings, I ran a wedding venue and then worked in business development sales. I like being a bit of disrupter, doing things differently, and that’s where I am now.
What do you love about working with wedding venues?
I absolutely love buildings. Historic buildings are my thing and it’s a passion that I have outside of work – our family are members of the National Trust, Historic Houses and English Heritage and we’re always out and about visiting them. It’s amazing that I get to work with all sorts of wedding venues from castles and estates to barns and teepees – I’ve spent a lot of time in a tepee for work!
Truly, I love that wedding venues are the hub of the whole day – you start with the venue and then everything builds from that. And I really enjoy working with the teams behind the wedding venues – I was them; I am them and I get them.
What would be the number one piece of advice you’d give to wedding venues wanting to boost their sales?
Well, work with us of course!
I have found you get the best results when a venue is a good all-rounder, and they separate the sales from the ops. Having a team that can just absolutely give their all to the sales is so important – they’re there when a couple is just engaged and starting their venue hunt, answering their questions. Being reactive is so important in today’s market, so yes, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to separate the sales process from the ops. We can help with that, by the way…!
What makes you really want to work with a wedding venue?
Obviously if it’s absolutely gorgeous then I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is us!”
What’s really fun is that within our team we’ve all got really different personalities – we’ve got Emily (who’s engaged) and her ideal wedding venue is something like a teepee in a forest, with lots of music and cool vibes. Then we’ve got EJ who is elegant and extra and definitely a stately home or an estate kind of girl, who loves champagne towers and the finest food and wine. So, my idea of a perfect venue is different to theirs, or to Joel’s or to Kelly’s or Chloe’s.
Another thing that makes us really want to work with a wedding venue is the team – we’ve got to click because we are an extension of them.
What are you most proud of?
This one’s easy – my team. They are my people and every single one of them is incredible. To see them smash it, grow and learn, just be the best people and the ultimate The Venue Experts’ cheerleaders is amazing. I know it’s a bit corny, but we are a little family – we do so many events together and things outside of work, and we’ve got each other’s backs. I am just so, so proud of them.
How would you describe the rest of The Venue Experts team?
They are the best – they’re literally the best! What I’ve tried to do is try to build a team with various strength, so while we all have a passion for smashing sales and being the best, we each have things that make us different. That way our strengths and weaknesses are balanced out within the team – something that was really important for me.
We are all about attention to detail, which is great, and there’s a healthy bit of competition too! They are so protective of their venues, and they want their venues to be the best. It’s just great vibes.
What has surprised you most about running your own business?
Oh my gosh, it’s completely different from being a sole trader. I thought it be the same, but it’s definitely not the same! There’s a lot of extra stuff outside doing what I love, which is the sales and working with venues. With having a team there’s all the HR stuff that comes along with that, all the payroll and the on-boarding, training and support.
Also, I am really conscious of The Venue Experts brand, so I work with amazing lady called Chloe and we just make sure that the brand’s message and values run through everything we put out. That’s something very important to me.
What does the future look like for The Venue Experts?
The future is bright! We have a specific 5-year plan that we are smashing. We going to continue to grow our teams, but make sure that we take our venues with us and ensure that every one of our venues is continuing to have these amazing results. We’ll be continuing to grow that side of things, but also, very excitingly, we are going to be launching more marketing services. So yes, the future looks great.
What part of your job brings you the most joy?
It’s really hard to name a specific part of my job that I love the most. Previously I have never been in a job where it’s a Saturday and I can’t wait for it to be Monday, so that definitely shows how much joy I get from The Venue Experts.
I love celebrating the team’s wins – we have a little bell in the office that we get we ring with every sale, so that bell’s rang a lot! It brings me so much joy when I see my team smash it and when I get the calls from our venues who can’t believe the amazing results. Just soaking up the joy from the team and the venues is special. Watching the idea I had when I was on my own, with my laptop on my knee, grow to a place where I have a team of 10, it’s just crazy.
What three things couldn’t you live without (apart from your family!)?
Ooh, just three is hard! I’m a big fan of English sparkling wine – oh, and coffee too. But I also couldn’t live without my mobile or laptop. And all things green! I went into the office the other day and was wearing a green top, green trainers, carrying a green coffee cup, green pen and a green notepad and the team said, “don’t you think you’re a little bit obsessed?!” So, there it is; more than three things but I can’t narrow it down!