Digital Marketing Diploma allows business owner Chantelle to close her “skill gap” and equip her business for long-term success. Read her story here.
Chantelle was seeking a creative job. She tried her hand at hairdressing then switched to a factory job at Fonterra “because it paid three times more.” After achieving her goal of buying a house with her factory salary, she began to wonder what was next. Chantelle completed a business Diploma over 4 years, then began brainstorming a business that would be best suited to her.
“I started seeing all these picnic businesses pop up all around the world, but not in New Zealand. About to move to Queenstown, a town full of amazing landscapes and tourism had me wondering, ‘Why hasn’t this been done yet?’ So I flew over to Byron Bay, the hub of all things textiles and boho. That’s where I decided – this is what I’m going to do.”
My Secret Picnic is born
With My Secret Picnic, Chantelle creates “stress-free, eco-friendly and bespoke experiences that will be treasured forever.” Common occasions for her one-of-a-kind picnics include proposals, anniversaries, elopements, and bridal and baby showers.
Turning Negative to Positive
The COVID “curveball” hit Chantelle’s picnic business shortly after it began. However, she was able to see the positive side. “It gave me the time to breathe, do my study, and upskill in different areas that I wasn’t skilled in.”
As New Zealand’s borders were closed to tourists, and therefore Chantelle’s clients, this was the perfect opportunity to study a topic she “always wanted to”.
She chose to study NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing and equip her business for success.
“I noticed I had a skill gap. When trying to do paid ads – I had no clue. Not to mention, I didn’t even know what SEO was, I just knew I had to write a blog. So all these terminologies were coming at me. And I was paying big money in the mix of COVID to try and get my business up and running.”
Online classes were a perfect fit for Chantelle, allowing her to study full-time.
“I was hoping and praying by the time I finished, the borders were open. It’s all worked out, which I’m very thankful for. [The Diploma has] given me the ability to do everything and know everything myself. Of course, I’m not a specialist. But if I need to dive deep into an agency, I’m going to know what I’m talking about. And I’m going to know what I want.”
NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing gave Chantelle the chance to tick some business must-haves off her to-do list. For example, brand guidelines and creating a logo.
“[The course] gave me an understanding of many things. Such as, how to do colour palettes; what I wanted my website to look like; and what are the best practices for a website. It’s created more consistency throughout my brand.”
It also helped Chantelle when working with contractors. For example, when employing someone to design her website – she was able to clearly understand the vision that she wanted and communicate with the designer.
“That first step is to figure out what you want and it does make it hard. Because I’ve got a vision of what I want something to look like, it can be hard to explain that vision to someone who works with terminology and coding. Now I can speak her lingo. And she can understand my vision.”
Although she has graduated from the course, Chantelle still puts her study notes to good use. Her tutors gave her a trove of resources to carry with her into her future as a business owner.
“I’ve got all my notebooks that I can go back and have a look at. I’ve even got Word documents of blogs that my teacher recommended. I saw that my tutors are passionate about what they do. Now that I’m in – what I would call – the real world, putting everything into practice, I remember “This is what my tutor said. I can do it like this.”
Challenges of the business
While her work looks picture-perfect, in stunning setups with breathtaking views, it’s not always as glamorous as it seems.
“It can be extremely challenging. For example, the weather. I remember setting up a video. I put a cabana up and there was no wind at all. And then this gust of wind came up under the cabana, picked up the table and threw it over a rock. As much as it looks glamorous, there are always bloopers.”
Working in the business of romance has exposed Chantelle to some heartwarming moments.
“I had a proposal last week, and it was a complete surprise. [The fiancé] brought her nail polish so that when she gets her photo taken, she’ll have pretty nails. He had six different colours because he was unsure. He even got the wipes and nail polish removers. Those little moments are so adorable!”
Running a business solo
At this stage, Chantelle flies solo on My Secret Picnic.
“I like it because I’m solely accountable. And it gives me personal growth. Not to mention, you’re a part of someone’s life milestone, and you’re also going that extra mile. My heart is so into it, that if I was partnered with someone, I don’t know where my heart would lie. I’ve been thinking about this business for four years, and it’s continuing to grow. So has my love for it. I like to be a part of the whole process from when they first email me to right to the end.”
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