Silk Estate – Marquee Weddings by Toni May is an Ashburton based company who have gown to fill the need of providing beautiful marquees and wedding services. We’ll let Toni fill you in on more about what they do. Tell us a little bit about yourself and Silk Estate. Silk Estate is a marquee hire business specializing in weddings but also catering for other events. We pride ourselves on making marquee weddings the most enjoyable process for the families involved. Our passion for your special day is reflected in all the details we take care of for you. Through the process of assisting families with their weddings we have identified areas that families really appreciate support with now offer wedding day set up, bar service for the day, and event planning services. Our wedding day dressing service means we arrive at the crack of dawn (or before), arrange your tables, place linen, set cutlery, crockery, glassware, place your centrepieces, named guest cards and table numbers/names. Style the supper table, fill and heat hot water urns, check power, and run heaters if required. Really all those little jobs that just need doing. We ask our brides to visit our showroom to do a mock table setting (with photos taken) to ensure every detail is carried out to our brides wishes. Our bar service starts before your ceremony and continues through to the wee hours finishing with a refresh of your marquee ready to go for the next day event. We bring the ice, stock take and monitor your alcohol and offer table service through your wedding breakfast. Recycling of bottles and rubbish removal can all be part of your package. We are a firm believer that you have enough to do without worrying about these details. Why did you choose to get into this industry? Silk Estate – marquee weddings derived from our canvas fabrication business Peter May Ltd. Peter started making smaller branded marquees for A & P Shows and a few of our farming clients started to request larger marquees for their daughter’s wedding on the family farm. At first we thought we would supply marquees and hire the other products but quickly discovered the quality and availability of doing this would be a problem, so took a huge step and invested in quality, chairs, tables, linen, cutlery, crockery, glassware, lighting, dance floors, stages, luxury restroom, heaters, furniture, chiller trailers etc. What’s your favourite part about the job? My favourite part of the job would have to be seeing the long awaited day come to fruition. For it all to go well and everyone to have a lovely time in outstanding surroundings and the huge smile on the brides face with usually relief and relaxation smiles on that of the families. What is one piece of advice for other small business owners? Can you share any lessons learnt from business struggles or challenges that you’ve overcome? Right from the start of our business we identified that the correct software and support would be crucial. We trialled various software packages for our hire product and found a great product that was an ‘add on’ to Xero. Before Xero we had been using the same software for twenty years, but knew for the last five years that it was not giving us the information we really needed. Now Xero and the add on software is such a powerful tool and really easy to use. What I have learned so far is to persevere. In business there are so many challenges to work through. Having good support is great. I like to have an outsider’s viewpoint to challenge us – to make us realize what we are capable of. Someone to set that bar a little higher than you would have set it yourself and then the satisfaction of achieving that goal. DJCA have been a great source of this prompting. We hope that with Sidekick on board taking care of your accounts, you have found more time to do the things you really enjoy. So what is it that you love to do with your spare time? Spare time for us at Silk Estate is spending time at our family bach. This is an off season activity. I must say most of our time is work related, but I really don’t worry too much about work life balance as when you really love what you do and are passionate about it, then it doesn’t feel too much like work. As we are in this for the long term, I believe in being able to stay fit, well and happy even on the most busy of days. Spare time for me would be the morning gym session and the lovely early morning runs I enjoy. Do you have any new products announcements or favourite recommendations that you’d like to share? Silk Estate is a forward looking company, interested in current trends and ideas in the wedding industry. Our stock is new and fresh and we take great pride in delivering this standard to our clients. Last season we bought in the wooden cross back chair which have proven to be so popular. This season we have added 2 very exciting items too, copper cutlery and a cut glass tumbler. These have also proven to be very popular for the coming season. You can get in touch with the team at Silk Estate on Facebook, Instagram, or their website.