Mati Gono the Founder and CEO of Just As Planed Wedding Consultants describes herself as a bold, confident, hardworking woman full of ideas. This is evident through her successful empire which was established in 2011 and was voted regional finalist for the 2015 Wedding Industry Awards.
Mati recently said in an interview that she has always been a business woman. It all started from the tender age of 11 where she had to learn how to invest and double her spending money ” My mum used to give me £1.50 a day to go to school with and during break time I could only afford a pack of crisps and a drink. I started investing the £1.50 every morning into buying 15 10p pick & mix bags from my local sweet shop and would sell them for 20-30p, the last two bags would always sell for about 40-50p. I would end up with at least £3.60 on some days and then I started investing more money in my local sweet shop. That process taught me a lot, I couldn’t live on the £1.50 especially when my friends were being give £3 a day.
She discusses with us how she started out , the challenges she has faced and gives a few words of advice to other female entrepreneurs.
History: I run a Weddings & Events company where we put together memorable events for our clients. We consider ourselves expert’s in the wedding industry with over 5 years of experience. Personally, I feel as a company we reflect the best of the growing wedding industry by setting trends and standards that others are measured by.
I am passionate about more than the events/weddings themselves but the overall experience, as a team we are professional in our approach from start to finish with our vendors. With our couples we manage their expectations and always deliver on promise.
My name is Mati Gono and I’m a game changer, living and running my business on purpose.
Name: Mati Gono
Current title | Company: Just As Planned
Education: BSc Hons Advertising & Marketing, BTEC Level 3 Management, Advice & Guidance, Business Administration & Customer Service
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first Job was at Next (Retail) in Croydon. I started as a Christmas temp; they kept me on after Christmas and worked there for 7 years. That job took me through College and Uni.
What made you decide to start a business?
I was made redundant and I was fed up with the uncertainty related to the government-funded work I used to do, so I decided that would be the 3rd and final time I would be made redundant.
Have you always had a flair for Weddings?
I have always been that faithful friend who would organise get togethers and if we were out as a large group at a restaurant I was always the one who would workout the service charge and collect payment from all who attended. We started doing events on the gospel music scene; at the time working with the likes of G-force, Commission and Muyiwa & Riversongz on album launch events. The first wedding we did was in 2007 for Obed & Eleanor from God TV, after that there was no turning back. Friends would ask us to do their weddings and plan their parties, at the same time we were in love with the live music scene and put together events like Good vibez and working with different artists.
In 2011 Just As Planned started and Looking back now, it seems it was just a natural calling, may sound a little cliché, but that was how it It all started. From co-ordinating a few events for friends and family, then external people started noticing the sense of organisation and then enquiring, and commenting on the level of professionalism of how the events where handled. Queries lead to bookings, bookings lead to another recommendation, pretty soon, it became a cycle. We are happy to say that we have been blessed and have been able to book couples year on year. 2016 has been amazing so far, the places we have been , the venues we have worked with and most importantly the couples who have trusted us to bring to life one of their most important days in their lives.
What inspires you and what keeps you happy?
The thought of living a life that I have designed and doing everything on purpose makes me happy. My Inspiration comes from God and what he says about me.
Despite there being other wedding planners, why did you feel you could compete in such a market?
As a business we dare to be different and stand out. We also offer a quality service, which we are confident in so we are never competing with others. We ensuring that we are continuously improving.
What challenges have you faced since starting this business?
The wedding planner is more than just a hired help, they liaise between everyone and everything that’s needed to make the day a success, which in essence can start weeks or even months before the actual day. This includes building bridges the bride and groom’s families, the reception venue, vendors, and suppliers. We have had some very interesting episodes, from having to balance the flaring temper of the bride’s father wanting to invite more guests with the unreasonable demands of the groom’s mother and even the diva brides maids who can sometimes forget who’s day it really is, the groomzilla’s and more. So the most challenging part is really managing peoples expectations, but then again it’s what makes what we do changeling and at the same time so rewarding.
If you could go back and make any changes, what would they be?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Don’t waste time. Get to know yourself and understand who you are and where your strength comes from. Its ok to make mistakes, however learn from them quickly and don’t take failure personally. Live life on purpose and be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams. Always smile and be good to yourself & others.
What is the future for Just As Planned?
With my dynamic vision for the company we are now moving into training others who wish to learn more and gain experience in the weddings & event industry. My hope is to touch , move & inspire others with the work we do and also inform on the standards within the industry to keep it growing and going forward.
What top 3 tips would you give to other entrpreneurs wanting to start a business?
- Start Now
- Seek guidance from those that are where you want to be
- Network – Your only as strong as your network
Anything else you would like to share?
Believing in yourself is one of the greatest keys to success. If you don’t, how easy do you think it will be for others to believe in you. Be bold, because you can do it.
One thing that makes you | your business ” Younique” I believe in me