Today we’d like to introduce you to Shafonne Myers.
Hi Shafonne, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m a certified wedding and event planner with a Biology degree (I know crazy) and a love for everything weddings. I was always the cool and social science person, as they called me in college. Everyone was always like “you are a biology person but you’re so social and fun. So I’ve always had that planning, social vibe to me. While in college I was in charge of the whole social/events organization on my campus so I definitely got my fix of social and planning even when I had my science side. And when I graduated, I did the science/medical thing but I always had my hand in the event planning realm. So eventually my husband told me to go out and start my own company.
My love for weddings started after my wedding when I was asked to plan a friend’s wedding and I knew that this was where I was meant to be. I started out in the business to create amazing and memorable weddings and soon began my love for blogging. I loved being able to share with the world my creative visions and take on weddings while interacting with brides from all over the country.
My wedding was great but being a plus-size bride was extremely hard, there were absolutely NO, plus-size brides portrayed on any of the wedding sites, blogs or magazines. And from the family side, I was constantly told to lose weight or I wasn’t going to be able to fit in my gown so that just added to the fuel. For me, I had to just deal with it because I had no outlet but the longer I spent in the wedding industry; blogging and being a wedding planner the more I thought “This is not right, something needs to be done”.
So Pretty Pear Bride was started as a site where plus-size brides can find bridal inspiration that THEY long for. So many people planning their weddings struggle with finding inspiration that includes images that look like them. Everyone wants to see people that look like them, doing what they are trying to do because it allows them to envision that they can be just as glamorous and gorgeous as they imagined. So the mission was clear: merge a love for blogging and wedding planning with creating a place for plus-size brides to see themselves in wedding inspiration.
There are three things that I love more than anything in the world; my wonderful husband and darling children, teaching and imparting knowledge to all that are willing to listen and making EVERYONE feel that they are the most beautiful person in the world.
While in the blogging world I partnered up with a group of wedding bloggers to create a collective that included 30 of us and created Aisle Society, a wedding media company with an inspired new way to plan your wedding from editors across the globe. Over time, bloggers came and went and then it got to the point, during Covid, of us making the decision if we wanted to keep it going or if we wanted to end it. I decided that I wanted to keep it going so I took over ownership and now I’m the sole owner of it. I’ve really created it as a space to find how the wedding industry really looks. We have 28 publications in the network and I now own eight of them.
My mission is to redefine the way the wedding industry sees beauty, by helping the industry understand that it’s not just a one size fits all industry anymore, everyBODY deserves to feel beautiful on their wedding day. And having Aisle Society and owning publications allows me to do that.
We also added on a software component, Matchology, that matches wedding vendors to publications to increase their marketing efforts with being featured and published in world-renowned wedding publications. We have recently added Zola as one of the publications that use our software to collect their real wedding content for their publication.
It’s so crazy that I left the wedding industry for a while to learn all there was to learn about online marketing from one of the biggest online marketers and now I’m bringing all that knowledge back to the wedding industry. I knew that I needed to learn this skill to make my blog better and now I’m making the wedding industry as a whole better with all the knowledge about online marketing and sales that I’ve mastered. So crazy how things come full circle like that.
Now I own my original blog, Pretty Pear Bride, a media company and software Aisle Society, and just added a Pr and Marketing firm that helps wedding, event and lifestyle entrepreneurs get seen and unlock greatness online. It truly is a culmination of everything in my life coming together.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, not at all!! I think a huge struggle has been the idea that this is one way that people portray a personal brand should look. From an early age, I have always been larger and I realized that was just me. Take it or leave it and I dealt with things along the way that knocked me off that “take it or leave it” train but I really saw it when I started creating businesses. The aspect that I had to show up and “look a certain way” really baffled me. And if I didn’t look a certain way then I didn’t want to show up and be visible in my businesses.
I was always just Shafonne, the confident, charismatic person but when you enter entrepreneurship and the corporate world, it all changes. People and society make you think that to be successful you have to look a certain way. Very similar to how I felt as a plus-size bride. I had to be a certain shape to be in magazines, to feel like I would be accepted, heck to even feel like I would find love at times.
And I thought that creating my business and being a CEO would be different and it was “for me” because I was confident with my body and how I felt and looked but for so many, it wasn’t that way. And it was a reminder as well as a trigger for me of earlier times. You think you get over previous struggles and triggers and you don’t in some cases, you just get good at masking or covering them up.
So for sure, going into business and stepping into the entrepreneur journey has been hard because it really made me look at me and my self-worth in relation to my body again.
Another struggle was the aspect of balancing mom life, wife live and business life. I was able to manage it and be ok when I just had my blog or when I was a planner and that’s all I did. But once I added multiple businesses and being in charge of multiple projects and endeavors, it was game on. I had to really prioritize what I wanted, not what someone else wanted for me or what I thought others wanted me to do but what Shafonne wanted! That was a game-changer for me. We all have the ability to decide and prioritize it’s just the aspect that we might have to let things go that we thought we wanted or we thought we wanted because of what others might think.
One of my dear friends sat down with me one day when I was in a time of just feeling like I was being pulled in all directions and feeling like I was a bad mother because I wanted to run all these businesses and make a huge impact on the world but didn’t want to leave them. She told me that it’s about ebb and flow. It’s not an and/or situation, it’s an and/and way of looking at it. That there will be hustle times and there will be rest times and when my kids need me I have to make them the priority and then it’s a rest time with my business. But when it’s go time in my business then it might have to be a rest time in my personal life. And they will understand that but we all need to know it’s an and/and not a and/or. Once I realized this it allowed me to put in place ways to have this and/and life. So I have schedules that work around my kid’s/wife’s schedule. So that everyone knows what’s going on when. My businesses know and my family knows.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Recently become a co-owner in a dress company, Ella and Oak and launched a dress collection specifically for bridal salons to increase their plus-size dress offers. This is near and dear to my heart because I’m a firm believer in allowing brides of all shapes and sizes to experience and in-person dress shopping experience. This partnership will give me the ability to ensure that there are more dress salons that carry plus-size options in their stores, increasing the chances for more plus-size brides to have their fairy tale shopping experience in person and not just online.
Shafonne Myers Consulting is my Pr and Marketing firm that helps wedding, event and lifestyle entrepreneurs get seen and unlock greatness online. It’s all about the power of building a powerful personal brand, creating an irresistible offer, magnetic messaging and a sales strategy that literally magnetizes your audience and pulls them into your world effortlessly.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
That I have a biology degree and used to be a chemist, high school biology teacher and taught Algebra II as well. So there’s a whole math and science brain in there too! LOL!
- Website: www.AISLESOCiety.com, www.prettypearbride.com, www.ShafonneMyers.com
- Instagram: @aislesociety @prettypearbride @shafonnemyers
- Facebook: @aislesociety @prettypearbride @shafonnemyers
Personal Image – Dennis Kwan Other images – Phillip Van Nostrand