Today we’d like to introduce you to Zabrina Zablan-Duvauchelle.
Zabrina, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my business with one agenda, to create space for queer folk in the wedding industry. My business idea started on the couch of a friend’s house while venting about how difficult planning my own wedding was. My wife and I had no family support (financially or emotionally), we were planning a destination wedding, and to add to the stress – we had two vendors back out on us because they found out it was a same-sex wedding and they didn’t feel comfortable providing service to two women. Weddings can already be stressful to plan, but having to come out to all your vendors with fear that maybe they weren’t affirming or figuring out what wedding traditions to include when neither set of parents would attend, well that just seemed ridiculous.
I have always believed that if you can’t find what you are looking for, then you must create it yourself. I have always loved planning events and throwing parties, so it just made sense. Thus, The Gay Agenda Collective was formed. I started by creating a curated list of gay-owned and gay-friendly vendors so that my couples never had to worry about coming out or being rejected. I made it very clear in my business proposal that this was a business catered to the LGBTQ+ community and then their allies, which caused a shift in the way straight couples approached me. I can vividly remember my first straight couple that I booked timidly ask if I would work with them, even though they were straight. “Of course”, I replied. BOOM! Tables were turned.
Today, we get to work with some of the most amazing people in the most amazing places. I have had the honor to be apart of all of the emotional moments leading up to a wedding. Pep talking couples who don’t have their parents to walk them down the aisle, to creating budget-friendly events for those who are financing everything all on their own. Today, my business works out of Los Angeles and Hawai’i and it has been hands down the best adventure.
Has it been a smooth road?
I have the most supportive partner in the world. When I told her I was going to quit my very well paying job to pursue a dream that may or may not work out, I did not expect her to be as onboard as she was. At first, it was a slow start. I had really only planned two weddings and wasn’t getting much traction, but it slowly started to pick up once I quit and was able to put more energy into the business.
Our biggest hurdle today is attempting to compete in a saturated industry. My business has such a specific market, that it is difficult at times to have steady work. I am still learning to market in this industry, while still being true to our story. Since I am financing this entire business on my own and we currently live off of one steady income, I am very intentional about how I spend my marketing budget.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business is a wedding and event planning company that is catered to the LGBTQ+ community. I plan weddings for couples from the beginning stages of booking their venue all the way to the day of coordination, working with their budgets and coming up with creative ways to stay well under that number. I love DIY’s and a lot of my couples give me free range to help them achieve their Pinterest wedding dream.
Because I specialize in queer weddings, we tend to break a lot of the traditional wedding customs. I work with couples to figure out what “traditions” will work for their big day and what won’t. That’s what keeps wedding planning fun and interesting. The ability to customize and not stick to a template. Each and every wedding we do is completely different from the last, and that is so exciting as a planner.
Probably the thing I am most proud of in the work my company does is the ability to walk with couples through this entire process. A lot of the time our couples are usually doing this alone, without the support of their family. That is just the reality of the community we work. Being able to support them through their decision to choose love and get married is so rewarding. I completely understand the pain that is associated with not having family participation, so to be able to sit in that pain with my couples is a huge part of why I even started this business. I am proud to be apart of the LGBTQ+ community and to be able to share my story in whatever capacity is needed, it is so fulfilling! I think that is what sets up apart. To me, it is more than just planning a beautiful event. It is the mentorship, the community and the life long friendships we get to make with our couples and vendors.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is perfect for a business like this. We currently are working out of Los Angeles and Hawai’i and I find that the LA market by far does better. The big reason why is because there is a need for this type of business. Although it is a saturated industry, LA’ers are more likely to spend their money on companies who are doing things that are benefiting community and have a purpose. I believe our big hurdle is not the location, but the strategy of getting our name out there. We haven’t had an issue booking clients who inquirer. I am very proud to say that 90% of the cliental that reach out end up booking us, and this is because they are interested in our business for more than our ability to create beautiful weddings but our desire to help a specific community.
If someone is looking to start off in this business in this particular city, my best advice would be to get out in the community. Get involved and figure out who you want to serve and why. Figure out your niche and narrow in on it and I can promise that demographic will respond.
- FAIRY QUEER MOTHER – This is our full coordination package and is perfect for the couple who wants to leave all the heavy planning to us. We will work on the budget, the venue, the food, and anything-everything wedding. Consider us your fairy queer mother as we create custom vision boards and monthly to do lists to keep you on schedule before the clock strikes 12! We will begin the planning process about 12 months out from the wedding day. Price starts at $2,500.
- HAKUNA MATATA – This is our partial coordination package and is perfect for the couple who has their venue and food & beverage taken care of. But don’t worry about the other vendors! We will help you research and select the perfect team utilizing our network of pre-screened gay-owned/gay-friendly vendors. We will begin the planning process about six months out from the wedding day. Price starts at $1,900.
- JUST KEEP SWIMMING – This is our month of coordination package and is perfect for the couple who wants to make sure they have everything covered before the big day. It is at this time that couples can start to feel like they are drowning with last minute details, so we come in and keep you a float! We will begin the planning process two months prior to your wedding day. Price starts at $1,600.
- LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS – This is our day of coordination package and is perfect for the couple who did all the hard work on their own (you go team!) We will create a custom day of timeline to make sure we get it done! We will begin the planning process one month prior to your wedding day. Price starts at $1,300.
- Website: www.thegayagenda.co
- Phone: 8082859609
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegayagenda.co/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-gay-agenda-collective-wedding-and-events-pasadena
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