What does it take to win a My Business Award? This month, we speak with Victoria Black, Businesswoman of the Year and founder of Wildfire Publishing International.
My Business: Why did you start your own business?
Victoria Black: When I became engaged and bought all the bridal publications, I thought they were really old-fashioned and boring. I discovered a huge untapped gap in the market for a cutting-edge, stylish, comprehensive and inspirational magazine for brides in Sydney. The result was my first magazine called Sydney Wedding. For the first few years, I worked from my mother’s lounge room and the business became way more successful than I ever imagined in my wildest dreams! We are just publishing our 25th annual edition of Sydney Wedding now.
MB: How has your business evolved since its inception?
VB: Since launching Sydney Wedding, we have discovered many other niches in the wedding market. For example, we launched our first national publication, Modern Wedding, 17 years ago in response to a request from bridal designers who said they wanted a better quality Australian bridal fashion publication. Modern Wedding has since become our number one wedding brand – both in print and online.
MB: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
VB: Our greatest challenge was probably seeing The Knot in Australia. The world’s number one wedding brand (in print and online), theknot.com launched in Australia in 2009 and publicly stated in the Australian Financial Review that they were going to attack Modern Wedding's position as market leader. I don’t mind admitting we were scared! Just a few months ago, they withdrew from Australia completely. They could not compete with the relationships we have forged in the industry and our knowledge of the Australian market.
MB: What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
VB: The very best business decision I made is to jump on board with digital media and social media marketing way ahead of most of the publishing industry. Before our competitors recognised the opportunity, I invested heavily in our online presence and to this day we still allocate a large proportion of our resources towards our online channels.
MB: What has it meant for you to be recognised as a My Business Award winner in 2015?
VB: To be named Australian Businesswoman of the Year is a dream come true … to be honest I still can’t believe it! I am so humbled and honoured to receive this incredible accolade. I have to stress that I share this with my wonderful husband, who is our managing director, along with all our
dedicated and highly talented team members. It is very much a team award.
MB: Share with us some of your bigger successes.
VB: We recently received the Annual Facebook Performance Report for 2015 and Modern Wedding is the 10th most popular page out of all Facebook pages in the whole of Australia! However, I have to say that by far the most gratifying achievement we have had is to organise an entire wedding to be donated for a terminally ill policewoman called Natalie (she had ovarian cancer and was also a young mum of a seven-year-old daughter). I saw the couple on A Current Affair and they said they couldn’t afford to get married, so I jumped onto Modern Wedding's Facebook page and within an hour I had her dream wedding sorted! To be able to bless others is the greatest success of all.
MB: Do you have a business motto?
VB: “Your success is our business”. This is twofold: successful planning of the perfect wedding for the bride and groom, and business success for our advertising partners.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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