When Jen Glantz posted an ad online offering her services as a bridesmaid, she woke up the next day to over 250 responses. Many thought it was a joke, but Jen saw a real opportunity to create a new business.
“Some people have the greatest friends in the world, but don’t want to stress them out with tons of pre-wedding requests,” she says. “I’m the bride’s on-call therapist, personal assistant, social director, and peacemaker.”
As a professional bridesmaid, Jen runs Bridesmaid for Hire. What started as a fun side hustle turned into a very lucrative job. Here’s how she did it.
It all started with an ad
Before she started her creative side hustle, Jen was working as a copywriter for a New York City-based tech startup. While she enjoyed her job and loved the opportunity to use her journalism degree, she was drawn to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur.
After Jen served as a bridesmaid six times for her friends, they joked that she was a professional bridesmaid. That thought sparked her imagination — she realized that her past experience, along with her organized and upbeat personality, could be monetized.
In 2014, she put up an ad on Craigslist stating that she was a bridesmaid for hire.
The ad said she could handle forgetful friends, get things organized, and provide support to the bride. When Jen woke up the next morning, she had hundreds of responses — some from brides, and others from women who wanted to be professional bridesmaids, too.
“It was a great way to test out this new concept and made me realize there was a true need for this role in the wedding industry,” Jen explains.
The overwhelming response showed Jen that there was a real opportunity for her to start her own business. The week after she posted the ad, she launched the Bridesmaid for Hire website, and soon, she booked her first client.
“It was the perfect learning experience,” she says. “I was nervous walking into it, but then an hour into the job I realized that I was able to help the bride and the party out so much.”
Within a few weeks, television programs and magazines heard about her story and contacted her for interviews, causing traffic to her website to explode. Within six months of running her ad, she had booked five weddings and seriously boosted her side hustle income.
Switching from side hustle to full-time gig
For a while, Jen juggled both her full-time job and her bridesmaid business. She would get up early in the morning and log three hours of work on her side gig, then would head to work. When she came home in the evening she would work for a few more hours, talking with potential clients or updating her website.
Jen dreamed of making her bridesmaid business her sole job but hadn’t quite figured out a plan to do so. For a time, her side gig was just a great way to make money on the side. Then in 2015, fate intervened when she was laid off by her employer. She was heartbroken; she had dedicated herself to her job and put in long hours to help the company succeed.
“I stood outside the building on my way out and said to myself, ‘I will never work for anybody else,’” Jen says. Using the layoff as a motivator, Jen turned her side gig into a full-time career. Through her hard work, the business expanded and replaced her old salary.
Her business today
Today, Jen’s company offers three different packages:
- Wedding coach: As your wedding coach, she’ll help you stay on budget, remind you of necessary tasks, and help problem-solve any major issues.
- Day-of coordination: Different and less expensive than hiring a wedding planner, this option gets you assistance with logistics. That includes creating a detailed timeline for the wedding, coordinating with vendors, and on-site support.
- Bridesmaid for hire: When you need one more person to round out your bridal party, this option allows you to hire a seasoned bridesmaid. Beyond walking down the aisle, she’ll help you manage your to-do list and handle any last-minute emergencies.
Jen’s services aren’t cheap: Depending on how much care you need, prices range from $150 to $2,000 or more. Starting prices don’t include her travel fees, accommodations, or her bridesmaid dress — that’s the bride’s responsibility.
But Jen, who has worked over 60 weddings, says the premium is well worth it.
“As a wedding day-of coordinator, I’ve seen it all … sometimes I’ve seen it all go wrong. But I have had a solution for every hiccup and a Band-Aid for every last-minute scratch on the day’s overall plan,” she says on her website.
In her role as hired bridesmaid, Jen has had to navigate many tricky and sensitive situations.
“I’ve found photographers when they’ve gone missing, caught a wedding cake that fell off a table and almost landed on the floor, [and] served as the unofficial DJ when the real DJ didn’t show up,” Jen says.
She even puts her copywriting experience to work by drafting speeches for the maid of honor or best man. The results of Jen’s hard work? A seamless and stress-free day for the bride.
Start your own unique side hustle
Understandably, many people want to follow in Jen’s dyed-to-match shoes. Since she launched her business, she’s received over 20,000 applications to work with her.
Although Jen isn’t hiring help right now, there are plenty of opportunities for other like-minded entrepreneurs. If you’d like to start your own bridesmaid service or other wedding-related business, Jen recommends that you be able to thrive in stressful situations.
“You’ll need experience,” she says. “It’s good to be a people person and to love being in chaotic situations.”
She says that having experience as a bridesmaid is essential, but if you have a background in event planning or organization, that can be a huge asset, too.
Because of her own success with turning a side gig into a full-time job, Jen is passionate about helping other would-be entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. She’s added career coach to her resume, offering an online course to help others start similar businesses. In February, she even published a book on her experiences.
Launching your own business
Whether you want to become a professional bridesmaid like Jen or have another idea for a new side hustle, Jen warns that you shouldn’t wait for the “right time.”
“Start now,” she says. “Put a product or service out there and see if it works. Hustle hard and don’t stop till you cross the finish line.”
Want more side hustle inspiration? Check out these blogs that will motivate you to make more money.
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