Jonathan Ward can definitely be described as a ‘born entrepreneur;’ we have all encountered them at some point – remember the child at school who had managed to build up a burgeoning business selling snacks and making an exorbitant profit? Jonathan’s snack of choice was home -made pizza, which he sold aged 13 as a means of boosting his pocket money.
Jonathan’s foray into entrepreneurship did not emerge again until a good few years later; after working as a chef and running a kitchen as head chef at just 21, Jonathan then went into finance and it was while working for an online accountants he set up his first business. Jonathan’s venture, Jigsaw Catering continues to thrive and he has recently launched The Holy Bridal app, which I was eager to hear about.
1. By your own admission, you left a well paid job to start your catering business, Jigsaw Catering. What advice would you give to anyone considering giving up a secure full-time job to pursue their own business?
I’d like to say that it’s all about self-belief but in reality it’s about research – you can never completely eliminate risk but you can make sure before you make any bold moves that there is a good chance of success. With Jigsaw I was fitting it in at weekends and in the evenings and I had the business at a point where I knew it was a success before I gave up the day job to concentrate on it full time.
2. You have just launched your new venture, Holy Bridal. How are you managing two businesses simultaneously?
I’m putting in a lot of hard work and a lot of hours! That said, I’ve gone in with a plan and it’s all about executing that plan now, so we’re at a really exciting time with the app.
3. Can you give me a brief overview of the Holy Bridal?
The idea is simple really – it’s just about making it easy for couples to find suppliers in their local area that they can trust. Apps and mobiles are the main ways many of us consume our information now and while there are online wedding directories, there weren’t any that were app-based. This app knows where you are and lets you find suppliers in your region, shortlist them and decide which one is for you before you contact them. The supplier never sees your details unless you want them to.
It’s designed to be fresh, fun and easy to use. I just wanted to make life simpler and take some of the frustration out of what is one of the happiest times in life.
4. How has the Holy Bridal been received so far?
We did market research before we launched the app with retailers, talking to them on the telephone and at wedding fairs, and all the feedback we had was positive. Suppliers like the fact that being on the app can be seen as an endorsement of their products and customer service. Brides and grooms love the idea of the app and how it works in practice – so far, so good!
5. I like the name Holy Bridal, have you endured the wrath of any religious types due to the Christian connotations?
Thanks – we like the name too! It was actually my girlfriend who came up with the idea for the name – it’s a fun twist on a familiar phrase. Lots of directories are described as the “bible” of this or that, and the name is designed to be fun while also conveying the app’s purpose.
6. What are the set criteria when selecting suppliers for the Holy Bridal?
Any supplier in the wedding industry is welcome to get in touch to ask to be listed – there’s no detailed application process or anything like that. We do insist that they are relevant to our audience. We don’t see ourselves as “vetting” suppliers but we will respond to user feedback. If we do hear that there is a problem we will take action so customers can be reassured that suppliers on the Holy Bridal are reliable and deliver on their promises.
7. What sets you apart from your competitors?
We don’t really have any competitors in this space – we are the first comprehensive app-based wedding directory app. Where we differ from other online listings is that we can deliver information from businesses in your region in a way that is very straightforward, fun and easy to use wherever you are.
8. With the rise in weddings abroad, are there any plans for the Holy Bridal to capitalise on this trend?
We’ve got that in mind – we have a category for this; for companies who advertise their services in the UK. We’re also looking at encouraging companies that offer hen and stag do packages in Ireland, Europe and Las Vegas to come on board. So in that sense we’re already international!
9. Where do you see the Holy Bridal in three to five years’ time?
Our aim is to be well-known and trusted as the UK’s number one wedding directory app, with a comprehensive list of trusted suppliers. I’ve no doubt the app will grow with even more functionality as we go on – the sky’s the limit!
For further information please visit: www.theholybridal.co.uk