We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Brenda Baker . We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Brenda below.
Brenda, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What do you think matters most in terms of achieving success?
“Successful” by definition is “achieving the results wanted or hoped for”. Cambridge Dictionary
I believe that every person creates their own definition of what success looks like in their heart. Creating this picture involves passion, perspective, goals and motivation. Passion is what gives the energy and direction to the process towards success. Goals prepare the markers and reward the accomplishments and motivation give longevity to a journey that can last a lifetime.
Becoming successful takes commitment as there are curves in the path, bumps and sometimes even change of direction. These are just opportunities to grow and change and perhaps, come at the heart definition from a different direction. There are often challenges that help redefine or upgrade goals and it takes persistence to remember where to head.
My personal definition of becoming successful is creating a place where I have opportunities to serve the Lord and love people. I am passionate about both my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ, and my love of others. Since my perspective has been enhanced by my faith it is an easy transition. When my husband and I were looking for a business that we could create and work together, the wedding industry seemed to be a great fit to move towards my heart’s definition of becoming successful. My goals are subtle, doing my best to discover needs and serve; listen to desires, wants, fears and do my best to answer; sometimes just to hug when things are happy or hard. I continue to be motivated as the process is actually energizing and challenging all at the same time. I think that the word “successful” should always have the word “becoming” ahead of it – it is the actual journey not the destination.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
My husband, Bud and I, have combined our gifts, talents, and passions, to build this wedding venue.
Bud, whose experience includes 30+ years in Corporate Real Estate combined with a degree in Architecture, is the General Contractor and Jack of All Trades behind the design, layout, and construction of this beautiful facility. His experience merged together with his passion and love of the outdoors, is a perfect partnership for this new business.
I was an interior and floral designer, and had been involved in the wedding industry for over 10 years as a side gig. I didn’t know to dream of owning a wedding venue until the thought of it answer my deepest desires and I put my experience, design touch and a lot of love into this venue. Bud and I have been married 35 plus years and have a deep and abiding love for family.
We believe that God builds families and with his guidance we would love to continue to support and encourage the coming together of families and the building of the foundation of new families. Our goal is to help to make every bride and groom, and their families’ wedding day their best day ever.
We actually fall in love with our couples as we work with them – sometime over 9 months or more – to create a day that has been in their dreams. We do our best to answer questions, provide suggestions, work with vendors to make the event as stress free as possible. We are extremely hands on and attend almost every event in some capacity.
My favorite part is still when the couple says their vows to each other. My all-time favorite is when a groom said, “you are the dream I didn’t know to dream”.
We work closely with our staff, our Manager, Lauren, and other part-timers. They all believe in the importance of loving and serving our clients and are very hands on. We have a beautiful facility but I believe that it is the hearts on the inside that make it special.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
Interestingly enough, in terms of resiliency, we opened and had our first wedding the second week of October, 2019. Just about 6 months before the world shut down. I think the best thing and the worst thing is that we didn’t know when it was going to end.
We were blessed that our building was so large and the capacity set by the Fire Marshall was 657 – so when we could open at 25% then 50% we could still accommodate a lot of people.
When opening this business and currently, my husband and my over arching mission is to serve the Lord and love people and even throughout the pandemic we had many opportunities to put our arms around those families who were disappointed, fearful, and sad. We had micro weddings and postponed receptions to later in the year, we postponed full on events and rescheduled, we had elopements and parties later.
I think our resilience came in that we were able to adjust to the circumstances and still remain true to our mission and today we still wrap our arms around families, thankfully in celebration.
We’d love to hear about you met your business partner.
My cofounder, business partner, and husband, Bud, and I met as students at Iowa State University. Our college dorm floors participated in a “brother/sister” program where the two floors of students would participate in monthly activities to help get to know one another and develop friendships. After we met, Bud and I began dating and after graduation got married. A couple of years into our marriage we took a class together at a local college on entrepreneurship, but of course life happens and we went on with our separate careers, had children, moved from Iowa to Texas and lived life.
We each had great careers and as we assessed the last ten years of our work life determined that we would like to do something creative together, invest in ourselves and forge a legacy for our family. We investigated many ideas and came to the wedding industry where we believed we could accomplish our goals while we served the Lord and loved people. We have had to learn to be business partners, grow in new ways of communicating, and adjust to different roles and business lanes. It’s been a challenging but growth producing process and we are still growing and changing after 37 years of marriage and 3 years in business.
- Website: www.oakandivyvenue.com
- Instagram: @oakandivyvenue
- Facebook: @oakandivyvenue
- Yelp: Oak + Ivy Venue
- Other: Pinterest: Oak + Ivy Venue
Matt McElligott @mcelligottphotography