Small Business Success: Champagne Events

Champagne offices

Mandi Wiley and Rachelle Bell comprise the fabulous team of Portland, Oregon’s own Champagne Events!  Champagne Wedding & Event Coordination is a full service wedding and event planning company, dedicated to providing excellence in event planning while maintaining all of the fun. Rachelle and Mandi have a particular passion for weddings and specialize in helping create fun, stress free events that reflect each client’s unique style.

Champagne recently opened a beautiful new location in Portland’s Pearl District but they are also available for destination weddings. These two run an award winning business, are savvy at marketing their services , excellent at utilizing social media and know a thing or two about putting together a stellar event.  Mandi is here to share some of their keys to business success.

Q. Mandi, what inspired you two to begin this business?

A. Rachelle and I met a little over 2 years ago, when we were both looking for a change in our wedding planning ventures. Rachelle had her own planning company, but was looking for someone to bounce ideas off of and a way to grow her company. I was looking to branch off from the company I was working for and start my own company, but was in search of a business partner. Months later Champagne Wedding & Event Coordination was born, and the rest is history!

Q. What is the most rewarding part of running Champagne Events?

A. Helping our clients feel stress free, not only on their wedding day, but also throughout the whole planning process. I’d also say seeing everything come together on the wedding day.

(image by Amanda K. Photography)

Q. What is the most challenging element of your business?

A. This is a difficult question, parts of our job are hard, but that’s also what keeps it interesting and why we love what we do so much. I would say learning to say no and finding the right balance between work and play. After all, our husbands and puppies need attention too!

Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business?

A. Be prepared to work more than you ever have before, but also be aware of the need to take time off.

(image by Amanda K. Photography)

Q. What has helped you to stay strong during the economic ebbs and flows?

A. We started our business in an economic low and I think it helped us really know how to work for our business. Get out there- network- market- advertise!! Without those things, we would never make it.  Often times people say, soon you won’t have to advertise anymore. Though word of mouth is a huge part of our business, advertising is crucial to people remembering you’re still around.

Q. Is there any business or life advice you have received that has helped you along the way?

A. One thing that motivated me the most was to prove I wasn’t a failure. It sounds dramatic, but I was going to college at Oregon State University to be a preschool teacher and realized one day it wasn’t what I wanted to be when I grew up! I talked a lot with my roommate about different ideas and that’s when I decided I wanted to become a wedding/event planner. I had no idea where to start, but I knew that the college path I was on wasn’t for me. Many of my friends and family thought I was crazy to leave college- telling me “that’s how you get a career”. I had an ex boyfriend tell me I would never make it if I didn’t follow through with anything. Oh boy, did that send me in a running charge to prove that I was great at following through, but I had to be passionate about what it was I was doing! With that, I moved home, worked 3 jobs at once and started working for a wedding planning company part time. I worked for that company for almost 6 years before finally starting Champagne with my business partner Rachelle and now we both only work one job!


(images by Paul Rich Studio and Gabriel Boone Photography)

Q. What has been the most important factor for you in the success of your business?

A. I’d attribute it to 6 major things:

1)    Networking, networking, networking!!

2)    Making quality connections with clients and vendors.

3)    Loving what we do and telling people about it.

4)    Having a positive attitude about our business on any given day or in any economic state.

5)    Social media- with using facebook, twitter and blogging on a regular basis we are able to reach an audience that may not otherwise know about us! We connect with current and past clients, as well as new and old friends and many vendors. This serves as a constant reminder that we are out there and loving what we do and is also a great way for people to get to know us better.

6)  Advertising! Not only does it help new potential clients find us, but it also helps people recognize our branding and remember us when they decide to hire a planner.

(image by Koes Bong Photography)

Q. How do you define true success- in life and/or in business?

A. We measure our success by setting goals for our company throughout the year and figuring out different ways to meet those goals. We reassess these through the year, so we don’t get to the end of the year and wish we had done everything differently. I’d also say finding the perfect balance between work and personal life is something we’re getting the hang of, but still working on.



(all images of Champagne Events’ Headquarters by Byron Roe Photography)

Q. Is there a book, blog or quote that consistently inspires you creatively?

A. “Live. Laugh. Love.”  The perfect reminder of all of the best things in life. Every day we get to do what we love and get paid for it! We incorporate living, loving and laughing into every day of our work, but it’s also the perfect reminder to do the same in our personal life.

Q. Thanks Mandi, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

A. You can do anything you want to do, if you work hard and put your heart into it, you’ll be successful! Success, however, doesn’t happen overnight.

(Rachelle and Mandi: image by Dayna Schroeder Photography)

This week has provided a great source of tips for business owners. Mandi has offered some practical and unique ideas for new and emerging entrepreneurs–and shared a powerful story that proves others’ naysaying can be a strong success motivator! She and Rachelle are fantastic at networking and using social media marketing in creative and innovative ways. They are both dedicated to building strong relationships, working hard and pouring lots of heart into what they do. Mandi and Rachelle are both highly committed to their business and passionate  about all elements of the process, and it shows. They also know the importance of keeping things light and always remembering to laugh and have fun.

What do you think of this week’s story and insights? Share your comments below and join us again next Friday!

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4 Responses to “Small Business Success: Champagne Events”

  1. Great article! :) I had the amazing opportunity to work with Champagne Wedding & Event Coordination, and Mandi and Rachelle are the most passionate people I know! They are also very kind, enthusiastic and talented. There is no doubt for me that they can accomplish anything! And by the way, love the new space! :)