Motherbility Moms is an ongoing series that highlights entrepreneurial moms and their businesses.
Dominique Zube is exactly where she wants to be. But, wow, it’s been a journey.
Zube’s path began in Verona, detoured to New Orleans and North Carolina, but ultimately brought her back home, where she’s surrounded by parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and her grandfather — a support system she’s especially needed over the past couple of years.
In spring 2016, she and her husband Calvin decided to separate. Her grandmother died that same week. Then, in September 2017, Calvin died — leaving her a single parent to their young sons, Myzell and Urijah.
“I have a great support system of family and friends, and so it has made (the aftermath of Calvin’s death) less painful — obviously still earth shattering,” Zube said. “Just knowing you’re not alone in it makes it, like, the weight isn’t all just on your shoulders.”
That support has been crucial, too, for Zube’s business: Wood Violet Events + Styling.
Wedding planning is not a 9-to-5 gig, and her family (and Calvin’s) often watch Zube’s boys when she can’t be home.
During non-peak season, Zube said, she can get her work done while her boys are in school.
But asked what her peak-season schedule is, she laughed. “Schedule? What schedule?”
She described the previous weekend, during which she’d had two weddings — one on Saturday and the other on Sunday:
On Friday night, she attended a rehearsal dinner, went home and packed the car for the next day’s wedding. She woke up Saturday and met her team at the wedding venue to get everything set up. She left there to go to the other wedding’s rehearsal dinner from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m., then went back out to the Saturday wedding for the rest of the day and night. She arrived home after midnight and was up at 7 a.m. Sunday. She packed the car for Sunday’s wedding, spent the entire day there, got home once again after midnight, went to bed at 2 a.m. and slept until 9.
“And then I got up and started my day,” she laughed.
Zube has spent a decade building her business. She now oversees about 12 weddings a year.
Her first wedding was her own.
“I was, like, ‘Huh, I want to see how I can plan a wedding while staying within this very structured budget,” she said. “And it was almost like a game to me, where I was like, ‘Oh, let’s see how I can make this work in my favor, or if I take money from this and put it towards this and I have to make sure that I don’t try to expand my budget.”
“At that point, I kind of went back in my mind and realized that I had planned my best friend’s 16th birthday party and I had planned a lot of get-togethers. … I just realized that that’s something that kind of came natural to me,” she said. “But it never dawned on me (to start an events-planning business) until I planned my own wedding and my girlfriends were starting to get engaged.”
She took an online certificate program to learn the business. She planned a few friends’ weddings to build her portfolio. And she’s been working steadily ever since.
A few years ago, Zube rebranded to specifically target the kind of weddings she wants to plan: Those that emphasize the outdoors, natural materials and sustainability.
“Because people will spend $3,000 to $4,000 on flowers and then they get thrown in the garbage,” she said.
So Zube’s sought partnerships with places such as nursing homes that welcome having fresh flower arrangements after the wedding concludes.
When selecting disposable items, she tries to use eco-friendly products. She also works with wedding venues that share her attitude.
At first, she worried that specifically targeting a type of wedding might cost her business.
Instead, it’s a big draw: Couples know upfront the type of wedding she creates and hire her if they want that, too.
“Being self-employed, when your passion is what pays your bills, it can very easily become draining and not fulfilling and more stressful than it ever was when it was your side hustle,” she said. “So I just decided that I only wanted to do things that filled me and with the couples that I really enjoyed spending time with.”
Zube said so much of her identity, for so many years, was tied into being a wife and mother, and growing her business, she’d take on any and every wedding she could.
With her business comfortably growing, Zube lately has been focused on self-care.
“If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of (my sons),” she said.
“My struggle is just being content that there will always be things on my to-do list, and I should just enjoy time with them while I can,” she said. “Because they’re not going to want to (when they’re older).”