Risk and reward

Living la vida luxe

NAME:
Angela Desveaux
PROGRAM:
Graphic Design
YEAR OF GRADUATION:
1997
JOB:
Publisher and Editor, Wedluxe

The world of consumable luxury is a fickle: subject to the whims of influencers and fleeting trends.

As the publisher and editor of WedLuxe, a high-end media company that produces print and online magazines as well as conferences for the luxury wedding market, Angela Desveaux has learned the art of catering to the wealthy while creating new paths for an ever-changing market.

“In Canada, luxury has to be attainable — it’s more about the design aesthetic rather than dollar value,” she says. “As we look to the future, experience is the new luxury.”

Desveaux’s path to the luxury lifestyle wasn’t fed to her with a silver spoon. A risk taker to the core in life, love and business, she’s spent her life leaping into the unknown, and designing her own success along the way.

“Risk has been a pivotal part of my life,” she says. “I’m still taking big risks, even at this point in my career.”

Growing up in Napanee, Ont., Desveaux always knew she had an affinity for arts and design. Looking to follow a more business-oriented and practical path, she was drawn to Sheridan’s graphic design program.

“The program was instrumental in teaching me the value of a work ethic,” she says. “I can outwork anyone, and it’s due to my time at Sheridan. I chose graphic design because it straddled the art world and business, and I wanted to make money while, at the same time, being creative.”

An internship during the third year of Desveaux’s program turned into a full-time graphic design position with the CBC after graduation. But she was still drawn to the lasting and staying power of print over the fleeting nature of television.

“Risk has been a pivotal part of my life. I’m still taking big risks, even at this point in my career.”

When she began online dating (“20 years before it was cool,” she jokes), she fell in love and moved to Vancouver to be with the man she would later marry, and began work at BC Tel, now Telus. She then accepted a position with Credential and Ethical Funds, a mutual fund company, where she was tasked with establishing an internal graphic design division within the financial services company. “That was a great learning experience towards starting out on my own,” she says. “I saw how much money they were still spending on an agency for forward-facing material — much more than I was making as a full-time employee, which I didn’t think was fair.”

Desveaux started her own graphic design company (bringing Credential along as her first client) and began her life as an entrepreneur. “I learned early to go after what I wanted, and ask for business,” she says.

At 25, Desveaux’s peers were getting married and began requesting her stationery services for invitations and other elements. Desveaux’s husband, a first-grade teacher, started filming weddings during his spare time. Together, they launched Cloud Nine Creative — a cinematography company that provided both the video and stationery materials elements of weddings. However, the pair still saw a luxury market that in Vancouver that wasn’t being served. They eventually launched WedLuxe to cater to the high-end clients that they were seeking.

“You can’t put too much stock or faith in other people’s opinions — no one knows more what you’re capable of than you.”

Initially focusing solely on glossy print magazines, Desveaux made the decision to diversify into other areas early on in her business.

“As the Canadian media landscape is controlled by a few major players, I had to get my readership in different ways, and be creative in my approach to distribution to the consumer,” she says.

In 2012, she launched the WedLuxe trade show as a means to draw potential readers and engage with the community. She and her husband also moved to the U.S. to take on the larger wedding market, and now have offices in Toronto and Winter Park in Florida.  They now create custom content magazines for travel and tourism brands.

In 2019, WedLuxe will continue its expansion with the launch of U.S. consumer events and an experiences division.  “As a small business owner, especially in Canada, you can’t stay in one lane or you’ll get run over,” she says. “It was a huge risk, but it got me out of my comfort zone, and that’s where the lessons lie. You can’t put too much stock or faith in other people’s opinions — no one knows more what you’re capable of than you.”

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