ADAMAS students at their graduation ceremony.
By Kennedy Goh
Growing up, you would hear your elders reminding you ever so often about choosing the right career path. But what is right for them may not be the right course for you. In the case of Dr Khoo Kien Ling, founder of ADAMAS Weddings Sdn Bhd, she found out that it was never too late to realise one’s dream, despite having to take a leap of faith into a whole new job scope.
Dr Khoo, who took the plunge to start her own wedding planning consultancy and school, left her cushy job as a researcher in the United Kingdom way back in 2008. She never looked backed since. Though some may gasp at the risk she took, everything thankfully fell into place as she returned to Malaysia to kick-start her dreams.
The dynamic Dr Khoo had always loved organising events such as birthday parties for friends and family when she was growing up. Eventually as she grew older, she moved on to planning anniversaries, family-related events – you name it, she has probably done it all.
Her parents, who are business owners themselves, have been fully supportive of her decisions. She shares: “My parents were very supportive. When I told my dad about my plans, he made sure I already had a business plan laid out. I’m blessed that I had a lot of help from my family.”
Living a dream
The services of a wedding planner are one that is always needed wherever you go. No matter how tough times are, there will still be a couple tying the knot somewhere in the world.
Though some may think planning a wedding is fairly easy; it can be considered a hassle that the bride and groom can do away with on their special day. Why go through the hassle when you can hire someone to do all the running around and arranging for you? This is precisely why the wedding planning industry is a healthy and thriving market for those who have a penchant for planning and loves everything about weddings.
Taking advantage of this growing need and the vision of opening up her own wedding planning consultancy back in Malaysia, this ambitious young woman went on a course by the Weddings Beautiful Worldwide in the United States to become a certified professional wedding planner.
One can say Dr Khoo is an ambitious young lady. When she puts her mind to it, there is nothing that can stop her. Having graduated with a PhD at the tender age of 25, Dr Khoo is meticulous in everything she does. What she had learned during her tenure as a scientific researcher, she applied the same analytical principals in her business strategies.
Through a licensing programme with Weddings Beautiful, ADAMAS Weddings became the only licensed institute in the country to offer the Weddings Beautiful Malaysia and Singapore (WBMS) course.
Says Dr Khoo: “There is a demand for wedding planners in Malaysia. We are the first in the market to have a professional certification. During out first intake, the response was surprisingly better than I’d expected.”
In addition to being an entrepreneur, Dr Khoo adds ‘book writer’ into her resume with the launch of her self-published book entitled, “99 Tips for Your Wedding”. Is there anything this businesswoman cannot do?
Dr Khoo teaching a student on the ‘tips and tricks’ of organising a memorable wedding
Room for Expansion
One may think there are one too many planners in the market, with the mushrooming of bridal houses across the Klang Valley. So how do these in-house wedding planners differ from her graduates from ADAMAS?
“For one, your wedding planner should not also be the one who is doing your make-up. A planner should just be coordinating and arranging the event for you – a consultant for your event. They are not a supplier or a beautician,” Dr Khoo stresses.
“Many do not understand what a wedding planner should or should not do for them. While we work with certain vendors, we at ADAMAS do not take any form of commission. If there is a discount rate given by our vendors to us, we will somehow pass down the same discount to you.”
The goal of a wedding planner is for you to be able to breathe easy, as he or she will coordinate the event on your behalf and liaise with all the necessary vendors for it.
Moreover, in her capacity as the founder of ADAMAS Weddings, Dr Khoo also ventured into the world of education by training individuals who would like to start their own business, especially for those with a flair for planning weddings.
The ADAMAS School of Weddings is the first government recognised wedding planning and events management school. Last year, it collaborated with Open University Malaysia to jointly offer quality technical education on wedding planning and events management. Students are also equipped with the necessary knowledge to kick-start and succeed in business ventures – a point Dr Khoo is very proud of.
Additionally, the school recently launched its Graduate Training & Internship programme back in March 2013 – a course that is not exclusive to its ADAMAS graduates.
“The ADAMAS Graduate Training & Internship programme was born out of the desire to create competent industry-ready certified wedding planning specialists. The programme teaches practical business and life skills coupled with a choice of concentration in either one of three main areas; namely Business & Management, Art & Design and Education & Languages, in order to harness the unique talents and inclinations of the individual,” says Dr Khoo.
Students of the programme are stationed at its first franchise concept outlet in Kota Damansara – House of Ethereal Weddings – where they will assist in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of running a wedding management outlet. This will prove to be valuable training for them to face the actual business world.