Summer 2013, Helsinki airport. Anu Beadle steps out of a plane, looking uncertain. She had just left behind a successful wedding planning business in the UK. Along with Anu came her British husband and the kids – at least that’s how things were planned.
Anu had originally moved to the UK to work for an airline ten years earlier. After finding a husband and having kids, the family decided to move to Tampere. Because of the Finnish education system, this appeared to be the right choice. Anu knew that Tampere was a big city with a village-like atmosphere. You could let your kids play in a nearby park and keep an eye on them through your house windows. The good transport connections from Tampere would also serve the family’s travelling needs.
Anu’s husband only found out then that he wouldn’t be able to leave the country due to work commitments. Leaving her husband in Wales for the time being, Anu and the kids moved to Tampere. − Ironically, it had been his idea to move, but then he was the only one who had to stay.
Having to rearrange the family’s life alone was a challenge, but Anu decided to meet it with a positive mindset. Tampere provides day care and education in foreign languages, so the kids would grow up bilingual and aware of their roots. The abundance of British contacts in the area would also help her husband settle in later on.
During the first six months of their stay, Anu participated in an entrepreneurial training program MaPaMu. Thanks to this program, she found the courage to launch Lily Dream Wedding in Finland. While still in the UK, Anu’s company had been among the most renowned in the industry, but in Finland, it was still unusual to outsource your wedding planning.
Attending MaPaMu was a huge eye-opener for Anu. She realized just how many other return migrants there were in the city and how great a role peer support can play in pushing yourself forward. After the training, she joined the Osuuskunta Paluu co-operative to keep up the energizing atmosphere.
Tampere turned out to function well not just as a family base but also as a business location. After launching Lily Dream Wedding, the first summer was fully booked within a couple of months. The feedback from customers and colleagues has been appraising: − I landed in this industry by accident. Now I’m the one that others seek inspiration from, Anu smiles.
Even still apart in two countries, the family remains close. There is enough trust that things will work out eventually. You just don’t always know the exact dates.