After 19 years of working as a stockbroker, Mark Steffan retired to Maui. He “got a little bored,” however, and thus started a life and business coaching service. It wasn’t until he began marketing a newlyweds’ life planning program to wedding planners around the island that he found his new passion, though. Seeing that these planners lacked business experience, Steffan got the idea to start his own wedding coordination business. Despite never having worked in the wedding industry, Steffan was confident he could do a better job. Within weeks of founding Maui’d Forever and setting up a website, he booked his first wedding.
That was in 2003. Today, Maui’d Forever is a leading wedding services provider in Hawaii, catering to clients from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. With a network of over 150 vendors, Maui’d Forever helps couples plan their dream wedding, arranging everything from location to accommodations to licensing on the islands of Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. According to Steffan, this vast network of vendors is what sets Maui’d Forever apart from other wedding planners as they are able to give clients a broad range of choices on their minister, photographer, and other important elements.
Interestingly, Steffan attributes his company’s success to his background as a stockbroker, particularly during his early days in the industry. As a trainee in the 1980s, he sold an investment that gave him a $12,000 commission. One month later, however, the investor was rejected by a surety bonding company, putting him in debt. Steffan had to write off the advance for the next six months, and that experience pushed him to work harder, which led him to succeed greatly and retire early. “[I] created Maui’d Forever with the knowledge I could make a success even without industry knowledge,” he says.