It happens all the time. A couple will come to me with a stationery design they found online or in a magazine and say they want “exactly this.” My response is that should hire THAT designer instead of asking me to rip off someone else’s hard work. (more…)
Most of the couples I work with “get” what I do. They understand that choosing custom wedding stationery is a lot like having a dress or suit made. I need a lot of “measurements” to tailor your exclusive design to you and your fiancé’s special day. I then craft something that “fits” you and your event perfectly. That is a skill that takes time and years of experience to do well.
Usually Thursdays are dedicated to posts about etiquette or helpful tips, but an experience this week forced me to write about something else: a lack of respect for wedding vendors.
Yesterday, I tweeted about my frustration with blogs that give away free printable wedding stationery. The details of one giveaway are what really got my panties in a bunch.
… and I couldn’t be more disappointed.
They’ve teamed up with William Arthur to “speak to the effortlessness of an SMP wedding and yet the pure chic of our wonderful readers.” As a member of their Little Black Book, it’s kind of a slap in the face.
Why must every wedding blog and website insist on directly competing with it’s advertisers by offering the same products (sometimes even for free)? I’m looking at you The Knot, Wedding Chicks and Ruffled, among others. Stationers are a very specialized group of service providers, with a distinct set of skills and experience that create one of the most important elements of the wedding day. I’m sure the folks at Style Me Pretty would be thrilled if the stationers in their Little Black Book got together to start a wedding blog in a style similar to theirs.
Granted, SMP’s founder started as an invitation designer. But offering their own stationery designs just tells those of us who support the blog editorially and financially that they don’t value us or what we do.
And, yes, I’m still here. 2011 has, so far, been a fantastic year for à deux. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had any time or energy left for blogging. Excuses, right? Well, it’s a good one. It means that brides- and grooms-to-be are loving the work. It means that I’m finally settling in to the wedding community of my adopted home. And it means that my regular readers are probably off flirting with another stationery blog.
I go away for a few days to thaw out from this dreadful Boston winter and come back to learn that the world’s largest retailer is in the stationery business. In the words of colleague Kim J.:
“Nothing says special occasion like Wal-Mart.”
WARNING: NON-WEDDING-STATIONERY CONTENT
A website featured some of my work a while back and since then I have been inundated with calls and emails about advertising in various publications and on some big-name websites. While the attention is great, I have a HUGE peeve. (more…)
When you are looking for wedding stationery, what are you really looking for? Is it about quality or price? Is what you’re buying exactly what you want or is it the only choice that comes close to what you want?
SCENE: a wedding industry event and I’m introducing myself to another vendor.
Them: Did you say “adieu” or “I do?”
Me: Neither. It’s à deux.
Me: In short, it means “for two.”
It happens at least once per event. And don’t even get me started on the conversations about soigne or bespoke. But, at last night’s Beantown Bride event, one woman I spoke to actually knew what it meant, before I had to explain. Little things like that make me happy.
When I decided to get into the wedding industry, I knew going in that it was highly competitive. More than $80 billion is spent on weddings every year in the United States and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a piece of that rather large pie. I have also made some great friendships along the way.
However, I am often surprised at how ruthlessly competitive some of my colleagues can be. Recently, I was excluded from participating in a marketing event because the person hosting it was another stationery designer. It’s not the first time. Often I hear invitation designers discussing whether or not they should befriend their competition? Why not? My clients ultimately choose à deux because they love the work and appreciate all that we do for them. Somehow it fits into the design of their day and — frankly — that has nothing to do with our competition.
I am happy to have relationships with other incredible designers because I know that when I have to refer a client out they will be in good hands. In turn, I want my competition to know that I will provide any referrals with the same level of care I give all my clients.
Networking is such a huge aspect of our business, why would you want to shut out qualified colleagues? What happens when you find yourself in need of some help? You can’t cultivate relationships overnight. You have to earn the trust and respect of your colleagues. Treating them like competitive threats speaks volumes about your business and ultimately makes you seem insecure.
I make an effort to get to know my “competition” and prefer to think of them as “colleagues” instead.