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.