… 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.

15 Comments on Style Me Pretty wedding invitations …

  1. Tracy Osborn
    October 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm (6 years ago)

    At the risk of sounding self-serving, this post is why I HATE the vendor listings on blogs. The blog owners say they want to “promote” their favorite vendors, but really they want to charge a yearly fee in order for anyone to be listed — it’s just another way for them to get money. It drives me absolutely batty, and it’s the main reason why I have free listings on WeddingInviteLove. Also, I won’t come out with my own stationery. 😛 Now I just got to work on getting a blog with as many readers as SMP…

    Reply
    • kelli
      October 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Tracy. I think WeddingInviteLove has great potential and I’m honored to be a part of it.

      Reply
  2. Sarah
    October 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you for posting this. I feel exactly the same way. As a Little Black Book Member I don’t like competing with the actual blog I’m paying to be listed on. Especially when the product and pricing is obviously not something small businesses can match. This makes me especially sad because years ago when I first joined the “purpose” of the vendor list was to promote small business. Something that obviously is no longer the focus. I would like to see the reaction of wedding photographers and coordinators if wedding inspiration blogs started offering their services at a bargain rate as well. I think there would be a huge outcry.

    Reply
    • kelli
      October 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks for your comment, Sarah. Unfortunately, Style Me Pretty has become the Wal*Mart of wedding blogs. It’s huge and has resources that make them unconcerned with their roots. The lack of authenticity is the worst of it. Sadly, because of their size, Abby Larson is unlikely to care what we think about their choices. We are not her market, we just help pay the bills.

      Reply
  3. Tracy Osborn
    October 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm (6 years ago)

    It’s not there yet (still working on it) but stories like this really make me motivated. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Sarah Spano (Hip Ink)
    October 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post Kelli – I commend you for standing up and speaking out against something that is a growing trend and a growing concern in the stationery/wedding industry.

    I agree with you 100% and I do not and will not spend our advertising dollars with publications or blogs that are either trying to compete with us or don’t value what we do as an important part of the industry.

    I hope that more of SMP’s stationery LBB members will make their voices heard on this one.

    Reply
    • kelli
      October 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Sarah! I think more of SMP’s stationery vendors DID speak up. Unfortunately, those comments have since been deleted. The disappointment continues.

      Reply
  5. Abb Larson
    October 20, 2011 at 2:37 am (6 years ago)

    So much to say on this topic. We have a few choices when it comes to building our business (and yes, this is a business to us as we have kids and mortgages and employees who have kids and mortgages)…

    1. Start charging our advertisers a higher rate.
    2. Dilute our advertising pool by adding MORE advertisers.
    3. Start leveraging product to grow our revenue.

    Our hosting fees are in the upper 5-10k per month range, our developers command market rate salaries, our writers have to pay their bills, our costs are huge per month to support the 1 million + readers that we have. The amount of money that is put BACK into the site to offer MORE platforms for designers like you to get your work out there is HUGE. For the rate that you pay compared to other advertising with comparable traffic, you are getting far more for your money strictly because of the revenue that we generate on things outside of advertising. There isn’t a major website out there that doesn’t build out product in order to support their costs.

    We FULLY support and promote other stationers by the way. In nearly EVERY post that we put up we include a big, beautiful image of the stationery. When the stationery credit isn’t given, we often reach out to find out who designed the paper so that we can provide proper credit. On our local blogs, we do stationery highlights. We do giveaways with other stationers, we ask stationers to do projects with us (for example, we have a bookazine coming out in the Spring with Mr. Boddington as our major contributor).

    We delete negative comments because we try to cultivate a place of positivity and support. Like I said, we never ever say negative things about business online and we hope that others respect us in the same way.

    Kelli, we’ve met, we’ve shared conversation, drinks, time. I understand completely that you would be uneasy about our invitation line but I would also hope that you would give it time and give us time to show you that it won’t distract us from promoting the other brands we work with. It simply won’t. We really are good people and we really do understand our roots and are grateful for every dollar that comes in the door.

    Thanks for reading and although I’m fairly certain that this won’t change your mind, I do hope it will shed some light on our decision making process.

    Warmly,
    Abby Larson

    Reply
    • kelli
      October 20, 2011 at 8:24 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks for your response Abby. You’ll get a note from me soon.

      Reply
  6. Renae
    October 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm (6 years ago)

    I agree with everything the vendors said. Wish I said it first and with lots of explanation points!!!

    Reply
  7. Jennifer
    October 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you for discussing this issue openly. Although I am not currently a SMP advertiser, they are a blog that has been on my radar as a potential place to advertise down the road when I can afford to. However, I make a point of not advertising on any sites where the blog or host either

    1) runs a competing business
    or
    2) deletes comments that don’t heap praise upon them

    Because of this, I will not be advertising on SMP unless and until they change these things. There are plenty of other places to advertise where open dialogue is welcome and where there are no conflicts of interest.

    I hope that SMP will consider the ethics of their business choices more carefully going forward. In this business, all we have is our integrity.

    Reply
  8. Reena
    October 21, 2011 at 12:12 am (6 years ago)

    Abby – great you responded. But I think the problem is that you never informed your advertisers PRIOR to launching the line. A simple email beforehand explaining your strategy and giving stationers the option to opt out would of been ethical.

    In addition, I understand your budget concerns. But you’re preaching to the choir here! We ALL have to pay bills as well and TRY to make a profit. Your business finances is your business’s problem. You don’t compete with your advertisers to solve your business’s lack of cash flow.

    In any case, I’m not an advertiser on your website but I hope the best for everyone involved.

    Reply
  9. Grace
    October 21, 2011 at 12:14 am (6 years ago)

    I am pretty impressed that Abby took the time to respond to this post. I notice you have NOT deleted it! From a business perspective, her position does make sense. But it still stinks. Unfortunately stationery makes a simple, low cost product to offer when one is looking for products to increase the bottom line.

    Stationery is the ONLY industry where every teeny tiny home studio and big storefront has to compete with a huge national printing industry. We will never be able to compete in pay per click campaigns, or for volume buying power or all the other perks of being a big business. We have to make up the difference in customer service, innovative design and superior quality – things its difficult to portray in an online photo! In an age when brides don’t even care to order RSVP cards and yes, I’ve received a Facebook wedding invitation, it seems like the uphill battle never ceases. It’s disappointing to see a blog that has been incredibly instrumental in reviving the importance of wedding stationery sell out their advertisers instead of seeking a more creative approach to generating revenue.

    I suspect and hope that they will loose some advertising dollars over this decision just as any advertising vendor whose style is similar to their products will likely loose potential customers. (And isn’t that one reason you advertise with them? Because your target markets match?) That’s just how capitalism, a system I greatly respect, works. But just because it works that way doesn’t mean I won’t make MY business choices in my absolute best effort to support my colleagues and improve the stationery and wedding industry as a whole. That definitely means I won’t be encouraging vendors or customers to visit there as I have in the past. Since I’m not an advertiser, I don’t have to consider pulling an ad, but this will undoubtedly hinder me from more seriously considering one as it is the same reason I have pulled ads from other national sites.

    Reply
  10. Grace
    October 21, 2011 at 8:58 am (6 years ago)

    I am pretty impressed that Abby took the time to respond to this post. I notice you have NOT deleted it! From a business perspective, her position does make sense. But it still stinks. Unfortunately stationery makes a simple, low cost product to offer when one is looking for products to increase the bottom line.

    Stationery is the ONLY industry where every teeny tiny home studio and big storefront has to compete with a huge national printing industry. We will never be able to compete in pay per click campaigns, or for volume buying power or all the other perks of being a big business. We have to make up the difference in customer service, innovative design and superior quality – things its difficult to portray in an online photo! In an age when brides don’t even care to order RSVP cards and yes, I’ve received a Facebook wedding invitation, it seems like the uphill battle never ceases. It’s disappointing to see a blog that has been incredibly instrumental in reviving the importance of wedding stationery sell out their advertisers instead of seeking a more creative approach to generating revenue.

    I suspect and hope that they will loose some advertising dollars over this decision just as any advertising vendor whose style is similar to their products will likely loose potential customers. (And isn’t that one reason you advertise with them? Because your target markets match?) That’s just how capitalism, a system I greatly respect, works. But just because it works that way doesn’t mean I won’t make MY business choices in my absolute best effort to support my colleagues and improve the stationery and wedding industry as a whole.

    Reply
  11. Krissy
    October 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm (6 years ago)

    This is not how you build business relationships and I believe what goes around comes around.

    The designs are tired and copied. I have seen many of these designs before.

    For those of us who make creative, unique and customized invitations, I don’t think we have to worry about competition. These customers will be the same ones who would go to WP Divas or Davids Bridal or even Walmart/Costco.

    As the SMP blog grew it became less of an objective blog and more of a money making tool. I am a capitalist through and through, so do as you may, but don’t stab the people in the back that helped grow your business. It never ends well.
    The stationery business is a tight knit community and word travels fast.

    I myself will never go near the site again.

    Reply

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