When I look back at some of my old images I cringe – big time. If I was still writing the way I did three years ago my businesses would be buried at the bottom of the internet and desperately clutching at bargain basement brides. Because everything changes.
In the wedding industry change comes so fast – never mind that vintage has been around for years, everything else has changed. And by the skin of my teeth I’ve managed to keep up. How? Because I innovate, and change, and watch trends, and never stop inventing and being creative.
Frustration or innovation?
As a wedding business owner there are two paths you can take: you can innovate, update your style and business practices to keep up with everyone else (or if you’re lucky, lead the pack!). Or you can stick to what you know and fall behind. That’s the road to frustration.
I aim to design, create and promote new products every couple of weeks. It seems a lot of work, and it is – but it’s crucial to my business success. My calligraphy is still in demand because my styles have changed to keep up with trends from the US.
Calligraphy’s the perfect example of a service surviving centuries of innovation: calligraphers wrote the first bibles by hand; today we write wedding quotes and signs in a very different style but despite everything (printing presses, the internet) people still love the art of handwriting. It just has to be pitched in the right way.
Wedding venues – frustrating?
Too often I see wedding venues promising to “work with you to ensure every detail is taken care of”. Reading between the lines, and judging by the images on their websites, that means they’ll provide chair covers, recommend balloons, dictate how your day will run and ensure everything’s done exactly how it was in the 1980s.
Ouch. True though.
Some wedding suppliers just don’t innovate. You might have amazing ideas from your favourite wedding blogs, from Pinterest or from your own imagination – but you won’t be the first couple to have your ideas stomped on by unimaginative wedding suppliers.
The answer is to pick your suppliers carefully.
Wedding suppliers – play more! Love what you do. Create and innovate!
Wedding blogs are always looking for new ideas. We love styled bridal shoots because we get to see creative suppliers’ new ideas, crazy imaginative products and awesome ideas. Every time I collaborate on a styled shoot I create new bespoke products. My calligraphy collections are all inspired by styled shoots I’ve been a part of.
Stationers, jewellers, designers – if your products are the same as you’ve sold for years, your business will slow down and be overtaken by new brands. Any marketeer will tell you it’s crucial to make what potential customers are looking for; if you design for your own tastes and your tastes are a little too traditional, your work won’t sell.
Photographers – fashion does matter. Yes, timeless images are fabulous. We know they’ll keep forever and not look dated. But fashion-conscious couples are looking for stylised images too. Never mind the lesson we learned about spot colour, it’s easy to overlook the fact that it sold. Oh but please… if you’re one of those photographers still enjoying a bit of spot colour here and there, stop it! It’s all about filters now.
Get noticed on wedding blogs – for your new ideas
As a wedding blogger I look for independent creative businesses who have something to shout about. They’re easy to find: the best designers are shouting about their latest designs because they’re genuinely proud and excited. If you’re not designing new things regularly, you’ll lose the excitement. Can you really look at an invitation you made six months ago and feel the same passion for its design as you did on the day it was made?
I blog exciting things. I blog about new products when the designer’s passion makes me yearn to find out more. I blog things my brides and grooms have never seen before. Blog features always have to be newsworthy.
And I live my life the same way. I paint. I sketch. I doodle. I explore! I learn new things. I listen, I read blogs, I follow photographers and designers.
I’d urge every wedding business owner to do the same – life is an adventure. Let your business side have adventures too! It’s how you’ll succeed.
Penny Young Photography – www.pennyyoungphotography.com
Nikki Sheffield Photography – www.nikkisheffieldphotography.co.uk
Evelyn Rose Photography – www.evelynrosephotography.co.uk
Martlet Photography – www.martletphotography.co.uk
Location: Whipley Manor Farm (www.whipleymanorfarm.co.uk) | Models: William & Christine | Wedding cake: Truly Scrumptious Chesham (http://www.trulyscrumptiouschesham.co.uk) | Hair & Makeup: Natasha Howden (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Owners and horses: Caitlin Fahy’s dressage pony Moonshine Boy and Vicki Glynn’s show horse Red Rock