Thursday Therapy – Tucson

We are thrilled to be launching Thursday Therapy in Tucson, Arizona, in partnership with Kim McFate, owner of Simply Elegant Events. (Thursday Thursday is our nationwide networking events.) Kim is such a great connector that we are excited to watch her connect wedding pros with one another in a calm, casual, fun environment. Join Kim at the launch this April 23!

Here’s a little more about Kim, her business, and her thoughts on networking in our industry…

www.pureinart.com © Pure in Art PhotographyWhat do you do?

Simply Elegant Events is a full service wedding and event planning company in Tucson. We primarily cover Southern Arizona and we will travel outside of the area for destination events. We have been in business for 5 years and absolutely love working with our clients to create and execute their vision and surpass their expectations. We aren’t just about weddings. We handle corporate, fund raisers, galas,holiday parties and much more. 

We have a great team that is dedicated to providing the highest level of service and expertise to our clients. We are advocates for our clients and we work with our other wedding partners as a team at our events.

Tell us about the wedding industry in Tucson.

The Tucson wedding industry has grown vastly over the last decade; we are comprised of local vendors that have been in the business for over 20 years to newly trained professionals offering services to Brides and Grooms with any budget. The average wedding planned in Tucson costs around $24,000. The couples getting married in Tucson are diverse in their culture, faith, and style. Tucson has begun to host a larger number of destination weddings over the past few years. People desire the picturesque backdrop of rolling mountains highlighted by fierce sunsets. And who isn’t a sucker for a stunning saguaro? The couples who choose to marry in Tucson almost always have some tie to the city whether they met while attending the University of Arizona or if the Bride’s family resides her, chances are so do many of her relatives. Many people leave Tucson only to return to raise their families here or eventually retire in this small-town, big city we call home.

Why do you want to become a host for Thursday Therapy?

I’m so excited to be able to bring Thursday Therapy to Tucson because it creates a place for wedding and event professionals to go to relax, have fun, mix and mingle with others and just network. You never have to worry about missing something because you arrive late or need to leave early. You get to come and stay as long as you like

Why should people come to Thursday Therapy?

It is a great way to meet and learn about other wedding professionals, their businesses, develop new relationships and be able to simply network in a fun, relaxing environment.

What is one piece of advice for those new to networking?

I remember the first few times I was so nervous to go and network. Bring a friend with you that is a wedding professional as a “buddy” and be ready to share your story with others. People want to hear about what you do, but most importantly, just have fun with it.

Thanks Kim!

Meet our Thursday Therapy Hosts for Phoenix

We are thrilled to be partnered with 3 outstanding businesses in the Phoenix area for Thursday Therapy. We love the energy and vibe that Cammie, Devin, Jacob, and Kate bring to networking. We hope that you’ll join them for meeting and mingling. Check out their next event on June 5th!

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Cammie Dubina - Plan Simplicity Events

Cammie Dubina – Plan Simplicity Events

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Devin Berko & Jake Burke - Something New Media

Devin Berko & Jake Burke – Something New Media

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Kate DeLong - Preserve Your Flowers

Kate DeLong – Preserve Your Flowers

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Kate shared with us her thoughts on networking…

How did all of you meet? 

I attended the Phoenix Bridal Show in October 2013, where I met Cammie of Plan Simplicity Events & Devin of Something New Media. We all sorta meshed from the beginning, we were newer wedding professionals on the scene, we were ready to network & mingle. Cammie had attended a Sage Wedding Pros event not top long after where she learned about Thursday Therapy & we were all hooked from there! We love to meet wedding industry leaders and create professional relationships with other wedding professionals. It’s what makes our world go round!

Why did you want to bring Thursday Therapy to Phoenix?

We can’t wait to host a fun way to meet & connect with other wedding professionals! How many times have you attended a bridal show or other bridal related event, where you wish you could have networked more? Or felt rushed during your initial conversation with a really awesome wedding vendor? This is a fun way to jump start that networking in a relaxed environment & create lasting professional relationships.

What advice do you have for those new to networking?

One piece of advice I would give to other wedding professionals in the industry is to be confident in yourself and be prepared to sell that confidence. Stop doubting yourself! Be proud of your company, what you do, what you create, or the product you sell.

Thanks Kate! We’re excited about wedding pros gathering together for fun at Thursday Therapy Phoenix!

 

The “What Can I Do For You?” Question

This month will mark 7 years since I left my corporate gig to take my planning business full-time.  Often people ask me what I did when I first started out to earn people’s trust, to get my name out there, etc.  I can honestly say there is ONE question that was and still is at the core of my business and my personal philosophy as an entrepreneur – the “What Can I Do For You?” question.

Here’s how it works:  When I meet with other wedding pros, whether it’s a colleague who has been in business for 20 years or 1 month, this is my main question for them.  I don’t want to bombard them with information about myself or my business, shove business cards in their face and ask them to promote me…instead, I want to know what I can do for them.  This is a fascinating question if you’re on the receiving end because likely, not a lot of people ask this of you.  It’s typically not in our human nature to want to first ask what you can do for someone else – it’s usually the “What’s In It For Me?” question that is often at the top of one’s mind instead. (Isn’t that the worst when you’re in a meeting and the other person is only talking about themselves/their business and doesn’t ask you a single question?)  So, when you ask someone what you can do for them (no strings attached), you will be a breath of fresh air.  You’ll stand out against your competitors.  You’ll be genuine in your approach.

When you ask people the “What Can I Do For You?” question, a lot of times they may respond, “Gosh, I have no idea…that’s so nice of you to offer – just spread the word about me, I guess.”  Here’s where you can shine even more – instead of just saying, “Oh, ok sounds good.” – how about instead offering suggestions…”How about I write a blog post about you and feature that new incredible product you just told me about?” – OR – “Do you need updated headshots? I’d love to offer that to you as a way for you to get to know my style and personality so you can vouch for me to potential clients”.  These are just a few of a million ways you can offer to help another colleague.

What goes around comes around.  This business is all about building relationships and trust.  And, if you start using this tactic hopefully the people you’re meeting with will pick up on it too – and it will be a contagious attitude that will spread and only help the industry as a whole.

What can I do for you today, Sage readers? :)

Meet our Thursday Therapy Hosts for the NC Triangle (Durham – Raleigh – Chapel Hill)

We are so thrilled to announce our new hosts for the North Carolina triangle region! The fabulous ladies of Bliss by Sam (BBS) will be our networking mavens in Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill! These ladies have great energy. We invite you to join them for fun casual networking mixers! CHEERS!

Bliss by Sam
www.blissbysam.com
Samantha, LaShayla, Sarah, and Crystal

Tell us about your business… what makes your business different?

We are a wedding planning firm located in Durham, NC. Wedding professionals who work with us say that we’re different because our attention to detail is above standard and we ensure everyone (from the couple to the guests to the wedding professionals) have a great time at the wedding! We also pride ourselves on have four Lead Consultants. This means that there is always a backup in case something happens to the couple’s primary planner.

What is the wedding industry like in the NC Triangle?

About 12,000 weddings occur annually in The Triangle. The average wedding costs approximately $30K and the average number of guests is 125. The overall market value is around $181 million.

Why did you want to become hosts for Thursday Therapy in your market?

Samantha attended Thursday Therapy in Chicago and fell in love with the concept of a networking event that focused on….NETWORKING! There is nothing like this in The Triangle and the BBS girls believe this is an amazing way to connect with wedding professionals who are not associated with fee-based industry organizations.

Why should people come to Thursday Therapy?

How often do you meet someone at an event but have to cut the conversation short because a program is about to start? How many people simply can’t afford to be a part of fee-based industry organizations? Well Thursday Therapy solves both of those problems. It’s free to attend and you can chat with fellow wedding professionals for as long as you wish!

What one piece of advice do you have for other wedding pros who may be new to networking?

Practice your 2 minute elevator pitch and be prepared to say it over and over again! This will lower any anxiety you may have when introducing yourself to people you’ve never met.

We are thrilled to partner with you, ladies!

4 Ways to Get Connected Within the Wedding Community

Today, Jenna Bechtholt shares how she connects and networks with other wedding pros. It’s all about reaching out! If you haven’t been doing this in your business, do so now!

about-me-jbp8Making the first move and putting yourself out there can be a scary thing, even in the wedding industry. But when it comes to business, getting connected with other wedding professionals could be the key to really launching your company or getting your name out to a new community. By keeping to yourself, you may be missing out on a lot of great opportunities to grow your business. So let’s talk about some ways to start getting connected!

1. Meet People That Do What You Do

Spend some time researching local wedding vendors in your area. When you find a company that you sincerely like find them on Facebook and send them some support by liking their page or leaving them a nice comment. Don’t you check out people that like your page? Exactly. So you can bet that they will check you out and you may even get a like back. That is the perfect interaction to start up a conversation or send a quick message to say hello.

Although I don’t only want you to get to get to know photographers if you are a wedding photographer, there is something to be said for forming friendships and relationships with people who are running a similar business as you. There will be plenty of ways you can relate to one another and you may even learn to lean on each other for help or assistance on jobs.

Additionally, there are tons of wedding related groups for any sort of wedding vendor to join on Facebook or various forums online. Take a minute and look around. If you find the right groups you might even pick up a job or two that other people are looking to refer out. Being part of a community definitely has its perks and this is a great way to find people and begin branching out.

2. Pass Out Those Business Cards

The simplest way for people to remember your name and your brand is to hand out business cards at events that you are working. Leave a few for the guests but don’t forget the other vendors working along side you. Introduce yourself, pay them a compliment and hand them your business card. What could be easier marketing than that? Make sure to follow up with those vendors a few days later by sending out a quick email to say hello and mention how much you enjoyed meeting them. This will allow them to recall who you are and hopefully remember the great work that you did. It is always good for other wedding specialists in your community to think positively about you. Remember, referrals!

3. Be Open to Styled Shoots

In the wedding business styled shoots are fairly common. It is a great way to build the portfolios of various vendors all at once. This is often a very productive idea because everyone wants the shoot to turn out well in order to benefit from it. Therefore, each individual is putting in their best effort to get amazing results. There is really no limit of who can be included in a styled shoot, often times the more detailed elements that there are the more interesting the images will be. Some people are busy enough that they don’t feel they need to participate in styled shoots where they will not be paid, but it is important to remember these kinds of projects are great marketing tools, too. Your name will follow that styled shoot wherever it goes, and often times really well done shoots are published in bridal blogs and magazines where they give credit to every vendor who participated. This is helpful for SEO purposes, more exposure as a professional in your field and something to add to your resume! So keep in mind everyone has the potential to take something away from a styled shoot. Again, this is a great way to get to know people in the wedding community and actually work with them. If these vendors are happy with the work you do they may remember you for the future and recommend you to a client, and you can do the same. There is really nothing better than personally knowing professionals in your industry who do great work.

So what do you do if you have never been approached to be a part of a styled shoot? Take control and set it up YOURSELF. (This is when spending that time researching local vendors and meeting people that do what you do becomes really beneficial!) Find all of the vendors that you think you need and put together the best shoot you can. You don’t need to be the photographer to take the lead on this sort of project, but you will need one to capture the event – so don’t waste time and start getting connected!

4. Make Friends in Your Industry

Growing a business is hard work. Of course we want to attract as much business as possible, but sometimes we need to take a break from looking at our competitors as competition. We would be wise to recognize that they are people who are walking down the same path as us and that probably know exactly what we are going through. It can be encouraging to know that there are other people who are going through the same struggles, have dealt with similar hardships but who are just as excited to be working in the wedding world as you are. Making friends in the wedding community can have a really positive impact on your life and may help you to grow in ways you never imagined. Taking the time to say hello could be the best move you make all day for your business.

The moral of this story is that spending a small amount of time getting to know other wedding vendors in your community has the potential to bring you more business than you could gather on your own. Remember, we all work in the same market and deal with one another very often, so it is likely that some of the people you meet will recommend you to their clients if you leave a good lasting impression on them. It is also great to meet people that share a common interest and to find friends that understand exactly what you are going through as a businessperson in the wedding industry.

Jenna Bechtholt is a wedding photographer in Los Angeles. You can find her at: http://www.jennabechtholt.com/