Southern Hospitality

Any business owner knows that there is a lot to be done when it comes to getting your name out there.  A small business especially looks at all their advertising options, trying to decide which is the best way to spend their limited advertising funds; print ads, pay per click, SEO, mail outs, brochures, cards, promotional shows, etc.  Networking is crucial!  In the wedding industry, there are so many ways to meet people, network and eventually get word of mouth work.

When I started my business in Colorado, I tried several ways to advertise; print ads in various local periodicals, advertising in nation-wide magazines, wedding shows, websites and pay per click.  One of the ways I wanted to get work was by dropping off business cards at local wedding vendor shops, such as bridal dress shops, cake shops, and wedding venues.  What sounds simple, sadly, in Colorado, was not so…  Everyone wanted you to pay them a weekly/monthly/yearly fee to put your cards or brochures in their store.  (Yes, David’s Bridal is the worst – everyone knows it)!  Now, I don’t ever want to tread on the rights of a business to do what they want to do.  It’s their business!  However, when I see a small town business screaming for local support and they won’t support another small business, well…

NOW, starting over in another state, it was time to network again!  New wedding shows, New Website and SEO work, all kinds of things to be done.  Including, hitting up the local wedding dress shops.  Yes, I was worried, all the snickers and cold shoulders I got from shops in Colorado Springs still hung in the back of my mind.  I wasn’t looking forward to this, but I had put it off long enough.

The first shop, “A Special Touch”, was run by a lovely lady named Joni.  She was delightful!  The only problem was getting into her store, there were boxes and bags and crates everywhere!  It seems, in addition to owning a wedding dress shop, she also runs a charity called Christmas Love!  We chatted for a long time about her charity, her wedding dress business, the town, and how she advertises herself.  She was more than happy to take my cards and put them in her store.  WOW!  I left her shop feeling so excited and happy.  Not only did I get to put out a few cards, I met someone I know I will recommend to a bride, as well as anyone who wants to make Xmas donations.  On to the second shop…

At this point, I didn’t care what happen at the next shop.  I had one in the bag and I was that much better for it.  The next boutique was “White Room Too”, a great little sop with everything from wedding dresses to Brides maid dresses, to Homecoming & Prom dresses.  I walked in and was greeted by three smiling faces.  I chatted with Hailey and she was wonderful.  She was more than happy to put my cards out and again, we chatted about Tennessee, the local bridal market, as well as the wedding shows they liked to work.  It was great.  I was 2 for 2, I was shocked.

Store three was a tuxedo shop.  Now the shop in Colorado Springs I advertised in charged me a monthly fee.  I did it for a few months, but then they raised their price and I just dropped it…  I stepped inside the “Street Tuxedo” shop and started chatting up Henry and his fellow employee (I forgot his name – ouch).  They were fantastic.  We talked about Colorado and moving to Tennessee.  His buddy behind the counter was from Littleton, CO.  We chatted about advertising and starting over in a new state.  AGAIN, he was happy to take my cards and put them out on his counter.  I was shocked and thrilled.  I have only hit up three stores so far, I am actually waiting for more business cards.  I will tell you this, I am enjoying true Southern Hospitality so far.  They have been incredible.

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