Why It’s Not About The Money- Texas Twins Events Was Created For Families On A Tight Budget…
When you answer as many questions as I do about a “business that’s different,” you quickly recognize that we live in a world where few things change regarding event expenses. Every year, the prices go up for wedding dresses, cakes, venues, photographers, musicians along with event coordinators and Officiants.
At Texas Twins Events, our prices are the same as they were 7 years ago. There haven’t been any price hikes because many of our clients couldn’t afford them. My family and I do Events differently and accommodate a wide array of requests whether it’s about a wedding or not.
Limiting yourself to weddings only if you are an event vendor or own a venue is a mistake. Why? Weddings are often seasonal. If you are only generating revenue a few months out of the year, your business won’t last long.
If you are upcharging your prices during wedding season, your business will fail quickly. Competition is stiff and if you don’t know what your competition is charging or more importantly getting, you need to shop your competitors.
Being a budget friendly vendor gives me fresh ideas for venue owners because I’ve learned how to cut expenses while still keeping an event beautiful.
My life has been spent in sales. With a successful sales background spanning over thirty years as well as brand merchandising, my sister and I often have insights that many venue owners don’t have.
“How do we attract LBGT Clients?” Is one of the most used questions venue operators ask when contacting me. They follow my blogs and updates on social media and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that a very large portion of my clients are in fact, LBGT.
I also offer year round discounts to LBGT Clients, firefighters, police, active/retired military and more. If you want new clients, be willing to market to them specifically especially LBGT Clients who will never book or hire anyone that isn’t LBGT Friendly.
I no longer look for clients- they find me which is why we have expanded and rebranded so many times in the past few years.
Client referrals along with staying on top of search engines due to my creative content brings clients to me. Every blog is different, every adventure is different. There is no need for me to buy placement because no one has a story quite like ours.
It’s not widely known that my sister and I both work as consultants but we do. From giving advice about how to market LBGT Clients to promoting your venue for corporate events, Christmas parties, memorials, birthdays and more, it’s something that many venue owners overlook until wedding season is over and they are left trying to figure out how to find more clients.
If you own a building- expand your horizons on ideas for keeping it booked with a wide array of different parties including fundraisers. Don’t know how to get started? I’m happy to help and toss around fresh new ideas that set your business apart from others. There is so much replication and duplication in the events industry that being different is an advantage whether you realize it or not.
Social media is a selling tool but only if you use it correctly. No one is going to promote you if you don’t promote them. I have no idea why this surprises everyone but it’s true. You need an interactive audience because they will share, like and promote your business for free as long as you promote theirs.
If you are only posting social media updates regarding YOUR BUSINESS and not gaining a following or getting the retweets, likes and shares you expected, look in the mirror and ask yourself why. Social media isn’t “all about you” it never was. Sure, you can sell items and services but you’re limiting yourself greatly if you don’t market others.
A few of my followers have asked why my social media features family photos alongside client photos but, all three of my businesses are family owned and operated so there is no fine line of “all business or all family” on Twitter, Instagram, FB, Pinterest, Google Plus or even LinkedIn.
Blog posts on all Wendy Wortham Websites go back and forth between family and events because, my blogs are a diary of my life. Perhaps the reason I have so many readers is that they have no idea what I will write about next and, neither do I.
Traditionally, bloggers write about the same things or close to the same thing which can become boring for their readers. My life and my businesses aren’t “ordinary, boring or average” either. Perhaps if my schedule was predictable, I would be far more boring but everyday is a new opportunity to meet fresh clients with new event ideas or plans.
My twin sister, family and I are never bored because (for us anyway) variety is the spice of life. We don’t know where our journey will wind up, but we have a good time getting there and finally making a Dream Event a reality for hundreds of clients.
I started out differently than everyone else and I’ve no plans to change. Many of our followers have literally watched our grandtwins grow up thanks to social media.
This morning I came across a post that stated “if you don’t have $5k it’s impossible to have your Dream Wedding.” Usually, I wouldn’t have bothered to comment but since the person posting it is a friend of mine, I wondered if he was aware of the fact that many of our Elopement Packages start at $250 and include loaned bouquets, bouteniers or whatever else will help the event look polished and put together.
Creating an inventory to loan booked clients is unheard of in today’s event industry but my concept was different as well. Whatever my clients couldn’t afford or provide on their own, I found a way to provide the essentials for them. It took me awhile to build up an inventory but many of my items are borrowed at 50-70% of our bookings.
My goal when starting Texas Twins Events was to find the families who couldn’t afford “traditional price structures.” I was far more interested in the families who couldn’t find help based on their budgets than those who could. The truth is there are far more clients who struggle to afford a Life Event and I set out to change all of that seven years ago.
Not everyone understands why I’m so passionate about helping others or how my family and I would become “Friends of the Friendless” over the years. I have never said no to a request based on an inability to pay for services AND sponsor up to 30 families a year when they have no money to book through Texas Twins Events or anything of value to barter through The Pawning Planners.
It was never “all about the money” for me of my family. Working with families from all walks of life, it wasn’t unusual for a client to tell me “if I hadn’t found you, I really don’t know what we would’ve done because no one else would help us.”
From sponsoring a birthday party for Kimberly Stine to a double baby shower for Brooke Blumfeld and Joanna Magee, a few requests were as unique as the person requesting them.
Last year, a request for a fence party was a bit of a surprise but, fences are fairly expensive. To keep costs down and get free panels, I posted an ad on craigslist and rented a truck from Home Depot with my twin sister and made the “Fence Party Request” happen.
The client didn’t reimburse me for renting the truck or paying for gas because I believe in Paying It Forward. I.E. I didn’t ask for any money to help her and found a way to make it happen. When I say we are open minded, I mean it.
Our first truck rental was a bum run because the panels we drove to the county to pick up were in horrible shape. Yes, I rented not one but two Home Depot trucks in order to pull this request off!
When I started Texas Twins Events, many LBGT Clients were searching for a “Friendly Vendor.” Perhaps one of the reasons half my client base is LBGT is that we welcome all clients from all backgrounds.
I was LBGT Friendly long before it was “trendy or cool.” When other vendors were afraid to advertise to the LBGT Community for fear of backlash, I was a front runner in the Dream Event Industry by offering Unification Ceremonies long before Same Sex Marriage was legal in Texas.
Event Planning isn’t for the faint hearted but Event Planning on a tight budget requires thinking outside of the box. Perhaps because my sister and I grew up in poverty, we think of cost saving ideas many other vendors don’t.
Over the years, its become widely known that I merged Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners and offer bartered Event Services. This too, is a unique concept in the Dream Event Industry.
My sister and I had a fairly unique request several years ago that found us at Rudy Smedley’s Karate Studio for a wedding. Why? It was raining and the building was free. Rudy loaned us his building in order to effectively “pull it off.”
This wedding was filmed for a television pilot that was never aired and over the years I’ve heard from production companies and networks that if we “jazzed up our client base or did bigger gigs,” there would be a market in the entertainment industry to share our story & unique venture of helping others.
The problem is that I’m not focused on getting bigger gigs because reshifting our client base would leave all of the people coming to me for help without any.
I’m not interested in getting rich- I’m interested in helping people. From a Karate Studio to a Prison, Park, and even a Cargo Plane on an AFB Tarmac, our locations are as unpredictable as you might imagine.
Starting an events based business was a way for me to have fun and spend time with my family while helping others. My motivation wasn’t based on making as much money as I could from each client who came to me.
I started fees off low and loaned items while often working for free based on the situation before creating The Pawning Planners. Yes, I’m different. I’m passionate, I’m perseverant and I’m not afraid to volunteer my talents or make exceptions.
A few folks thought I was crazy by “shaking things up in the events industry.” But, based on my own experiences with “traditional vendor pricing” years ago when I married my husband, I knew affordable options were non existent and also knew there was a wide market of consumers with no idea of where or how to find help.
We wound up at a park with a friend taking pictures because we couldn’t afford $1500 for a photographer or $3-5k for a venue. Our Officiant was $450 for the wedding ceremony only. I.E. there was no rehearsal.
I’m well aware of what services cost and the basis for my decision to start a low cost event service business was based entirely on my own personal experience. I saw the problem and promised myself to one day change it and, I have. Life Events should be affordable to anyone for any reason and not limited to upper middle class clients or rich families.
My story is unique because it isn’t jazzed up. A family banding together to change the wedding and events industry one family (or barter) at a time is actually what made us so different from our competitors.
I was never trying to be like everyone else-I set out to be different because no was else in the industry was willing to lower their prices to attract more clients. Recognizing the problem, my family and I decided to do things differently by slashing traditional prices far below the competition.
My businesses are based on People Over Profits. Loaned bouquets and bouteniers are one only one of the things are clients love about us. If they can’t afford to provide the “extras,” our clients borrow them from me.
Sponsored Events include free or complimentary photography. I have two photography teams and 5 Officiants on staff although I’m the only Approved Texas Prison Wedding Officiant at this time.
Prison Weddings weren’t something that I planned on but like LBGT Clients years ago, these couples needed a non judgmental vendor willing to see past their unique circumstances and I became the go to TDCJ Officiant for many of them.
Bridal or Groom Photography is offered as a fun way to enjoy their day and as popular as you might expect. Marrying in a Prison isn’t ideal for these couples but after the release of their partner, a vow renewal is scheduled so they have traditional photos like everyone else.
This morning I read a post from an LBGT couple I married a few months ago who had hired a photographer not affiliated with me or my business. The post was regarding a “waiting period for photos of 16-18 weeks.” I found this pretty interesting because even when clients haven’t hired one of our photographers, I bring one as a courtesy and provide a free photo disc. Waiting 16 weeks for photos is crazy. The photographer they had hired saw my niece taking pictures and was a little crispy about why she was taking photos when he had been hired as the photographer. Leigh Ann explained that she wasn’t hired but was taking photos as courtesy for the clients.
The couple received their free disc within 10 days of their wedding so they would have photos quickly.
This Complimentary Photography also makes us “very different” from our competitors but we know clients want photos ASAP and whether they paid my photographers or not, I go to the time and trouble to transfer and mail photos as a courtesy.
It isn’t free for me to transfer photos and mail them but it’s something that I’ve always done because photos are important to our clients and exceeding your clients expectations is an asset to your business or brand.
My belief is that everyone should have photos of their Life Event whether they paid for them or not.
Several years ago, Virginia Malone came to me regarding the expense of paying for storage. For over 20 years, she had kept decorations and other items in storage and the expense was outweighing the benefit.
Estate and/or Storage Liquidations are more complicated than weddings, anniversaries, funerals, baptisms, baby showers or other event services because the time it takes to load them, transport them and sort items before preparing for a sale is a longer window but, we do it all of the time.
When these items are too large to move in our suvs or too heavy for Cindy or I to lift on our own, we hire movers to transport items to my workroom to seek individually or when possible, we list items that are still in storage to save the expense of moving them.
Texas Twins Treasures is where we flip and sell items taken in trade through The Pawning Planners and often items we sell for clients who don’t need an estate liquidation.
All three of my businesses work together which may sound odd but I think in a circle and when bookings are down at Texas Twins Events, sales are up at Texas Twins Treasures. Pawning Planners Clients trade their items and we refurbish them to generate revenue at Texas Twins Treasures.
Being different and open minded was probably what made my dive into the events industry work because I knew there were far more people struggling to hire a vendor than anyone realizes. Everywhere you look these days “an average wedding costs $10k-20k.” Who are these “average” people?
My family joining me on the adventure addressed the needs of photography as well as more Officiants to handle the events that I couldn’t.
We created a unique and affordable option for families that had never before existed but our reasons were based on people over profits and that will never change
No request is too large or too small- we do them all…