Hello everyone! I hope I posted this in the right place. First time posting!
I was wondering how would I get in contact with wedding planners/coordinators, getting my name on there preferred list, how would I go about this. I don't have an actual business yet. But I am planning to open a shop. Would it be to forward to mail them a letter about my business and send them a brochure of my photos or invite them for a sample cake or making an appointment to see them??? Just looking for different ways to advertise. I like to plan ahead with different ideas, before i open my actual business. I know about magazines, website and bridal shows.
Greatly appreciate anyone's ideas.
I live in a community of very small towns, so no one around here uses wedding planners. I did go to each of the local dress and flower shops and showed them a copy of my brochure and asked if they would mind if I left several copies and some business cards. I point out my website so they can have a look and be at least a little knowledgeable about who they're recommending to their customers. (It's also a small enough area that most of them have eaten my cake at some point.) I check back every 4-6 weeks and see if they need to be restocked. I also have a caterer and a few photographers who have my name in case a bride would ask them. In return, I ask for a card from each of these businesses and put them all in a photo album page and leave on display when brides come to me for a consultation. The shops I work with know that I leave their card out. It kind of sweetens the deal if they know I'm willing to give them some free advertising too.
If I were you, I would definately get in touch with some planners as well as others in the wedding business. Definately show them pictures, and if you want to offer them a sample, go fir it. Then they know your product and can give an honest recommedation to a potential bride.
Before you get too far into an advertising blitz, make sure you are a legal business and have all your permits and insurance.
Thanks for your advise. Most definitley, believe me I already know where to go for all the good stuff - permits and insurance. This was one of first thing on my mind.
Any other ideas could help - Thank you again!
Do you have a website? That is important too.
I work with one wedding planner who I just adore, but I sort of just bumped in to her because one of her brides wanted to book with me, and she came along for the consult, the wedding cake was a huge hit, and it went from there. Now she recommends me for her biggest weddings, and she's been great to work with. She probably accounts for half my business this year, and three of my biggest weddings.
We don't have preferred vendors, because either of us will work with whoever the bride wants, but she recommends me, a certain florist, and a certain photog to her brides, and we're all used to working together.
You might just call and ask to meet with any specific planners you have in mind, maybe take them a sample and some brochures, take some time to show them your portfolio, and see what happens?
Call a few and tell them you're talking to a few wedding planners because you'd like to have 3 or 4 on file that you can refer your brides to. Tell them you're planning meetings at starbucks on Wednesday between noon and 4:30 "..... and I have 2:30 and 4:00 open ... which time slot works best for you?"
Then while you're "interviewing" them, be sure to sell yourself!
I would wait until your shop is ready and invite them over for a tour and some cake and coffee after hours. Have lots of photos to show them and I agree..Sell yourself! Give her a stack of cards and brochures and offer to put her on your website if she will do the same for you.
I agree with the others in holding off until you're all set up. You never know when you're going to have a construction delay (o.k. speaking from experience here ) that will land you into next year as to when you'll be able to start booking things.
When you do open up shop is when you'll be able to start your blitzing. First contact the people you already know. The photographer that you have your family pics taken with that does weddings, the caterer who also has a meat shop, the trainer at the gym, florist, local bank branch, golf course, etc. Build your relationships from there that you're in business. Nothing sells like free food strategically delivered ;o)) Planners tend to be one end of the spectrum or the other. There are a lot of people calling themselves "planners" that are brides that "I had so much fun planning my own wedding" that they think they can run the BUSINESS of planning other bride's weddings. Very few survive the first couple years because they didn't realize how much time and money it was going to take and how much multitasking they would need to do. You might end up in such a situation that someone is going to want a kickback whether it's legal or not in your state and you've got to make the decision whether or not it's worth it.
While you're waiting to get things opened up, start putting together a professional looking website (don't need to launch it yet, and if you do launch, then you need to put a disclaimer that you're opening "Spring of 09" for example), business cards to match the website, brochures WITHOUT pricing, and an in-person portfolio (scrapbook) of quality photos of cakes for different occasions that is NOT on the computer (for example, what happens when the power goes out, room is bright, laptop is dead, the bride is there, and you've got her samples)...
Good luck! Just remember, don't put the cart ahead of the horse.