Category Archives: Market It

Insider to Insider: Kelly Simants ~ Sweet Pea Events

Kelly SimantsKelly is one of my favorite people in this industry!  She is smart, positive, creative, professional, and committed.  We have similar business philosophies and similar business executions.  Kelly was my business planning partner when she lived in Seattle (and my business planning has never been the same.)  Now in Dallas, she takes the state of Texas by storm!  Here’s a little bit more about Kelly…

Kelly Simants, Owner of Sweet Pea Events
Dallas, TX & Seattle, WA

What is your favorite thing about weddings?

I love the actual ceremony!  To me, this is truly what a wedding is all about – making a commitment to the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with!  The specific part of the ceremony that is my favorite is when the bride is getting ready to walk down the aisle – usually it is such a surreal experience for the bride that I love being there to help calm any nerves, be excited with her, make sure her gown looks perfect, etc.  Most of my clients end up becoming good friends as well, which I think is why it’s such a special honor for me to be right by their side at the ceremony, during such an important moment in their lives.

What is your best tip for time management?

This is one of the trickiest parts for me of being an entrepreneur because I love what I do….so if I wanted to spend 12-14 hours a day working on my business I could (and in the beginning I did).  I quickly learned that is not a sustainable business practice, or good for my personal health or social life!  My remedy for a more balanced work week was two-fold:

oSchedule Time Off: I realized that since I worked a lot of weekend days (often both Saturday and Sunday since that’s when a lot of wedding related activity goes on), it was imperative for me to schedule Mondays off completely for myself.  It was hard at first, so another wedding planner friend and I tried to keep each other accountable to keep Mondays open and we would grab lunch together, treat ourselves to a massage after a long wedding weekend, etc.  I was much more energized and my batteries were recharged the next day.

oSchedule Office Days: The second way that I decided I needed to manage my time better was with how I was scheduling meetings.  I would spend my entire week in meetings, driving all over the place to meet with clients or vendors, with no rhyme or reason to how I was scheduling my calendar.  Basically, I would work around the other person’s schedule instead of managing mine.  Since I would be in meetings all day, I would then spend every evening catching up on actual work I needed to get done…so there was literally no “office time”. So, Tuesdays and Thursdays became my meeting days and Wednesdays and Fridays became my office days.  I made certain is was flexible, but having a more structured calendar led to being more productive, happier, and healthier!

What is your little marketing secret?

It’s all about networking! The wedding business is all about trust, so it’s imperative to develop solid relationships with all different types of wedding vendors…not just surface relationships, but a genuine rapport and support system with them.  I always try to offer to support other vendors however I can (especially other wedding planners who are peers!), by giving referrals in return, sharing business advice on things that have worked well or not so well for me, etc.  I truly believe that sharing knowledge and helping each other out is one of the most successful marketing tools you can benefit from in this industry.  I’ve found that the time I’ve spent networking far outweighs any print ad or online marketing ad that I’ve spent money on.

What is the funnest trend you are seeing in the industry?

Specialty lighting! This is a huge trend in the Dallas market, and I believe will be making a bigger presence in the Seattle market soon.  By using specialty lighting, a venue can come alive and add a dramatic effect to the space.  I love suggesting that clients consider “pin spotting” where you illuminate each specific table arrangement, or illuminate the cake table, etc.  A “room wash” is also a great option for people who want to incorporate a lot of color all around the room and create a really dramatic effect.

If you were starting your business all over again, what would you have done differently?

Without a doubt, I would have been more confident in pricing my packages.  I was so nervous to over-price or that clients would balk at my costs, that I gave so much of my valuable time away and did not charge what I believed I was worth.  I absolutely believe in going above and beyond for clients and delivering exceptional service, but I gave away too much.  Over time, I have changed my philosophy on pricing as I’ve realized I’m running a small business and need to create and sustain a profitable business model.  I still think pricing is one of the most challenging aspects of owning a wedding business, but have learned what I’m worth in the industry and that I should not sell myself short.

Thanks Kelly!

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Filed under Insider to Insider, Market It, Time Management, Trends

What’s your marketing plan?

Ahhhhh… marketing… fun, slick, glamorous, shiny… images of Mad Men come to my mind…

Marketing is defined as the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.  Over the week, we’ll break this down with how it relates to your wedding related service or product.  First up: Promoting!

Promoting:  What is your Promotion Strategy and how successful is it in bringing returns?

Many wedding related businesses advertise across a wide range of print and web media.  Given the social nature of our industry, networking and public relations, are also key.  But, what are those marketing methods bringing in terms of business?

Here are some questions you can ask to determine the effectiveness:

  • How do clients find you?
  • What is your best method of promotion?  (The one that leads to the greatest amount of revenue.)
  • Are you spending money on advertising that does not benefit your business?
  • How many clients who contact you make an appointment?
  • How many clients who contact you place an order?

Not so sure on some of these?  For the next month, try this:

  1. Make a sheet (spreadsheets are awesome, but pen and paper work too) that lists 4 columns:
    • client inquiry
    • referral
    • appointment
    • order
  2. Client Inquiry Column: Keep a list of every client that phones or emails you – note the date and their contact information
  3. Referral Column: In your first conversation, ask them how they found you (ad, client, other vendor, etc)
  4. Appointment: When they book their appointment – make an X under “appointment”
  5. Order: When they place an order – make an X under “order”

Keep working this tracking sheet until you have a firm understanding of your return on promotional investment.  You may find your wasting money on promotional efforts that don’t lead to any rewards.  And, you may learn that you are not maximizing certain promotional tools. Rethinking your marketing and promotional plan can be a money maker and a money saver.

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Filed under Excercises, Market It, Money Makers, Money Savers