Meet the Offbeat Empire's new Vendor Relations Manager, Tiffany!

By on Oct 1st

meet tiffany

Ooh, it's always so exciting when I get to introduce a new Offbeat Empire staffer.

For the past year and a half, my editor Catherine Clark (who I call Superman) has been doing sales for the Empire, while also still producing posts for Offbeat Bride. Catherine is shifting her focus back to editorial and project management work, and so I'm bringing on a new Vendor Relations Manager… meet Tiffany! That's her over up there with the red hair.

Some of you may remember Tiffany from her fabulous Offbeat Home & Life post about her hairless cat smelling like potatoes, but here's more about her:

Continue reading »

In-image ads on Offbeat Home & Life

By on Sep 29th

gumgum

Normally the business side of running the Offbeat Empire blogs lives, well, here on the Offbeat Empire's behind-the-scenes blog. But today on Offbeat Home & Life, Megan did a post about her and my joint decision to add in-image ads to the site. It felt important to do over there, since it's something we anticipated the reader community would have LOTS of opinions about.

First, I want to give Megan major snaps for the way she walks the line on that post — she framed it as good cop/bad cop, and at first I was like, "Omg, you're being really negative about this!" and then I got to this part:

Continue reading »

Why we're retiring the term "Offbeat Lite"

By on Sep 24th
Original photo by takomabibelot, used by Creative Commons license.

Original photo by takomabibelot, used by Creative Commons license.

Over the years, much digital ink has been spilled on the phrase "Offbeat Lite," the term I jokingly started using back in 2007:

Over the years, there's also been a significant amount of reader friction over the term, which I've always been fine with… but interestingly, over the last year, my editors and I have just organically stopped using it. Not because some readers didn't like it (because, trust: there's ALWAYS something our beloved readers don't like), but because it stopped being useful.

Continue reading »

All about Offbeat Bride & Lovesick's WeddingMBA presentation + our new joint venture, OFFBEAT INDUSTRY

By on Sep 22nd

wedding mba offbeat bride lovesick by freweddings

Does anyone remember the last time I went to Las Vegas? I was invited to do a presentation at the Wedding MBA convention, and got a free exhibitor booth as well. I learned a lot from the experience, including:

  • I need to get out more often
  • Wow, I suck at the A/V component of presentations
  • I did not get a return on investment from the booth

All three of these lessons were applied in the two years since, and this year when the Wedding MBA folks approached me about doing a talk, I was ready:

  • Since last attending Wedding MBA, I've gotten out a lot, presenting at six wedding expos across the US with Tom & Jon, the Lovesick Expo dudes
  • Rather than do the presentation myself, I'd team up with the dudes — since they do videography, putting together an A/V rich presentation is WAY easier for them
  • I'll skip the booth and hang out with friends by a pool instead

So the three of us were booked to do a presentation titled "Off The Beaten Aisle: Give Every Wedding Some Edge." The timing worked out well, because we had a new very-much related business venture to announce…

Continue reading »

Slacking with the Offbeat Empire: how Slack turned my inbox into the happiest ghost town

By on Sep 10th
A peek at our stats on Slack. As you can see, the Empire really does sleep on Saturdays.

A peek at our stats on Slack. As you can see, the Empire really does sleep on Saturdays.

I've written before about how the Offbeat Empire leans on Flickr, and now I find my business suddenly equally dependent on Slack, a tool created by Stewart Butterfield, one of Flickr's cofounders. In barely a month, it's completely transformed the way my business communicates. I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but I'm being stone cold serious, here: Slack has completely changed the way my staff communicates and gets work done.

I heard about Slack last summer when it launched, because I follow Stewart on Twitter… but I wasn't immediately clear on how it would be of use to me.

"Yeah, yeah," I thought to myself. "A productivity tool that I sink days into learning how to use, thereby killing all productivity benefit. Also, my bitches [yes, it's a term of endearment] hate procedural changes, and I still regret that brief affair we had with Basecamp a few years ago, and you can pry gmail and IM out our cold dead hands…"

So I basically ignored it. Even after I chatted with Stewart last year at XOXO Fest, I was still like "Oh cool that he's got a new product but whatever." (STEWART OMG THE REGRETS, THE REGRETS.) I am ashamed to admit that it took this profile from Wired to get me interested: The Most Fascinating Profile You'll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup. The title isn't click bait — it's accurate.

Ok, so I started to get it: Slack is a productivity tool for remote workers, founded by a guy I deeply admire whose birthname is Dharma. (Seriously, read the Wired piece.) Ok, so Slack is sorta like a chat room, but jacked up on steroids, coming up on of three hits of ecstasy, and wearing one of those hippie utility belts packed with swiss army knives, your favorite kind of gum, chapstick, a wrench, and two-sided tape. I started being like, "Wait, why am I not using this yet?"

If Slack were a festival utility belt

Image courtesy of Etsy seller Mohana

Then I stumbled across this video:

Continue reading »

Presentation at WMBA in Las Vegas on September 18 (plus a big announcement!)

By on Sep 4th
Signing the papers with Jon & Tom from Lovesick

Photo of Tom, myself, and Jon by Jenny GG Photography

On September 18th 2014, I'll be sharing the stage with the Tom and Jon (the two dudes from Lovesick Inc) at the Wedding Merchants Business Association conference in Las Vegas. We will not be doing what we are doing in the photo above. Instead, we're going to be talking to a few thousand wedding professionals (!?!) about how to be a little less cheesy, a bit more creative, and a lot more themselves.

We are all super stoked to have this platform to talk about what we've learned from our favorite vendors around the country, as well as our tips for how vendors can build their businesses. Tom and Jon and I all feel like the more we can connect the world to our unique network of vendor friends, the more we all redefine the tired ways of the old wedding guard. It's exciting!

ALSO! At the end of our presentation, we'll be debuting a new joint venture that's set to launch early next year.

Continue reading »

How not to woo clients: insult your potential clientele online

By on Aug 25th

This morning we posted a wedding on Offbeat Bride about a bride whose wedding outfit included a shirt she wore on her first date with her husband. The post immediately went viral on Facebook, garnering a thousand Likes and 80k views in a couple hours. Inevitably, there were a ton of comments too, including this one:

5662152

While I've blurred out the commenter's name and business name, I want everyone to note that this comment was left by A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.

We use Facebook's moderation tools to automatically auto-hide any comments that include the words like "tacky," "tasteless," and "cheap," so no one saw this vendor's snarky comment… but I want to stress to my wedding industry colleagues: this is not how you woo clients online. This isn't the first time that a wedding vendor has left comments on our posts insulting the couples we feature. My mind is blown every time I see a vendor do this because, you guys: these comments are seen by your potential clients. When, as a vendor, you publicly insult a wedding, you're sending several message about your business:
 

Continue reading »

Farewell, working from home

By on Aug 18th
This is me in the foyer of the Offbeat Empire's former office… aka the stairwell of my home. Photo by Jenny Jimenez for Tugboat Yards.

This is me in the foyer of the Offbeat Empire's former office… aka the stairwell of my home. Photo by Jenny Jimenez for Tugboat Yards.

Since November 2009, my primary workplace has been a corner of the 1-bedroom condo I share with my husband, son, and small dog. Yes, I've coworked in a shared office once a week or so since 2010, but 90% of my work for the Empire has been done from a wall of a bedroom. In many ways, working from home was a tremendous blessing — with a newborn, it was easy to work weird hours. With an infant, it made sense to keep my leaking boobs close to the nursing baby. Through my son's waddlerhood and toddlerhood, it made a lot of sense to be working from home to allow quick kiddo hand-offs with my yoga-teaching husband who might come and go from teaching three classes a day… we handed parenting duties back and forth all day, every day. I saved a shitload of resources by working from home, spending zero cash on rent and zero time on commuting… all while slowly but surely losing my fucking mind.

Yeah, I said it.

Continue reading »