My advice for my fellow independent biz women

Offbeat Bride brochures
Photo by Mikkel Page
If you were to mentor other businesswomen – what would your pearls of wisdom be?

-Jac

My biggest business advice would be to always recognize the folks who inspired you. All's fair in love and biz, and there are very few truly new ideas — the key is to acknowledge and respect the folks who came before you.

If you've read my book, I make no secret of the fact that Indiebride was HUGELY influential on my wedding planning process, and I've referenced the site many times here on offbeatbride.com. I worked hard to ensure that Indiebride and Offbeat Bride would be very, very different beasts — one's primarily a forum with a thoughtful advice column, while the other is a photo-intensive rapid-fire blog. But above and beyond differentiating the websites, it was incredibly important to me that my book recognize the work that Lori Leibovich did for the online wedding world.

The same is true of my reading series, the Salon of Shame. I was inspired by a friend's event called Cringe in Brooklyn. I first asked her if I could start a Seattle leg of her show, and she said "No, but you can start your own thing with a different name!" So I did — but whenever anyone asks me about the history of the show, I always mention Cringe. Always:

Stallings is the first to admit the influence of other, prior confessional reading series: "When people say, 'What a great idea!' I say, 'Yeah, but it's not mine.'"

Look: the business world is FULL of derivation — long before the Snuggie, there was the Slanket. Competition happens. But as a businesswoman, when you make a point to recognize and honor your inspiration, you can create a business community instead of just competition.

  1. Every time i hear that modern bride got scrapped i feel a little bad. i work at Walmart, and whenever a woman picks up a copy of modern bride or Martha Stewart i write down the URL for OBB. Most women put the magazine back when i tell them how wonderful OBB is. oops?

    • I say don't feel bad at all, you're doing them a favor!!

      I was reading some "advice" in one of those magazines which said something to the effect of, "Don't make your own invitations!! Think of how tacky that will be!! Instead, BUY your invitations from these vendors 'conveniently' advertising in our magazine!!" …..Yeah. It was then I vowed (ha) never to pick one of those up again. What I would have preferred instead was an actual thoughtful, considerate article like the one OB had on the meaning/connotations of "tacky" in the wedding industry, and options for many (not just one!) ways to deal with invitations…..making your own, a selection of many different vendors, using e-invitations, etc…..rather than assuming that everyone wants the exact same thing.

      Hey other magazines, either stop painting every "bride-to-be" with the exact same brush or you're SURE to go out of business….and OB, keep up the good work!!

  2. I totally agree with your advice and especially the sentiments about reality tv and print media! I think that you are doing an awesome job supporting all women whether it's connecting them with other brides or inspiring them to make their own offbeat dreams come true. Good for you for not slowing down for the mainstream media to catch up with you. :) xo

  3. I just have to say, that I really admire your convictions to your beliefs. Its a rare thing in this day and age where you see someone who says, "I believe this," and then actually commits their life to upholding it.

    I feel that here at OBB and in every blurb, conversation, Q & A you post. :) Thanx.

  4. But it's exactly the weird goth weddings that make me love this blog so much! haha, I'm glad corporate-sponsored "Buy! Buy! Buy!" magazines are fading out. Hooray for weird goths and DIY!!

  5. Offbeat Bride's traffic continues to grow even as wedding magazines are shutting down … so we must be doing something right.

    The elephant in the room there is, are you making any money from it?

  6. "Look: the business world is FULL of derivation — long before the Snuggie, there was the Slanket. Competition happens. But as a businesswoman, when you make a point to recognize and honor your inspiration, you can create a business community instead of just competition. "

    SO. TRUE.

  7. wait a minute, did you say the CW is supposed to be the "youth luxury network"? The new Melrose Place aside, I've always thought of the CW as the "youth ghetto network"!

    • That's what the production company dude said, referencing Gossip Girl. I certainly wouldn't know either way — I don't even have a television. :)

  8. Frankly, wedding shows are never about the wedding, as you say, it's about the DRAMA! I've always wanted to avoid that, so I'd make rubbish reality material. That's what I love about OBB, everyone's laid back, encouraging, thoughtful and fun!
    TV producers always see their audiences as idiots, that's why there's so much trash on. If they did take a chance to make a positive TV version of OBB, it'd get an audience! But they don't want to take a chance and that's why TV is a dying medium.

    • RE: Drama. That was another big concern of mine. I always worried that an OBB TV show would inevitably slide toward "Weirdo Bridezillas" — OMG, can you beLIEVE she's freaking out about not having enough time to crochet scarves for her bridesmaids? Stupid DIY bitch!

      I also worried that casting the show would contradict all the work I've done on trying to remind readers that their wedding is not a contest. It's not a contest … oh unless you want to be on OBB TV, and then we only want the weirdest, wildest, and brightest.

      Ultimately, OBB is meant for a niche readership. TV is not meant for niches.

  9. Ariel, you and offbeat bride are my inspiration! I've been the go-to-gal for all my friends weddings this summer..and i hope to turn the mayhem in a little wedding coordination business. Visiting OBB is the very first thing I tell a couple to do.

  10. I guess as online news sites are putting print papers out of business, sites like these are doing the same to print magazines.

  11. I'd consider Ariel a mentor to me… and she does it steadfastly, with honesty, conviction and an outlook on self-reliance that I don't think I would have gleaned from someone else. She's a rockstar :)

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.