Advice for indie biz women, and offbeat bride + the mainstream media = ???

By on Oct 27th

Here's another round of reader Q&As! Not wedding advice, and not stuff covered by my FAQ … just questions from you!

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.

Have you ever been approached or thought about pitching an idea for a show based on your site? -Nancy

Oh GAWD yes. I get approached monthly by production companies wanting to do an Offbeat Bride reality show, and actually spent a full year working with one crew to develop a pitch. I took several trips down to LA and shopped the show to a half-dozen networks this spring. It was a hilarious process, but there was never quite a click between what I wanted and what interested the tv folks.

One challenge was that no one seemed to understand that I wasn't a wedding planner. Every network exec I talked to was like "So how many weddings do you coordinate a year?" I was always like, "Uh, sorta thousands but sorta none? Think of me as more an editor than a wedding planner, mmkay?" but no one ever quite understood that running a wedding blog isn't the same as planning weddings.

The best was when we went to go pitch the CW, and as we headed into the conference room, one of the production company people whispered to me, "So, this is a youth luxury network — let's focus on your $500,000 weddings instead of the weird goth ones." I whispered back "Uh….what $500,000 weddings?"

Ultimately, I don't trust television producers to respect offbeat weddings the same way I do. Reality shows are too often played for trainwreck value — and I'm not interested in throwing my OBBs to the wolves ala My Big Redneck Wedding. I'll never say never, but at this point I just don't see OBB TV happening.

Have you considered advertising in "traditional" magazines, with the hope of leading the people who may feel a bit alone in a sea of "traditional" weddings? -Elizabeth

Nope, because thanks to Google, I reach almost as many people online as I would via a wedding magazine. Print media is really struggling right now, and that includes wedding magazines — Conde Nast recently scrapped both Modern Bride and Elegant Bride. Even Martha Stewart Weddings' circulation is down significantly. Wedding magazines are expensive and slow to produce, while the wedding blogosphere screams along with hundreds if not thousands of daily posts across the web.

I trust that most brides who are turned off by wedding magazines are ultimately going to turn to the web to look for what they want — and over a hundred thousand of them each month find Offbeat Bride through searches for stuff like "wedding invitation wording," "wedding readings," "black wedding dresses," and "father daughter dance songs." So, rather than spend money on advertising, I focus Offbeat Bride's resources on cranking out content for people to find online.

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