Schemes for 2015 Lovesick Expos (and musings on business partnerships)

June 5 2014 | arielmstallings

January and February 2014 were super exciting crazy times for the Offbeat Empire, with a year of schemes culminating in the six Lovesick Expos nationwide. (Actually, I guess the official name was Offbeat Bride presents Lovesick Expo? I should know this! God knows we put enough time into co-branding the name exactly.) Above, you can get a taste of the good times via a video recently released by Tom & Jon over at Lovesick Inc.

There was a obscene amount of planning that went into the Offbeat Bride/Lovesick Expo partnership, and it was one of the most complex business partnerships I've ever launched. I have a couple other long-term business partners (I've worked with since 2007, and they've been built into's navigation since 2011; and Brilliant Earth has been built-in since last year)… but they're always been strictly digital placement partnerships. Partnering with Lovesick was the first time I've done a partnership that got me off the internet (!!) and into a whole different market: event production.

Making this leap was a very intentional choice I made both for business reasons and personal reasons. Business-wise, it felt like a natural next step for my existing business model: working with wedding vendors to share their services with Offbeat Brides. I know a lot about connecting like-minded vendors and couples, and really the Lovesick Expo just making that same connection face-to-face.

On a more personal level, the partnership felt weirdly important. See, you guys: I am entering year five of full-time working from home on the internet. Days go by where I only leave the house to walk the dog, and the only people I interact with are my long-suffering husband and 4-year-old son. It's a really wonderful life, but man: ISOLATION STATION. For my own sanity, it felt important to shift a portion of my work towards leaving my house and, like, interacting with people face-to-face.

I teamed up with the Lovesick Inc guys because they'd been advertisers for years and I knew we worked together well. I like the way they communicate, I like the way they think, and (perhaps most importantly), I love the way they've handled it when weird shit has gone down. (Because let's be honest: weird shit is ALWAYS going to go down. It's just the nature of running a business. What matters is how you DEAL when the weird shit goes down.)

Anyway, the 2014 Lovesick Expo shows were a screaming success. Remember: as great as Lovesick Expos have been, before this year they'd never been produced off the East Coast. It was a stretch to see how the events (and the production involved to make them happen!) would translate to other markets like the West Coast and Rocky Mountains. Everything went amazingly, though. Most of the shows sold out, vendors were STOKED, and most importantly: people had FUN. I mean, watch the video. It's accurate. (Also accurate: that basically the only time at Lovesick when I wasn't wasted & dancing was when I was driving.)

The boys from Lovesick Inc and I are now starting to scheme on 2015 shows. I've got a trip in a couple weeks to tour a prospective space in an unnamed city (SHH: THE LOVESICK BOYS ARE VERY SECRETIVE ABOUT THEIR PLANS), and dates for 2015 shows are being locked down as we speak.

We're also working to make the partnership even better by supporting the each other's businesses with our own strengths. I'm an obsessive over-communicator, so I helped (and by "helped" I mean "lovingly forced") Tom from Lovesick set up an email newsletter mailing list instead of relying on BCC: emails and Facebook pages to get the word out about the events. (Vendors, you should totally sign up for the newsletter at

lovesick-triadMeanwhile, I suck at presentations and A/V stuff (remember my disasters in 2012?), so the Lovesick guys are totally making the visual magic happen at our joint presentation at the Wedding Merchant Business Association convention this fall. I also tend to have rage issues when it comes to certain kinds of customer relations, and Jon from Lovesick has become my personal Rage Sponsor. (I talked about this around minute 42 of that podcast I posted last week.)

To me, this is the best scenario for a business partnership: separate businesses scheme together to jointly tap into new markets, while also strengthening each business separately. It's kind of awesome, right?! Plus, Tom & Jon are sweethearts and I wub them, so that's nice too.

ANYWAY! Here's to the Lovesick Expos in 2015. Now I'm going to put on my heart sunglasses, watch the video again, and dance around my living room by myself.

  1. That looks awesome! I want to go now! (Although my marryin' is done.) I am happy for you that you are out in the world being seen.

    • You'd be in good company… there were a not insignificant number of folks who came to Lovesick as an Offbeat Empire meet-up. Some of them came with engaged friends as an excuse, others didn't bother with an excuse. 🙂

  2. Awwwwww yea. I loved Lovesick. I went to the Philly one when I was planning and although I ended up using zero of the vendors there (too far from VA), I loved just being in that space with other "alternative" brides and grooms. It was the only wedding expo I went to that didn't overwhelm the piss out of me and/or creep me out.

    I just grabbed a drink at the bar, ate some free food (samples!), watched the killer burlesque show, and met some of the Tribe. It was awesome!

  3. I love Lovesick! Tom + Jon were the DJs and videographers for my own wedding and now that I'm photographing weddings the ONLY expo I've considered applying for is Lovesick!

  4. Please pick at least 2 locations in the South! (Texas? North Carolina? Georgia? Florida?) It is sooo hard being an Offbeat Bride in the South because families in the South have expectations like none other.

  5. Is it worth flying to the Lovesick Expo? I live in Salt Lake City and was considering flying to the Denver, Seattle, or San Fran expos (because it looks AWESOME!), but I don't think I'd want to hire any vendors local to those places.

    • This is a great question. So, if you lived in SLC and were planning to get married in, say, Denver… then yes. It'd be totally worth it to fly in, find some local vendors, and have a good time.

      But if you live in SLC, and you flew to Denver… then yeah, it's going to be a bunch of Denver vendors who you probably can't use. (Unless, of course, you want to fly them to SLC.)

      I mean, if you WANT an excuse to go for a weekend vacation, and make Lovesick part of the fun, then it could totally be fun. But in terms of its usefulness as a wedding expo, it's probably not going to be very helpful for your SLC wedding planning.

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