Wed Altered Issue 2 - June 2018

cs215204

The Business of Bridal Done Differently - building up and connecting the independent business owners of the bridal fashion world!

ISSUE 02

send your message

The Business of Bridal Done Differently.

Endless Content

Create once and repurpose forever

PUBLISH OR PERISH

Build a strong social presence

to bring in more business

Visual Inclusivity

Taking a Stand For Diversity

Without Tokenism

PLUS...

Make Amazing Video Content

JUNE 2018


ON THE COVER

Dresses by Love Lives Here (formerly Mink Maids)

Neck Cuff by Kata Banko

Table of Contents

3

5

9

11

17

21

25

29

31

37

41

47

51

56

Letter From the Editor

Endless Content: Create Once, Repurpose Forever

TREND REPORT: Ruffles on Ruffles

You Can Make Videos That Get Attention Now

Meet Ramona - Owner of Love and Lace Bridal and Tailor in CA

The Algorithm and Beyond...

Intention and Inclusivity vs. Tokenism and Appropriation

TREND REPORT: Sleeves With Some Oomph

Meet Stefanie- Designer of Stefanie Somers

How to Avoid Social Media Burnout

5 HUGE Website Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make Anymore

Smartphone Photography 101

Publish or Perish

Parting Shot: You Have to Ask


EDITOR

Christen Schneider

CONTRIBUTORS AND FEATURES

Wendy Rivera

Ramona Southard

Brittny Drye

Stefanie Somers

Deci Belfry

Jacqui Wadsworth

Accessories by Cloe Noel Designs


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Hello again and welcome!

With a magazine full of articles, it shouldn't be surprising that we're all about the message around

here. The message you put out there for your clients is a major factor in your business's success, so

it's worth your time and attention. There are lots of ways to communicate it, too, as you’ll see in this

issue!

I want to encourage you to figure out a couple things as you work through our issue on spreading

your message and over the next few months. First - who are you talking to? Second - what do you

really want to tell them? And then I'm going to challenge you: Do it.

Tell them.

The big truths. The deeper message. The genuine, authentic, realities that fill up your heart and your

mission for them and their lives that they're building.

We're in an industry that surrounds two people during one of the most meaningful and vulnerable

times in their lives. If they've made the choice to do this whole wedding thing, it's because marriage

is part of their chosen journey. Because of that, their wedding and marriage takes its place in their

story and the story of the community around them. That is an incredibly special thing!

If we're doing it right, we welcome them in with open arms, full hearts, and a determination to be

the expertise and support that brings exactly what they need and want to life to give them the best

celebration for them. That's a pretty big goal to set for ourselves! Yet, it's one we reaffirm collectively

every day.

These aren't truths or aims that can be communicated with cute and fluffy adjectives or a long

string of emojis alone. Pictures can't capture everything in the meaning. We need to prioritize the

message, too.

We rely too much on visuals, I think. They are both inspiring and indespensible, but they are the easy

way out when they are left to stand alone. Anyone can get them and there's only so much they can

say.

Take the time to get great writing out there, on social media, on your site, in your emails.

Everywhere. Good writing gives message to ideal clients. Or good video. But words. Speak truth,

whatever that is to you, your work, and your clients. It’s worth the time and the spotlight.

To the message in you that no one else can give us quite the same way...thank you for stepping

forward and having the courage and commitment to share it,

Christen

www.wedaltered.com


Endless Content:

Create Once and Repurpose Forever

W

hen you realize just how important your message is to the impa

overwhelming. We talk about things like content creation, mes

ideal client and target market. You know all the different ways to g

change every day). But there are two really important questions man


y Christen Schneider

ct (and income) you can build with your business, it can start to feel

sage marketing, finding your voice, and getting really clear on your

et that message out there (even though it can seem like the rules

y store owners and designers feel like they don't have the answer for:


1. How am I supposed to find the

time?

2. How am I supposed to have

something totally new to say every

time I log on?

Let's start with number two. The

great news is that you DON'T need

something new to say every time.

That's actually a great way to get

lost in all the noise. You've heard

that if you "say it loud enough and

often enough, people will believe it's

true," right? Well, that's the best way

to go about getting your big time

message out there to your clients

and community.

Your message is what sets you

apart. It's what you want everyone

to know about what you do, why

you do it, and why they should buy

in.

You need to have lots of clarity, lots

of passion, and a whole lot of

consistency.

Why? First, social media only hits

very small part of your audience

(even Facebook Business puts the

average page reach at 16%). You

can't count on each person seeing

each post, so you need to say things

more than once, at different times,

and in different ways to cover as

much of your followers as possible.

Second, people need to hear things

over and over and over again.

People learn better, trust more, and

make decisions based on what

they've been exposed to most

effectively and frequently.

Have something

worth saying.

Say it clearly.

Say it in lots of

different ways.

Say it often.

That's pretty much Marketing 101.

So you should be focused on saying

what matters more frequently, not

constantly finding something else

to talk about. Which means that

you can take an awesome piece of

IT ALL CONNECTS.

Here are some more ways you can start with on piece of content and keep the re

Live Facebook Video

YouTube Video

Facebook Story

Facebook Post

Pre-recorded Video

Personal Facebook Post**

Instagram Story

**A personal Facebook post may sound weird for a business...but it’s a great way to beat the algorithms and reach your family

and friends for referrals and updates.


content, repurpose it a bunch of

different ways, and make your

marketing MORE EFFECTIVE with a

lot less work.

So that's number one solved, too!

Let's take a look at some

ways you could repurpose an

powerful piece of content:

Let’s say you have a FAQ about

appointments that would really

help brides feel at ease shopping for

their dress. Putting brides at ease

and positioning yourselves as the

local go-to experts is part of your

marketing message. Sounds like a

winning content topic!

You write up a great blog post with

pictures from real appointments

and all the info they need to answer

the question and feel ready to come

in. That's a big task and a really

valuable piece of content. How can

you squeeze every last drop out of

your time and words?

1) Send it out to an email list. (This is

exactly why you should be building

an email list, by the way.)

2) Make a Live Facebook video with

a quick overview and a link back the

post for more details.

3) Download your Facebook Live

video and upload it to your YouTube

channel.

4) Post an Instagram and Facebook

Page post with an image from the

blog and a link to the post.

5) Snap a picture of your computer

screen with the blog post on it and

post it in your Instagram story,

telling people how to find it.

6) Create a Pinterest graphic and

post the blog post to Pinterest.

(Bonus Points- Schedule a reminder

post about this really core content

every 2-4 months.)

So that one blog post just got you

and your message in front of your

audience 9+ times, in a way that

makes them more likely to hear and

believe what you have to say. That's

the beauty of repurposing your

content!

ach flowing from platform to platform to get even more views and impact.

Podcast Recording

Infographic

Blog Post

Newsletter

Pin to Pinterest

Instagram Post

Guest Blog Post

(You write on someone

else’s blog or site.)

This looks like there’s no right way to start or finish because there’s not.

Pick somewhere and find a good path for that particular piece of content!

www.wedaltered.com

8


TREND REPORT:

ruffles ruffles

-on-

Designer: Ellie Day Collection Photographer: Kristina Danitz Model: Olivia Sanders


Whether they’re full scale or in the details, you’ll find designers who make them edgy,

classic, organic, romantic, minimalistic, and more. It’s a simple element that packs a big

punch, no matter how it’s used. Here’s a round up of some we’ve fallen in love with lately!

Designer (clockwise from top left): Nourikko, Gretchen Dawley, Prim and Clover, Steven Birnbaum Bridal, Desiree Spice, and Deborah Lindquist


You Can Make Videos

now

That

GET ATTENTION

by Wendy Rivera


T

The camera turns on, and it

seems like everything blacks

out. Your brain is in the middle

of a barrage of thoughts —

Wait, what was I going to say? I

hate that I always talk too fast!

What was I even going to talk about

on this video?

I hate how I look on camera — I hate

how I sound on camera — I hate

how I….. I’m the owner, and I care

about my brand — it’s just going to

look unprofessional! What is “good

lighting?” How do I get people to

even watch my videos?! This is just

a stressful waste of my time.

So you conclude:

“Forget it —

I’m not doing it.”

When you hear a marketing expert

say, “Video is the most important

element in your marketing today!”,

do you suddenly feel: a. Excited b.

Empowered or c. a Panic Attack

leading to hopeless resignation that

your bridal business will never

capitalize on the most important

element in marketing?

If your answer was c. — you are not

alone — and keep reading, because

I want to share with you five simple

things that every successful

marketing video contains that

ANYONE can do, without spending

any money on equipment!!

YOU can do this! There are a ton of

things out there to do or buy that

people claim will improve your

videos, but these 5 things I’m going

to share with you are primary to

making videos that connect and

convert with your audience!

Light it up!!

You don’t have to have professional

lighting, but you DO need to make

sure that you test the lighting

before you go live or record your

videos! It only takes a minute to do

a quick lighting test and make sure

that your shot is well lit! Let me tell

you, whenever a video is too dark, it

makes your audience have to work

to watch it. And if an audience has

to work to watch you, they will turn

you off.

So simply make sure that wherever

you set up your shot, the light is

hitting you from the front and not

from the back. If the light is shining

from the back, it pulls attention

away because the audience cannot

focus on your face (or on whatever

product you are trying to show).

Speak Up!

You don’t have to have a

microphone to make good videos,

but you DO need to be close

enough to the device (a camera or

your phone etc.) for the microphone

to pick you up above whatever

other noise is around you! Are you

recording a video at market, at a

bridal show, or at an event at your

business?

Background noise is a killer when

you are too far away from the

camera — and this is especially true

when you are trying to interview

someone! You may be trying to get

a great long shot, but if you (and the

person you are interviewing), are

not close enough to the mic, it’s a

bad idea! If your audience has to

work to hear you, they will turn you

off.

So simply stay anywhere within 6

feet of the camera when there is no

background noise, and within 4 feet

of the camera if there is any other

noise or music that you may be

competing with. Remember, the

audience can’t zero in on what you

are saying when there are other

things coming through their

speakers. Let your voice and your

message be easily heard!

Cheer Up!

Yes, you MUST be excited to get

your audience excited! They will feel

only HALF of whatever energy you

are putting out there, so before you

hit record, get a little bit more

pumped up! Stand up taller, think

of something that makes you smile

(or even laugh!), and then hit it!

Laughing and smiling opens you up

to people, and that helps them to

open up to you, and WANT to watch

you to hear what you have to say.

When you see a video of someone

who seems happy, you tend to tap

on it to see what in the world they

might be happy about! Remember,

this is not about broadcasting, it is

about communicating — and those

two are VERY different from each

other!

Don’t mindlessly talk about

something you are promoting,

because if the audience doesn’t

FEEL anything about what you are

presenting, they will turn you off.

You want people to get excited

about your clearance sale? Your

trunk show? Your new line? Your

fashion show? Then YOU have got

to be excited! Don’t just announce

it — show them how excited you are

about it, and that you can’t wait to

meet them there!

People connect to your message

only if YOU connect with your

message. If it doesn’t make you

happy, then they will have no

interest in it at all! And don’t believe

the lie that “it is fake”, or “I don’t feel

like ‘me’.” Put yourself aside, smile,

and make someone’s day who is

watching your video! Get them

excited about life in general by how

excited you are for what is

happening in your business. People

will share things that make other

people smile — so go spread a little

sunshine and watch what a

difference it makes in your reach!

www.wedaltered.com 12


Lighten Up!

Memorized or obviously read videos

are the least effective of any videos

in marketing. Don’t put so much

pressure on yourself to “make it

perfect”, because transparency is

actually GOLD in marketing!

The “perfect” video is a transparent

video — mistakes and all! Be YOU,

and if you stumble a little on your

words, it’s OK! In fact, the out-takes

are the BEST to add on any video —

audiences LOVE them!! Just keep

the message moving, don’t get

bogged down, don’t think of any

stumbles as a mistake, keep

smiling, keep talking, and focus on

giving valuable content! Don’t get

sidetracked — and just have fun

sharing the info you came to share!

Don’t

over-think,

over-rehearse, or over-script

— all of these things put a

barrier between you and

your audience and they will

turn you off! When any

human is communicating

with another human, it is

always always always more

effective if it is spoken from

the heart! Even scripted

things are only effective if

they come across as NOT

scripted! If you do 100 takes

to get it “perfect”, I PROMISE

you you will lose more

energy and connectedness

with each take, and flat-line

your video.

People want to get to know

YOU, and your staff! When

you look like you are having

fun, people will want to join

you. So, don’t stress yourself out

about saying it “perfectly”, just say it

the same way you would say it if you

were telling a group of excited

brides who happened to walk by

your boutique! Have fun and GET IT

DONE!

Don’t waste time making a video

that won’t connect! Just get

excited, look into that camera, think

of that group of excited brides, and

tell them all about it! Then, when

you watch the video, check for

ONLY the things on this checklist —

good lighting good sound, good

energy and good info.

Don’t critique yourself to death, and

lose your confidence in the process.

(Yes, your personal appearance is

important, but I think you know

what makes someone look

professional or not, right?! So, don’t

body shame yourself — remember,

your team and your brides are

watching you, and you hate it when

they do that!) You are gorgeous —

you are amazing — and you are

helping your audience know about

an incredible thing! Go tell them!

Wrap it Up!

When you make a video, make sure

that you empower the audience to

have all of the info and then to DO

something with the info!! Give them

the dates, the times, the location,

the cost, and the most vital facts

about the event (or product etc.),

both in the middle of the video and

then quickly at the end to review!

Where/How do they get tickets?

How do they reserve a spot? How

can they contact you for more info

or if they have questions?

Sometimes it is GREAT to have

someone hold a paper with that

info on it where you can see it, (but

of course, where the audience can’t,

lol), so that you don’t have to

remember all of the info yourself!

Forgetting that info, when the rest

of the video was great, is very

frustrating, because you lose some

of your original energy on each

successive take. And that info MUST

be on there!

Tell the audience what you want

them to do — and give them a

reason to take immediate action!

Urgency is key - “spots are

filling fast”, “space is limited”,

“the first 25 brides to book

get….” etc. Do a drawing for a

gift where anyone who

shares the video is entered to

win the drawing! Anything to

give the audience a positive

and exciting reason to take

action, spread the word, book

an appointment, etc.

Also, REMEMBER, you have 10

seconds to grab their

attention — audiences have

an attention span of 10-15

seconds to decide if they will

keep watching! And if they

are not inspired or interested,

they will turn you off. Sooooo,

if your video will be 60

seconds, make your first 10

seconds power-packed and

give them a reason to watch

till the end! If you are sharing great

content, you can keep your

audience! BUT, 15 second videos are

also POWERFUL because social

media tends to show them more!

So, if your content is relevant and

your audience connects with it by

www.wedaltered.com


interacting, commenting, sharing,

etc., it can have an amazing organic

reach even if it is 2 minutes or so —

AND if it is only 15-20 seconds it will

also naturally get shown more (you

just may need to talk super fast to

get any info out, lol!). Put vital info

in the description — links, websites,

phone numbers — so that it is EASY

for your audience to reach you —

and so that you get

cross-promotion with other

vendors, bloggers, event sites, etc.

Let it get as much organic reach as

possible and then boost it! Don’t

stress — JUST DO IT!

Look at that!! You can do ALL of

these things! But the key word

there is DO!!!! Don’t just do what I

tend to do with exercise info that I

read — I think, ooooh I need to buy

that magazine to read how to lose

50 pounds in 2 weeks!! I buy it, read

it, and then NEVER DO IT — and

shocker: Nothing changes.

You want to change the traffic at

your business? Put your hesitations,

excuses, and past video frustrations

aside — grab your phone and make

some videos that get your audience

energized and empowered to

engage with you! (The National

Bridal Sale Event is coming up for

boutiques, and NOW is the time to

be churning out the videos about

it!)

Let’s lead the way in showing that

being a confident, empowering,

encouraging, and magnetic

presence can inspire others to take

positive action! And aren’t you all

about that?! Effective marketing,

simply put, inspires action. Help

others take positive action using

these 5 tips, and you’ll find yourself

multiplying your reach with

amazing videos on every platform!

For more training and e-courses by Do

You Speak Bride? go to

www.doyouspeakbride.com.

WENDY RIVERA

Wendy Rivera is a Nationally Recognized Expert in the

Bridal Industry, and has exploded onto the scene with Do

You Speak Bride! Wendy is a powerful communicator

both on stage and off, and has a passion for helping

shoppes learn the very nuanced language of “Bride”.

Wendy is a writer, director, coach, speaker, counselor,

mom and bridal shoppe owner, and is passionate about

helping bridal boutiques all over the world to increase

every part of their business — and become THE

destination in Bride Country!!

www.doyouspeakbride.com

14


DO YOU SPEAK BRIDE PRESENTS

LAUNCH EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR

AUGUST 5-7 ATLANTA, GA.

LEADERSHIP

Develop your

leadership skills even

further as we look at

what a leader looks

like, servant leadership,

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MARKETING

Work with some of the

best in the industry on

the difference between

branding and

marketing - free and

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walk away with a plan.

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Bring your numbers so

we can dig deep into

benchmarks, the three

ways to grow, and how

to become the most

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possible.

WHY LAUNCH

LAUNCH Consulting is a group of like-minded women who love to bring positivity, growth, and community to business.

Their focus is on real world solutions, action plans, and facilitating a group of revolutionary industry leaders.

LAUNCH will be hosting in-person education, online communities, and more!

ABOUT THE SEMINAR

HOSTED

BY

WHERE

WHEN

COST

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See more potential best sellers every day!

Directory Ad

Check out our Wed Altered

Online Designer

Directory

Dress by Renegade Bridal


MEET RAMONA

Owner of Love and Lace Bridal

and Tailor in CA


L

ove and Lace Bridal and Tailor

is one of those stores I wish I

had shopped at when I was

engaged. Their selection in

beautiful and has just the right

amount of variety, the space is

welcoming and bright, and

Ramona and her team clearly know

exactly what they’re doing. So I was

pretty excited when she agreed to

tell us more about what they’re up

to now that they’ve expanded to a

second location.

You're based in two spots in

California now. Tell me a little

about what sets your cities apart.

We have 2 locations in Southern

California. Our original store is in

Irvine, CA, a small city in the heart of

Orange County. It is a new and

modern community full of young

families. Our second location is

completely opposite, located in

downtown Los Angeles on busy

Sunset Blvd. The store is much

smaller and perfectly curated to our

non-traditional LA brides!

What led to you opening your

store? What's your bridal origin

story?

I opened my initial bridal salon after

practicing law for several years and

being completely unhappy and

unfulfilled creatively. After realizing

that the creative part of myself was

super important, I tossed around

several ideas of what type of

business to open. There was an

existing bridal salon for sale in our

area and we were super close to

buying it. On a whim, I decided that

I wanted my very own place with

my very own way of doing things –

and Love and Lace was opened a

few months later!

What's your

biggest piece of

advice for other

store owners?

Figure out why

you want to open

and what type of

bride you want to

cater to. Most

salons open

because the

owners think it

will be “fun” and

they have no idea

who their ideal

bride is. You are

not Target – you

cannot make

everyone happy.

Therefore, figure

out who you want

your specific bride to be and be

everything for her, but only her!

Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do because at the end

of the day, most of our brides are

amazing and truly grateful for us.

We play a (small) part in their

wedding story and it is quite special

and emotional.

Quick Details:

Price range - $1400-$4000

Number of fitting rooms – 3 in

Irvine; 2 in LA

Staff – 5 sales consultants in Irvine, 2

seamstresses; 3 sales consultants in

LA

3 words to describe your store vibe –

relaxed, friendly, open-minded

3 words to describe your bride –

unique, confident, and effortless

Are you bridal only or other

departments- Bridal only

How do you spread the work

around when things get really

busy? Do you have your team

tackle social media or

appointments? Do it all yourself?

I have my consultants that take all

of our bridal appointments now (I

don’t do them anymore). I am in

charge of all the behind-the-scenes,

payroll, inventory, buying, etc. I have

a PR company that does our PR and

social media. Other than that, I do

everything else myself.

What does "community over

competition” mean for you and

your business?

I think it is more important to be

friends with and learn from your

competitors, rather than be afraid

of them. I strive to reach out to them

and even meet up regularly. I truly

believe that we each get the brides

we are supposed to get, so I would

rather foster friendships and find

ways to grow together, rather than

be afraid of them.

www.wedaltered.com

18


What's a really special story about

your staff?

About 80% of our staff are moms,

and fairly recent moms. It has made

us look at the wedding dress

shopping through different eyes

and able to sympathize on another

level.

Who's a big business inspiration for

you and what makes them so

important/brilliant/special?

A huge inspiration for me has been

connecting and building

friendships with others bridal salon

owners across the country. I have a

good core group of women that I am

friends with and I don’t know what I

would do without them.

We speak weekly, if not daily, and

share each other’s burdens, joys and

accomplishments. It has been one

of the most amazing things about

getting to know this part of the

industry. To be honest, anytime I feel

fed up or ready to quit (who doesn’t,

haha) I think about these women

and they inspire me to get up and

keep going.

What has made you who you are

today?

As with most of us, we are who we

are today because of life experiences

and how they have shaped our

viewpoint. Growing up as part of an

immigrant family and struggling to

make it in this country, I have

fostered an appreciation and

respect for all the things we have

here.

It is important to me not to take

anything for granted, nor to expect a

certain type of lifestyle. I try to filter

my business decisions and how I run

my salons through that type of lens:

be grateful for each bride and treat

her with an utmost of respect and

reverence, because she is trusting us

with such an important part of her

wedding!

What's a big vision or goal you have

for your store over the next 5-10

years?

I would love to have expanded into

our current locations, in terms of

types of gowns we offer and to

expand our plus-size selections.

Trying to cater to brides of all sizes is

a project of mine that has been on

my heart a lot. We have already

begun to add to our plus size

collection and I am excited to make

it grow.

What's your favorite way to do

something special for brides?

We pride ourselves in the ways we

try to bond with our brides during

our appointments. We take time to

get to know them and find out

about their stories, because

everyone has something amazing to

say. It is so special when brides reach

back out to us after their

appointments, and even their

weddings, to catch up and just chat.

It shows that we have made an

impact on them!

www.luna-boutique.co


work

with our

designer

Customizations upon

request - patterns, beading,

color changes,

and more.

Mix

and

match

Separates close

more brides

Build looks like this

jumpsuit + overskirt!

quirk.

whimsy.

Be the destination

for unique

selection.

RENEGADE

713-364-4628

design@renegadebridal.com

SHOP THE COLLECTION

renegadebridal.com

bigger

tickets

Our brides love

choosing TWO

skirts!


THE ALGORITHM

An algorithm is a set

of guidelines that

describe how to

perform a task.

A social media

algorithm's task is

to decide what users

see when they log in.

Knowing how a platform's

algorithm works is like

learning to the rules of

a game. You need it to win!

The rules of every algorithm are different. As of June 2018, here are some tips for the

TOP 3 BRIDAL INDUSTRY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

Facebook

Challenge

Content from

family and friends

is prioritized over

pages.

Work with it!

Get people

talking!

Conversation

keeps your post

on more feeds.

BUT!Avoid 'Engagement Bait'!

The algorithm knows that phrases such as

"comment below if" and "tag someone who" are

meant to take advantage of its engagement

boundary, and punishes those posts!

Feeds are no

longer in

chronological

order.

Your page isn't

showing up in

users' search

results.

Go Live! FB wants

this feature to

catch on; take

advantage of that

visibility!

Make sure your

profile is 100%

complete, or the

algorithm may show

other businesses that

share your name

ahead of yours.

ADS

Facebook owns Instagram.

Both sites limit what your

followers see unless you pay

for advertising. Remember

this is part of their business

model, meant to generate

revenue for them - It's your job

to make sure it also brings

revenue to your business!

Instagram

Challenge

Feeds are no

longer in

chronological

order.

If users don’t engage

with you, they won’t

see when you post.

Since the feed

switched from

chronological order,

average organic

reach has dropped

to only 10%.

Work with it!

Post to your

Story! Your Story

doesn't get

buried in users'

feeds like other

posts.

Create content

that makes your

followers want to

tag their friends

and get talking!

The lifespan of a

post has risen

from 45 minutes

to 72 hours. Make

content that

lasts!

TIP! Hold off on fixing that typo!

Posts edited in the first 30 minutes perform poorly

compared to those edited later, or not at all.

Pinterest is a little different because it's a search engine, not a social media site.

However, it still uses an algorithm (called 'smart feed') to control what its users see in their feed and searches.

MAKE SURE YOU:

Include your location

in your Pins.

Use automation! Smart

feed does not

differentiate between

live and queued posts!

Make your first five pins

of the day count! They will

be more visible than the

rest.

by Deci Belfry

Use Pinterest's preferred

image dimensions of

600 x 900 pixels, or 2:3 ratio.

Choose up to 20 hashtags

and use them from now on!

(Don't waste time retroactively

tagging old posts - smart feed

only uses hashtags to help people

find new content!)

CHECK YOUR

SUCCESS

If you want to see how

you measure up after

making these changes,

ask a friend who doesn't

usually engage with your

brand to search for you.

Your own search results

are biased!


…AND BEYOND

Use Their Name

It may seem inauthentic to

include subscribers' names, but

statistics show it's worth it!

Newsletter

Social media is a tool to gain

visbility. Focus on ways your

followers can access your

content without someone else's

algorithm interfering!

Don't Overdo It

Experts disagree on how frequently to

send newsletters. Scheduling 1-4 times

per month is enough to engage your

base without exhausting them.

Remember:

It's An Email

Images are important,

but written content

should be the focus.

Keep It Simple

And Direct

Keep your message

front and center.

Users shouldn't

have to try very hard

to find important

information.

Website

Check Your Score

Use the Wed Altered web

site score card to make sure

your site is well built, tells

your story, and is actually

bringing you brides.

Build A Relationship

Help customers get to

know you better. When

they do, they come in

already in love with your

store, your dresses, and

your team, which makes

the sale that much

easier.

Be 'Like'able!

Even though you're

not fighting an

algorithm, you should

still create content

that appeals to users'

desire to connect and

share.

Blog

Build A Narrative

Give users a reason to keep

coming back and wanting

to see more. Let them

know who you are and

what you stand for.

Enjoy Your Freedom,

But Stay Consistent!

There is no algorithm forcing

you to post more often in order

to be seen, which is good but

can be a double-edged sword.

Set a schedule and stick to it -

let your readers look forward to

your next post.

TAKE ACTION AND GET RESULTS…

All this info can feel overwhelming. We get it. But improvement in your messaging, marketing,

and social reach means more brides and more sales....so pick something up and take action

today! Many individual steps will bring you a to completely different place in no time.

Want help? Grab the Website Scorecard, come join the discussion in the Wed Altered Facebook

group, and grab a ticket to LAUNCH - where Christen will be just one of the many experts present,

and will be speaking on all things digital and content marketing for bridal stores.

Website

Scorecard

Facebook

Group

LAUNCH

Tickets


wed altered

Are you still looking

for the right fit?

When you need someone who really gets

marketing strategy and bridal business, it can feel

like an impossible search. Well, that’s what we’re

all about! Let’s see how you can get your business

and your message out there so your perfect brides

just can’t wait to stop by.

Website Design & Copy

Sales Funnels

Marketing Campaigns

Photoshoot Styling

Branding

Lookbook Design

Click through to see more or email christen@wedaltered.com.

Headpiece by Kata Banko


LOVE

LIVES

HERE

www.lovelivesherebridal.com


vs.

Intention and

Inclusivity

Tokenism and

Appropriation

What you need to know...

by Brittny Drye


T

oday’s couples plan their

weddings on social media.

They look for inspiration,

answers to burning questions,

and for leads to help them find the

creative professionals they will

ultimately hire to bring their

dreams to life.

Your social media identity is

determined by your content and

your commentary. It is often the

first encounter a prospective client

has with your brand. Visual social

media content includes photos and

videos of your work from inspiration

shoots to real weddings to the work

of colleagues you admire and share.

If you welcome and serve a diverse

population of couples regardless of

race, size, orientation, your images

will reflect that authentically and

attract more of the same.

Inclusivity

Inclusivity isn’t only about language

or images, it is a mindset that is

engrained in you — an eagerness to

work with all couples because

doing so matches your values. You

don’t see a plus-size bride, you see a

beaming woman who is a knockout

in her Ines Di Santo dress. You don’t

see a same-sex couple, you see two

women in love and the excitement

on their faces in the photo when

they slip into the gorgeous gowns

that you sold them.

When inclusivity is a value you

embrace every day, it effortlessly

shines through in your visual

content on social media.

Greed is an enemy to authentic

inclusivity. If you only add images of

different types of couples so you can

grow a new revenue stream, and

not because you truly accept the

values of a niche market, it will

show. Your efforts to attract certain

clients will be transparent and will

more likely drive them away.

Inclusivity Isn’t Tokenism

Tokenism is marketing to specialty

subgroups without being genuine

by using a limited number of

couples from a subgroup to

represent a larger trend. You are

guilty of tokenism when you luck

into serving two brides, for example,

and you use their images

everywhere to attempt to give the

impression that you work with

same-gender couples all the time.

Being truly equality-minded means

that your inclusivity is evidenced

throughout everything you do —

your marketing verbiage, your

social media presence, your

communication with couples. If you

throw up a photo of a same-sex

couple simply for the sake of

appearing like you are open to

working with them, but your staff

asks every new consult what her

“future husband’s” name is during a

fitting, you are guilty of tokenism.

Nurture an Inclusive Culture

There can be growing pains when

you try to become more inclusive.

Many wedding professionals make

assumptions and end up putting

their feet in their mouths. Assuming

that all prospects are cisgender in

hetero relationships has been a

common mistake for years. The

gender and orientation spectrums

are fluid, so you can’t put anyone in

a box. You have to approach every

new client consultation as an

opportunity to learn more. Practice

using open-ended questions and

building on information that your

clients provide you.

Avoid Appropriation

Accepting all couples regardless of

the race, gender, orientation, size or

other characteristics is one (noble

and desirable) thing. Claiming

elements of the minority culture as

your own is considered

appropriation because it represents

an imbalance. A straight wedding

professional can alienate a LGBTQ

couple by saying something like,

“oh, I have a cousin who is gay – I

love gay weddings!” This doesn’t

make you more relatable, instead it

confirms that you are singularly

focused on how different your

prospect or client is.

Instead of forcing the relationship,

Dresses in this picture by Pure Magnolia

Photo by Stacie Carr

www.wedaltered.com 26


practice the art of listening. Ask

questions that are designed to help

you learn as much about the unique

needs of every client as you can, a

good habit to have with any couple

regardless of race, orientation, etc.

Craft questions that avoid

presumptuous language and never

assume you know how someone

feels simply because you know one

of their characteristics. All people

are complex and multi-layered.

Serve the person, not the

stereotype.

Do Stay Current with Trends

While you don’t want to

pigeon-hole your clients, you should

actively stay informed about trends

that might help them make choices

or personalize their celebrations,

A note from the Editor:

and promote this through visual

content via your social media.

Demonstrating in your posts that

two women, for example might

choose to wear two dresses, a dress

and a wedding suit, a dress and a

tuxedo, two tuxedos or any

combination that fits their unique

personalities and identities gives

your audience options. Also,

providing training to your staff in

guiding transgender brides in

choosing silhouettes and styles that

complement their bodies allows

them to provide knowledgeable

guidance and superior service that

will naturally attract future clients

looking for the same level of

understanding.

The key to authentically promoting

your inclusivity through your visual

social media content is to be

genuine and knowledgeable.

Couples of all types will recognize

your effort and reward you with

their trust and their most important

days.

This is a really nuanced and important topic in the business world and our industry. Brittny laid a great starting foundation, so make sure to

take a look at her publication Love Inc. for more from her and her team! Brittny is an ally, and our LGBTQ team member Deci lent her direct

input in preparing this article and the rest of the issue. We were particularly glad to start this conversation during Pride Month, but there's so

much more work to do and other populations to bring into the discussion.

If you're an expert on inclusive business practices or if you're part of a marginalized group and have experienced the struggles of trying to find

a company that not only serves you but welcomes you with open arms, we would love to hear from you. Insight, stories, advice...anything you

want to share, we'd love to hear it and put it out to our awesome community.

If you're a business looking to always do better, there are great resources out there. We'll be continuing to talk about this regularly. Make sure

to follow and support the voices out there doing the work to help the industry tackle this. This article is a fantastic place to start: How to Avoid

Tokenism in the Wedding Industry by Nova Reid of Nu Bride.

Follow and support publications that speak to couples in marginalized populations, like Smash the Glass , Catalyst Wedding Co, Rock'n'Roll

Bride, Keep Weddings Weird, South Asian Bride Magazine, Off Beat Bride, and so many others. And take this genuine care and work into the

community, not just your business. Follow and support organizations, activists, and publications that talk about these things outside of the

wedding world. Take a stand, offer a hand, and be a voice. You've taken the awesome step to build yourself a platform in your community. Use

it to do the work that needs to be done.

Christen

BRITTNY DRYE

Brittny Drye is the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Inc.,

one of the leading equality-minded wedding blog and

digital publication.

Her inclusive efforts have been celebrated by the New York

Times, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Refinery29, NY Daily

News, Cosmopolitan, and more. She serves on the 2018-19

North American Advisory Board for the International

Academy of Wedding & Events.

www.loveincmag.com


Gown by Ysa Makino

Styling by Henris

Georgina Vaughn Photography

AmericasMart

12-E107 - Building 3

StefanieSomers.com

Sales@StefanieSomers.com | 800.400.4312


Sleeves with some oomph

Not only are sleeves back, they’re not just fitted lace anymore. Statement styles have been all over the runway!

2

1

3

1 - Full lace sleeves on a soft fit and flare gown by Hyacynth Bridal

2 - Beading, a keyhole, lace, and sleeves, all brought together by Ellie Day

3 - Big time drama on an otherwise clean cut gown by Alonuko


TREND REPORT

4

5 6

4 - A soft color and short full sleeve by Nadia Manzato

5 - Open sheer sleeves with a detailed cuff by Adam Zohar

6 - It’s all about volume with this simple statement piece, also by Adam Zohar


MEET STEFANIE

Designer of Stefanie Somers


I

met Stefanie this year and was

lucky enough to see her debut

bridal accessories collection in

person. It’s the most spectacular

“debut” collections I’ve ever seen,

but that’s because Stefanie brings

over 20 years of designing for

pageant winners to the table.

What’s even more impressive than

her attention to detail and eye for

the perfect shape and shine is her

story. Despite her whole business

being torn apart by a rogue

manager while Stefanie was in the

hospital with her newborn, she

stuck to her passion and her

ideals, and she continues to

bring

beautiful

made-in-the-USA pieces to

women every day.

You're based near The

Woodlands, TX… tell us a

little about what sets your

city apart.

Our studio is in the middle of

nowhere yet five minutes

from the center of

everything - it’s an incredibly

great place to be. We’re full

of trees and designer shops,

intriguing restaurants and

the Woodlands Waterway, all

less than an hour from

downtown Houston. There’s

nowhere I’d rather be.

What led to you starting

your line? What's your

bridal origin story?

Our pageant clients started getting

married - and started calling us! At

first we were doing a couple of

weddings a year, then 5, 10, 25… it

slowly became apparent that we

were IN the bridal business. On the

side. So we decided to make it

official.

What's the inspiration behind your

debut bridal collection?

“Every woman deserves to feel like a

queen on her wedding day” - We

truly believe that, and we want our

clients to feel like they’re wearing

the Crown Jewels.

Why do you love what you do?

How can you not love playing with

sparkly things all day? Whether it’s

in PageantLand or the Big Day,

behind the scenes of life events is

rewarding, fulfilling, exasperating,

never boring and always fun. And

it’s so much fun to design

something that will always fit, and

be treasured as part of a memory.

Really, what could be better?

Quick Details:

Price range - Bridal line: Jewelry, $29

to $199; Headpieces & Combs, $127

to $750

Production details - Handcrafted in

Texas using Crystals from

Swarovski®

Team - We currently have a team of

seven and are searching for new

team members as we speak!

3 words to describe your brand -

Elegant, Edgy & Extravagant

3 words to describe your bride -

Confident, Enthusiastic & Involved

Are you bridal only or do you have

other kinds of lines- We were born

in the pageant world, it’s where

we’re best known, but we also

create jewelry for prom, red carpet,

and all “the events of your life.” A

magazine once wrote, “If you

remember the earrings they were

probably designed by Stefanie

Somers”.

How do you spread the work

around when things get

really busy? How does your

team work together?

I have the most incredible

team. My husband and I have

built the business together,

and my daughter and

son-in-law also work with us,

so it’s truly a family gig. Our

production manager has

been with me so long she’s

practically family too. We’re

very lucky in that most of us

are multi-faceted and can do

just about any task needed.

We’re very well-oiled at this

point!

Who's a big business

inspiration for you and what

makes them so

important/brilliant/special?

This may sound a little corny, but

truly my mom. I grew up in her RTW

store, and learned the retail

business - she taught me how to

buy, to merchandise, about turn,

how to manage - it was all so

embedded in me so young I never

knew any different. At 17 I was going

to NY - by myself - loaded with an

open to buy and completely

responsible for her accessory

department. She’s gone now, but I

think she might have liked what

we’re building.

www.wedaltered.com

32


What has made you who you are

today?

Ballroom dancing. It was a bit of a

turn and a rebellion at a “certain

age” after spending so much time

in my mom’s store. I spent about a

decade as a professional competitive

dancer - the whole Dancing

With The Stars thing, costumes and

all. I taught, performed, made

costumes (and decided I didn’t

want to do that for a living!) and

ultimately ended up in a Theatre

Arts BFA program. Then jewelry. Life

does that to you, right? Puts you

where you’re supposed to be, after

arming you with the tools you need.

What's a struggle you've faced and

how did it help you and your

business grow?

There have been several, but the

most dramatic one came about

shortly after the birth of my son. My

son was quite premature, born at 32

weeks. Because I had a history of

preemie delivery (my daughter had

been born at just 27 weeks) my OB

team was nervous, and had me on

strict bedrest, which turned into an

extended hospital stay prior to his

birth. That equaled nearly three

months out of the studio. My

husband wasn’t yet working in the

business, so my manager at the

time was left in charge while I was…

gestating. We thought everything

was going well, but once I went into

the hospital - in downtown Houston,

more than an hour from home

- I lost the ability to stay in touch

well, and my husband had all he

could do to keep up with work and

me. When I could check in I was

assured that everything was fine

and not to worry. They had it under

control.

After my son was born, and I

finally got to go home (leaving

him in the NICU in Houston for

another month), I walked into a

studio that had been trashed. It

was quite literally torn upside

down. Most of my inventory was

missing. My employees were gone,

there was a string of angry messages

from unpaid vendors, and a stack

of invoices and bounced checks. To

say I was in shock doesn’t begin to

cover it.

My “manager” was nowhere to be

found. She had moved - she had

been living in our rent house (which

of course was trashed too) and no

one knew where she was. Most of

the employees wouldn’t talk to me,

and of course I had no idea why -

they all knew I had been in the

hospital having my son. Finally one

did. They’d all been slowly run off or

fired. Told that I had either abandoned

the business and wasn’t

coming back, or had sold it to the

manager. As I made phone calls to

my vendors, they had been told the

same thing. So had my customers.

My bank account was overdrawn

and my Amex was run wild - I’d left

neither available to her, yet there it

was.

Bottom line: I had to start over. No

inventory, no credit, no employees,

reputation shredded and a mountain

of debt I hadn’t incurred for

goods I didn’t have. And a newborn

in NICU. If ever in my life there had

been a time I almost gave up, that

was it.

The one employee that told me

what had happened came back,

then another, and we started over.

It was awful. It was embarrassing,

explaining as best I could (or

wanted to) what had happened

over and over and over again to

vendors, clients and family. It made

me much more wary, and certainly

taught me the art of crisis management.

I’m cautious of handing over

degrees of responsibility even now,

and do it very slowly. I learned how

strong I can be when I have to -

which was a gift a few years later

when my mom was diagnosed with

Alzheimers. We had a very rough go

there for a while, but I learned that

if you’re tough enough and never

give up you can survive anything.

You just have to keep coming.

What's your favorite way to do

something special for brides or

stores?

When we have the opportunity, I

adore doing custom couture work

specifically for that special client.

The synchronicity of designer and

client, as well as the input of store

owner/stylist is unlike anything else.

When you get a good combination

of personalities, the right give and

take, magic can happen. To see the

vision realized, the client in the

gown with the jewels, the smile on

her face. Yup, that’s it!

What's a big vision or goal you

have for your business over the

next 5-10 years?

We’d like to become as much a

voice in bridal as we’ve become in

the pageant world. We’d like to be

big enough to have some things

made for us - specially cut

stones, some custom toolings,

that sort of thing - but we’d also

like to stay small enough to be

able to maintain our quality and

our connection to our clients.


“The only way to

do great work is to

love what you do.”

~ Steve Jobs

Don’t forget to

subscribe

and get all our

future issues!

Couture Bridal Vancouver

www.om-designstudio.com


Surround yourself with the

believers and the doers, the

dreamers and the thinkers…


…but most of all, surround

yourself with those who see

greatness within you, even when

you don’t see it in yourself.


y Christen Schneider

social media

How to Avoid

BURNOUT


Pay attention to analytics.

This matters because it lets you focus on what's working and

drop things that aren't. That will drastically cut your time and

frustration while giving you the same (or possibly better) results.

For starters, use the analytics built into the platforms. Just

knowing when your followers are active and finding the best

times to post will increase your organic reach. When you

maximize your reach and you pair that with good content and

calls to action, you start to see results.

You can also track referrals from social media to your websites

and newsletter sign ups. That's a little more complex, but it's

completely free and a great way to see which platforms are

helping you. If you create special urls, you can even see which

specific posts are bringing in leads.

Have an intention setting time before you get to work.

Sit down once a week (or however often works for you) and look at your big goals

for your social media marketing. What events or sales goals are you aiming for?

What story or message do you want to share. Write those down and keep the notes

handy as you schedule posts.

This will increase your effectiveness, since your posts will be based on what matters

in your business and for your customers. When you see good results, you won't

resent the time spent posting.

It also makes the caption writing part easy! That clarity keeps you focused and you

don't feel like you're pulling topics out of thin air. Sometimes the biggest

contributor to burn out is feeling overwhelmed with the endlessness of possibility

and not knowing what comes next. Now you know!

Cooperate and share the love.

Find people in your industry with similar ideal brides that you love to work with and share

the load. You can coordinate styled shoots so that everyone has great content and the tags

from each other's accounts grows your following. You can feature them for an easy and fun

topic. You can repost their content (with good attribution and permission) and save

yourself some time while giving good value.

Social media is all about connection, and having a good team of professionals helps it stay

fun, keeps you accountable, and ignites your creativity. When there's so much noise and

you aren't being purposeful about your community building on social media, it can start to

feel really lonely and pointless. Take away the echo chamber vibe by getting in touch with

the right people and help each other come up with content as much as possible. More

exposure and less time behind the scenes...can't really go wrong there!

www.wedaltered.com 38


Have a long term formula.

Instagram feeds are the biggest example of this. Know the main types of posts you want

(i.e. dress pictures, real brides, your team and store, reception inspiration, shoes, coffee,

kittens, cookies, boats, whatever fits your brand's message). Plan the order you want them

to be in so your feed looks good and keep that guide around. You can immediately see

what topics you need more of to keep your audience engaged in your message!

For Pinterest, know what you want to post and repin each time so you can search, pin, and

hit the road and you don't get lost scrolling down endlessly. Facebook posts need variety,

like a mix of your own blogs and story telling, educational or industry articles, fun topics,

and social proof (happy customers). You also want a mix of text, pictures, and video

(preferably Live, since the algorithm likes it better). Twitter would be similar in variety of

topics, although the delivery varies.

Knowing how often and when you will post also helps you turn off without any worries or

feeling like maybe you should be doing something right then, which will be a big help in

fighting burn out.

Streamline and delegate what you can.

We talk about this a lot (even several other times in this magazine issue), but you

don't have to do every single thing yourself. Pay for help. Get photos done so you

have a bank of content. Start to train your staff to take over elements of your

social media campaigns. Automate as much as possible (see the article on tools

for this!) and repurpose content (there's a guide for that too!).

This is tough. Take an afternoon to make a good brand guide, get comfortable

with losing a little control, and take the time to properly train someone or set up

tools. It's a little work up front, but imagine how big of a relief it will be to have

whole parts of your to do list scratched off without moving a finger later on! If

you’re nervous about an employee with that responsibility, look at hiring an

agency or specialist.

Plan your interactions, too.

You need to be genuinely engaging with people, preferably your potential clients! But at the very

least, other people who are in the industry. It gets your own posts shown more, it puts your name

out there, and it builds real relationships. The problem is that it can take forever and feel so

pointless.

But you can be genuine and intentional at the same time. Keep a list of people, pages, or

hashtags you're going to check in on a few times a week for 20-30 minutes. Work your way down

the list, liking, hearting, and commenting to your heart's content. And then get off and go do

something else you love!

Just promise me you'll leave comments that are more than 4 words, make sense, and show you're

an expert while speaking in your brand voice. No emoji dumps!

MOST OF ALL: Social media is supposed to be fun and all about

relationships. If you remember that, you’ll be all set!


5 HUGE Website Mistakes

You Can’t Afford to Make Anymore

by Christen Schneider


Y

our website has less than half

a second to make an

impression on a new visitor.

Around 94% of that first

impression will be based on the

quality of the design of your site.

Those are slightly terrifying stats, if

you haven't been really, really

intentional about your website. If

you have, well, it was obviously time

and money well spent, right?

What's so important about a

website that performs well? While

brides LOVE social media to

connect with stores and designers,

it is a tricky arena. Algorithms shift,

trends change, and different target

markets pick different platforms to

fall in love with.

But the biggest bottom line fact?

You have no control on any social

media platform. You don't own it.

You can't change anything about it.

You're tied to their rules. They own

every follower, heart, and message

you earn. And they could shut you

down tonight.

Here at Wed Altered, we believe in

starting on your own turf and

making your website something

you're proud of and that does a

fantastic job.

Then you can take that amazing

content you've pulled together and

use all your social media to connect

with potential brides and direct

them back to your site. That's where

there aren't a million notifications

to distract the reader, you're in

control, and no one can take that

away from you. (That's also why you

should build and use an email list!

We'll talk about that soon, too.)

So while we could talk about

websites and content marketing

every day (and do!), we thought

we'd boil it down to 5 huge mistakes

you can't afford to make.

1

You Have Bad,

Boring, or Off

Brand Design -

Your design and layout

need to take visitors on a very quick

and accurate journey to see what

your business is like and whether

you'll be a good fit for them.

Especially in an industry that relies

so heavily on visuals and is all based

around a purchase that brides are

often (understandably) uneasy and

very particular about, brides want to

know what to

expect from you.

If your layout is

poorly set up, they

won't notice the

important parts. If it

looks out of style or

cheap, they'll

assume your

business and

dresses are too. We

are a luxury

industry, no matter

what end of the

price range you fall

on. You need a

presence that

reflects that. I know

that's kind of harsh

or shallow, but

think about it. They

are paying you

more than they

have ever paid someone before to

have a great eye for style, design,

and quality. Your online presence is

the first place you have to give them

proof 2of that.

Not Establishing

a Reason to Like

and Trust You

On our in depth

Website Scorecard,

this really falls under

the "Authority" and "Tone and Text"

sections. But what you say and the

way you say it is really important. I

know that sounds really basic. The

crazy thing is how frequently

businesses fail to do this well! It's a

really common shortcoming we

find when we're doing website

audits and it's one of the last to get

fixed, because it's more about

thinking and writing and less about

design and pictures. Let's be

honest...which sounds more fun to

you? A new styled shoot to update

your pictures or rewriting all of your

copy and planning your upcoming

blog posts to match up with your

messaging calendar?

The problem with that is that it's a

huge loss. Sure, a bride can find you,

like your dresses, and book an

appointment. That's great and

completely worth having a

beautiful website! We just said how

important design is to immediate

impressions.

But it's just the beginning of what

your website could be doing to help

you actually sell, not just get traffic

through the door. When you take

the time to really plan out your

messaging and then assess what

you have or what you come up with,

www.wedaltered.com 42


then you can give them reason after

reason to both like and trust you.

You tell them stories, you give them

information, you reassure and guide

them...basically, you set the stage

for a great impression of the kind of

business you are and how fantastic

it's going to be to work with you.

Those impressions are made on the

first website visit and they'll stick

with the brides. Having people

rooting for you to sell them

something is a pretty wonderful

thing. Why would you pass it up?

3

They can't easily

get ahold of you

or schedule an

appointment

People who can't

find a quick solution

to a problem will

often give up. That includes

contacting you to make an

appointment and possibly spend

money. Easy customer experience

is a top driving factor in increased

customer satisfaction AND in a

10%+ increase in revenue,

according to Forbes.

You should make contacting you,

following you, and any other action

you want brides to take incredibly

easy. If you haven't given them lots

of quick places to get ahold of you,

you will be missing out on high

quality leads who are already warm

enough to be on your site. That's a

lot of potential money to leave on

4

the table!

Bad Pictures

Visuals are processed

and remembered at a

very high rate. While

you need written

storytelling to really

elaborate on your

message, the pictures set

the stage. If you don't

feature your best sellers,

brides won't be tempted to

come see them. If you

don't feature your team,

brides won't perceive you

as a personal small

business setting (which is

one of your strengths,

right? Why not sell it that

way?). If you have blurry or

out of date pictures, brides

will assume you are a

struggling business, are

behind the times, or don't

do basic business

maintenance.

Pictures are a huge part of

the first impression and

important for drawing the

brides through your

website so that they get a

chance to read and absorb

your story. It puts a face on

your business and makes

them more likely to want

to work with you. It lets

them visualize themselves

in your samples before

they even make it through

the door. It's powerful.

Don't skip it.

www.wedaltered.com


5Not Using a Blog

The Right Way

Blogs are free, simple,

are completely

underutilized. They're a

powerful tool for your

business and you should be using

them. You could be doing all the

other website things perfectly, and

still not be doing what it takes for

the most possible leads to see it or

interested brides to come back and

make a purchase.

A blog lets you touch on all kinds of

topics that set up great

expectations around what brides

will experience. Educate them,

share inspiration that's on brand for

your styles, show them the behind

the scenes stuff. Basically, keep

them up to date with the story that

makes up your business and

mission. Why is this important?

Because. The internet moves

quickly. Things need to stay current.

Your blog is how your website does

that. We don't change the main

pages all that often. Your blog is like

a newsfeed on social media, but

with more depth and completely

under your control.

It helps search engines find you

better, which is a huge deal and

directly relates to more qualified

leads coming across your site and

through your doors.

THE BIG PICTURE

Your website is a collection of pieces

that work together. The design

grabs a visitors' attention right away

and directs their eye to what you

want them to see, read, hear, and

do. Your pictures keep them

engaged and give them a great

idea of your overall business style

and products. Will you have

something they'll actually love?

Then what you have to say lets

them know that you're the store

whom can be trusted to get it and

have the process go well. Your blog

is part of that message, while also

being a key tool for getting the tech

to show all of this to as many

potential brides as possible.

How do you know

if your website

measures up to all

that?

By taking the time

to look through all

of it and be really

honest with

yourself about the

results. Every

website needs

tweaks now and

then. And ask your

past or potential

clients

for

feedback! Don't

just say "whatdya think?". Know

what you want the site to

accomplish and ask them questions

so you can see if it is and where it

may be falling short from an

outside point of view.

Once you have an to-tweak list, be

consistent and change things as

quickly as you can without

upsetting your business. You need

to get it done. Get a buddy, find an

expert (we can help!), make a bunch

of calendar reminders...whatever it

takes. But don't ignore the shifts to

the one platform that's 100% in your

control that could make a big

difference in your appointment

rates, sales, and conversions.

CHRISTEN SCHNEIDER

Christen heads up Wed Altered and loves every bit of it.

Her experience as a designer, store owner, and teacher

all fit right in to Wed Altered’s mission to support independent

bridal business owners in putting together the

strategy, branding, and marketing to grow their business

in a way that blasts past their goals and builds a life they

enjoy in the process.

If she’s not enjoying her family, you’ll find her working

with clients, reading, planning, editing this magazine,

and talking all thing bridal and wedding with the Wed

www.wedaltered.com

44


EmilyKotarski.com • 484 459 8782 • info@emilykotarski.com

Come see more amazing independent

bridal designers....

Explore our

Online Directory

"Great Lakes Wedding Gown

Specialists does impeccable work...

Peace of mind is everything."

Wholesale Gown Care

Sample Gown

Cleaning & Repair

Gown Preservation

Packages

Gown Dyeing

Vintage Gown &

Veil Restoration

greatlakesgowns.com

616.283.2995


it's not just the camera...

Smartphone Photography 101

Professional photographers are a key asset to any business that sells material

goods. However, the importance of constant and quality social media presence

means that a significant portion of your content will be created in-house.

Here are some tips from a former pro to make the best of what you've got!

Tip #1 : Get A Device With A Well-Performing Camera.

- Not all smartphone cameras are built alike, and megapixels matter less than lens

quality and processing power

- Top performers include Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel. If you

can't afford the latest model, don't be afraid to buy an earlier one.

- Many high-end phones from 2016 still out-perform budget phones of 2018, and at

a similar price point

.

by Deci Belfry

BLU R1 HD, 2017

$100 on Amazon


100% zoom

Details unclear

and discolored

Google Pixel, 2016

$195 used on eBay

✓100% zoom

True to color

Most details intact

These two photos were scaled to the

same size, not cropped.

The R1 HD had to be held much farther back than the Pixel

to get the same shot. A wider angle helps get more

information in the photo - especially important in small

shops

This is the difference between a quality flagship phone and a

budget phone.

* These were the two devices the author had on hand.

This is not an advertisement!


Tip #2: Utilize Natural Light If You Can, Wisely!

Photography is about

capturing light. While you

can adjust fill light in apps

like Instagram, working with

good light from the start is

key.

Natural light is the best light!

If you're lucky enough to have

a big shop window, take

advantage!

Photograph your subject with

the light at a 45-degree angle

to the dress.

Avoid light sources behind

the subject. This casts

shadows onto the dress that

are less than attractive!



.

Tip #3: Control The Natural Light Available To You

Photographers use bounce

cards to soften harsh, direct

lighting.

You can get the same effect

by holding anything large

and white on the shadowy

side of your subject.

In this image, the natural

light is coming from centerleft.

A white piece of foam

board was held ~12 inches

from the right side of the

dress, just out of frame.


✓The image on the right using

this technique is much

clearer due to the

brightening of those

shadows.


Tip #4: Lower The Phone

If you watch a

photographer on the

job, you see them in

all variety of positions

to get the right shot.

For mannequins and

detail shots where

there are no faces

involved, you can

simply lower the

phone from eye level

to chest level; it's

subtle, but gives your

photo a different,

often classier feel.

✗ ✓

Tip #5: Pay Attention To The Background

Watch out for

distractions in the

background such as

cords and outlets!

If the background

isn't good where your

natural light is, put

up curtains behind

the subject in a color

that resonates with

your brand!

✗ ✓

You'll notice there isn't a cross or a check

on the bottom images. There is no right

or wrong answer here - just a choice you

get to make!

Note how the lines in the background of

the left image are on a diagonal, but the

lines of the right are horizontal.

There are pros and cons to both - one

could say the diagonal draws the eye to

the dress, or that the horizontal is

straightforward. Pay attention to how

often you post either, and think about

sticking to one or the other!


Stay in the loop...

Wed Altered has more issues coming out,

a big event in New York during Bridal

Week, and Christen is making the rounds

speaking at Launch and other events.

Want to know the details?

Dresses by Nora Sarman

Dresses by Anya Dionne

Subscribe to get all the info!


Publish

OR PERISH

Dress by Nuorikko

by Jacqui Wadsworth


I

t’s not just for academia

anymore. The advent of social

media popularity has

revolutionized communicating

with your local brides or your

product buyers. There has never

been a better way to target in on

your clients with paid ads, than

there now is with

Facebook/Instagram! You can

spend as little as $1/day and still

reach 75 to 100 possible clients if

you have targeted properly. The

catch is you must create daily posts

to tell your business life story. We

must throw out everything we think

we know about what Wedding and

Bridal ads and posts should look like

and pay attention to what our

followers like and comment on, or

what they find engaging, if you will.

Every online site has a purpose.

Your corporate branding is for your

website. Your finished photos are

for Pinterest, polished photos are for

traditional print ads, and

Facebook/Instagram are for

personalizing your brand.

There is no business quite like yours.

Your step by step journey is

fascinating to others, if you are

brave enough to share it. Instead of

perfect branding with the

background the same and photo

shop editing skills being used, you

focus on your process, personality

and products. Use the smart phone

in your pocket and take photos of

everything you do, from daily

routines to client meetings.

Unpacking fabrics or trims,

sketches of dresses, behind the

scenes at photo shoots, photos of

chatting with clients….all of these

things are interesting to today’s

bride or wedding business owner. If

you feature your clients on your

page and let them know it, you will

find your page and presence

growing.

Social media is our first step in

creating relationships with our

potential clients. If you use your

posts and ads to illustrate who you

are, what your goals are, what your

mission is, and show the day to day

minutia of your business, you will

find your perfect clients. You will

find yourself chatting with them in

the comments on your posts & ads.

Then you will find that you are

meeting them in person and

enriching those connections.

Just as retail store hours are

consistent, so should your social

media posts and ads be consistent.

Posting at least once a day,

everyday is a good starting point,

but two or three times is even

better. You’ll want to use

inspirational quotes, funny memes,

wedding related posts, and shout

outs to your related wedding

business partners as tagged posts

are all ways to get your post

schedule filled. More importantly,

making some of your posts fun or

educational will make you and your

business more

accessible to your

followers.

Accessibility is a

key word for

success on your

social media.

Showing your

humanity and

heart shows that

you are human,

too. It shows that

you care about

your clients as

much as you care

about their

money. We are all

looking for true connections. Social

media allows you to create these

connections.

Recommended Daily Post

Schedule: 8:45 am, 11:45am,

5:45pm, 11:45pm

Finding and sharing your business

voice is critical to success on Social

Media. What is your business vibe?

What is your goal? How do you

make your clients feel? These

questions will help you develop

your social stories. For example, our

bridal store’s motto is Fun with

Friends and Fashion. So, we try to

drive a certain amount of posts

every week around this theme.

We pair the idea with other events

and projects like preparing for a

local bridal show, where we

showcase models during fittings, to

our staff packing up the goodies for

our booth, to booth design. Then

we follow by showing brides in our

booth and at the fashion show

during the event. Our goal is to

make our brides have a life time

shopping experience, so we feature

them from their first visit at a bridal

show to their visit to our store to

their wedding day. We show them

they are welcome by our posts

featuring other brides. We show

photos and videos of our store and

all our activities.

All of this helps them know what to

expect when they arrive in our store.

After working on our social media

since 2013, I know it makes them

want to come to our store. We are

now a regional store with brides

arriving from the 5 surrounding

states. They will drive up to 5 hours

to visit us. We extended our ad area

coverage as we grew our bridal

traffic.

We achieved all of this by posting,

weighing and measuring, then

www.wedaltered.com 52


e-applying as we paid attention

to what our brides liked and

didn’t like in our posts and ads.

One of the biggest complaints

from brides is that small

businesses do not have much info

online. Over 97% of brides use

social media to decide on the

products and services for their

wedding.

If you have a strong social

presence, you will see more

business coming your way year

after year. Branding is a day after

day, month after month, year

after year activity. The sooner you

get started, the sooner you will

find your voice, be heard by your

chosen followers, and see brand

growth.

It is supported industry wide from

stores and designers to

trendsetter sites like The Knot,

Wedding Wire, Bridal Guide, Vows

and Bridal Boutiques.US.

To find out more about the event, go

to www.NationalBridalSaleEvent.com

If you’d like assistance in social

media training, as well as in

consistent advertising, reach out to

me at BridalBoutiques.US@gmail.com

or call my office at (865)428-5250.

Bridal Boutiques.US is a social media

advertising group of stores and

designers. We advertise 365 days a

year to develop our brands and to

personalize the bridal industry.

A great way to soak into the

bridal industry is to participate in

National Bridal Sale Event. This

event happens every year in July.

Dress by Renegade Bridal

JACQUI WADSWORTH

Jacqui Wadsworth began her career negotiating textile deals

for the garment industry. She opened her boutique, The Gilded

Gown, in Knoxville in 2008. After spending crazy amounts of

money on traditional advertising with radio, print and TV ads,

Jacqui was not satisfied with the results. Determinedto get

brides in the door affordably, Jacqui began utilizing Facebook

ads to micro-target local clients. She spent years fine-tuning

her marketing skills and has a proven system for engaging

brides, for generating a buzz online, and most importantly for

driving customers into her store.

A fierce advocate of the industry, Jacqui decided to do her part

to help other store owners and manufacturers. These days she

offers her Facebook Ads & Management skills through her

bridal store branding business, BridalBoutiques.US. She created

BridalBoutiques.US to provide a trendsetting place online in

support of independently owned bridal salons and bridal gown

designers. BridalBoutiques.US is a proud sponsor of the

National Bridal Sale Event and handles their Facebook and

Instagram accounts. She has been a popular featured speaker

on Branding and Advertising on Facebook at BBG (Better

Bridal Group), at Atlanta’s Americas Mart, at the Chicago

Market and at the Wedding MBA.

www.bridalboutiques.us


AUTUMN SILK

EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTORS

Nancy Ghusein

(708 )602-4334

Chad Ghusein

(708) 212-4710


No one

ever made

a difference

by being

like

everyone

else.

- P.T. BARNUM


Parting shot...

by Christen Schneider

You Have to Ask:

Don’t leave out the most important part of your message.

You and your team invest hours of time into your messaging. You work hard to build an audience,

learn the systems, automate, tweak, perfect, and share. You make connections, provide value, and

make sure to be accessible. All of this hard work and putting yourself and your business out there

is so that you can serve more brides and bring in more sales, right?

That won’t happen if you don’t ask! You have to have a call to action (CTA).

Your posts should have a purpose behind them and you should know how you want your followers

to respond. When you figure that out, you need to make sure you let them know. Be really clear

and direct, but not demanding.

“Call to make an appointment today at ------------!”

“Tell us about a person who inspires you!”

“Double tap if you love this as much as we do!”

“Vote to tell us which sash you think finishes off this look best!”

Don’t let a fear of asking or plain forgetfulness take away the impact of your shares. Build up a

bank of ideas for calls to action, keep them around to give you ideas of what to say, and be diligent

about building up the habit of telling people exactly what you’d love for them to do.

A great call to action gets people interested and keeps them involved. You want to tap into the

emotions and desires your ideal clients have, build up anticipation, and draw attention to the

reward or results. Make them feel like part of your community and invested in what you do and

how you can help them.

And if you need help brainstorming some great ideas of posts, marketing, or calls to action, hop in

our Facebook group just for bridal businesses. We love talking all about it!

56


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SUPPORTING

MAGAZINE

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quarterly issues!

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even more, including the

designer directory, over a

www.wedaltered.com!

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