I was recently asked by a bride if when she hires me, if she is ‘merely paying for a name,’ as was suggested to her by one of my counterparts in the local floral industry…I’ll be honest…the comment threw me flat up against the wall. I’m glad she said it in an email…had it been face to face, she probably would have been troubled to see the anguish on my face…
Are you kidding? I have given my life to my work and my clients…but, there was no way that this bride could know that! There was no way that the person who made the comment could know that. But none the less, day after day, year after year, I’ve honed my craft and my skill to create world class events for EVERYONE who hires my firm to create an event for them. And for those that merely hire my company to provide the floral for their events, they are rewarded with beautiful, lush floral creations, on time deliveries, and excellence in service before the wedding.
But as the day wore on, I kept hearing those words ring in my ears and they continued to bother me, and for those of you who know me well, when I’m bothered, I’m called to action.
It got me thinking…what IS in a name? Is that what my clients are doing? Just ‘paying for my name? Well, yes, of course, that IS what you are paying for! You get my “name”, my heart, my soul, and my commitment to excellence. Then I began to wonder, what is it that keeps people paying $200 for a pair of Tory Burch flats, when you can go to Target and buy a pair for $24.95 with a shiny embellishment on the toe that looks a lot like Tory’s? After all, I’m sure the person that made the ‘paying for a name’ comment can copy one of my floral arrangements with no problem, just as the Target designers have tapped into the Tory Burch logo.
Well, for Tory Burch, the answer is simple: high quality materials presented in tasteful and beautifully appointed stores, staffed by professionals who treat you with a high level of service, topped off with a beautiful carry away bag to bring your new shoes home in. For Target, well the scenario is a bit different: chinese plastic components in the shoe, set in rows of metal shelves, under fluorescent lights, sometimes presented in a paper box, sometimes not, sent home in a plastic bag (with really cute red bullseyes) with little or no service provided to the customer.
Please, don’t get me wrong…just get me! I love Target with a passion…many of you have seen me shopping at Target for the newest Bey Blade or Lego Chima for my Jamesy, or for a fun new burst of color in a throw pillow, or even a quick gallon of milk! They rock! But I’m never going to compare that experience to the experience you have in Tory Burch Fashion Valley! The two are like oil and water.
So is that what sets a designer like me with a lifetime of experience apart from the copy cat? What makes it all a different experience is that I come to work each and every day for the client that calls me and says, I want something different…I want something that reflects our personality and I have heard that you are the one that can make that happen! I feel sort of bad…I have only done one wedding where there was a chalkboard, but it was a doozy…I tend not to focus on the collective personality of a Pinterest wedding where everyone has a chalkboard, and burlap wraps each vase, and a Mr and Mrs sign is cleverly printed and hung from the bride and groom’s chairs. The experience of a designer is also that of a higher level of service. One of the things that my customers tell me over and over again, it is YOU, Kathy Wright, that made the experience so amazing. So if ‘paying for a name’ means that I may appear to be more expensive than the “copy cat,” in fact, I am saving my customer hours of shopping and searching out the right services and products, that I actually become a bargain when you add up all the factors.
So now, I’ve come full circle with this thought that has haunted me and taunted me all day long! I’m so proud of the work that I have done for the people in San Diego who are my clients now for over 40 years. And I’m proud of my staff for all the long hours they work, all the emails they tolerate from me into the wee hours of the night about getting some little detail for some event just right, and I’m proud of all my subcontractors who tolerate me moving a piece of furniture to the right a another foot so that the edge of the dancefloor sparkles in the bright white light coming from above.
Yes, when you hire me, you are paying for a name. It is a true statement.
I have avoided blogging for so many years, saying, what on earth do I have to say that anyone would want to read. Now that I’ve written this blog, I have found that I’m writing it as much for myself as I am for you.
If you enjoyed it, I’m glad. I’m going to make an attempt to continue to blog. I’ll be posting again soon, and the next one is going to feature an amazing three day event that captured the personality of a very vibrant bride, her more conservative husband, and a family that was a just a wonderful joy!