Sometimes when you run a service based business, it seems anti-instinctual to think of yourself as a product or brand, but for a brief moment today while you read this, I invite you to do so. This whole idea came up a year or so ago when Mayra and I were debating who to take our client to for catering and we leaned towards the caterer that we end up working with probably 8 out of 10 times. There were a lot variables to the event in this particular instance and Mayra said “Well, the thing about Company X is.. it’s always such a consistent product.”
That didn’t mean that they churned the same food over and over again or weren’t creative with their presentation and methods of service- indeed, the opposite- it just meant that no matter the variables the final product (inventive food, creativity, flawless service). The process to getting to the final product (the delivery method) was also fairly consistent: how we set up a tasting, what happened prior during and afterwards, the process of handling the rentals. And in that sense, the key word- consistency- is what this service related business has in common with a product.
Just like when I go on Net-a-Porter, regardless of what I may buy, I know it will be a fashionable, quality product and will arrive quickly with no hassle. Or, dare I say it, at a Chipotle, where I know I will wait on line, but the ingredients will be fresh, the taste good and it was a better choice than, say, street cart shawarma.
Sometimes when we do creative things or produce unique designs or deal with personalities and situations that vary drastically from client to client to client, it’s easy to say “But every project is SO different, not everyone’s experiences with us are going to be the same.” I know that that’s true because we’ve said that about ourselves in the past only to realize that in those moments, we weren’t clear on what our product really WAS and, we almost always could look back and see some issues with our delivery method.
So, what are you consistent about? What’s the take-away that every client walks away with? What’s the take away about your delivery method to getting there? Are you “Stunning, Original Stationery but difficult to deal with” or “Gorgeous, Locally Grown Flowers with a Side of Crazy” or “Amazing Lighting with a Can-Do Attitude”.
And, in totally non-wedding news, I leave you with my favorite Wednesday video to watch… a Zebra and a Pony running on Staten Island. This is a few months old in terms of time, but timeless in terms of magical content. Watch with volume and you can hear their clickety-clack of their little hooves.
For many of you reading this, you are probably just getting into shopping around for your reception venue. The truth is, like a NYC apartment, there isn’t really the totally perfect place. There are just a series of places that are less imperfect than others and where you can “imagine” yourself being. Sometimes there is a venue that is otherwise amazing, but there is a wall or a hole or a doorway that you just can’t seem to get past. OR, you may need to make one big space feel like a few spaces. Here are some ideas of how you can mask a wall/split a space and still add some design interest.
For the rustic, but design minded couples, I love this idea of a stacked firewood divider (or speak with your designer about how to stage a look like this!). Via Fresh Design Blog.
For the Whimsical, The trusty Ribbon Wall is a fan favorite here at AaB. Here we used a ribbon wall to mask a weird hole in the wall behind Mayra’s wedding cake. (Photo via Dave Robbins)
For the Industrial Minimalist, how about Re-purposing pallets? Via Dishfunctional Designs.
Want something Graphic that you can re-purpose afterward? Pick an awesome Mod fabric and make an upholstered room divider. Via Design Sponge.
Want something a little bit Nautical? Maybe a little bit preppy? Love these rope room dividers made with DOWELS. If you have some hanging points, this can totally work. Also, imagine this as an escort card display…Via Remodelista.
So, as you pound the pavement hunting for the perfect place, just remember you can always help it out a bit!
New York lost a legend last week- forever Mayor in my heart, Ed Koch. It had me thinking a lot (as I often do) about New York nostalgia, particularly one of New York’s most iconic celebrations: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at The Plaza Hotel. I am obsessed with this party that happened in way back in 1966, which I distinctly remember reading all about in a Vanity Fair piece by Amy Fine Collins when I was just in college. Planned/designed by socialite and fashionista Babe Paley, It’s the subject of a book (which I am tortured by the fact that I haven’t read), but more than anything, it’s a fabulous source of inspiration! Black and White as a color palette has lost favor in the last few seasons, but here are some thoughts to keep it interesting. Image via Voxsartoria.
First, your gown. Nothing channels 1960′s Glamour quite like this Boatneck Sheath from Pronovias. (via Chic Vintage Brides)
For your bouquet, look to this gorgeous Belle Fleur bouquet done for a black and white shoot for a Brides.com .
Now, for the original ball, Capote invited 540 of his “closest friends” and sent them engraved Tiffany & Co. Invitations. Apparently, people who weren’t invited left town for the weekend and one man called Capote and said his wife had threatened to kill herself if she wasn’t invited. Being the nice guy that Capote was he of course invited her and then told everyone why she had been invited. So, back to the stationery. Keep it simple and elegant and true to form with something engraved from Dempsey and Carroll. Hold on to your hats because this is about as trendy as a Chanel suit, but this save the date gushes with simple elegance. (via Martha Stewart)
For your cake, I like this petite, but glamorous black and white beauty (via Pinterest).
For your decor, don’t be afraid to keep it simple, but elegant. Here a loft we designed back in 2007 gets the Black and White treatment with some added edge via Black taper candles.
Of course, the one thing you shouldn’t be inspired by is Capote’s bitchy little attitude! Apparently he was quite the “Bridezilla”…
As well documented here we had a blast working on Hil and Mo’s wedding in Vermont, but haven’t had the chance to share the amazing custom invitations that Swiss Cottage Designs created for us. Hil wanted a whimsical invitation a la Moonrise Kingdom. We wanted to convey to everyone all of the activities that they could participate in around the wedding and here are the stunning Wes Anderson inspired invitations that were the result! More detail shots here.
So, I’m obsessed with Mike D’s Brooklyn Toile wallpaper that graces the Wythe hotel and was developed in conjunction with Flavor Paper. First of all it’s hilarious and edgy and secondly, I love that it captures the Brooklyn of my youth (boomboxes, Haisidic men) vs. the more sanitized, though culinarily enhanced Brooklyn of today.
Toiles typically represent a pastoral scene and Custom toiles have a long history (Thomas Jefferson and James Madison each had custom toiles created depicting their respective estates in Virginia). Custom or not, they are perfect detail or statement print for any wedding. They can evoke romance, whimsy, the French Countryside, or in the case of the wallpaper and napkins below- even a bit of a tongue in cheek edge. Below some ways to incorporate Toile into your wedding decor or look.
From left to right: Toile shoes peeking out from your gown are a stylish statement These classsics are vintage from the 1950′s Roger Vivier for Dior. The Seda Toile Pagoda candle is a classic and the perfect romantic addition to have on your escort card table or in the ladies rooms. Toile is an allover statement in this knockout gown from Claire Pettibone, Frame toile fabrics and use as a board to pin escort card displays on or a way to mask an ugly wall/ area in your reception area (re-purpose them later as bulletin boards in your home office), Add an edgy dash of toile to your table decor with these black toile with hot pink hand painted details from Etsy. Even if you opted for a plain black and white toile, with a pop of neon, it’s a great way to add an edge to your decor. Serving snacks late night? I love this use of toile wax paper around brie sandwiches as a fabulous snack with style by La Fleur Events (via Ceci Style). Are you so over vintage china? Why not kick it up a notch with Toile Charger plates. These statement plates are from the Sheila Bridges Harlem Toile Collection. For true romance, incorporate Toile in your invitations. Here these custom invitations from Ceci New York use toile as a folio lining pattern and incorporate the couple’s monogram. To see the whole suite, click here. And of course, for an authentic romantic look perfect for a summer or outdoor wedding, you simply must consider toile for linens (as we did here on this escort card display with flowers by Fleurs) or as a table runner. For more images of this toile fantasy wedding, visit our facebook page here.