creative business tips :: navigating your business through COVID-19

Hey friends,

What a wild 6+ weeks we’ve had! We hope you’ve all been rolling along well, taking good care, and continuing to create. With COVID-19 unraveling and causing such harm and devastation across the country and world, it hasn’t been easy to know what direction to take or what to do. What we do know is that we are all in this together, and we have experienced the most amazing sense of community, even with us all shuttered in our homes. We’ve Zoomed with more wedding pros than ever, have sent and received kind bits of snail mail, learned how to do things differently, and we haven’t skipped a beat in steering our clients calmly. We’ve been rolling out more interviews shedding a positive light on how amazing our industry is and how we can all best serve our couples who are having to postpone, and talking through how we can all continue to grow our businesses during this time. Pivot seems to be the new popular word!

We have had to postpone events and unfortunately had one wedding cancel despite everyone’s very best efforts because of our couple’s professions and timing – we will be planning something just as celebratory at a later date next year! On the bright side, we are actively intaking clients who are very excited to think about their weddings – we have a new couple for next July and a new couple for August, as well as a corporate client who booked us for three events into next year – all within three weeks. This has us feeling incredible grateful and optimistic about the future. Are things still uncertain? They are, but we are feeling so hopeful and our 17+ years of business knowledge has taught us that we adapt and pivot when things change.

We have been working harder than ever at developing new team plans, taking stock of what wasn’t working (whether it’s in our studio, marketing, or communication portals), polishing what is, and also rolling out some great plans to help couples across the country who don’t have a wedding planning team. We are getting ready to unlock our free COVID-19 Postponement Checklist you can sign up here to receive. We’ve been consulting with a few creatives as well, educating on what we know and have experienced in 17+ years in business – we’ve certainly weathered many storms (though none as wild as this), and have come out with a strong sense of self – a strong identity of our mission.

Here are some really excellent activities to keep you and your creative juices flowing, and hopefully some inspiration to help adjust the sails of your business so that when we burst out of this time we can all be ready for the adventure and growth ahead:

-Schedule standing Zoom calls with your team – send them some little goodies in the mail to enjoy during a call! And don’t talk only about business – find a challenge or game you can all play together.

-Mail your current couples a gift box or a simple card telling them you’re thinking about them – our very talented friend Kristy Rice, founder of Momental Designs, just launched #watercolorhugs – beautifully handmade floral cards that can be personalized. How beautiful are these?

-Keep your clients actively excited about their big day with weekly tasks, and keep them booking their vendors! This is so important – while we don’t know that date when we’ll be able to gather again, gatherings will happen and we’ll all be shouting from the mountain and rooftops! Be ready and continue to support your creative network by booking photographers, video, working on stationery proofs, and keeping your couples and industry peers working and flexing their creative chops.

-Pivot! Figure our what your community and clients need right now – are events going digital? Pitch new ideas to your current clients that support those events. Offer a new way to drop-box deliver flowers and gift boxes to your neighbors. Everyone has something to offer!

-Take stock – think about what inventory or practices you can lighten up on. Dust off things you haven’t used for a few months, and cancel subscriptions that aren’t serving you – like old magazines you don’t read, monthly social media editing tools you’ve outgrown, or a service going to your office that’s not currently in use.

-Give – we’ve made a number of donations, to schools, restaurants, foundations, and have purchased gift cards through several of our local restaurants, but we’re also sharing like crazy. If a friend has a new endeavor they’re launching, we’re sharing it! There are so many ways to give that aren’t monetary – like passing out rainbow drawings to delivery drivers and putting fresh flowers on your neighbor’s porch.

-Reach out – whether it’s to your tried and true industry pals or someone whom you really admire, we’re all delighted when we see a new IG message or get an email just saying hi. We have made some really cool new connections through this all via social channels and for that I’m grateful!

-Revise and review – go through your business and personal insurance policies, wording in your contracts, and overall operating procedures. You may also want to update your website (we need to do this!) to add some welcoming COVID-19 wording that encourages people visiting your site to contact you and assures them you’re excited and working along. Also look at your payment structure for your weddings and events and decide whether revising the schedule makes sense for your current flow of work.

-Do YOU – while I have a stack of 9 new books I’m eager to read, kiddos, our business, the house, and our growing garden will likely prevent me from reading them all right now, which is fine! If I get through one or two I’ll be happy – as long as I get to flick through my stacks of favorite magazines like Martha, Sunset, Bon Apetit, and Southern Living with a glass of bubbly outside, I’m good!

I also wanted to share this beautiful illustration that Momental Designs created – though it was for some unknown reason flagged on Instagram, we’d sure love for you to pass it along and when you do share it, please tag #SupportToGather to shed positive light on businesses and people doing good, those pivoting into something amazing, and creatives who need support!

Please, be good to yourselves. If you don’t learn a new language or learn how to knit, learn how to bake a souffle, or meditate each day, that’s okay! We all need to give ourselves grace during this time and focus on the things that give us the most joy. With your business, take a good look at what you love, and weed out what you don’t. Let’s be ready to grow together!

We are so thankful for you all!

Cheers and take good care, Aleah and Nick