December is considered to be the busiest month for wedding suppliers. It is during this time when you will hear of back-to-back-to-back events being the norm for all professionals in this industry. However, before the December madness settled in this year, some of the industry’s suppliers met up at The Mango Farm and discussed the state of the Philippine wedding industry. They discussed how they could improve the services that they offered and how they could adapt to a fluid and competitive market.
There are fresher takes on photographs and more personal ways coordinators make their presence known. It has come to a point where new services that haven’t been thought about before are now being offered. The ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipinos in this industry is on full display each year and this year is no different at all.
The potluck lunch-slash-forum was headed owner and founder of Weddings at Work, Benz Co-Rana and was hosted by Dylan Gozum from The Mango Farm.
The goal of the meeting is to help each other stand out when it comes to servicing the brides and grooms of the future. Some of the key takeaways from the open forum were quite eye-opening and honestly and the values greatly emphasized were customer service, gratitude and humility—things everyone in any job needs to have.
Ayie mentioned that it’s imperative that you always reply to a client’s text no matter what–even if you are on an event. She gave a tip that even if it’s a simple reply explaining that you’ll get back to them because you’re at an event works wonders. She followed up that with a comment that it’s absolutely necessary that you actually do text them the moment that you’re finished with the event because they will remember when you forget to do so.
Paul Vincent emphasized the value of gratitude. One thing that he sees being discussed in Facebook is when suppliers are not fed properly during meal times in weddings done here in the Philippines. He contrasted it with the fact that overseas, the clients usually do not take care of that important detail during destination weddings. He shifted everyone’s perspective in saying that whatever is served to him during weddings, he is grateful for it because he is coming from the point of view of someone who has photographed several weddings abroad.
Ronald, who is the founder of Balay Kandila, gave a sobering reminder that even though you are at the top of your game and your company is riding on a wave of popularity, there will come a time that someone will overtake you. And so he reminded all suppliers to be focused on honesty and on focusing on the client and making sure you can deliver everything that you have promised.
Ms. Benz followed-up with the story that the W@W Awards trophy was fulfilled by Ronald and his team during the third year since its inception since they could not find the artist who made the design of the trophy. He confessed that his secret to his staying power in the industry is their passion. He said the reason why he and his team were able to survive for 19 years is because their passion for the work never waned. Year in and year out, he would still work as hard as they did during their first year and so far, it has benefited him immensely.
Joanne is a coordinator who focused on something important. She mentioned that if there will be more extra time for you, she encouraged everyone to savor that moment and use it as a moment of rest and introspection. Most suppliers have a frantic December since it’s considered peak season for the entire wedding industry. It would normally be the time when suppliers just focus on weddings day in and day out so being able to rest on off-days or days without bookings is important so they can recharge.
Dylan, who is managing The Mango Farm and is the founder of Vatel Manila, mentioned K by Cunanan and how she recently rebranded her catering business again in order to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of clients she continually has. Dylan recommended that it would be best to take a page out of Kaye’s book by continually improving what suppliers offer. He also said that what worked in the past may not be relevant today. He touched on a significant point which is, as suppliers, we shouldn’t necessarily look at each other’s work because there’s a tendency to copy. He encouraged people to look outside of the industry for inspiration such as traveling to different destinations.
Tito Boy Kastner Santos mentioned that when it comes to airing out concerns regarding another supplier’s faults, he implored that perhaps doing it online isn’t the best approach simply because the dignity of the person is destroyed as the discussion invites people who are not even part of the issue. It was one of the few things that suppliers struggle with especially since Facebook has become an everyday part of everyone’s lives.
The sharing was capped off by Alain Siscar who mentioned that we need to have the mindset of a manager instead of an owner. He supported this analogy by saying that if you worked on your business with the perspective of a manager, you will not have a problem listening to clients. Most of the time, when an owner is presented a complaint or a concern, he or she does not have the time to listen to it. However, managers always listen because they are in charge of managing both employees and customers. He also touched on a very important point wherein he gave credit to God as the owner of their business and thus needs to listen to what He wants for us as business owners.
The wedding industry is a beautiful group who has its ups and downs. One of the beautiful things that I’ve personally witnessed is the sense of community that everyone shares. There might be more low lights during some years but the important thing is that friendships are made, fostered and nurtured in this little niche of people who love weddings to the core.
*** Story contributed by: Zeus Martinez