When you own your own company or business in the wedding industry, it's great to have support from fellow like-minded people and build relationships you can trust.
I am extremely lucky to have such a network of people around me. These may be photographers, fellow dressmakers, florists and jewellery makers.
They all offer words of support or advice when situations arise.
A good friend of mine is an amazing photographer. Her work really is astounding and she is THE most lovely lady to boot.
This morning I read that someone had passed themselves off as a bride and was requesting information of the photographers services.
Brochers were sent, but it wasn't until later that it was discovered that ideas have been used along with an amount of scary similarities. The said bride was in fact another photographer.
A florist friend has had her images of work she has produced taken and used in another photographers website. Passing the images off as her own.
Again, my friend is THE most lovely lady.
I have had people request information packs of my services to discover they have simply been requested for use for their own business.
I have to be careful of what I say, but being nice and super helpful to some people in the industry mearly gives them an invitation to try and rip you off or have a slice of what you have.
To say it is upsetting is an understatement. There are some really lovely people out there who are so genuine and there are others who simply aren't.
However, when you do come across these types of people in the industry, it makes it harder to accept. Doubt sets in which makes you feel like you've been 'had over' You feel stupid for not seeing it, angry to think that someone isn't acting in the same credible way that you do.
Rising above it or have the attitude that copying is a form of flattery is even harder.
So, how do you stay nice in business but protect yourself from wannabe's?
Always stay polite and business like.
Saying no doesn't mean you aren't retaining your niceness.
One thing I have learned is not to issue information packs on a first enquirey. A client may come for a consultation and we put together a simple sketch. A client will get heaps of information from this consultation and once a deposit has been paid, they are issued a formal sketch and information in writing of all the services we offer.
With all this in mind, doesn't it make you feel that it is harder to trust? Well, yes and no.
For me, being nice has it's rewards. I get to attend a lovely event in a few weeks time where I can meet other likeminded industry folk and a lovely lady I shall meet for the very first time. It's great to surround yourself with such lovely people who all share the same passion as me, people who congratulate you on each step you take to success.
Being nice also has it's downfalls. Some people want a slice of your success. Some people think latching on will mean you will carry them somewhere. The moment you say no or the moment there is a situation which forces you to raise the assertive business head shows their true colours and that's when the kick in the teeth happens.
The only outcome these situations bring is to not be so trusting. It doesn't mean I don't want to increase my circle of trusted friends, it simply means it may take a little longer than usual.
I have certain people to thank for that!