*Please forgive any spelling or typographical errors.  Episodes listed in the order they were recorded.

Jelena Krzeszowski, JBK Weddings and Events

00:08 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by someone I've known for a long time through a lot of, uh, different events and wedding shows. Probably both good and bad. Uh, it's my friend Jelena Krzeszowski of JBK Weddings and Events. I want to make you so much for coming in today and, uh, spending some time. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:35 Thanks for having me read. Um, my name is Jelena Krzeszowski. I'm with JBK Weddings and Events. I am a event planner, floral designer, um, decorator. Um, I've been in the industry for about 22 years, so I started out really, really young. Um, about 15 was my first very first wedding. Um, and um, I, uh, am a unique planner because I do floral design. Um, so I really like to create or help bring people's visions alive in their wedding or event.

01:13 Yeah, I mean it definitely is kind of unique. You know, we were just saying like, I always think of you as like the big build out, you know, whether it's a wedding show or like we've done like the Bravo showcase together and you know, always winning like best designed booth. And so I always think of you as kind of this like, like out of the box designer. I don't know if that's the right term, but just kind of really cool stuff that I'm like, I have no idea how that must've taken a lot of time. But like you said, you also do both sides where you do kind of the coordination and planning, but then also the four walls, right?

01:42 Yeah. And um, I am kind of that out of the box designer, um, which I really like. I'm, uh, I don't like just the basic, you know, so I, um, I guess it's my OCD. I get a little crazy with people's visions. Um, and especially when I get to do wedding shows and staff, um, I get inspiration for just the smallest things, whether it's, uh, you know, a wine goblet or some fabric or a specific flower. Um, I, uh, I don't need Pinterest does to kind of come up with my ideas. I literally, ideas just pop up in my head and then I go from there. Um, and, and then being able to use that, um, to help people create their wedding vision, um, and finding the specific vendors specific to them for their vision.

02:38 Yeah, that's, and it's, it's, I always envy because, you know, my, my craft is always, you know, just capturing whatever it is and, you know, hopefully doing it in a somewhat artistic way. But, you know, most of the work is done for me by people like you, you know, where you built this elaborate thing and then I can get cool shots of it or, you know, photographer get photos or whatever. But, uh, I always envy where you have to like, be the one that kind of envision that and kind of figure it out. So I guess like what kinds of clients do you find that you attract and what kinds of, you know, people like you and the work that you do and, and stuff like that?

03:15 Um, I wouldn't say specifically attract a certain type of person. Um, you know, I work with all different types of people, whether they have an ethnic background. Um, I do some east Indian weddings, um, a lot of Chinese or, um, even, you know, just basic American weddings. Um, so each individual person has their own style and uniqueness and that's what draws me to each client. And that's what draws the clients to me. Um, you know, whether they're from out of town, out of state or a local, um, it just, uh, I guess my craft is unique and so that's what draws people to my business.

04:02 Do you find you get a lot of like a wows and you know, from whether it's clients or other vendors and stuff? I mean, you get a lot of like jaw drops when they kind of see what you put together. I mean, whether it's at a show or a wedding.

04:14 Um, yeah, I do. And that's, um, you know, that's the whole reason why I do such elaborate things. Again, it's just I can never go little. I always go big or go home and I always have been like that. Even from like grade school, I'm telling little, little projects that were supposed to be on piece of paper and I'm actually finding myself building things and bring it into class. Um, so I've always been that type of person. Um, and that's what I really love about, uh, my, my, uh, career.

04:51 Yeah, absolutely. And so I was kind of doing some reading on your site before you came and you have quite an accredited, interesting origin story. Like you said, you started at a young age, so why don't you kind of walk me through kind of your entry into the wedding? The wedding? Yeah.

05:04 Yeah. So, um, I have, uh, eastern, um, I'm, I'm Serbian. So, um, my, my father is from the former Yugoslavia and um, so were my family's kind of like the Big Fat Greek wedding. Um, but we're a Serbian, so we do a lot of pig roasts and big parties. And, um, so my family's always been really big on events and you know, doing lots of food and decor and all sorts of stuff. And so I was drawn into it by an early age. Um, and then my first wedding I did, I had, um, there was a family friend that came here from Bosnia and if no one's familiar with the war in Bosnia, pretty much people had to leave the country with what they could carry. And it was Kinda like a sound of music type of thing where they literally had to walk over the mountains.

05:54 So they came here with nothing. And my parents had had several weddings at their house. And so my mother was gracious, gracious enough to offer her home for a wedding and I got really excited. Um, and I told them I could do their decorations and all this stuff and they were really excited and they weren't really going to have a wedding cake either. And I was like, you're in America now and you need a wedding cake and I'm going to do it. And I had no clue how to even start. Um, at the time I was working at a little bakery as counter help. So, um, but all my spare time I went to watch the cake decorator. It was so interesting what you could do with frosting. Um, and I mean back then there were frosting was really popular, now it's fondant. Um, so I, um, you know, went to Michael's and bought tips and all sorts of stuff and I made it, I made a wedding cake and actually it actually turned out pretty good. And when they came and saw everything that I had put together just to watch their faces, I knew at that point that was what I wanted to do from the rest of my life.

07:09 That's crazy. And that was at age 15. Yeah. And it's funny, I know 15 year olds nowadays like, oh, they don't know what they're doing is taking their nose and stuff. So, uh, so, so they obviously see your first way. He was kind of a smashing success. Uh, so then what was kind of the next kind of line of trajectory to kind of get us to where obviously you're this big established brand to that?

07:30 Um, so I, um, going into cake decorating, so I started doing wedding cakes and different cakes for people. Um, and um, I actually worked at Costco and the bakery for a bet. Um, and I was randomly buying all this powdered sugar and all this stuff and the Gal was like, what are you doing with all this? And I'm like, I make cakes. And so I randomly got a job at Costco and it kind of increased my decorating skills cause it's very production line. You have to be really fast at things. Um, and I made cakes on the side, um, and I really loved it. It was, it was another way for me to have a creative outlet. And then, um, I got into catering, did catering for a bit. Um, just another aspect of the event industry. Um, plus my, my mother at the time, um, she ran a Balkan folk dancing group.

08:26 And so I got into, we did, um, dinner dances. And so we did catering for that. And, um, uh, I sewed costumes for all our performances that we did at folk life. And so I, I had like a sewing background too. And then, um, later down the line I, um, I got into floral design when I was a kid. I loved playing with flowers and picking flowers in the woods. I up in the middle of Bothell when bottle didn't exist. Um, so we, I grew up on seven acres, played in the woods and, um, I think that's where my mos obsession came from. Um, and you know, I'd make like reach out of coat hangers and end pieces of fur and stuff. And then, um, and then from there, you know, my, uh, I grew my love of flowers and then, um, worked in flow in and out of floral shops, um, taken courses down in California with like very well known designers to broaden my education and technique and skill on how to do floral design.

09:38 So, and then, um, you know, through those, uh, uh, I guess you would say the, through my years of working at different, throughout different industries, I still did my business on the side, got into planning and floral and all sorts of stuff. But, um, you know, the last 10 years or so, I've been just mainly it's been my business and I've never had to have, you know, another job to support myself and all that kind of stuff. So really focusing on building my business and bringing it to where I want it to be. Um, so, and then being able to be creative cause I, I am, I have that aspect.

10:24 Yeah. It's, it's where you're trying to kind of obviously balance, you know, the creativeness in essence with a lot of ways. He mentors, you know, you're constantly kind of battling to creativity versus like, okay, well now we actually have to like do things or figure out kind of, but that's in bolds. Uh, what was it like kind of starting your own business? Was that, you know, obviously new thing for someone so young, you know, when you started. But, um, like did you, what would your family think or did you have, you know, kind of entrepreneurial ship and your family or how did

10:51 the reaction go? My family's always been really supportive. Um, my father actually is a builder, so, um, they owned a construction. My parents owned a construction company. Um, and that's, you know, another way I grew up as well as I grew up on a job site playing with sheet rock in two by fours, you know. Um, so I, um, I really got my work ethic from my father, um, and because he's a very, very hard worker, but also I got the love of being an entrepreneur from my parents because they had their own business and I strived to have my own business one day, you know, and um, it makes your schedule a little bit nicer. I am a, you know, a single mom. So, um, being able to be there and do sports and all sorts of stuff and be a part of his life is really important to me.

11:47 So my schedule is very flexible and that's what I really love about being a business owner. But yeah, it's been, you know, starting at a young age, starting a business, you have no clue what you're doing. Um, so there's a lot of trial and error, you know, and um, back then, like I didn't really focus on marketing as much, like online and all that kind of staff. And so the more my business grew, I kind of focused on more of the marketing aspect. Um, you know, and I still struggle, like, you know, so I'm not the best marketer in the world, but that's why I have, I give that job to other people because I am not good at stuff like that. Um,

12:30 what would be some advice you would have for, you know, we're like, obviously you've just been doing this so long and kind of through so many different, you know, just time and events and everything. What would be some advice for someone to kind of, you know, hey, I'm going to start my business now, or what would be kind of your, your cornerstone advice?

12:47 Oh boy. Um, definitely educate yourself. Um, you know, know what you're getting into. Um, this is not a nine to five job. I work seven days a week. Um, but you know, for me, I like the not having a nine to five job, you know, I like the flexibility, but you know, if you don't market yourself, you don't get paid so you don't have a paycheck if you, um, are not on top of your business. So those are definitely things for people to remember that um, there are definite downtimes and it, it is due to like the economy and all sorts of stuff. So, um, you know, there are some really, really great years and there are some really bad years and you have to make sure that you, um, have your little nest set aside if you're planning on doing this full time because, um, the, you know, the way some years weddings are just not as crazy busy as other wedding as other days, years.

13:57 Yeah. And they'll, cause I mean a lot a, you know, a lot of people that we interview on here are, I would say more or less, kind of on my timeline of, you know, kind of when I started, you know, six, seven, eight years ago. Whereas, um, obviously you've kind of been going through a lot more and you know, back through Oh, A's and all that kind of stuff. And so you've just seen a lot more insight. I think it's interesting to Kinda, you know, what, what it has been the biggest change from kind of when you, when you started, you know, with weddings and stuff into today. Is it just that they're bigger and grander or is it more, you know, customization, you know, people, I don't, you could take that kind of any way you want.

14:34 I would say all of the above. So I think it really, um, Pinterest has taken off, you know, so people want that Pinterest wedding, um, but not necessarily having the budget for it. So DIY is really, really big. Um, right now. But then there is, you know, you have all the wedding trends each year. So, um, a lot of people are trying to make their wedding is grand as they can with the budget that they have. Um, so, you know, some people go completely all out and some people are, you know, they don't really care about that and it's more they mow more focus on the actual event and being with people versus the look. Um, you know, so everybody has, um, something that's more important to them. So, um, you know, I've, I do it all and, um, you know, each person is so unique in what is important to them in a wedding, you know, and that's what I really like about this industry is that it's never the same.

15:42 So, you know, obviously growing up in Bothell and you know, this whole area's changed a lot, you know, in the last, since you were 15, um, what have been your thoughts like of, you know, just kind of the saturation, you know, I've, you know, photographer, videographer fine, you know, but with that we just kind of the overall like grow up. Is it, how do you continue to kind of like make yourself stand out and kind of, you know, separate yourself from that crowd? Um, that's a really good question. Um, because definitely as a planner, floral designer, and I call myself a floral designer because, um, I believe that it's a specific craft. Um, you design flowers. Um, and so I'm not, I don't consider myself a florist. Um, so that's really important to differentiate. Um, so I mean, definitely saturation. I mean, it happens with any industry.

16:41 Um, you know, not, not everybody, there's new people popping up every single day and not everybody realizes how much work it is to be in the wedding industry. And then they get into it and they're like, oh, this is way too much. This is more than what I was expecting. And then they go away. So you have those vendors that they're getting their feet wet and then they realize what it's really like. Um, and then you have, you know, the vendors that have been around for years and they're really good at what they do and that's why they still stick around. Um, it is always really, really difficult to have explain, especially on the planning aspect to um, explain the value of having a planner. Um, because not a lot of people understand what, what I'm a wedding planner does, you know? Um, most people, they're like, well, I can plan my own wedding and yes, I believe anyone can plan of an event, whether you stay on budget or not, that's another, um, he, you know, another issue and I run into that with all the time, but it's the value that you bring the day of.

17:55 Like I do a ton of day of business. I would say that's my like primary planning. Um, and I'm a very different type of day of coordinator, so I'm very, very hands on. And sometimes it's hard to portray that because I'm not bringing it up like a physical, you know, my service isn't a physical service, you know, like flowers or videography or photography or anything like that. I'm the service. So sometimes people have a hard time, um, value putting value on that. Um, but if you read all my reviews, there is a reason why I've been in this industry for a really long time and I absolutely love what I do, you know, not just with the floral, but doing day of being able to deal with, um, uh, you know, any issues that are to arise. Um, with the fact that I have such a different background. I literally have had to fix cakes that have come damaged. I've had to plate caterers, food that have completely walked away. Um, I've had to Redo, um, uh, flowers that people bring the wrong color. I mean, I've had to, so bridesmaids in their dresses, there are so many different things that can potentially happen on a day of, um, and if you don't have the experience and the knowledge, you will struggle, you know, so and, and being able to um, show that to a client, sometimes it's hard for them to understand that.

19:34 Yeah, no, it's interesting. Um, I always think that how we are as you know, wedding vendors is like this combination, right? Of all the experiences before, you know, the lettuce sit out, you're kind of all the different, like you said, a little bit different things. You've kind of done, you know, kind of, it's like a, you probably, it's like the Peter Petrelli and heroes where he kind of like absorbs all the superpowers along the way. But you know, it kind of makes you be this custom unit, right? Like I am a very different videographer than someone that also does videography because of my experiences. And obviously you have this wide range of skills kind of from going through all you know bakey and then like for you, like you said, your dad's a builder, you know, all these different things. But um, it is, I've talked with planners before that. Do you think, uh, where do you plan to do that? Coordination is like the hardest thing to sell to anybody. Cause like you said, there's no tangible product. And if, if a wedding, like if a planner does their job correctly, like the wedding just happens. And so it's really hard to sell that, you know what I mean?

20:32 Right. And a lot of times things happen behind the scenes when the, um, the client doesn't know. And I mean, you don't want them to know, you don't want to bring that to with her attention and be like, hey, you're a carer just walked away so I'm going to plate your food for you. You know? Um, that's the best part of my job is making it flawless. And, you know, maybe later down the line they'll find out, you know, but I don't make it a point to, even after the wedding, I don't make it a point to bring it to their attention because then it just takes away that magical moment for them. Um, and I think that's why I'm there is to make sure that their wedding is the most memorable moment of their life.

21:14 Yeah. I always kind of struggled with that too. Like, do you tell them after early man, there was a lot of stuff going on out there. You just kind of let it go. Like, I don't know, I don't know what the right answer is. Uh, you were talking about, you know, uh, obviously doing this a long time. Um, and you know, some of the other established companies, do you find, um, having done it, how do you not be complacent? Right. Like, I think the hardest thing for me or for anybody, you know, if you were doing it a long time, you know, it's a lot of repetition in terms of just kind of seasonality and booking in and nod into how do you stop from being complacent and kind of keep doing new things and trying new things and adapting.

21:53 Oh, that's a really good question. Um, that's really hard to answer. Um,

22:00 I only ask is like, I'm, you know, I'm kind of at all, I'll be answering while you think, but you know, I've kind of been going through that myself lately just with kind of trying to revamp a little bit more of the corporate stuff where like maybe I've let that slack over the last, you know, year or two really focusing on weddings are kind of trying to like balance that because, you know, you get complacent doing one thing or another and then you look and you're like, Oh wow, you know, this thing, you know, I needed to clean up or do whatever. So.

22:24 Right. Um, yeah, you know, my main focus is weddings for sure. But, um, you know, I definitely, um, especially through the floral aspect, um, I have been branching out more doing other types of events might, you know, um, doing flowers for a corporate events or birthday parties or, um, decor for, um, you know, hotels or things like that. So it is a little difficult to get out of that wedding mindset sometimes. Um, but it's always fun when, uh, you have a different type of project that comes along. Um, and then really taking that wedding mindset out of your brain and moving onto a different type of event. It's a little bit difficult, but I think, um, you know, once I get the project in front of me, then it's like, oh, I get really excited and then I want to branch out more. Okay.

23:24 Do you find, and so we're, we're recording this before, we're both going to be at the, uh, open house at the bar, the Holly farm this weekend. And so this is, this will air after. So it's kind of this weird space time continuum, but do you, do you find doing those and like reaching out, you know, having new venues reach out to you and, and kind of like meeting new things like that, do you, do you find that that of helps you further market and kind of further get your name out there?

23:49 Um, yeah. You know, I don't, um, do a whole bunch of networking, um, just mainly because I have so much work and then I want to be able to have family time, um, which is really important to me. Um, so I do, I'm tend to do a lot of open houses here and there. And then I do the big Seattle wedding show and in the past, the northwest bridal showcase. Um, so, um, but I don't really do like the Snohomish wedding to her or any of that kind of stuff. But I do like to do some networking and I mean, there's still, there's a lot of new vendors popping up and being able to be no network to them I think is important. So, um, sometimes, um, you know, with, especially with a new venues, um, I do, I, you know, I consult new venues on what's good and bad about their venues.

24:45 Um, so, and how can you make it, uh, that dream venue for a client, whether that's corporate, wedding, birthday, whatever, um, what is your selling point? And I think a lot of new venues struggle with that. So, um, I love to be able to go out to a property and, and encourage venues to be like, hey, you know, you have this great space, but there's no like, draw, you know, how can we change it? So I think that's really important for, uh, for venues because we don't have enough in Washington. So when a new one pops up and there are struggle, um, you know, I want to be able to help them succeed.

25:24 Yeah, no. And we, that's kind of the ongoing trend on this podcast is a lot of new venues for people wanting to do venues who are, I've even tied to like wedding clients and they're like, oh, you, after we get married in a couple of years, like we're going to have our own, cause I'm always like, let's, you know, let's get through step one here before we, uh,

25:43 yeah, yeah. And I hear that a lot is, you know, people want to start new venues and, and um, you know, it's, it's all fine and dandy, but it's very expensive and you're going to spend a lot of time, um, you know, creating that vision.

26:01 Um, so I wanted to talk to you about, so having done this for as long as you have, you know, obviously social media and everything and you know, marketing has changed drastically. I mean, like my dad who's no longer with us, but he was in March, you know, advertising back in the day. And I can only imagine kind of what, you know, the, how that would shift in, you know, from when you started to mess around. Like, how did you kind of like navigate through that and kind of adopt new things as they came over?

26:27 Um, yeah, definitely social media did not exist when I first started, you know, um, I didn't even have a cell phone. So, um, social media definitely. Um, you know, the only social media I technically do is Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is still a mystery to me, you know, so, um, uh, it's, it's definitely different and I believe that as a business owner it's really important for you to be out on social media. I probably am not out as much as I should be, but that's because I'm behind the scenes being creative. Um, and I don't have the time, but, um, it as a business owner, um, it's coming from that generation where, you know, it wasn't as prevalent and two to now, it's very weird still for me. I'm not a big computer type of person. I never have been. So, you know, I find myself struggling sometimes, but um, it's, uh, that's what you rely on other professionals.

27:33 Yeah. Do you find you're able to really come and focus on you? Do you delegate that? Do you have, is that difficult for you or, cause I know like I'm like a super control freak, so

27:42 it is hard for me to take, to delegate for sure. Um, because I, I have a specific way I like things. Um, and again, that's just my OCD Denas, I guess. Um, you know, I definitely like have someone who deals with my website and all that kind of stuff because that is a complete mystery to me. Um, you know, and sometimes I'll have someone do like Facebook marketing and all that kind of stuff, but other than that, I, I do most of it myself. You know, I just, if I'm working on a project, I'm like, oh, wait a second, I need to stop and I need to like snap a picture and put it online, you know? Or I was randomly driving home from, um, doing decor and flowers at a Washington athletic. So I just like, I think I should just pop online and make a video, you know? So that's my problem is actually remembering to do it because I get so sucked into my projects that I don't remember to do things like that.

28:42 It's funny, I always, uh, I even if we're working with like photographers, you know, I'll do like snap a couple like behind the scenes because you know, my video cameras, I don't have to either sitting there taking photos the whole time and I'm like, well it's really easy for me that, so they always get mad at me because unlike sitting there behind the scenes stuff and you know, maybe I should be paying more attention, but how do you kind of balance the marketing, you know, or focus between kind of, you know, the, where you do book planning and design and you kind of focus on both those or how do you kind of separate that in your mind or

29:15 um, well, the way I market it, there are two completely different services, but um, it actually is in a way a better for me to do both services because then I'm familiar with your design, your set up, all of that type of detail. Um, and I can really focus on bringing everything in and it, that, um, unique look that you're looking for. So, um, I find that it's, um, oh, I get that question. A lot of people are like, well, can you focus on both? And yes, I can. It's, um, it's all, it's, I find it, it's better that way. Um, you know, and I always give myself a little extra time. If I'm doing flowers or um, have any like crazy setups, then I can bring in extra people or any of that kind of stuff. But, um, it is, I get, I get that question quite often. It's kind of funny, but, um, uh, I'm the way I work, I'm not a normal type of person. Like my, I am like five people in one type of person, the way I work. Um, so a lot of people have a hard time imagining that.

30:36 Well, I'm obviously, you know, it gets to a point where you've been doing this, you know, a long time when you're a little more, um, just kind of versed in, in very all the different machinations that can kind of happen. You know, so when they, when it comes to, you know, planning and design that I always ask people kind of whatever category they fit in, you know, what do you wish more people asked, um, you know, or what do you, kind of some common pitfalls that you, that you constantly find yourself like educating clients and stuff about like what do you wish more people asked when they came to like, you know, wedding coordination and what you wish they knew?

31:10 Well, in the wedding world budget, budget, budget, budget is weddings one o one you have to set a budget. I meet so many people and I asked them what their budget is for their whole entire wedding and they have no clue. Um, you know, we're not in the eighties anymore. We're here like, where my parents were like, when did, they ain't got married. They had a backyard potluck. Like it was, you know, very casual and people still do stuff like that. But the vendors, I mean, things are expensive this day and age and people I don't think understand how expensive things are and what is important to allocate their money. Um, with what's, what type of surface is more important to them, whether it's flowers or, um, catering or, you know, drinks or the venue or whatever, you know. So that is the number one thing that I really try to educate people.

32:09 I think education, educating the client is really important as a bet wedding vendor, um, is to educate people on the industry and, um, set a budget, figure out, okay, this is how much money I have to work with and where do I go from, from there, you know, because it really is gonna it's gonna. Um, it'll make it so you can have the venue you want. You know, a lot of people don't realize some of these, you have to have an work with the preferred caterer, you know, so even if the venue is $6,000, then you have a caterer and if you have a $10,000 budget, it's not gonna work, you know? And also don't want to invite the whole world, you know? Um, a lot of people think I'm going to have 200 plus people at their wedding. And you have to remember, are you going to see these people in 10 years, you know, um, sometimes decreasing your guest count, we'll let allow you to have more things.

33:10 No, I think that's a great point. And it is really interesting in it. Obviously this is just cause you know, we're in this industry with, you know, budgets and I find a lot of like, um, people saying like, you know, I want this and this and this and this and I want to pay this. Whereas like, you know, I always, I've used in the past like we just put a new deck on our house in you. I didn't know, I had no clue what like get construction costs. Right. So then you go out and you say, well hey, you know, what is some approximate things and how does this work? They just like, well I want a deck and I want to pay $5,000. Cause he just, but do you find that a lot in weddings where it's the perception is it's way out of line from what, whether it actually is yes. All the time. Why though? I don't, I never know why.

33:53 Um, I just, I just don't think that people have really been around weddings and really understand. Um, and part of it, I blame Pinterest. I love Pinterest and I get carried away pinning away, but then people don't realize what they're pinning is expensive. Um, you know, there's always ways of saving money. You just have to know how to do it. So I think working with a planner is really important, you know, because they have, um, they get discounts from other vendors on, they know specific places where you can get something for cheaper, but you still have good quality. I think quality is really important in this industry. Um, you know, you can just get the cheapest thing in the world, but you get what you pay for. And I really believe that. Um, but I also believe there are specific areas that you can be cheap but still make it look nice.

34:52 What would be your advice for that? Because obviously you're somebody that lives in that design world too.

34:57 Um, that's um, you know, there's just different types of vendors out there, you know, so, um, if you're a DIY type of person, there are specific vendors that cater towards the DIY, you know, for like rentals and things like that. Um, you know, there's really great djs and all different types of price points. Um, you know, there's like yourself, videographers and different price points. But I think that you also have to figure out what's important to you and folk in and focus on that. And that's when you can cut from your budget, you know, and figure out what's more important, where do I want to go? Um, you know, so working with a planner, even if it's not full service planning, um, you do like a partial planning here and there. What would really help with, where do I go and how do I stay within my budget? So, um, I hope that answers your question.

36:01 You, you mentioned before, you know, a lot of the weddings you do or kind of day of coordination, but obviously you offer, you know, full design or full coordination that however you want to phrase it on kind of what, what is your process like for working with couples and how does that, you know, if someone were that book you kind of, how does that work to go through?

36:19 Um, well for my day of, um, you know, I book out well over in advance a year in advance, so, um, and I always tell clients, you know, even though you're booking me over a year in advance, you always hear from me, I'm not just this ghost that pops up like a month before your wedding. I think that's really still important to have communication with your clients. Mainly because I don't want them to make those costly mistakes. Um, you know, I've had clients where they've booked specific vendors and then it didn't work out and then they lose their deposit and then they're starting from square one, and they don't get what exactly what they want instead of coming to you and saying, Hey, help me, you know. So, um, a lot of people are afraid to ask questions. Um, you know, and I don't charge for questions.

37:10 I want people to have the information because I think it's really important. Um, especially with, I mean, money, it's a wedding is expensive and you don't want to make any of those costly mistakes. Um, so, um, you know, with, with my day of, I'm always in communication, um, you know, full, obviously full service planning, I'm always around. So, um, you know, I, uh, get to really get to know my clients, um, a little bit more. And, um, each couple are so different and unique and it has such a great story and I really love stuff like that. Um, and then, um, you know, with floral design, it's just another aspect. So, I mean, some people book me over a year in advance for flowers to, um, and we as the year progresses, we tweak the, you know, different style or a look or different types of flowers or if they come across something completely calm and they want to change their wedding 100%, that's still okay. You know, obviously a month before your wedding that's not not going to work, you know. Um, but I, I really want people to be happy with the style that they have chosen and um, and then, you know, we focus on any of those type of specifics.

38:37 Yeah. You talk about Emo, um, the couples in their stories and kind of, you know, that asks for them. Do you enjoy that, that the romance and story part of the wedding at yeah, because I know some people on here, you know, it's like events or events, you know, we just love people. Like, do you enjoy kind of being a part of that love story and kind of helping you make that connection?

38:57 I do. You know, um, um, I, it's funny because every time I do a wedding I still get like jitters, you know, and, um, I, I really love everybody's story, the way they met. Um, you know, the different, um, you know, tribulations that they've gone through, um, you know, or, um, them losing a family member or, and bringing that person into their ceremony is, you know, I've had in the last couple of years, definitely a lot of clients that have lost loved ones. So, um, you know, I've lost loved ones too. And so I think it's really important to, um, make that, um, part of their, you know, wedding and, and make it special for them. So, but yeah, I do like the, the love story and I love watching the first dance or even like that the walk down the aisle. I, they as my, one of my favorite moments because he, you know, sometimes you get the criers and, and sometimes I'm finding myself, I'm like in tears because it's such a beautiful moment.

40:09 I wanted to talk about kind of some of that you're your most memorable kind of build out through things, you know, if there, if there wasn't one or two that really kind of got your Jesus flatly me. And I remember at that, I think it was abroad showcase a couple of years ago, it was like the big mossy guy that I know the photo was on your, um, on your website too that I saw, but I was at whatever that, I can't remember whether bet that was, but I mean, what were some of the things that you're most proud of? I'm kind of in the last couple of years.

40:35 Um, yes, that one specifically. So that was at the Seattle wedding show a few years back. And again, I have this weird obsession with moss and we are in the Pacific northwest. So, um, I decided that I was going to build myself some trees and, um, I literally was trudging through the woods, um, you know, looking for fallen trees to rip off the bark. And I created these trees and I just had this, um, you know, vision I wanted. And at first it was like, I'm just going to cover pipe and drape poles with moss. And I was like, that's not good enough for me. And then I literally built like eight foot, like four feet wide, um, trees that were so much fun to make. Um, and um, and so that one, yeah, that one, I won best booth at the Seattle wedding show. So that was really cool because, um, it was a proud moment for me because I felt because it, the vendors vote for you.

41:37 So it made me really like realize, hey, I'm really good at what I do, you know, and, um, it's being recognized by, uh, the industry vendors, not just, you know, a client. Um, so, um, but yeah, I mean like that one was really great to do. Um, I did one year. Um, and it's a lot of the one, the crazy ones I do is more for wedding shows, but I did like a kind of like a Seahawks inspired one and I'm literally ripped a football apart and incorporate it into a bridal bouquet and stuff. And I, I, I love uniqueness like that. Um, you know, and so, um, that's what I love about, um, doing floral design and decor because you can take like the smallest little thing and incorporate it and make this wow factor. And that's where I love I'm doing. Okay.

42:35 Yeah. It's like, I see you said earlier, you know, where you kind of, you're the one that house to execute a lot of these things, you know, cause like I can tell couples all the time like, well, we can you make your video with ever. But I mean, there's only, so, I mean, you really can take, you know, even just a little,

42:50 uh,

42:51 by the vent idea or whatever and kind of turn it into you. Like obviously those consults and like working with the clients and kind of getting that, that brain flow going.

43:00 Absolutely. Um, I get really giddy about it. So, um, you know, they tell me, okay, their style, their colors. Um, and then sometimes they'll just say one little piece of information, am I in? For some reason my brain just like turns and I'm like, oh my gosh, I have the perfect idea for you. You know? And that's where it kind of goes off from there. Um, you know, it just, it could be like my grandmother's doily or I mean does any little tiny thing that, that they want to incorporate or that's important to them. And then that's where my, my juices go flowing.

43:41 Do you find trouble? Uh, I find trouble, you know, restraining myself sometimes, you know, just with the, and so is that a constant battle that you have with kind of like, just time and you know, where you can spend, you know, a million hours on stuff?

43:54 Yes. Um, I, because I am such a perfectionist, um, I battle myself constantly and because, you know, I will stay up until two o'clock in the morning if I have to. I'm doing, um, designing, you know, um, because I want that, you know, bouquet to be like that perfect look or I mean I've had, I've ripped apart bouquets before because I'm not 100% satisfied with it. And I think it's more just, um, me being OCD and I want things perfect for someone, um, because I know that's what I would want, so I run my business on how I want, how I would want it. So, um, I know when I get married it's going to be kind of crazy. Yeah. So, um, you know, I, I just try to compare it to my wedding.

44:50 Yeah. I can only imagine what that, what that process. I don't envy anybody that's be involved in that. Where do you see yourself as a business kind of growing in the next couple of years? I mean, obviously, uh, along the track history here of her track record, whatever you want to say, you know, doing this. But how are you, where do you see yourself growing or am trying to improve in the next couple of years?

45:12 Um, well, my ultimate goal in life is to actually have a wedding venue. Um, ironically, um, I've always wanted one ever since I was really young. Um, you know, just being able to have a unique space for someone, um, to have their event. I've always wanted that, you know, I'm sure when I have, when I achieve that goal, I will probably be like, what was I thinking? Because I see venue owners all the time and hear horror stories and all sorts of stuff and you're like, Oh boy, I'm glad I don't own one. But at the same time, it's, I, it's a goal I've set for myself. Um, and you know, I want to be able to have something more elegant. Um, you know, it's just the type of person I am. I like elegant.

46:01 It would be, is that to, you just kind of been able to kind of have that control over? Like you said, if you go like advisor venue, but you can't make them, do, you know, but be kind of being able to have that kind of overarching control.

46:10 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

46:12 Um, W why is so besides elegant, what would you envision for that, for your ideal?

46:17 Um, probably trying to have a space for over 300 people because we're so limited. Um, that's not a hotel, you know. Um, so there's like, you know, very few. Obviously I would love to have a space for like 500 people, you know, but then there's a fine line of, you know, the, how many people do you really want to deal with? Um, the more people the crazy it gets. So, um, you know, I think, um, just having a unique space, um, I've always really loved like tropical Italian. It's kind of a weird combo. Um, but there are some really great spaces I've come across in like Maui and stuff that are really unique and I feel like we need something unique like that. So, um, that would be like the style that I would go for. Sure.

47:12 When you're not kind of running the business and you're doing all the crazy build out, so you're doing a, what do you do in your free time? I know you talked about your kid, whether you do the kind of fill out the remainder of that I'm sure. Very limited amount of time.

47:25 Yeah. Um, well, you know, being with my son as important, um, he's in baseball right now, so take him to baseball games and practice and staff. Um, you know, um, we just recently bought a house, so we're doing lots of house renovations, yard yard work, um, landscaping. So, um, I do find myself still working. Oh, I have a hard time turning that off. Um, you know, but, um, being able to be a mom and, uh, juggling businesses is, um, very difficult sometimes, you know, and some of them, especially during wedding season, my son is like, oh, you gotta go to another wedding. You know, but then sometimes he gets excited when a client calls me. He's like, is that a client? You know, or if I can bring him to a meeting, he's like, yes, I get to go. You know, he really likes, um, being able to be a part of the business. So I'm waiting for him to be old enough that I can incorporate him in. And you legally, that's not cheap labor. Exactly. I mean, that's what my parents did and I think that are, uh, Jen, they'll, you know, younger generation needs to learn how to work a little bit. So I'll put him to work for sure.

48:44 Yeah, I would, I would concur with that. Uh, what is, uh, well last question for you. Go. What do one thing you wish more people knew about you, your company? It could be any, any and all of the above. And I know the, a terrified face as you try to think about that.

48:57 Oh, that's, so that's like the ultimate hardest question.

49:02 Good to know your wedding pro, whether we,

49:04 um, I would just say, um, you know, I am very, very good at what I do and um, you know, um, I'm very easygoing. Uh, you know, I'm, I'm, uh, I'm always for the client, you know, I think that's really important. And customer service is really important to me. Um, I want to make sure the client is taken care of and happy. So, um, that's very important as a business aspect. Um, and um, you know, the fact that I am a unique, um, planner slash floral designer because I have been in all aspects, the vantage story makes me really, really, really unique as a planner and, um, differentiates me from other planners out there. Plus this is what I do for a living. So I'm not that, you know, a hobby job is a bad, bad thing. People are really good at what they do on the side. But this, you know, I have eat your full, um, clients have my full attention, you know, and I'm easy to get ahold of and all that kind of stuff. So, um, I would say that's probably it.

50:17 That was good. No, I know there's a perfectly, as I said, I, and I do think, yeah, the emphasize kind of being on both sides of it. Like you are, I think, you know, um, when I used to do, and you know, I had kind of had to do a lot of aspects, you know, growing up, you know, like you didn't, I think just seeing other sides of it, like if you're, um, you know, photographer that's only ever done photo, that's never really been, it's good to be able to see outside of what your role is. And I think where you have tackled so many different aspects of it, I think makes you not only better, but also, um, you have a little more like empathy for what other sides and things, right. Where it's like if you're, you know, a planner that's never touched flowers ever, whenever, like, you don't necessarily know, right. The aspects of it. Right?

51:01 Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean, I've had to literally, I mean, like the, the things I've had to do and it's, um, I'm really glad that I have all of the other experiences because I'm not afraid to do it, you know? And, um, if that's what I need to do the day of, then that's what I'll do. So that's really important.

51:23 Very, uh, if people want to learn more about you and, and all the different work that you do, where would you direct them to?

51:29 Um, check out my website You can check me out on Facebook, Instagram, um, or you know, call me directly. I do take phone calls.

51:42 It's awesome. And thank you again so much for coming in. And I know like you say, you were getting ready for the open house this weekend at The Barn at Holly Farm. And so it's a, it's been busy and we'll have to catch up more, uh, there at the events. So yeah, thanks for having me. Yeah, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro® if you are interested in participating in year two of our, uh, our fun podcasts here, you can go to It's a nice, easy link that I have for the questionnaire if you are interested in participating. Uh, thanks again Andy. A check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Rebecca Venturi, Kate Niklaus, Ashley Durbin, Salty’s on Alki

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm excited because I'm joined by a bunch of friends, my friends over at Salty's on Alki, which is a good if anybody on the podcast and as that's where Dorothy and I got married. So we're very familiar with that venue, kind of both inside and out. And uh, I've been shooting events there for years, so thank you guys all for coming in. Why don't you all introduce yourselves, tell us who you are and what you guys do.

00:37 Yeah. Thank you for having us. So my name's Rebecca Venturi and I'm the director of catering at Salty's on Alki. My name is Kate Niklaus, I'm the catering sales manager for Salty's on Alki. And My name is Ashley Durbin. I am the catering sales coordinator

00:54 and it's awesome. It's a, it's so good to have you guys come in and I know we kind of interact, um, you know, at the weddings and things and then we, you guys had the open house, uh, last month, but, um, I think we kind of at first all really got to know each other at that wedding wire event a couple of years ago. So you guys in Dorothy and everybody got to chat. So, uh, why don't you, um, just tell us a little bit about Salty's and what makes you guys unique and, and just kind of general information about the venue.

01:22 Yeah, so Salty's on Alki, most people know it as a restaurant concept. There are three locations. Obviously we work at the Alki location, but there's also one in Redondo. Uh, and then there's one down in Portland on the Columbia River. Salty's itself, is known for the seafood and the views. That's sort of what we pride ourselves on. But the unique thing about the Alki location is that we actually have a committed level for private dining. So, uh, all of our private dining spaces sit right at the water. They do have a beautiful view of downtown Seattle. I would say that arguably it's the best view in Seattle, um, because you're looking right at the city, but you also get the Olympics and on a clear day you get a little bit of Mount Rainier as well. Um, and what we do is we offer a free, like basically a full venue with catering, staffing and everything that you need to have an event, especially weddings. We do a ton of weddings. You do about 75 real wedding related things each year. Um, and so we're really a one stop shop for couples who just, you know, they don't necessarily want a venue that they have to put everything in. They have to coordinate catering and vendors and staffing and all of this stuff. They, if they come to salty as they get all of that in one location. So that's really what we do. I don't know, I'm leaving something out.

02:48 It's a, it's a funny because we didn't, we used to live up by the West Seattle Bridge and you know, we had walked by, we used to walk Rosie by assault teas every day. And like, we didn't even, I don't think realize that there was weddings there and then I booked a wedding there.

03:02 Yeah,

03:03 right around the time that Dorothy and I got engaged. And so we were kind of trying to figure out, you know, what to do. And I said, well, why don't we at least like, I didn't even know that that was a thing there. You know, cause you see an email assaults these brunch and kind of the, you know, fine dining and like copy RSL, um, we at ended up coming along with me to one of those weddings that we blocked. And so then that was kind of why we were sold on it. So, yeah, it's definitely unique. Uh, and it's, you know, it's, it's kind of like close, uh, close to Seattle. But like you said, you kind of get the view from being the opposite side, which I don't think people think about when they want to have like, you know, a nice view of Seattle that you actually have to get a little bit outside of Seattle the kind of get that view. Right,

03:41 right. Yeah. And we get a lot of clients that come to us because they do want a waterfront wedding with a unique perspective and there's not really anywhere else on Al k that you can do what we do. I mean there's the bathhouse there down the beach, but that it's prohibitive in so many ways. So we're pretty lucky because we don't have a lot of competitions. Yeah. I mean even just parking alone, like there's a water taxi that'll take you from downtown over to saltines and we got a, yeah, we got a ton of people just coming even for smaller events or people that come in from out of town, we'll stay in like hotels downtown, pop over to Salty's for dinner and then pop back over. It's nice and easy, but a little calmer then downtown itself.

04:25 Yeah, I mean I sell it to everybody I can because even, you know, will we be in the industry and whatever when a, you know, Dorothy's dad and mom wanted to kind of see a budget because we are pretty soldid on Salty's. It's and like, you know, we did kind of a comparable with a couple of other local Seattle kind of around that area. I want their own names under the bus, but you know, we kind of deal that comparable apples to apples. So yeah, I mean like the valet parking and you know, food and catering and that happened to deal with a lot of that stuff. I think people, uh, I think it's under estimated how nice it is to kind of have that in house staffing of the restaurant and kind of all that stuff. Right.

05:00 Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing, like you mentioned, a lot of people don't even know that we have an event space. People also don't understand that we have, are an entirely separate catering staff. So our own culinary team, our own service staff. So, um, the private events are truly private. They're not competing with the restaurant, um, to service their event, which is amazing. And they do have an entire floor to themselves, which is great as well. So it really is a unique venue within a venue, sort of, you know, within the restaurant. Um, and so yeah, it is. You would definitely underestimate what we can do there, I'm sure.

05:43 Oh, why don't you guys talk to me kind of a little bit about the dynamic of your team. I think I'm the, I don't even really necessarily kind of know who, who tackles what thing. I kind of always think of you guys. It's like this three headed kind of [inaudible]. So kind of walk me through, you know, kind of specifically how each of you kind of interacts in the end runs, you know, parts of the, you know, downstairs are,

06:04 yeah. So for me, I'm the catering sales coordinator, so I'm pretty much there to make their jobs easier and answer the phones and just be that sidestep for billing and all the extra stuff that needs to be done that, um, takes a little bit longer time, um, and all the deposits. So you'll, I do all the money and the billing and just the reader boards and decor type of stuff.

06:29 Yeah. And then you'll take like smaller events and whatnot as well. Yes. Um, between Rebecca and I, we kind of just split everything up in terms of event inquiries that come in. We just take them as they come and there's no differentiation with the types of events that we take. Like we don't like not one person is dedicated to weddings and one person is dedicated to business. It's just kind of, we take everything that comes our director

06:52 and make it work. Yeah. I've recently been joking that we do everything from birth to death and everything in between and all of those milestones. Um, but like I said, we mostly do weddings. So individually we can't function as a unit without Ashley because she is really our support. I'm like, she mentioned and then Kate and I drive most of the sales and coordination of all the events that happened. But the other thing that we do that's really important in all three of us do this is we coordinate each event. So the great thing about salt, these is for a wedding. Once you're under contract, you have someone helping you from start to finish, coordinate your wedding. So you don't even really necessarily need to hire a planner or a coordinator. We do have couples that do and we're totally fine with that. But for couples that are on a budget and maybe that's not something that they can, um, come up with the resources for, they certainly don't need to worry about that at our venue because we're all very well trained. I would say in, I'm running a wedding from start to finish. So that's pretty much what we do. We do it all. Um, and we're really there to sort of guide our guests in our couples through the entire process because it can be overwhelming for sure.

08:06 You're intimidating if you've never done it before. There's a lot that goes into it. So we do, we'll do like the menu for you, your timeline, your set up, any audio visual needs, that sort of deal. So it's a good, if you don't know where to start, we've got you covered and we'll kind of walk you through the whole process all the way down to getting you down the aisle, the day of your wedding.

08:25 Yeah. Once you're married then yeah.

08:29 Sometimes being just a stress reliever for our clients too. Yeah.

08:34 Counselors. Yeah. It's interesting because a Dorothy and I go, the saltiest happy are a lot, you know, probably more than than we should talk about. But uh, you know, every time that we go up to Sarah there, there's always kind of the event bore the of you know, what's happening downstairs. And I made it, like you said, it really does run the gamut from, you know, weddings and email, memorial services and you know, retirement ceremonies and, you know, even business functions and things like that. But, um, you know, I, I even last spring, I think I had like an 18th the Quinceanera or whatever downstairs there, which was, you know, certainly kind of a different use of this space who is also cool.

09:10 Yeah. We've seen all kinds of different types of events. They're truly, and I mean, we had a Mariachi band a few weeks ago. Super Fun. Uh, what else did we had? Magicians. Yup. Like casino night

09:26 turn the whole downstairs into a big arcade. We've done like release parties with like bullying and like corn hole and like it, it's just a really diverse space and it's a lot of fun. You can transform it into really anything that you're looking for.

09:42 Um, so why don't you guys kind of walk me through kind of your backgrounds yeah. And kind of how you got to be, you know, each kind of part of this. Uh, this sales team here, it's all days.

09:51 Okay. So with me, I started off working in a restaurant industry, um, with Korean and I, after she left, she went to sell teas and I went to the wedding show as a bride to be, and it came out pretty much with a job and that's salt is, um, and so with that, uh, she, I told her I wanted to get a degree in this and she said, come work with me first before you decide on that. Um, so I did and three years later I'm still working in the industry. So something good came out of that wedding show.

10:26 And so you ended up going to school for that?

10:28 Um, I did. Yes.

10:30 It's a way of, what kind of degree is that?

10:32 Uh, so to associates in school

10:34 fatality. And where'd you go to school? Um, highline college. And you're married?

10:40 Uh, I will say most marries a three year engagement. Yeah.

10:44 So working on getting there, can we get married? It's all these,

10:48 um, probably not just because I'm there every day. It's a great place, but you want to see something unique.

10:56 Absolutely. [inaudible] your background.

10:59 Yeah. So I'm actually only been at [inaudible] for about a year, um, but prior to that, I've been doing this for about 15 years. Prior to that I was at, um, the Seattle tennis club and I was at Ray's boathouse on the opposite side of the water and then kind of started in this at palisade. So I've really hopped around the whole waterfront of Seattle and doing the same thing. And I love it. I don't think I would change it for anything. Um, years ago I went to Whitman College and I thought I was going to be a psychologist and, and then, you know, I'm working with the clinical population. I was too emotionally invested. It's like I gotta find a job where it's okay to be emotionally invested, which I landed in the wedding industry. And, um, it works, it works being emotionally invested. Um, but you know, I joke a lot about how I actually got into it and it was, you know, I was, I had a service background after college.

12:02 I worked at Microsoft and waited tables and did this summary thing. And I just happened to be walking by the front desk at Palisade one day. And I was like, man, I wish I could cute clothes to work. And I said that out loud. And then the next day my boss offered me a job, like the planning team and just like, it's so it just kind of hopped into it from there. And then that same boss can have store me and took me to different venues and I ended up being a sales manager and then planning weddings and her, I, no, it's all taste. So

12:33 that's funny. I uh, I went to Gonzaga when I toured Whitman then. I don't know of many people that they've gone to Whitman or know of Whitman. That's a kind of a small world.

12:42 Yeah. It's a small college. They call it the Harvard of the northwest. I don't even know why they accepted me to be honest with you. Like how did I get in there? Um, but it was the best it, I loved my education there. It was some of the funnest times.

12:58 Yeah, that raises a, it's funny the, the, the mirror kind of the dichotomy with race too. Cause Durr we had our rehearsal dinner raise and we figured we'd get kind of both sides of the water. Both your similar aesthetic but obviously different kinds of views and driving points there. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. What about you?

13:17 Um, well all of my jobs have been food and beverage oriented since I first started working. Um, I went to school, I went to South Seattle college and I got a degree in hospitality management. And then from there it was a lot of like serving jobs and stuff. Wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I really like food and I really like people. So I figured that I would just do something like that. And then I did a couple internships with some wedding planning companies just to kind of feel out the ground. So is this something I want to do? And definitely sparked my interest. And through my college education I needed interning hours in order to graduate. So I needed a thousand hours worth of worth of interning. So I went over to Microsoft and they gave me an internship and it was, I was the Guinea pig.

14:07 They'd never done that before. They didn't really have a job for me, but they liked me. So they brought me on and it was a great opportunity. I just got to shadow with because Microsoft is massive. It's like its own small city. So I got to like shadow and all these different departments. And just see so many different aspects of what goes into events from like just like the info desk to the catering to the planning, to the coordination and just, it was, it was really eyeopening. It wasn't what I wanted to do right then and there, but still a fantastic opportunity. Honestly, I applied to Saltines as a server. My plan was to come back, could make some quick money, go travel. I'm still young and like before I plant my roots so then you know, come back later and take more seriously. But I was just looking to make some fast money and they picked up my resume and they liked what they saw and they offered me a position. It was just such a, I wasn't expecting it at all, but it worked out amazing. I love what I do. Yeah. I went from a server,

15:07 the manager just like that.

15:11 If all three of you can kind of talk about, uh, you know, what is it about, you know, working there a, is it, you know, obviously working with the couples and kind of, you know, that aspect of it or you know, is it the love or what kinds of things excite you about kind of the jobs that you each do it? It's all days.

15:27 I just

15:27 really liked that I get to meet so many different kinds of people because the events that we do are really so broad. Like we'll do a first birthday, we'll do a wedding, we'll do a retirement, we'll do just like just financial seminars, just all the different kinds of people that you come in contact with from all over the world. It's just, it's something new and different every day. Like although we do sit at a desk for the majority of the day, it doesn't feel like it's just like the same thing over and over. It's always something new and different and keeps you on your toes. And I like that about,

15:56 or our jobs. Yeah. I mean, as it pertains to weddings, there's no weddings that are ever the same. And our job is never boring. I can speak for myself, but I think for everyone in the industry, your job is never boring. There's always something different for me. Um, you know, people oftentimes when I tell them what I do, they're like, oh my gosh, like I bet you know, brides are out of control or demanding. And really, truly that's not the majority of the couples that we deal with. Um, everyone has a story and we're with these people for sometimes up to a year and a half at a time planning and you sort of get to know them and become their friend through it and you know, and then by the time the entire thing culminates and you've put all of your own sort of efforts into helping them, you know, realize their dream wedding, it's an emotional experience and you kind of get addicted to it.

16:58 I am addicted to it and you know, every wedding of mine that I plan in a 10, like I cry, they say their vows because then like, you know, you feel like you know them. And I think there's a rush in that, not just the planning and senior year vision in their vision come together. You know, it's a, it's a whole production, but really, truly it's the relationships you create with people. Um, you maybe that sounds sort of cliche, but it's true. And I would say one out of every 20 breads you're like, okay, glad you're married.

17:34 Yeah. And I agree with both of them. It's, it's exciting to meet all these new people. I love talking to people. There's certain sessions that I've had with people where I'm counseling them through some stuff where I'm just being that ear to listen to when it either it's a of life and they just need somebody to talk to or it's, um, a wedding and they may not know if they're ready to get married. So it's just interesting talking and just hearing everybody's story and being able to just talk to them. Even though it may not be about their planning session. Um, and they just want an extra year to listen to. So that's always exciting to hear people's different. Yes.

18:10 Backgrounds and stories.

18:13 Do you guys find yourselves, like I never beg, you said kind of getting caught up in kind of that love and the motion. Do you guys find yourselves yeah. Kind of feeling that as well and getting swept up in that?

18:22 Oh definitely. I mean like so much goes into it. You're so invested at that point. So when it all comes together, like you, like you said, like you feel like your friends at that point. Not always, but I mean for the most part, like I have people that I reach out to just like, hey, just want to check in. Like still happy, still married. Things are good. Like you, you, you develop relationships with these people. So of course when it all comes comes to fruition, you're just part of it. Like, yeah, I agree. I mean there's a couple of crowns will be like, oh, you have an Instagram? Like let's, let's cut. Yeah. Like each other's Instagram photos.

19:01 Then there'll be some where they'll come back and we'll plan another event for them. Just because you've there was just so exciting for them the first time around.

19:09 Um, so I, you know, living in Seattle, especially nowadays, you know, like venues obviously is really important in terms of the wedding, but I think there's a lot of like, um, you know, competition and then demand, right? For like people in dates and you know, finding venues and there's always, you know, new venues. And I talked to venue bedrooms all the time. I'll one day I'm going to open my own menu or I want to do this. And so how do you guys, um, you know, obviously besides the things that you know, you can't control, I mean you have the beautiful view in the location. Things like how do you guys try to like get back competitive, you know, how do you try to market and the peel and, and what kinds of couples do you find that you appeal to a and are attracted to kind of working with you and your space?

19:48 That's an awesome question actually, because you're right, there are venues popping up every day. Um, I think what we offer is an amazing value. I'm like you were saying earlier, if you compared a proposal for a wedding at salt these to a proposal on the other side of the water, there's a significant difference. And because we're part of a restaurant concept, we're able to be competitive in our pricing and what we offer because we have a little bit more support from the restaurant side of things. Um, so we're, we're able to offer a lot better pricing than say I'm an a venue across the water that doesn't necessarily have that, um, support as a full running business. Um, so that helps a lot. We definitely find that couples in Seattle, what I've seen trending is smaller, more intimate weddings. So there's a budget prohibitive aspect and we're able to meet all kinds of budgets because our spaces convertible.

20:47 Um, so I think that helps as well. And we see a lot of couples that are like, I don't want to do anything. Here's my credit card, you know? And so we're like, all right, this is, tell me what your budget is. Okay, that's your budget. We're going to just do it for you. And they're like, great, I don't have to do anything. So I would say that's what keeps us pretty competitive, you know, and if we get a couple that comes to us and they're like, can you book us a Dj and a photographer, we'll help them do that. And there's a lot of places that just don't offer all of those aspects. So, um, I think that's sort of how, you know, how we get new business. A lot of it's word of mouth. We don't do a ton of advertising. Um, we do networking events, um, but we get a lot of referrals from the partnerships that we build. And I, I think that people recognize saltiest brand as a reliable brand. And so that sort of helped, um, kind of continuing fostering the business that we have.

21:47 Yeah. I think, uh, you know, obviously you probably have more thoughts about this and I do, but I think that it can't be undersold. You know this thing nowadays where people, even the, even the DIY or like, I want to get married out in the middle of nowhere, but then I gotta have, you know, I got a higher, you get tables and chairs and linens and lights and bartender and alcohol and food and Serbian and who's going to clean that up and who's going to set it down and kind of like all these things and I think like it can't be undersold. Um, how nice it is to have a lot of that stuff in house. And like, even when we were planning and you know, we would be like, oh crap, we need, um, you know, whatever, table runners or something. And then it was like, oh no that's included. Or like, you know, it's an extra 10 bucks or whatever, but not having to, to source a lot of that stuff's ourselves. Um, do you find that couples enjoy obviously that ease of being able to come of, have a one stop shop for a lot of the aspects you guys offer?

22:42 Oh, absolutely. Cause, like Rebecca said, we got a lot of people that come in that are just like, I've never done this before. I don't want to put a ton of work into it. I just want it to be nice. And you know, the view is gorgeous. The food's really good. You've got everything that you need at your fingertips to make it a successful event and you've got the support from us. So like if you, if you want to do want to be super hands on and do a ton of work, you absolutely have the freedom to do so. But if you don't want to do it then we'll just do it for you. And it's, I just, I joke, we're like the Costco of venues just like the one stop shop. He got everything there

23:16 and yeah. Nice and easy and simple. You talked a little bit about the DIY and it made me think about like all of the brides that I've seen that we've, we've acquired because they set out to do it on their own and they thought they were saving money and it turns out everything adds up when you're trying to do the, the barn house sweating out in the middle of nowhere and how are people going to get there and get out of there safely and you're so far away and then you've got to bring in of the stuff in the vendors and it really adds up quickly. And so that DIY wedding becomes, you know, not as affordable as you originally thought. So I think that, you know, if, if you can get a couple in the door and get them thinking about how they can still have all of these amazing aspects, but do it on a budget, once they realize that, I think they're like, okay, like where do I sign?

24:12 Yeah. I definitely think that we talk on here, the podcast sly about it costs time or money, you know, everything costs. Yeah. I think these DIY where people think like, oh well I'm just going to do a lot of this. But then like I said, even just like I see all the time people post on my like, oh we don't even know like who's going to pick up the food plates after people are done eating or how are we going to get rid of the trash that we accumulate? Or how are we, you know, all these things when you think like, you know, it's one thing to throw a party for 10 people, but then when you're trying to plan a party for, you know, 150 it's a little different. Right?

24:44 Yeah, absolutely. And it's so funny, like we've been joking also lately about how we think people are like reading blogs somewhere about how to like do all of these like weddings on a budget and on a dime. And so we actually do get a lot of inquiries where people don't tell us it's a wedding and it's like surprise. It's actually a wedding. And I absolutely want to let people know that that's the worst thing you can do. Like, don't try to deceive your vendors. We're here to help. Um, and it's really not saving any money. I think there's this misconception that once you tell someone you're event is actually a wedding, all of a sudden the price tag goes up. And that's not necessarily true. I think our market is saturated with a lot of talented vendors and they want your business and they, you know, they're not standing around, they don't want to be a museum for you to look at. They want you to use them. And so I think that that misconception needs to go away in our industry that things are so expensive and they have to be expensive if they're wedding. And that's not true at all.

25:49 Yeah, it's a, the I those videos and articles all the time, like the wedding tax and things like that. And No, I mean, cause I have people all the time, you know, I have like corporate pricing, I have wedding pricing and then they always try that, you know, do apples to apples. It's like, wow, you know, even our wedding and Tina always come with two videographers in one. Right. If I'm going out. So that's automatically, that's why it's this much more. And then obviously all the pre and prep, you know, I think people don't realize, and obviously you guys know like the amount of like pre prep you guys have to do more than probably anybody is, is right. Like making sure everything's set up and you know, the layouts and everything. Right?

26:23 Yeah, absolutely. You know, and we do get that like Ashley get some more than any other. Yeah. We'll get people that call and they'll say, oh it's a family gathering and it turns out to be a wedding. And had they just told us up front this is a wedding but we're on a budget. We could have made their wedding come true within their budget rather than scrambling last minute to make it what they envisioned. Um, because you know, like you said, we want to help them. And so the more information we have up front, the more transparent they are, the better we are able to serve them.

26:59 What do you wish it, and you can all three kind of comment on this. You know, I always ask like what are some questions that you wish that more people asked? Are there things that you wish more people knew kind of when it comes to what you guys do and you know, like looking for a venue or kind of pre prep and you can kind of take that in any way that you guys look up.

27:17 Yeah.

27:17 Yeah. I think for me is just when you're coming to us, just be honest, what you're looking for. Be honest with your budget. Um, I've asked people before, you know what, what is the budget year you're working with them and I'll get no budget. And then they see the call and they're like, no, no, here's my budget. Um, or just how many guests they really think and say how many guests? And they're like, I'm not sure. I said, okay, 200. Oh No, no, not that much. Um, so I think just being honest with when we asked you the questions, cause we're here to help you and not trying to get you all your nickel and dime you. We just want to know the answers to help you the best. Yeah, no, I agree with

27:55 that. Just being honest and transparent because the more we know, the better we can help you. So I think the information going into, or you should probably have before reaching out is an approximate date range, a guest count and a budget. And then from there we can go any which way. But if you don't have that information, it makes it more difficult for us to assist because we don't,

28:17 we just don't have the same vision. So that's what awesome. Yeah. And being a venue, we're subject to availability. So it is very helpful if people have a date range in mind and if they don't, um, if we need to know whether or not they're, they're flexible. Um, they both touched on budget and transparency, but I think that couples really need to be asking questions. Why should we choose you? Why is this a better value? How is my money going to go further at saltiss versus, you know, the venue across the water. Because that really gives us an opportunity to tell them all of the things that they'd be getting, you know, and sometimes they don't ask those questions and, and they sort of guide the conversation in a different direction and then it becomes an afterthought and we really want them to know up front why we're an amazing venue.

29:11 Yeah. I think one thing I notice a lie, um, and, and you didn't speak for this too, but in the last couple of years is, you know, the, the dollar sign to me is our way in a lot of other pros and cons. Um, you know, with videography. And I see that with photography and other than that, if you guys hear that with venues, but like that, you know, the ultimate dollar sign, cause like, I'm even looking at your guys', this questionnaire, you know, and you guys have been in business since 1985, you know, like I shooted a lot of like a newer venues where maybe, uh, things are ironed out, right. You know right away or you know, venues that are new and then they're going out of business or they think things are going to be one way. And then you know, the venue can't variety of raw, you know, whether it's they're trying to or not just don't get it ready to go. And I think that like couples knowing like, well here, you know, here's the list of venues that like have done this thousands of times who've been in business, that have the reputation, they have all these other things, but that doesn't always outweigh, right. Like costs one way or another. Do you find that or what do you guys think about like, you know, having the ear established brand and kind of being able to go behind that? You can take that in a bunch of different ways. I rambled. Sorry.

30:19 No, I mean I think if I understand correctly, um, yeah, I mean we have been in business since 1985 and the Salty's brand itself prides itself on hospitality. So when it comes to the dollar figure, if people are shying away from that bottom line, you're going to get what you pay for. And if you're trying to short cut any which way you're going to see the effects of it, and whether you're short cutting, you know, financially or experience wise because you want the hot new venue, you might feel the ramifications of that. And in your right, you know, in our city with the way our economy is, you do see a lot of these new businesses opening and closing very quickly. And I truly believe it's because they don't have the experience. They don't necessarily know what they're getting themselves into. And then it's a competitive market.

31:12 But the main thing that I believe, and I hope that these to agree with me, is that people come back to soul-ties because of the hospitality, because we make you feel taken care of because we make you feel like you're in another world. You're on vacation. I mean, you're on Alkai be beach. Once you step down into the skyline level, I feel like you're kind of transported into vacation mode. And, and, um, you're not gonna get that with every single venue you go to. But the other thing is, is that comes along with feeling like you're on vacation is you don't have to worry about anything. We're anticipating your needs and we're bringing everything to you and maybe you're paying for that. But at the end of the day it's worth it. Um, a good example, I had a couple come to me just the other day and they were saying, well, this venue on the other side of the water is going to offer me this at this price.

32:09 And I'm not going to throw them under the bus and say who they are. But I am familiar with a lot of venues in the industry because I've been around for so long and I'm familiar with their service. And, and I had to tell that couple truthfully and honestly you are welcome to go with them, but just remember, you know, even though something seems less expensive, at the end of the day, it probably truly isn't. Whether it's costing you extra time, like you said earlier, running around and coordinating things that they should be doing for you or just costing you a headache and a lack of peace of mind. And I don't think you can put a price on peace of mind when you're planning your wedding. So, yeah.

32:50 Yeah. No, I agree. I mean, we're selling the whole experience, right? It's not just a party you're there for

32:55 like all of it. So I think a lot of

32:57 what you're paying for is going to be just like the ease of everything and just like feeling like you're in good hands and relaxed and you have the support and it's not going to be this huge headache. Super stressful and you're paying the money. It's like you pay what you pay and then you have it's smooth sailing.

33:14 Um, have you ever, that you were talking about with kind of the competitiveness and the venues? It's always funny to me when I retired to couples at the wedding shows and they're always like, oh, we're getting married. Oh, what day? You know, they have a date. Where are you getting married? Oh, we don't have that. We don't know yet. And do you guys, I always, it's so funny to me the email that you would have a day, but no venue or anything else.

33:33 Yeah. Well sometimes we do laugh at some of the inquiries we get cause they're like, okay, hold on. But yeah, the, um, one of the things that couples need to remember is that you're sort of at the whim of the venue. If they're already booked on your date, then you're going to be sent to, you know, somewhere else. So if you have your heart set on a certain venue and there's aspects of that venue that you have to have, reach out and see what dates they have available, you might not get your date. Um, but, but keep in mind that if you're flexible, you can get everything that you need. So yeah, it's, it's funny, we do see couples sometimes doing things a little bit backwards. Um, and again, we're here to help kind of correct that. So, um, oh, another question. I totally lost my train of thought. Um, what was I gonna say? Yes, no, good. Yeah, that's almost going to say. Oh, um, yeah.

34:37 So, you know, I've heard you guys talk a lot of times about, you know, hospitality and you have that kind of really focusing in on that aspect in your, you guys have talked about even going to school for that and uh, I guess what is that mean to you guys and what, whether some of those skills that you've learned kind of through your background that you kind of bring, you know, to help the clients that you work with nowadays?

34:58 Yeah.

34:58 Uh, for me personally, I just, I learned by listening to others, whether it be we sit next to the call center just listening to the call center, how they talk. Um, and just listening to like Rebecca and Caitlin. I think most of it I just learned from,

35:14 yeah.

35:14 Listening really. And just taking the experience from guests cause all the guests are different and there's, I learned from each, each guest really. And

35:25 yeah, Rebecca and Kate, I mean like I grew up, grew up

35:29 with parties, so my parents were always hosting barbecues and dinner parties. There was always a ton of people around and so I just would watch them and see how every, how they would treat people and how it was, how much work goes into it and how to work throughout the event while still having a good time. And that's, it's like the foundation of who I am. I've been entertaining since I was a kid. Right. So it's just something that comes a little naturally to me, but you do need to work at it. And again, it's, it's the whole experience. That's what you're selling. Hospitality to me is just making people feel welcomed and like just, just warm and they're here for a good time.

36:10 Supporting. Yeah. And we recognize that people work hard these days for every dollar that they earn and we're grateful that they're choosing to spend that money at Saltiss. We're grateful for them even giving us the time of day to, you know, to even inquire with us because, you know, we recognize that this is a value in a lot of people save their whole lives just for this one day, this one event. And, and so we really take that into consideration, um, and, and just show people that they're valued and we're grateful for their time.

36:48 Talk a little bit about kind of the space itself. I know we talked about kind of, you know, private downstairs, but yeah.

36:54 Where

36:55 yeah, I always kind of say like the, the view there kind of makes it stand out but then you know, you can kind of dress up the space, you know, as you want or kind of customize it. So do you guys find a lot of couples doing that to kind of talk about the versatility of that space downstairs and being able to kind of separate it and dress up and those sorts of things?

37:11 Yeah, I mean I feel like

37:13 you kind of get a little bit of everything. What for the most part we don't see a ton of decorations in there. We see a lot of like florals and center pieces and like I'll runners and that sort of thing. But for the most part, I feel like we have a lot of people coming in that just want it to be a really smooth, easy process and not looking to go overboard. Just have the, the view and the atmosphere, the staff, the food, everything speak for itself and just, yeah, just keep it really classic and timeless.

37:45 One thing that I think of in this can happen at any venue. Couples go overboard on the decorations. And here's the thing. Have you ever been to a wedding where you remember what was on the table and what colors were in the drapes and whether or not your chair was covered? Like no one cares. No one remembers any of that stuff. Yes sir. Beautiful details. And they make your pictures look great, but at the end of the day, when you're going to a venue like salt, ease where the view is provided, um, that's where everyone's at, their out on the deck, they're taking pictures. That's what they're enjoying. So you really don't need to dress it up. A 10. Like you said at your wedding, you didn't do a lot and you're right, you don't need to. But the great thing is, is we partner with a lot of vendors that do amazing decor.

38:29 Um, we do grand scale draping. We can bring in rental chairs if you want that specific look, we can do different tablescapes, um, any sort of, uh, floral and greenery that are on trend. We tend to get a lot of requests for that. We can make it happen. There's a lot of ways to transform that space. And at the open house, we, and we have pictures online on our Instagram of where that, that space really transformed from a very basic, uh, area with nine pillars into this. I mean, it was sort of quite beautiful, um, with different designs and kitschy displays and a lot of different inspiration. So it really depends on what the couples looking for. But I, I think we partner with great vendors to make all of that stuff happen, whether it's very simple, two grand and elegant.

39:21 Yeah. It's funny, we were talking about the open house that you guys had just for context. Uh, last month where kind of brought it was both couples could come and try food and kind of see this space. But yeah, I mean I ain't never seen it look so good. Like there was couches out back in the patio and I mean it was pretty uh, I obi I think like the nicest thing that you said kind of partnering and like even like with our cake and stuff, like we didn't have to worry about that because you guys have the, you know, your Baker that you kind of work with and kind of being able to tackle all aspects of it, right?

39:52 Yeah, we do have an inhouse pastry chef. Thanks for mentioning that because that's, that's important. We do our on wedding cakes and then if you want something that's really grand with fondant and gold glitter and all that stuff, we do partner with a third party, a pastry chef who is very well versed in, in that sort of detail as well. But yeah, I mean you're right. The open house. I was like, what, where are we?

40:17 Did you guys feel like you got to get a response from that? Yeah. Cause this was the first, the first time you guys are kind of done something like that. Right?

40:24 Yeah. So just to give a little bit of background, the open house was for couples who are under contract and booked and a lot of them didn't even have some of their vendors or decor picked out. So it's not only is it does it serve as their menu tasting, um, it also serves as sort of a, um, inspirational day to give them ideas about what they can transform this space into. And also to put them in touch with our most trusted vendors on some details that they're still working out. Um, so it was really, it hit a bunch of stones for us in terms of doing it, but it was the first one that we did and I think it was successful. We definitely learned a lot. Um, but all in all, I think it saved us a lot of time. Um, and it helped us to showcase what we can do so that we're not trying to piece together pictures from different events to give her a couple's examples. They could really just walk into the space and really feel what it felt like as a transformed space.

41:25 Are you guys trying to kind of breathe a lot in new ideas and stuff and this all is, I mean you guys all seem a little hip kind of about sort of thing. So is that, do you guys say, you know, we're assault easy as like, you know, kind of an older menu, right? I mean you guys find, you know, trying to kind of like update those things and like with social media and like with the open house and stuff like that. Yeah,

41:47 yeah, definitely. I mean we just started our Instagram so we're trying to network that way and just to show off what we had through digital marketing type of things and how, where people are looking right now, not very many people want to take a piece of paper and look at that. They want to see what's on our website. They want to see it through Instagram. So I think, yeah, definitely we're going that route as well. Yeah, we're just trying to get out. Yeah,

42:11 they're a little bit more, cause like you said earlier, a lot of people don't realize that we have private dining down there and how large it is. I mean we can do up to 220 people seated are 250 300 kind of cozy standing reception style or we can do something really intimate and small, like a 15 person wedding ceremony. So I mean it's just, yeah, we're just trying to get out there a little bit more. We opened up the Instagram, we're going to more networking stuff and just make it more known that we do really fun events and it's a diverse space and we're really proud of what we offer is we want to be sure that other people know about it.

42:47 Yeah. And I think when venues have been around for a long time, you do get this crew that gets styled into their ways. And, um, you know, some venues have old habits that aren't necessarily good and they're not staying with the trends. And so I think being that we are sort of a fresher team and relatively young and the oldest one here, um, we are trained to, to bring things into 2019 and you know, yeah. Historically we didn't have a social media presence for just the private dining spaces. Um, so once we launched that, we, we got a lot of feedback from that and we got a lot of um, people wanting to partner with us. And so, you know, we kind of brought that up to speed and we're doing things on our website now to where it makes it easier for our potential clients or current clients to see everything that's going on with us.

43:44 Um, and then in terms of like changing things and breathing new life into it. Absolutely. I mean, we're starting to say yes to a lot of things that historically people might not have said yes to because they didn't have the resources. And then the good thing is, is because of our networking relationships that we've built, we now have those resources to tap into where somebody comes to us and they're like, we need a white horse carriage drop off or whatever the case may be. Something that historically speaking, maybe, you know, those that came before us, we're like, ah, well no, if we're going to do that here or you know, traditional and old school where like, yeah, let's do it and we'll figure it out later. Like, yeah.

44:28 Yeah. I mean cause it's interesting cause you know, obviously know the, there, there's the saturation of venues. You know, there's a lot of venues, a lot of places getting married, but there's also a ton of demand, right? And so it's kind of like both sides of that where there's like a bunch of cool places in Seattle to get married. But then there's also like a boat ton of clients that, you know, you guys need to figure out a book. Right? So how do you kind of balance the two in stand out?

44:51 Okay. Um,

44:53 I mean that was where it's a statement, but you can answer that question.

44:56 How are we balancing that and standing out, you know, the good thing that we have assaulted as a destination, it's a Seattle destination. I feel like it's always on somebody's bucket list when they're visiting Seattle. So we're lucky enough that we have that reputation to stand on. But I don't think reputation really you can ever rely on that for the long term. What we continue to do is not only in our department as a, the private dining, but our whole ownership team. This, the family that owns saltines in the brand and the concept, they're currently going through a whole rebranding process because they want to be current to, um, more currently redoing all of the deck space and outdoor dining, bringing it into 2019 where it's a fun, hot place to be. Um, I definitely recommend everyone checking us out this summer because they've put new things out. There's two fire pits they've brought in all new furniture. They're lowering the wing wall. So the view is even better now. I mean, and I don't even know how you can beat it before, but, um, so yeah, it's not just, it's not just with us in our department. Our whole brand is going through a re-imagining right now and some of the things that are coming up are super exciting. Well, I'm excited about it for sure.

46:19 Um, what do you guys wish more people knew about your guys? You know, your venue and what you guys do there?

46:26 Say that we're, we do the whole thing where the one stop shop. So it's going to be a really relatively easy planning process because we're here to support you and we offer everything in house. So it's just,

46:38 it's just a fun experience. I think the one thing that I would hope, um, our potential future clients and past clients would know is that, you know, we, we treat everyone as an individual and we do care about their needs and, and we care about things that are important to them. Um, and I, you know, I don't want anyone to think, gosh, this is a Seattle waterfront venue. We're not even gonna look at it because it's gonna. It's gonna be a no, like we, we'll find a way to say yes, we, we typically want to do that. And if for some reason we can't, yeah.

47:17 Somebody that can, yeah. I'm basically, it's, we're here for you, so we want to make your vision come to life and while we've seen may not have been good in the past and, um, what I want to tell people is just, uh, just trust us and we want, we want, we're here for you. We want to make your vision come to life. So if something we've seen doesn't work in the past, um, well we'll bring that up, but we'll also say yes to it if that's something you want to do.

47:44 Uh, what are your guys, just kind of goals now, you know, for the next year or two or three, where do you guys see it? Where do you want to continue to be to grow and kind of improve?

47:52 Um, well, aside from the obvious business growth that every business wants to achieve, I think we just want to spread her outreach. Um, right now we get a lot of clients from that or Seattle based. We get a ton of west Seattle clients. We do get Snohomish clients. I don't see a lot of south sound client. So we would love to get all of those folks up to west Seattle. Um, I think that just our outreach and our presence in the community. And I think that we've kind of touched on doing local events, which will be fun. Just, you know, doing a beer dinner and doing a tailgating party. Cause we have that space and there's, you know, we don't just do weddings so we have the potential to do all kinds of other things and put on community events. And so I think that we're going to be looking at a lot of that coming up here pretty soon. Yeah. I mean

48:43 I really like to see a more like offsite catering as well, so that you don't have to, like if you can't make it to the actual venue itself, you can still have our wonderful food.

48:54 No, I mean, but it is interesting cause like I said, you, when we got engaged in and we, we did a lot of research and especially like with Dorothy's parents and kind of trying to send over unit proposals from places, you know, and it's one thing to like, I felt like it was one thing to have gone through and shot at a lot of venues, um, but not necessarily know what all that cost and what was provided by each venue and stuff, but, you know, until we did the research ourselves. And so I was kind of, um, yeah, that's ultimately one of the, you know, besides obviously the view and everything. But one of the main reasons we decided to go assaulting his was because of, you know, the would will you get, but then what you pay in kind of that whole package. And so, yeah, I would encourage people to, you know, obviously check out your venue and do some research.

49:37 And it is amazing to me that it's not booked, you know, 24, seven, three 65. I mean I'll do, I remember when I was doing the um, uh, it's not even around anymore. The ID. So though event and I was over at and I, one of the other venues and uh, people were like, oh you know, I said that was just going to be out. Where'd you get married? I said Salty's? So you guys should like forget this many have to go over there and check it out because no I wasn't big advocate for it. Then obviously what you guys offer it and especially the food. I guess we should talk about the food before we let you guys go real quick. Cause obviously that's the one of the main things you guys are known for.

50:11 Yeah we are, we're known for our seafood are fresh fish. Listen, there aren't very many waterfront venues that are getting fresh fish every single day. And I think people assume that they are because they're in the water and that's absolutely not. We have great partnerships with our purveyors. We get fresh fish every day, fresh oysters every day. If you're on our property, you are probably eating something that was in the water the day before. It's uh, it's phenomenal. And that's what we're known for. We've got a quality product. Um, our crab cakes are, people are obsessed over them. The white chocolate Mousse cake, people are obsessed over that. It's so good. It's, yeah, we eat it for breakfast sometimes. Yeah. Um, yeah, the food's amazing and you know, and I think that if somebody is not familiar with the venue, they should just pop in if not for two to look at the private dining spaces just to take in the view. I mean, you don't even have to be committed to booking anything. Just come schedule a tour with us and we can just chat. Yeah. And then get some oysters and champagne on the deck. Yeah.

51:25 Uh, if you will want to learn more about you guys in your awesome venue, what you do, where would you have

51:29 the checkout? Yeah, so they can visit us at And we are the Alki location or they can follow us on Instagram @saltyscateringandevents

51:41 Perfect. Thank you guys so much for coming in today trying to wrangle the whole team and I appreciate it. I'm sure it was a lot of, you know, scheduling to, to try to get everybody here at the same time. So I do really appreciate that.

51:51 Well, thank you. Thanks for having us.

51:54 Uh, if you, uh, our wedding vendor and you're interested and participating in year two of our wonderful podcasts, the experiment here, you can go to I have a nice little, hopefully easy questionnaire if people are interested in coming on and telling their stories about being a wedding vendor. So thank you guys, so much, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

52:20 Cool. Thank you.

Karmel Ackerman, The Barn at Holly Farm

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am really excited today I am joined by Karmel Ackerman, the director of The Barn at Holly Farm. And uh, it's awesome that you, you know, I know it's busy. We're, we're getting into the open house here. Um, I but your menu and, and I'm really thankful that you know, maybe the time, you know, I'm sure it's really busy and made the time to come in and we can talk about, you know, not only you and the barn but then obviously the open house as well. Um, we'll kind of talk about all that stuff. So why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:46 Sure. Reid. Thanks. First of all, it's really great to meet you. I'm, I'm really thrilled to make a new relationship in the wedding industry and has been a very welcoming industry and I, I have been really delighted to meet some of the really seasoned professionals around the Puget sound. Anyway, my name is Karmel Ackerman and I'm the director of The Barn at Holly Farm and Holly Farm. Um, my goal at Holly farm was to create an agritourism center and along comes with it comes a big beautiful barn that I refurbished and created as an event center. And it is a, it's a beautiful place. We say it's right on the edge of urban where 25 miles from Seattle, 20 from Bellevue, 15 from Kirkland. And when you pull through the gates at Holly Farm, you really are transported into a rural environment and uh, it is a wonderful place to create face to face communication and take you out of the world of electronics and take you to a rural comfortable life there.

01:49 Yeah, I mean that's Kinda been the big trend now is you know, kind of more a little more rustic wedding and at least in Seattle, I mean I'm sure you can go to la or something to suffer, but you know, really kind of is on brand I think for what's really appealing to couples nowadays and kind of wanting to get that beauty outside like you said, kind of away from electronics, like um, you know, how has, how has it been kind of, um, working in there and kind of building it up over the last year or so?

02:15 Yeah, it's been a really amazing process. Um, and we can talk about this later, but it wasn't originally intended to be a wedding venue at all, but now that it is, so we are expanding and doing all of the things that the wedding industry and the brides are looking for in a beautiful space. It's a 97 year old historic barn. Um, it is very raw. If you listen very closely, you can probably still hear the hooves of the Arabians that were raised in bread there. It was the barn for the Snohomish county sheriff's posse and they, they were born and bred there and stabled there and practiced in the fields around the barn. And we dove in and when found out that there was actually a wedding industry and brides keep knocking on the door, we started refurbishing it towards that industry. And um, today as we speak, we are, have an outdoor beautiful 24 by 24 foot patio being put in on a very beautiful lawn so people will be able to have a wedding outdoors and of course have the backup of the barn inside the barns, about 3000 square feet holds 200 people.

03:26 I'm seated at rounds. Many people choose to have very beautiful farm style tables brought in and have a farm style. Um, farm-based rural rustic, vintage elegant classic wedding there too.

03:43 Yeah, it's um, I you had send them over, I can't remember if it was the info you had sent over. I was looking at the site, but yeah, kind of this, uh, the, the restoration process where you, so talking about like take, you know, I mean I did walk me through that and come back. How did you get involved in that?

04:01 Sure. So I was led to Holly farm by um, a situation in our life where we needed to find some counseling and Holly Farm has a beautiful equine therapy and equine counseling center and came onto the barn and met the woman who was running the center. And I felt very strongly that I was led to raise money to help her bring other local kids to the farm depth therapy because I had experienced myself how, um, how powerful that therapy was. And throughout the course of those years, I was then asked what I was doing. I had been retired from the stage production industry and was asked if I could host a couple of fundraising dinners. And I said, sure, I can definitely do that. And was told, you know, I could use the barn. And at the time it didn't even occur to me that a barn would be there and not filled with animals.

04:54 So we opened the doors that day and found that the barn was filled to the rafters with stuff. People tend to think of farm and a farmer can fix anything like a field engineer. So they dropped stuff that they feel is valuable. And that could be an old computer, it could be death, it could be broken chairs, it was washers and dryers. Um, there were pieces of cars in there, there was just about everything. And of course the animal, um, the things from the horses, helmets, boots, all of the gear as well. And so it was, it started as a philanthropic project and I was just going to clean it up a bit and we were going to go upstairs to the loft and have a dinner party. And when it took almost six months to, to clean everything out, about 200 trips to the dump for old stuff in a minivan.

05:45 And, um, when, when we peeled it all away, I realized that there was way more to it than I originally thought. And so we started refurbishing to bring corporates there. That was my background, 22 years of corporate stage production. And you just think in that way. And since the farm had the therapy and does beautiful communication retreats and offsites for, for corporations, I, my intention was to expand that and then I could see that fun for local children that I wanted to, to support in therapy. And it just so happened that uh, a bride came and, and drove in the parking lot one day and said, can I use this barn for you for my wedding? And I said, why not? And I really did not understand the community of, of the wedding industry at all. And she said, Gosh, this is perfect for my wedding.

06:40 And then someone else called. And so we kind of had to change the whole mindset of what we're doing there to accommodate weddings. Because weddings in stage productions in corporates and worldwide launches are 180 degrees in opposite directions. I got on the telephone to a, um, a hairstylist and a makeup artist and I called a florist who was also a decorator and asked him to come over and they were at minimum enthusiastic and outrageously excited about the potential of this place. And so I kind of turned the whole project on end and we remodeled towards that and we put beautiful cafe lights up, strung them through the loft and have them on the outdoor patio and, and all this time later, a big one going into accommodate that. So what was meant to be a philanthropic couple fundraiser dinners is now the opened up me to a whole different industry.

07:45 And so instead of retiring and doing philanthropic, I've rewired and now I'm open the door to the wedding industry. And I have to tell you, read the people in the wedding industry are so incredibly supportive and so incredibly welcoming. Um, they're thrilled. I know I'm in a unique situation because I am a venue and everybody in the wedding industry needs additional venues to be able to get their business, um, marketed and find new clients. So it has been fun for me to have the privilege to provide a venue for other businesses to do their marketing. So we do open houses and we provide space for people in the industry to market their products and services while we are naturally getting exposure for the barn. And all of that is meant to seed a fund that I have that is going to be bringing in local foster kids into equine therapy.

08:43 No, that's awesome. I love that. A lot of thoughts. Um, as someone that also famously never a thought he was going to get into weddings and actually had, uh, one of the first clients we ever had was Seattle magazine. Did you some, um,

08:57 okay.

08:57 Some like business videos for them and they said, oh, um, we can give you some advertising as well. Do you want it to NCL a magazine or, and Brian Magazine. And I looked at, uh, Paul who was with me at the time and I say that we're in, we're never going to do wedding. Um, and, and also the, the, the equine therapy. And we had talked off Mike. Um, you know, I do the, I would say I did the videos for a little bit, which is another, you know, writing incredible therapy program there. So, I mean, I just think that that's incredible. You know, I was saying, you know, I've spent a lot of time with them and, and it really is amazing, you know, that kind of the different kinds of therapies and things that you can incorporate. So obviously that's close to my heart as well.

09:39 Yeah. You know, what do I was going to say to you is, um, I had no idea that horses could talk. And through this process I realized that they talk very, very clearly, much more clearly to children than they do to an adult. And children learn to read the horses and they are taught at our, um, equine therapy and leadership training that horses survive in their herd by changing roles and acknowledging other courses in the herd. And the kids that come out of this therapy recognize that they have a herd of friends at school. Adults find that they have a herd of, of staff that they have to relate to. And it is amazing how there is an Aha moment in the process of learning about equine and how they relate that it really does apply to the world of people around you. And that is a beautiful realization for people as they go through this, this process.

10:42 No, absolutely. That every year. You know, we always sit down with the therapist that's working with the particular child. He know that we're spotlighting for the year and I mean they do say and they go, no we watched but you know, we watched the horses and we can tell that you know, that they know and that they want to be safe with the mat, you know, with the kids they're relating or what, you know, what needs to be done at that point. So no, that's fascinating. The other thing I was going to mention this,

11:05 okay.

11:05 And like you said, you know, different worlds from kind of the corporate to the weddings, but there is a lot of, you know, similar similarities. I've had either people that you used to do, you know, corporate planning or other things on it is amazing. Like some of the overlap and you know, obviously the marketing absolutely having, you know, uh, like you listed directives and what needs to be done. So, uh, you think bu obviously well equipped to kind of transition from one to the other.

11:28 Interesting that you mentioned that because, um, in, in someone that has it rides horses, they recognize that a horse is a relater to a human being. And if you transfer that idea into the wedding industry, the professionals in the wedding industry have to be able to read and relate to the different couples that they are serving. And just like every human, every couple has a different personality. Every bride and groom individually have different personalities. And so, um, that relates beautifully to the learning that I have done through the farm. And then, um, moving towards relating to the couples and everyone else in the industry

12:13 absolutely am part of the, you know, the podcast process here as, you know, filling out the questionnaires and other things and you acquire a kind of an interesting backstory. You know, I kind of akin to my heart with news and things like that. So why don't you kind of walk me through how we, you know, go and give a little brief. Yeah, I'm sure it's a, it's a, it's a, um,

12:32 yeah, it's an interesting transition through life that, you know, every life has different seasons that you go to go through. Um, I started early career and ABC television news and like everyone starting there in their career, in television, you do whatever it takes. So, um, I worked at a station in Jacksonville, Florida when the new USFL started and was out with meetings with big gunners for the football league and I edited video and shot video and I've worked in early morning news and ran an engineering truck and moved back to Iowa to finish a college degree and worked for ABC there. And I shot a summer of Minnesota cubs, a softball, our, sorry, baseball shut, laid on a dugout with a camera all summer long and moved into entertainment television and work down for organizations. Kind of like Seattle's good, good company. I think it was called in Seattle.

13:34 Um, I worked in Minnesota, in Minneapolis and then in Seattle and in Seattle as a producer for that show for a while I was solicited by marketing and PR firms and they were always looking to get their corporate executive clients on air for interviews. And finally, one day after an an ad agency had sent me six packets. I called them and said, listen, your ideas don't fly for entertainment television. So I'd like to talk to you about this because perhaps your client is really a good interview. It just needs to be approached in a different way. And long story short, they asked if I could be hired out and I started a company to consult and the first customer I I'm or client we, I built out of cardboard boxes, a miniature television studio in the, in their corporate offices and selected and taught this gentleman how to present on news.

14:28 And it, it went viral, um, to use a term for today. It's been a long time ago, but it went viral across the country and we got 17 placements in entertainment, early morning talk shows. And that really made a huge difference in that corporate. Um, it happened to be a co coffee company out of Seattle and they expanded to the east coast. And through that I was then called by other high tech corporations that were all startup in Seattle. And I was really blessed with a monstrous growth of a company. Um, over about the course of 22 ish years, I had a lot of employees and a lot of contractors and the majority of our business was in the high tech and banking and, um, yacht businesses. And we did product launches around the country and around the world. So we threaded corporate messages through stage presentations and seminars and conferences and trade shows.

15:25 And that, um, I was, I was blessed to have that company grow very, very quickly in the wave of And so I was, um, I was able to retire out of that and play a little bit and then, um, came into a situation in life where I ran across this experience at Holly farm and instead of retiring, it was a rewiring. And so here I am back in the industry and I'm really, really pleased to be in this industry, in the event industry and specifically the wedding industry. As I mentioned before, it's incredibly supportive. You know, what's it been like kind of making that transition now and kind of getting into, right, right. Um, very different, very, very different in the, in the corporate event world, um, you are bidding and um, doing a dance to get a new client and usually if you have a client and are helping them achieve their goals, you have a pretty solid relationship.

16:23 If anything, if nothing goes wrong in that process of that launch and, or if you're helping a business launch a new product. Um, back in that time there was a lot of venture capital money and so there was a lot of really big things going on that, um, needed really gutsy skilled people to do them. And people that come from the television industry have to be multi skilled. You have to be able to deal with a movie star. You have to be able to deal with someone, some buddy that has a brainchild to bring a new product on the market. And then you have to be able to deal with all of the vendors and sometimes worldwide vendors to make things happen and they all have to come together at one second, um, in a day. And so transitioning from that to the wedding industry, it was kind of like taking a great big breath of fresh air, um, because in, in both cases people are spending a lot of money but in a wedding it's a massive joyous, emotional, um, experience for brides and grooms and their families.

17:35 And it, it, it, it, um, it comes together as a very heightened emotional experience that is different than a corporate product launch. It, they both have anxieties and they both have pressure, but there is a joyous outpouring at a wedding and a relief afterwards for the people that were putting it together. Usually the brides and grooms in a corporate system situation there is huge high pressure and then they come down for a day or two and the pressure comes right back on because then they have the obligation to get that product onto the market. So it's a, it's a really fascinating difference and I kind of look at that and that world and I'm really liking the flavor and the essence of the wedding industry and the event industry on this side of it.

18:27 Yeah, I always kind of surprised how well, you know, kind of my background and news sue kind of transition into, you know, like you said, kind of happened to be like multifaceted then being able to balance a lot of things and also, um, you know, the hardest thing for me, like you said with, you know, corporate or news or businesses like that constant grind and like, you know, we would show up every day and you know, you're already late, you know, from the second you come in, you needed to be somewhere, you know, that's where you're late. But like they need you somewhere in an hour. The green light goes on and your life. Yeah. And so, you know, that's been the hardest thing for me to Kinda on wire. Even the now with weddings, it's like, you know, obviously like, you know, we have the schedule and things are going, but like we can, you know, kind of make adjustments on the fly where like it, when you're in TV it's like four, five o'clock hit and, and it's on, you know, there's no, I remember, um, this is just a dumb story, but when I was in college, we had, um, we did the, you know, we would do a new show every day and you know, like 10 people would watch you, you know, it was, we did that too.

19:30 Yeah. And I remember my professor was trying to like, explain like, well, you know, like at five o'clock you're on. But that was like, but what if we're not, there is no, not next industry. Yeah. But it's not like brain surgery. We're not, if we're not on, we're not on college. When you're not on, that's not a big deal. But when you're, when you're at one of the big news stations, when you're not on, those advertisers aren't so very happy. Funny. Uh, so, uh, but obviously you see you kind of a, have you enjoyed kind of the more of the community and the networking now versus the, you know, they always say like community over competition, but like in the wedding community and kind of making those inroads and things like that. Yes,

20:11 I really have enjoyed that. I frankly, I was really shocked by it. Um, I expected to go into a room with people that were in the industry and feel the edge of competition instead of that I got collaboration and that was so surprising to me. Um, people came towards me instead of me going out towards them. And obviously this is a slightly different position where when I ran my corporation events and marketing associates, I was soliciting business and business from corporate clients and what I had done before and what my ideas were, um, was critically important to help them launch their company. And I truly believe that the television background got me indoors, that perhaps I would not have been able to open before. And so the, the ability to put something on stage and make it happen at the time that it was supposed to happen and getting all the pieces together, we're super, super critical.

21:19 Um, this collaboration side, I'm sorry, going back to the corporate, I directed as a producer, all of those elements and I needed to understand how to do each one of the elements. I didn't know I didn't have to do each one of those elements. So coming into the collaboration side at weddings, um, I feel very fortunate that I had that very high powered pressure filled environment because when it comes down to things not going perfectly in a wedding, I have the ability to fill in those blanks. If, uh, if someone doesn't arrive on time, I can bring additional manpower to bear to make it happen. And that is really the essence that the collaboration of this industry is helping someone else be as good as they can be too. And I've really appreciated that part of this industry.

22:15 That's great. Uh, so you had talked to, it's kind of some of the pre, you know questions. And when did I have for you, uh, about kind of some of the early weddings and you got some interesting stories kind of about, uh, southern bell, like a multi layer cake and things early on. Sure, sure. So, so you guys decide like you're doing the restorations now we're doing the weddings. Uh, how did it go kind of making that switch and the first couple of weddings that kind of came through the doors?

22:43 Yes. Okay. So I have to go back quite a few years prior to the wedding in the barn, but I think you're referring to a wedding. We had two very large it company clients and the two of their top levers, level CE, it's suite staff were engaged to different companies and they said since you do our big events, we really encourage you to do our wedding. We trust you to do our wedding. And it was a fascinating experience to get into the personal lives of those people, um, versus their corporate life. And this was a very healthy budget for a wedding. And we were able to build an entire patio and a pergola and we flew flowers in off season. Um, they were either from South America or New Zealand. I can't, it's, there've been 30 years ago, so I've forgotten. But it was a, it was an incredible event, um, at a local winery that had never done something like this before.

23:43 And so we kind of launched them on that path of corporate and private celebrations and weddings there. And so I moved that, um, in that case there was seven versions of the cake, um, to make sure everything was perfect. There were hand built invitations that were beautiful handmade paper and boxes and they were sent with individual wrappings, um, via federal express to these gifts that the attendees were picked up by Valet at the airport. And their rooms were decker. Every room in the hotels were decorated individually for those couples and the memories that the engaged couple had with these people. And it was really an incredibly beautiful union that came together that were absolutely every memory that this couple had with their guests. And every step of the journey, once their guests put their feet on the ground at Seatac were handled absolutely beautifully to the, even the goodbye as they went away.

24:49 That the thank you gift that they were given was individually crafted and um, to take that now to the weddings in the barn, um, different approach to it. In the beginning of the barn as we are launching, we have a lot of brides that are DYI. They liked the idea of doing things themselves. But as soon as you start talking about the complexities and the Rubik's cube that needs to be put together, they understand how much more complicated it is. So I'm really pleased to have gotten to know deeply many of the professionals in the wedding industry so I can speak clearly and well of their business and to bring those professionals into bear on a wedding when I know that a client wants to do something themselves, but they really shouldn't be doing something themselves and um, kind of guide them into that decision of bringing a professional onboard.

25:47 Yeah, it's tough because you know, everything in life is going to cost, you know, either time or everything cost time or money. And so, you know, it's that, that, you know, it's, that's a constant thing, you know, and you see these people that, you know, even like online and stuff, so they're trying to, you know, save, but then there everyday online, you know, posting questions and trying to figure this out and trying to figure that out. I'm trying to ask and try and do that and yeah. You know, I mean the, I famously always tell the story where, you know, my friend got married and they wanted to do their own flowers and he was up till four o'clock in the morning and the night before the wedding, you know, because they wanted to save on money. And so they had to devote the time.

26:22 Right. Um, interesting conversations that I've had with couples that are attempting to do something like that. And I always bring up the conversation of what, what do they really want to have as a lasting memory from their wedding? And that usually gets them to pause for a, and to talk about how they want the gathering to be joyous. Sometimes people say peaceful, sometimes they say organized. They had, they want beauty surrounding them in this moment of professing their love. And when I turned that conversation that way, I talked to them about how if they hire a professional, those things are delivered to them without the anxieties and the stress on their shoulders. So, um, that helps to have them open up their thought process that maybe this is a time in their life that they should spend the money, um, in delivering what they, their, their goals really are. And when it comes right down to it, I talked to them about them wanting their moms and their tribe, which is usually their wedding party or a little bit extended to have a wonderful experience and leave the wedding with wonderful memories of the friendship. Or do you want them to leave being frustrated and having no great memories and sometimes even anger in a, in a place in life that should be absolutely joyous, peaceful, beautiful, um, and celebratory.

27:59 No, I think that's, that's right. I mean, like you said, kind of, you know, your mood afterwards and kind of those memories, you know, we just have the wedding, um, where for whatever reason, I don't really even know why, but a lot of the guests ended up leaving early, right. Plan for other things that, you know, it was going to have an after party and they were going to do all this stuff and you know, we ended up leaving early and I mean that's, that's one of those memories that's going to cut days a long time, you know, and I mean obviously there was a lot of joy and fun during the day and everything else, but you know, like we're getting in the car afterward and you know, my assistant was like, and it was a little bit of a Downer, kind of the end on and you know, then you kind of go back and look what, you know, what led to that or what, you know, and forever knows who had, people were just tired when I'm like you said, those, those um, if you're having a lot of people do things or doing the DIY or all that stuff, you know, it really does kind of last in that is that that stink whether it's good or bad after the wedding.

29:01 Right. You're right about that read. Um, I believe that if a planner and professionals are brought on board early in the planning process, then questions are brought up of what is needed and necessary to express this beautiful moment in this couple's life. And it may be, it's perhaps that they don't have an after party but maybe they know their guests so well and they've actually spoken with their guests. And An afterparty is exactly what is needed. I think sometimes, um, depending on the age group of the couples, there is need to impress your friends and you move on in life and you get to a point where you're just wanting those super, super close relationships there. And one of the questions that I asked our couples is, do you want to spend the rest of your life with these people or do you want to have just a great big old party? And either one is okay, you need to make a conscious decision and then you need to make a conscious budget of what you're going to do within that budget.

30:13 Well, I might use it also kind of just knowing your, your audience and if you're Pete. Absolutely. And I, you know, if it's, if it's a older crowd, it's not going to dance or the people really like to drink or though a drink, right? You want to play games or you know, I mean there's, but, but kind of tailoring that to your audience I think is important.

30:31 And I think if the couples really know themselves well and know what they want to achieve, um, and remember that it's their day and not the day of all of the guests, then there'll be able to make those decisions appropriately. And they may choose it to be a big huge family reunion. They may just choose it to be a big friends reunion. Um, whatever the choices, as long as it's a conscious choice, I think that that is then the, in the event can be designed and produced beautifully.

31:05 So how did this, and now that we're at the firm, how to do the first couple of weddings that you guys did at the farm, kind of, how did those go away? I'm sure there was a little hiccups, but you know,

31:15 yeah, lots of things. The biggest challenge that we had was that our event spaces in a loft up a staircase. And because we're a farm support business, a farm support business businesses, a business that is the secondary on the farm and it's a historic barn. So we do not have an elevator. We have a great big huge to grand staircase and it takes quite a feat for a caterer to be able to perform in that situation. So we meet with them ahead of time and make sure that they have stat appropriate staff to do what needs to do and or, um, have the understanding of the challenges of an ancient old barn at a farm. And, um, the, the hiccups that we had was that we had to bring additional labor from our site in to backup the caterers because, um, their experience has been usually same floor, you know, roll the truck right up to the back floor and, or a full kitchen.

32:11 And so that's a little bit of hiccup. And then, um, in the, one of the great things that happen, it was terrifying what had happened. But ultimately the backstory is, it's very fun to hear, but we have a great big huge hay door in the loft of the barn and it opens from the top out. And if you open it too far, it becomes more than parallel to the ground. And when something is a huge door that's 12 feet off the ground lane parallel to the ground and the wind picks up, you have some big huge sale that's there. And the sale was so big that it started to move the barn. And that really freaked me out because I hadn't been in the barn. Um, when there was that much power behind that moving of the sale and the motor for the door, um, failed at that point. And we ultimately had to get the tractor and, and we lashed a ladder onto the fork lift of the tractor and lift the forklift and the ladder up, tease a two by four to push the door close. And it was, it was quite the task. Um, but I, I have to give credit to ray, the farm manager because he was very, very creative in finding a solution. And, and that was my terrifying but great memory story of one of the very first functions that we had at the barn.

33:32 Uh, and maybe, I don't know enough about your master. Were you this whole like farm life? Are you accustomed to that or is this something

33:40 that's a whole story in itself? You know what, I, I'm actually from Iowa and my farm stories is that we went to, um, uncle pot offs farm in Iowa playing out there. And I had this dreamy impression of what you know, farm would be and the, and the, and the, and since then I hadn't been on, uh, certainly working on farms because of the corporate background. But the thing that was, um, so eye opening is how much work there is on a farm. There's so much work in a barn to keep it up so that it doesn't physically fall apart and so much work at the front of the farm and just parking lots, an overgrowth of vegetation and managing it so that it's a beautiful space but still can be a working farm. Um, and it's more complicated than that in that I share the farm with two, sometimes three other farm, hers that I call the farm women on the farm, 40, 40 to 45 horses at any given time. And we have about a hundred chickens for eggs, song farm, and we have, uh, Alpacas and Lama and sheeps and goats and all of those are part of the activity. We have beehives at the outside area of the farming. All of those are an integral part of an agritourism tourism center that we are working to set up and um, and part of the burden as well of running a venue on a farm.

35:10 So, so like one of my questions was when, you know, you're talking about, you know, the farm life and kind of balancing that in, in what kinds of brides and grooms in, you know, do you find, is that people that enjoy the animal life, is it, you know, wanting to get married in the farms or the commendation of both, kind of what, you know, what, what is the clientele, what drives someone to farm?

35:30 That is a really, really good question. I actually thought that there would be a very narrow channel of customers or are clients that would come to a farm and I was dead wrong about that. Um, we have people that come to the farm because they want to be outside. We have people that come to the farm because their grandfather or grandmother had a big old barn or had a farm and they absolutely loved the idea of bringing those memories back from their childhood. We have people that come to a farm because they want to bring a animal into their wedding, or they love the idea of the ancient, but they want to make it absolutely elegant. And that's what's beautiful about this barn and this loft. It is like a canvas. It's soaring raptors 28 feet tall. It looks like a cathedral on the inside without all the beautiful stone and stained glass.

36:31 Um, and it lends itself to being very simple and very rustic, but also super elegant. I've had people bring in very tall crystal chandelier's, um, flowing chiffon everywhere. Um, cafe lights, uplighting, um, and no lighting and something very simple. We've done a straw bales outside. Um, farm tables, round tables, classic, um, to almost a bare naked kind of feel. And because the barn is so beautiful itself, um, people will walk up the stairs and they literally stop at the top of the stairs and they, their chin goes to the ceiling and they look up and they, the first words are, wow, this is amazing. And I've been delighted by that. And, um, love the breadth of reasons why people would have a celebration and a barn.

37:28 That's awesome. Um, do you get kind of caught up in that, in the, in the romance and kind of part of the weddings and the, are you more, you know, cause it can kind of go out of their way for vendors? You know, they either it's, it's a job and they love to do whether they get kinda caught up in it.

37:43 Yeah. Well, I'm relatively new in it, so I would say that, um, I'm kind of caught up in the, in the fun and the romance of it. Um, I am a relater and a driver. Um, so it's important for me to be able to drive my business and meet people in industry. But the relater part of me loves the stories, the love stories of the brides and grooms and I love working with them. The fine line for me is that I am not their planner. I am their venue and it's very easy to, um, have brides and grooms ask you to step over that line. And although I can do that because of the producing of events, that is not my role here. So I tend to point towards, planners tend to point towards um, designers who are florists that do job of kind of bridging those two pieces. And um, I'm learning that along the way.

38:43 I was curious what is, uh, the most challenging part for you now where obviously even just listening to today but kind of going back and forth with getting ready for the open house, which, you know, I want to talk about it too, but um, you know, you know, you're, you're kind of, you know, you're the director here. You know, you have to deal with marketing, you have to deal with the balance of, you know, the farm and obviously meeting with brides and grooms and kind of getting that coordinated. So, you know, where do you find it, you know, cause part of the podcast here is, um, you know, other vendors and things and learning from els ins from other people and things. So what are, what are some of the most challenging aspects of what you do and kind of how do you manage that?

39:22 Um, frankly, reading right now, I'm, um, I'm not managing, my days are really, really well to be quite honest. Um, my days are about 16 hours long right now and I do have an adult daughter who has moved into a house and I like to love to help her with her things. And I have a 15 year old child who needs her mom as well. And so that balanced and I'm also married and, and we try to have family time and it's uh, sometimes like last night in putting this new patio in my husband and child and I were there until 9:00 PM sometimes it just takes that to get a new project launched. But you asked me about all the roles and it's a lot of roles, um, systems in a business take time to set up and sometimes in making choices of systems, those systems fail along the way.

40:12 And I consider that a learning opportunity to make a system better. So my role, um, is systems. My role is bookkeeping right now I've brought on a absolutely incredible, very knowledgeable, um, women and her staff that used to work for the IRS. So they keep, keep me on the straight and narrow, which is wonderful and helping me get those systems in place. I have a tech guy that helps me with the computers. I have a farm manager that helps me with physical labor as I am physically laboring there. I go to networking meetings in the evening, sometimes like this midday I might go out for a lunch and literally in the back of my car I have pink overhauls and blue boots and they are caked with mud and dust and later this afternoon my hair will be in a messy bun and I will pull those overalls on over the top of what I'm wearing today and go out and work in the yard. And then maybe in the evening I have an event this evening at a women's group and I have a skirt and top in the office and I will change into it hoping that the hair is okay enough to go out in public. But then I say I'm a farm woman. I worked on a farm, so have a little bit of grace that everyone gives me from coming straight to the, from the farm to an event. So it's kind of crazy life, but I really, really love it. What would

41:43 be your advice for others to email that feel like you might be overwhelmed or having trouble doing it? You know, obviously time management and juggling a lot of different balls.

41:53 You know what, um, I partner to, well first of all, I think everyone needs to take care of themselves. So in a rare day, although it's rare, I do take time off to take care of myself. I go to a spa with friends or I go on a little bike ride or sneak out to the beach for a few hours, um, or sometimes just take a drive and get away. And sometimes those drives are two other open houses from other vendors. Then venues that I really, um, love to support because perhaps maybe a client might not be a perfect match for the barn and I want to make sure that they are referred to another local venue, um, of people that I've really developed relationships too. But, um, taking time for yourself is really important and then, um, bringing a community of professionals around you. So I reach out to a variety of professionals.

42:44 You mentioned the open house that we have coming up. Um, a really integral part of this open house is yell enough from a J B K events. And weddings and events. She's an incredible designer and she is working as hard as I have on this upcoming open house. And we're thrilled that you're going to be be there too. And our goal there is to make a really great environment, brings some guests onto the farm so that people have, um, the vendors have great exposure. Um, ask the professionals that are coming to bring their best to bear on the experience and we all benefit from that along the way.

43:24 Yeah. Talk, talk just specifically kind of about the open house and what's going on and kind of the, you know, the atmosphere you want to create in the people you want to attract and sure. That's fun. Let's, let's, let's walk through this because word cause you know like, like you said, you know, you kind of fit this in email too. We probably where they got you on anyway, let the podcast at some point. But you know specifically kind of targeted that at this next weekend.

43:46 Right. So our spring open house is Sunday, May 19th. It's from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM and we have 22 vendors including read and Best Made Videos® that's going to be there and uh, florists and caters and decorators and a rental company and cake cake people. Um, we have an alteration specialist and um, we are decorating in uh, three different themes throughout the barn. And the, the goal is to provide corporate planners and opportunity to be able to see a venue and perhaps realize that there is a beautiful opportunity to do a really cool themed event in a space like this. So, um, we are setting up a theme on one end that I will not reveal so that people can come and see it and a small wedding ceremony on the other end. And um, anyone from the corporate planners to brides can come and do tastings. We have ice cream cart there. I'm a wood fired pizza truck there. Um, wonderful music and um, all of those vendors as well. So it'll be a great day. And if someone wants to see the animals, they can see the animals. Because Holly from egg song farm, our chicken and animal farm will be there too.

45:00 That's awesome. No, I think it's great then, you know, obviously just kind of trying to build a community, um, you know, we're vendors can kind of come in and participate in. I know I saw Tony from the Puget sound photo booth company. Oh yes. He's gonna to be there. And I said, man, you're going to be there. And He, cause he, you know, he has other people that work you. So yeah, I wouldn't miss it for the world. So, um, one last question kind of before we go. Um, talk to me about your wedding, if you, if you don't mind that kind of how that relates now to, uh, you know, obviously now you're like neck deep and everything now, but you know, well, I don't do the origins of that.

45:33 Wow. Interesting that you asked that because frankly, I haven't even thought about it in this whole journey, but you've brought up a really joyous, um, momentous time in my life. Um, my husband and I had been married for 31 years and we got married in Minnesota. We were here and in Seattle for Grad School, and obviously we have stayed and made Seattle our home, but our wedding was in Minnesota. And so we planned it like a destination, but that's where we were from. And um, it was a very large wedding. It was intended to be a hundred people and the word got out and it became a family reunion of four days long. And we had 350 people at this wedding. And it was kind of an insane time, but very joyous. And it went from, um, women's parties, first two beach party, um, at a lake in Minnesota and a paddle board or a paddle boat party, and then the wedding and a country club dance.

46:30 And so it was pieces of almost everything put into a very long four day wedding process. And now that you're saying that, it kind of makes me think of many of the Indian weddings were there multiple days and multiple events along the way and many of the Hispanic weddings and Kingston yet I parties are like that too. They're multiple functions sometimes in different places or sometimes all in one place and they come back several days in a row. So I, I have that, um, that foundation that I can, um, that must come up as I'm speaking with couples. They didn't consciously think about it, but that understanding of the complexity of a celebration, um, is, is as complex as a corporate, um, big event. It's, it's all a Rubik's cube. It might be, you know, nine squares on one size. It could be 36 squares on one side and the Cubes d keeps tumbling until the day of the event. That's awesome. Yeah, we

47:30 just booked a a four day, any wedding for next summer and I'm so happy that they booked now on the, you know, we met him and I said, guys like, cause there are, so I'm like you sitting here, we have, you know, different events. And kind of piecing it together and you know, whether we want it. And I said, I'm so glad you guys have a on now. So we can kind of be a part of that throughout. It gives, you know, with videography sometimes it's more of a last minute thing or you know, six months out or three months. And so, you know, the kind of be able to be a long for that cause like you said where you're, you know, you have all of this family coming in and all these different events and things and figuring out, you know, how do we want to incorporate the video coverage of that was awesome for me. The kind of life, absolutely. I'll figure out, okay this day we're going to do that in this day. And just, you know, having the plan and kind of having the vision, which I think like you, you know, if you have couples have one, like you said, it's kind of like a canvas. So you want people with a vision, you know, that are, know what they want or at least have some kind of idea of it. So,

48:25 um, and I have to, I have to note here that video and the capturing of video or capturing of moments in life through video has really dramatically changed throughout the years. A long time ago, it was just a still picture from a wedding and people understand that they can create a lifelong memory if they add video components to their celebrations. Um, and you mentioned that you got brought on early and that is a beautiful process because this end video is a, it's a major book in this couple's life over the next year of the planning. And I think that's really cool that you'd have the opportunity to sit with them ahead of time, even in their brainstorming or how they would plan to the event itself and perhaps even afterwards. And, and that's a beautiful, um, capturing of a season of someone's life that they can bring back for themselves to look at over the years or even for their children.

49:22 And my 15 year old says, mom, can I watch your wedding video once in a while? And she's amazed that we would look that young and that there is grammar is that my aunt who passed away and you tell me a story about, you know, great grandma and there she is. And you can only do that in video because you can, you can see someone in a picture for a moment in time. But when you see them moving, you hear them laughing. Oh my gosh, read this is totally become emotional to me. Wow. Um, you hear their laughter it, you see their movements, you see how they're dressed and it's a story that passes generation by generation. So thank you for doing what you're doing, capturing people's seasons in life.

50:03 And so, and obviously you had video.

50:05 I do, I do. Yep. It's not as glamorous as they do them nowadays and what you could capture, but it really means a lot to me and it, it definitely means a lot to my kids. Well that's, guy wasn't trying to turn this off of a platform for letting me know, but it was just a moment of be emotional memory, so that's great.

50:24 Well, thank you so much for coming on and, and, and kind of sharing the story and the, and I know that we could talk, I mean, I'm sure for hours can't live about, you know, the history of the farm and everything by them. It's been really great and I'm really excited to be participating in and getting to do this open house and everything else.

50:41 Wonderful. And you know, what, if, if, uh, if everyone makes a few moments to come out to the farm Sunday May 19th from 11 to four or they will be able to meet reed and the rest of the incredible professionals in this industry that make beautiful celebrations for people. Yeah.

50:56 If people want to learn more about you, uh, you know, the farm maybe schedule some time. If they can't make it to the open house sharing everything else, where would you kind of point them in the good direction?

51:06 Yes. So, um, we have a website there. You can fill out a contact form or certainly you can give me a call or text me. Um, usually I'm, I'm in and around between the hours of nine and three o'clock and I host lots of, um, lots of short, short lead tours and can schedule them out several months as well. So anything that works is it's fair game at this point,, The Barn at Holly Farm on Instagram, Facebook, all the same of The Barn at Holly Farm. And our Hashtag is #reallyoldbarn and #thebarnathollyfarm.

51:45 That's awesome. Thank you so much. Again, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are interested in participating in year two of the podcast, I have a great link set up. You can go the and they'll, they'll kind of get you started on that and uh, you know, like, and subscribe and all that stuff. We're not doing this for money. We're doing this to build community. So just trying to get the word out there. Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Danny Goldfarb, waSOUND

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And I'm joined today by one of my good friend's Daddy Goldfarb of waSOUND. I want to make you so much for coming in. You seem really excited to be here. So why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

00:28 Cool. Yeah, thanks. Uh, yeah, I am excited to be here. Um, I'm Danny and uh, my business is waSOUND. I'm a mobile DJ specializing in weddings and events. Yeah.

00:44 And uh, so first off today I wanted to ask you, uh, probably the biggest question of the day. What is, what is the highlight of your year? I as it getting engaged recently or appearing on Get to Know Your Wedding Pro?

00:55 Well, they are in close competition. Let me tell you. Uh, but yeah, man, definitely the highlight of my year has been getting engaged. Uh, I recently got engaged about a month ago to love of my life, uh, Stacy and I really couldn't be happier. It's crazy though, because now we're trying to plan a wedding for this year and as you know, and there's a lot to planning a wedding. Um, so we basically had to rush, rush, rush, and we want to have it this year because we've known each other like two and a half years. So it's been a lot. So we've been scrambling. We do have everything pretty much locked down. Not quite yet a videographer locked down, but, um, pretty much everything else there were. Yeah. It's great man. I'm, I'm thrilled. That is the highlight of my year.

01:52 Yeah. That's crazy. Yeah, because majority that I've got engaged, we, I think we did like a 13, 14 month engagement just because you're not trying to do it. Let's get married. That's

02:01 what we were asked. What I wanted to do, um, uh, soon, uh, August 23rd. Oh Geez. Yeah, Dude. So like literally we're doing it and it was, it was like four months and it was going to be, we talked about doing it next year. Uh, but you know, we want to do it. We want to buy a house. We want to, you know, maybe you have kids soon. And so we didn't really want to stay engaged for that long. I mean lock the rate. Dot. And also we had known, she had known that it was happening for a while. It probably honestly would have happened sooner, four months, five months sooner. But we started shopping for a ring and then there was a lot of uh, in decision when it came to getting her hang and, but we finally likes something down that we love. We used greenlake jewelers and made like a custom thing and she, you know, so she knew it was coming because she was involved in the planning process but couldn't really actually get engaged until we got the ring. So yeah, we're speeding it up.

03:11 Yeah, that was like a week cause we got married. So you have the time that we got married August six and I was like, you do not like a wedding vendor ride. And this is like literally the worst time of year.

03:21 It's a, we're doing it on a Friday, not a Saturday. So that's good. And I wasn't booked, you know. So a lock, the date in and all what was great as a lot of my friends that are going to be involved in the wedding. That's also on a Friday. I have a lot of industry friends, so a lot of people will be able to attend that are in the industry. Um, but a photographer and DJ friend of mine, we're both available, which was the biggest thing.

03:48 And then are you, so I, I didn't, I contemplated working in the day after my wedding, but that was my, my wife talked me out of it.

03:56 I don't, I'm currently not yet booked. Um, I don't really want to, I probably won't because we're going to have family in town and I think we want to do like a touristy thing. Um, so yeah, no, I most likely will not book the event, but you know, if I get approached it'll be hard to say no, just because the wedding is expensive and you gotta you know, you gotta get that Cheddar. But yeah, man, we'll see. Right now I'm saying 90%, no way. I'm working the next day.

04:28 Yeah, I was, it was really hard for me to turn it down and then, cause I definitely know. How did you do it? Did you work at or no, no, luckily. So I had another guy that I ended the day. Okay. All right. So that was nice. So we could still make some like, cause yeah, I guess I'll make some money.

04:42 That's right. And this was an expensive again. Yeah man.

04:45 Uh, and then the funniest thing not to talk too much about our wedding is I actually got an inquiry then on like while we were getting married and I emailed back like from my reception then first September, it was great.

05:01 I think I'm going to try to keep my phone not on me.

05:06 That's funny. Do you find, now I'm kind of like going through this, um, is that helping you with your couples and stuff and talk about that and they obviously have to be thrilled kind of the year old going?

05:16 Absolutely valid. Totally valid question. Um, it makes me realize how much I actually don't really know. You know, I'm really good at what I do. I can stay in my lane. I know the reception, I know the music. I can deal with the technical aspect of the audio and the lighting and I know how to work with the vendors as far as at the reception goes talking to the kid or it's happened in the planner. Um, that sort of a thing. But when it comes to everything else involved in the wedding, the decor, you know, how we pick out the food, how we pick out the cake, what the flowers are going to look like, what the center pieces, who's going to set the center pieces up. All of these different things that myself as a Dj, I don't really have to know all that when I show up at a wedding to set up to do my thing.

06:10 Um, so it has showed me just what, I don't know. It's made me appreciate planners a lot more because literally they cover the whole scope of the entire wedding and they have to deal with all of that maybe. And you know, a little bit of a lighter manner in some of the areas, but they got to know all that stuff. Uh, as far as working with my couples, it's actually nice because it's a, it's a commonality. Right. And so, you know, when I'm talking to them I couldn't be like, Hey, I'm, I actually also just got engaged and I know what you're going through. Now I can sit on both sides of the table, which is actually great. Uh, it gives me more empathy, you know, lets me feel what they're feeling much more.

06:58 Yeah, no I agree with that. Cause I, I think Kinda the empathizing, like I'm in a lot of like videographer groups and stuff and I see all these people all the time. Like, you know, I emailed them yesterday and I can't believe I haven't heard back and did it and I'm going to cancel because I don't have one. I'm like, have you guys ever planned a wedding? Like it's really hard to find time with her, the sit down and like go through a contract or read. And so like for me that was the biggest thing is when you've never gone through any of that. You're like, why, you know, I look at my email all the time. Right. What's, what's the holdout? Totally. Totally. So you're kind of going through that,

07:30 going through both sides of it. Yeah, man, that's cool.

07:33 That was awesome. So, uh, I wanted to, well now more serious kind of getting into talking. Um, so I was going through your site today was uh, I was honestly a surprisingly impressed because you know, like we talked to it was no, cause you know, like we met at, you know Caitlin Jess wedding last year. Yes. And you know, and like I talked with a lot of Djs and talk with a lot of people and stuff and so like, but going on your site and I was really impressed with how well you present yourself putting, you know, you have videos where we can see and hear what you look like and see working and photos and everything really like that. You know, you show up today with this wonderful floss sound, a branded constantly, which actually it looks really great. Who Doesn't love a good mug? We'll have to put a, put a photo of that on.

08:21 It's a beast or a mug with a matte black finish with a whitewashed sound legal in a white inside of the mug. It looks on for a clean.

08:31 So, but, but for me, my point is, you know, I think you're really fun, approachable guy, but then also like, I'm really impressed with how well you kind of present yourself, you know, giving couples kind of that whole look and everything. So talking about kind of that view of all these things, how you look at that. Um,

08:46 first of all, thank you. You know that, that's really nice to say. So I have a business background. I to business school. Um, I studied marketing at business school after, after business school I worked for a company called BDA. There are promotional merchandise company. Basically what I did was I put logos on t shirts, hats, key chains, bobbleheads I worked in, I worked for the pharmaceutical accounts. So we would, you know, I placed orders for 30,000 pens with a logo on it, uh, tons and tons of tee shirts and stuff like that. And what struck me is how stringent companies are when it comes to their brand guidelines. And that really stuck with me. And so when I started my business, that was something that really mattered to me and something that I know it's not something you necessarily consciously think about as the consumer, but it's something that's there, you know.

09:52 So it was really important to me that it, my logo and branding was really clean and that I appear pretty consistent. Um, as far as having good videos and photos on my site, that's huge. The thing is, when you're picking a DJ, um, it's, it's a little bit more difficult than picking some of your other vendors. You, for example, as a videographer, client, customer or potential customer goes to your site, they look at your videos and they see, wow, this is exactly what I'm getting. You're going to pick out ear photos for our photographer. You'd go to a photographer's website. Do I like their style? Yes, I do. No, like don't make your decision move on. Same thing with Flores. Same thing with cakes. Um, when it comes to a DJ, so much of it is the personality, the way that they make you feel like, um, how they talk on a microphone.

10:48 Less is visual. There's definitely what the setup looks like and stuff like that, which is very important. And some Djs have good photos of that and some don't. But for me, uh, having a video on the site lets people kind of know who I am, what my personality is like they sh it shows me smiling and having a good time. Uh, and I think that's really important in a lot of couples that I talked to specifically mentioned that, oh, we watched her video this year. What I'm trying to do to that effect is I started creating these minute and a half, two minute little short Instagram little videos from trying to do that for every single wedding I do where it's just me kind of talking a little bit and maybe getting a little clip from different vendors. Um, seeing what the wedding looks like, seeing what everything looks like, but it gives potential customers, potential clients, more of an idea of who I am and what my personality is about. Yeah. Know and not only, yeah, is it showing you and, and the didn't like you'll see like, uh, the couple's or whatever, but

11:54 then you and the background, right or other people having fun. And so it is more of that like, cause I do think, you know, it should be really tied the Dj to be, you know, obviously you can have a DJ that isn't, but I do think it's way more successful to have one that is personality kind of driven and tied to kind of that whole experience.

12:12 Oh yeah, I do. Totally. I mean if, if people were on the dance floor and they look up at me and I'm standing there straight faced not having a good time, not smiling, not dancing, the vibes sucks and people feel it, you know? So I am constantly dancing behind the tables. I'm smiling, I'm pointing at people. If they're looking at me like I'm lip sinking, sometimes full on singing, you know, having a good time because people feed off my energy and I feed off their energy and it is really important to have fun and I think a lot of Djs or or some Djs, uh, can be too cool for school and that too cool for school mentality. Like it sucks, you know, people don't want to see that. They don't, they want to have a good time. They want to know that your having a good time. They don't want like to look at the Dj and be like, oh he's just at work. No I'm not at work. I'm at your wedding, I'm having a party, I'm having a good time and you can see it on my face.

13:14 Or even like on there I think it says like we're, you know, dance your ass off on the dance floor. I don't know. I mean to even just a lot of like the wording and stuff you have kind of evokes that kind of fun. Right?

13:24 Totally. Totally. I think I have something like a, what does it say? It says, I'm banging dance floor bang and dance floor on my website because yeah, I did. I'm, I'm a have a, I'm going to make your wedding dope. Like the, it's Gunna, you're Gunna have a bang and dance party. Um, but you know, I'm also a elegant, eloquent, right? Like, like I also, I don't, I want to make sure that when I'm on the microphone and that when I present myself, um, at, at a wedding, at your wedding, uh, that I'm professional also because you know, you want good announcements, especially for the DJ. They're the face of your wedding and you know, and I'm, I'm doing toasting and I'm introducing, you know, the father of the bride and those types of things. So you don't want to clown on the microphone, you know, but you do want someone that can bring the party and when the party is happening to have energy and excitement and smiles. Okay.

14:33 No, I mean, I do think it is that tough line because I do think it is, you get some people that like, you know, it's too buttoned up and then some people in, then it's like you don't even know. They don't know who anybody even is. So they're trying to die at that, you know? I mean this was years ago now, but like he's getting ready to do, you know, he's walking over to the bright, okay, what's, what's mom's name? You know, we got the idea. How do you not even, I mean, you know, basic stuff.

14:55 It's basic stuff. And so to that point, for me, when I book a couple, I have a very extensive wedding form that they fill out. So I know everybody's names. I know the best man's name, I know who's giving toasts, you know, I know that if you're doing, if they're doing a cake cutting, but maybe they're not cutting a cake because I don't like cake and instead they're going to have a Cinnabon bar. True Story. I did have a couple that have their wedding catered by Cinnabon cause that's what they're into. And that's, hey man, that's cool. You know, but if I make the announcement of ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the bride and the groom to cut the cake when they're not cutting a cake. It's just, it's too, I'm a formula. It's sloppy. So it is important to be prepared. And the way to be prepared is to have them fill out an extensive form. So I know all the information, so I don't have to ask the couple right before I'm gonna make an announcement for them what their name is. That's just, you know, that's amateur.

15:55 It's funny. I bet. I mean, do you find, I guess so. I, I find the, I tried to put forth, you know, good, you know, front brand, but like I, I find that it, it almost seems to matter a little less now. It is like, I always pay attention about like, I wish more people did. I do see like other videographers over, it's like, oh, the, you know, the last video was uploaded eight years ago, or the things are misspelled or other. Do you find that people appreciate that and that your time is warranted?

16:23 Um, yeah, I think consistency is the biggest thing. Um, I think personally, man, I think you're a testimonial to that dude. Like you're super consistent with, um, your postings and your podcasts and that sort of a thing. And I think that's why, you know, it's why you do so much business. Um, we'll see about the new social videos that I'm doing. The thing with the wedding business it seems like is that it's a year later that you see the results. So I'm putting in a lot of work this year, but I'm probably not going to see those results pay off until next year. Um, because most people now have booked their wedding, you know, maybe I'll book some later weddings or are last minute weddings and, and that will help. But most of it is referrals is word of mouth. So you put work in now to basically increase your exposure. You're not going to see those results until the following year. So, and you know, have me back in a year and I'll tell you how it went.

17:28 How did you kind of a, so you said you started to kind of a brand called corporate market. How did you find your way to kind of entering this world and weddings?

17:39 Great question. Um, yeah, dude. I mean, everybody's story right in this industry is probably somewhat scattered. I don't think a lot of people wake up and you know, one day or are born and they're like, hey, I want to, you know, be a florist or be a wedding planner or work in the industry somehow. Maybe, you know, maybe some people do. I didn't, uh, the story of how I basically became a DJ. Um, so, okay. Uh, I'm Jewish first of all. And so when I was 13 years old, I had a bar Mitzvah. And for those of you that may not know what that is basically a bar Mitzvah as the coming of age for a Jewish man or woman bar or Bat Mitzvah, a, you're 13 years old, you're a man at 13 right now. Um, but you are, and you have a big party basically.

18:28 Uh, you also have a whole like religious part or, but then you have a big party. And so at this big party, uh, the company that did the party was this company. And then all my, uh, when I graduated college, we had a Grad night, the same company that did my Grad night did my bar Mitzvah, the same guide that hosted it, you know, um, and so I approached him and I was like, Hey, I think it'd be really cool to maybe work for you. And then you try to be a DJ. You know, I was 18 years old. It wasn't something that I really had ever even thought about before that, but I just thought it could be fun and I'm a fun guy and you know, so he's like, great. So I ended up working for that company for a good six months after I graduated high school and I started shadowing weddings and I would go and I would go with a d, another Dj and that would basically be their helper and set up and watch some weddings.

19:29 It's funny because I worked for this company for maybe seven months, but I met a couple guys in the industry and to this day, some of those guys, Britain are like great friends of mine, Scott. And it's just, it's cool because I was 18 at that time, I'm 34 now, you know, you do the math. That was a while ago. But these guys are still in the industry still doing what they're doing. And so that was, that was cool. Um, so anyway, so that happened. I was working for them quickly realizing that working for a big box DJ company was not very, you know, frankly lucrative. I wasn't making any money. I was doing a ton of work, but I wasn't earning any money and I've always been very business minded, you know, and I was like, man, I, I could probably do this, you know, so I begged my parents to lend me like five, 500 bucks or I had a little bit of spare money.

20:29 And so I think I invested maybe a thousand dollars in not great DJ gear, but enough to be able to Dj. And so I did a friend's wedding at the beaver Lake Lodge and that was the very first wedding that I did and I was like 19 years old, 18 and a half or something. So I just slowly started doing that. Very seldom, you know, but I would do it once in a while and then I started going to college and I would do frat parties and you know, I would make no money, but it wasn't about the money. It was just about having a good time at that point in my life. Uh, and so then after that, basically I started going to business school and I was still kind of Dj here and there, but not really. I was more focused on school. I graduated and then I was like, all right, you know, I'm done being a Dj, got my business degree, nice little Jewish boy time to go entering the workforce.

21:27 And so I did, I worked for a company called ADP. I did payroll sales outside payroll sales. It was a great job. I had a company car, you know, as a 22 or 23 year old, I was making enough money to live. I had a nice apartment, but I was miserable. You know, I would get up every morning and I would just not like my life trying to sell payroll services to small business owners. I mean, I was 22 years old. I was uncomfortable in a suit. I didn't know who I was. I like at 22 you don't know who you are or what you're trying to do in life. So I left that job and I started working for that promotional merchandise company I talked about and that was just a lot of fun. It took a big pay cut, but the company culture was so much cooler and I was enjoying it.

22:16 And then a good friend of mine, Ron came up to me and was like, Hey, my sister's about to get married. I know you used to do weddings. What do you think do you want to do to her wedding? I was like, Nah man, I'm not, I'm not doing that anymore. Like I got my job. I'm doing my thing and he's like, come on, do it. She would really like it. And so I thought about it and I was like, all right, I'll try it. So I use the money from that wedding and a little bit of spare money that I had to buy, slightly nicer gear. And I did her wedding and then I'd say over the next four years, I just slowly did weddings, uh, left that company, the promotional merchandise company, started working at Expedia in Bellevue. And I would, you know, the very first year I maybe booked two weddings, but by the fourth year I had booked 15 weddings and all of a sudden I was making more money deejaying.

23:10 Then I was at my corporate job and you know, I just didn't really fit the corporate mold. I kind of thought that I would, you know, at one point I decided I wanted to change my name to dam instead of Danny because I thought it was more corporate. I don't know, man. I'm like, ah. So yeah. So I, I had my business background, you know, and I just slowly started building wah sound. And you know, eight years full time Dj, eight years later, here we go. Uh, were, uh, were you, was it scary to make that leap? Or like you said, you had kind of built up that, but kind of leaving that comfort? Uh, yeah, of course. Um, it was scary. The cool thing about the, the DJ business, um, to specifically doing weddings is that people book out far enough in advance to where you kind of know how much money you're making, sort of a thing.

24:07 So you're able to plan a little bit better. Um, it was scary for sure because it's like, oh, here I did this whole path of what I thought my life was going to be like, and then all of a sudden I'm changing it up and I'm changing it up to be a DJ really. You know, I love it. I couldn't be happier. But for that first, you know, year or two years. Yeah, it was really scary because all of a sudden you've got no health insurance and you know, like, yeah, when you work at a nine to five type job, you know how much money you're gonna make every year. You know how much your paycheck is going to be every month. So you, but as a Dj, you know, like I could blow it out one year and do another eight weddings and make extra money or I could have a slower year and do five less weddings and lose more money than I thought I would have made, you know.

25:05 So there's all of that. What was the reaction from like your family and friends and stuff when you, they were actually super supportive. Um, they knew I had been hustling for a while. You know, I was working nine to five and some weekends I was doing two weddings. So that's nine to five. And then Saturday, Sunday, 12 hour days, and you'd go in and you'd go into work the next day, you know, and appointments. After my nine to five job, I would walk, you know, from Expedia in Bellevue. I'd walk down to the mall and I'd have an appointment and then I'd walk back up and then I would, you know, I wouldn't get home till eight o'clock. Um, so everybody was pretty supportive. I've always had, uh, I've always had an entrepreneurial vibe, you know. Um, fifth grade I was, uh, I was selling candy. I actually had, this is funny, I actually had one of the very first CD burners that you could get.

25:56 I think I was in middle school and I wouldn't make, don't tell that's how the music industry, but I would burn CD's and sell them to people. I remember I burned Tupacs greatest hits one time and I sold it to somebody, you know? And so, I don't know, man. Like I've always, I've always had that vibe. Um, and so my family and friends, they knew that about me and they were actually super supportive, which I, you know, at first when I was 18 and I told my mom and dad that I wanted to buy Dj gear, can I borrow 1000 bucks? They were not as supportive. Right. But I did well in business school and my life was pretty good, pretty on track. So they, I guess just kind of trusted my judgment. Um, what obviously you kind of probably were a little more equipped

26:44 to, to start all this kind of with the business background and stuff. I always say like, I would have done anything to go back to school and, you know, do anything then have a, have a journalism degree, which does not anymore. But, um, what were the things that maybe you didn't anticipate or that were harder than you thought or scarier than you thought?

27:02 Um, one thing that I didn't anticipate was, uh, the toll it takes when you work Saturdays during the summer as far as like hanging out with friends that work nine to five people do things on the weekends because most people work nine to five. And so that was a little bit of a struggle, you know, especially in relationships. If you're in a relationship with somebody that works nine to five, they want to hang out on the weekends and they want to go to the festivals and the concerts or whatever it is. And it's tough when you're like, well, I can't do that because I, you know, I work on Saturday or I work on Sunday. That was difficult and that was something that I didn't really anticipate. Um, I'd say the other thing is sometimes, you know, people's perception of how you spend your time. Um, I am self employed and I work on the weekends, but that doesn't mean that I'm not working during the week.

28:00 And you know, there's a lot that goes into running a business, especially when you talk about marketing and you talk about websites and you talk about accounting as, you know, when you're a independent business owner, you got to wear a lot of different hats. And so sometimes I would feel a little bit of um, you know, I dunno, pushback is the right word, but, uh, people's perception of, you know, at the end he's not working that hard kind of a thing. His life so great and he's got so much free time and it's like, not really like you try writing a business where you're supporting yourself and someone else and all this stuff. Like there's a lot that goes into it that people don't necessarily see, Ya know, so that's can kind of be challenging sometimes.

28:43 Yeah. It's funny because we were, uh, when daddy came here, we were looking at the deck here before we got started. We just had a deck, a new deck put on kind of at the end of the summer. And that was that perception of that contractor everyday when he would come during the summer. And I would, you know, I would be here. Right. But I mean that was literally his perception was like, I'm just hanging out. Yeah.

29:01 What do you do when you're hanging out? You don't realize that, oh yeah, I got to actually edit these videos that I go shoot. You know, like, I mean, I understand that even the small amount of video editing that I've done recently gives me more empathy and more perspective on you and other videographers specifically video, how much time it takes to actually do that stuff and edit those videos and stuff. So yeah, man, he probably sees you just sitting on your computer thinking you're twiddling your thumbs on Facebook when really you're actually executing key business tasks that you need to do.

29:37 Yeah. Naza and then I, yeah. For the social. But yeah, I don't know. I mean I've, luckily I had met Dorothy kind of before I started doing weddings and I don't really have friends, so that I guess what this big of a challenge. But no, I mean it is really hard when like Kinda all summer it's like, you know, can't do that. Right?

29:54 Can't do that. Can't do that, you know, and you try to tell your friends that work nine to five, oh, why don't you just take Wednesday through Friday off? And we were like, no, what do you mean I have a job? Oh yeah, me too. So yeah, dude, that's, that's a struggle because most people don't have the schedule that we have and so it's difficult sometimes for sure.

30:21 What do you enjoy most about kind of being self employed and kind of running your own business? I mean, besides obviously the freedom to kind of build a script. Well what do you, what do you enjoy about, you know, uh, running the business?

30:31 I would say the best part about being self employed, at least for me, is feeling like I don't need to fit into any particular mold. I can be myself and I can either get rewarded or not rewarded for those actions and it's all on me. And I like that. Um, it gives me full ownership of what I do. I also liked that, uh, I can, the harder that I work, the more money that goes into my pocket, you know, versus if I work really hard for somebody else, you know, I, my salary doesn't necessarily increase or maybe it does, but it's just, it's, it's different. So that's really, that's really nice. Although I think the coolest part about being an actual wedding DJ is that every day that I, you know, quote unquote go to work, it's on the best day of someone's life. Right.

31:23 And like as cheesy or whatever as that sounds, it's really cool. And people want you to succeed. They want to have fun. You go into work and it's a party, you know? Yes. It's, there's stress involved because there's a lot of pressure there is, it's high stakes being a wedding. Anything is high stakes, especially, you know, for you as a videographer, it's high stakes because if you don't get that shot, well, you're probably not going to get another opportunity to get that shot. Right. You know, your memory card blows up. Oh yeah. There's no redos and weddings. So, um, there's definitely higher stakes and it can be stressful, but the payoff is so great. You know, never what I expect every single time I go into work, somebody comes up to me and says, thank you so much. And it's so genuine. People are so genuine and there's so I'm thankful for what I'm doing and that feels really good.

32:28 It's really nice and it makes me really happy to get up and go into work. And that's what allows me to be smiling and be bubbly and have fun is because constantly getting so many warm fuzzies. Yeah, no, I agree. And that's what I've always said. You know, when I was in news and there was a lot of negativity and do so being able to go in and kind of be surrounded by like everybody's happy and kind of wants you to be there, I tell. Do you, and then obviously you do like corporate stuff as well. Do you enjoy kind of that mix and, and, and spicing that up or how do you balance up totally. Yeah. I mean, doing corporate events is a lot of fun. Also, you know, maybe it's not the most important day of someone's life, but it's still a party.

33:11 And the cool thing about corporate events is most people that attend a wedding or a corporate event, they're not people that go out, you know, three times a week or even maybe once a month to go dancing. How many times do you actually go out and go dancing? Unless that's something that you're really into. Most people, not very often they go to maybe their friend's wedding or their annual company party or their or their husbands or wives annual company party. And so it's their night out. Uh, which is fun. People are having fun. I really enjoy the corporate stuff because of that. It's, it's different. I can play some different music, you know, it's not focused on love and dependent upon the company's culture and what the company is. Uh, the music and the vibe is a full spectrum. So yeah, corporate events are a lot of fun. I wanted to talk about maybe something challenging about, you know, being the Dj kind of ran that, but people don't think about, you know, maybe it could be like day of wedding said, but what is something that you come, it is challenging for you that maybe people overlook or don't get this as hard as this is this, um, like specific typically about weddings? Yeah.

34:21 You know, I don't know. I mean, that's a tough question. Um, I mean I want to say nothing's challenging, right? But of course there are things that are challenging about the actual job itself. Uh, as you just got to think things through, I think, um, maybe at the beginning they were things that seemed more challenging than others. For example, if, you know, say a couple has their ceremony outside on the lawn and then everybody comes in from a lawn and goes upstairs for dinner or for cocktail hour, cocktail hour is upstairs and then they're going to want to go downstairs to the dinner room for dinner, but they want to have dancing in this other cool place. And that's happened sometimes. So that's for logistical locations. For a wedding. That's a lot. So does that mean that we have four setups or does that mean that we have two setups and move a set up?

35:16 Um, well what about microphones? You know, we're doing testing and the dinner area, but we've got to make announcements for cocktails and we also might need to make a couple announcements for dancing. Where's the cake cutting happening? I don't know. You know, so yeah, like villages stickle aspect can be challenging sometimes it's tough to know how to move people, you know, people want to move at their own pace a lot of the times, especially if they're all talking and enjoying a cocktail together. But we're starting dinner in 15 minutes. Well but there's a, there's a group upstairs that just, they heard the announcement, they heard me make the second announcement, you know, but they don't necessarily want to move. And it's like how do you approach them and respectively very nicely let them know that, you know, it's, it's time to go downstairs for dinner. That can be challenging sometimes. You know?

36:07 Yes. Cause I, we attended, I attended a wedding, I guess it was two weeks ago now for the first time I had attended the wedding. He didn't like that. And I totally was like that guy, they were like standing out there was kind of a bar area. I, you know, and you had to kind of go through a passageway to the dinner and they're like, oh we're getting ready to, I was like, I'm not ready for dinner

36:24 ready yet. You know, or there's the toasting is happening and you're in such a good mood. Cause yeah, you haven't been out with your wife and x amount of it, you know, years, months, whatever. And you guys are chatting and you're having fun and maybe had a drink or two. So you're a little buzzy. But the father of the bride is giving a toast. So it's, it's, it's time to stop talking because I'm glad you're having fun, but like you're at a wedding and this wedding is about the couple and in sometimes not all the time, but sometimes people are clueless to other things going on, you know? And so how do you respectfully respectively tell someone that they need to stop talking because the father of the bride is on the microphone right now. You know, that can be challenging. Um, kids can sometimes also be a challenging factor when they want to touch the lights and touch the gear. That's great. I love kids. I actually can't wait to have kids. Um, I'll snuggle all of them, but don't touch my stuff. You know, that's expensive.

37:33 Oh, I have like a camera sitting around. They try upon when I kid running through the flags

37:38 or even Maura, I'm exposed to that because you're out there on the dance floor. Most of the time I'm, my stuff is, you know, behind my table. Uh, and you know, but you're like way out there. So what do you do,

37:51 do you find, yeah. When couples are hiring, did you saw, obviously you know, you, you do a lot of Mc work, you know? Yeah. You talk about like how your voice sounds on the microphone, how you look, how you present yourself. Do you find that couples in their hiring Djs, do they spend enough time thinking about those aspects of it or are they just thinking about like the music we play it? Like do they get how integral, like kind of the emcee part. Yeah.

38:12 Um, some do and some don't. I'd say the ones that do, uh, are the ones that have maybe been to a wedding that hasn't had that. And that's kind of how a lot of people learn what's important and what's not important is seeing that experiences. You know, I can't tell you how many couples are like, oh, we just had it. You know, I just went to friend's wedding and their DJ sucked and I am always ask, well, what sucked? What about it? You know, and it's either what he made no announcements, nobody knew what was happening all night long. Here we are cutting the cake and nobody's paying attention. I'm doing a first dance and everyone's standing around talking. Uh, that's a really big thing. Um, the other thing is that I, that I hear a lot, and this is on the music side as well. He didn't play any of my requests or he played a bunch of music that nobody knew.

39:07 And I think some, some Djs can have the um, the perception of, well, I'm the DGA and so you hired me to play music, so let me let me do my thing. And it's like, well, you know what man, you're not there for you, you're there for the couple, you're there for a couple of friends and family. So you want to play what they want to hear. And most people, they don't want to hear a bunch of club remixes, you know, they want to hear the songs that they know and love because they want to sing them. And that's how people have fun frankly. Uh, so definitely that.

39:40 Yeah, I do questions about that one was, yeah. How do you kind of balance that? Cause like Dorothy, I like request all, you know, we're at the wedding, she's requesting stuff and like he's not playing it, you know, do you, is it, what, how, what does that right balance between, like you obviously got to make sure the music is so there's a flow to it. Absolutely.

39:59 What you just described is probably one of the hardest, tougher aspects. Um, being a DJ, a specifically wedding or a corporate event, Dj is theirs because people will come up and they'll request a song and sometimes it's great and you're like, yeah, that's perfect. I'm a play that right away. Other Times people will request a song that's, maybe they love it, but nobody else does, you know, um, or they're requesting something that's just not gonna fit for like 20 minutes. And people are like, why did you just play it? Just play my song. And it's like, well, okay, I will, but I'm playing like a hip hop type set right now and you're requesting 70s or a slow song. And it's like, let me work into that. Uh, it can be difficult and sometimes people just don't get it. If you don't have a song, you know, most of the time I can connect to iTunes and I can download the song, but sometimes I can't. And then people ask, well, can't you just play it on my cell phone? And it's like, no, I can't. There's sound cards and there's audio interfaces and there's a lot going on that like you just don't really know about. And so it's not so easy as just plugged my phone and you know, which is hard because you want to be nice. Uh, you have to be nice. But sometimes you know, especially people are drinking, sometimes they can be a little less understanding then I feel like they should,

41:34 oh, Dorothy was like cruel. Yeah, because you still understand

41:40 not at me and it's like just trust me, you know? But I actually always feel really bad if I don't get to play somebody request. That was like valid. Like I actually like, I've apologize to people after the event I have because I do feel bad because I do want it to be fun for them and I don't want them leaving with like a bad taste in their mouth that the DJ didn't play their song. You know, he smiled and he said he would play it, but he never got around to it and that, that sucks. You know? Sometimes I just say I don't have it. I can't connect to the Internet. If it's like a really poor choice, you know? Um, I'm just like, look, I'm sorry I don't have it. Or I'll just look at the person that if I feel like I can, I can be kind of cool with them. I might just like, I'm going to be like, man, I can't play that. Like I would love to, but look who's here. Like, I can't play your two Chainz song like on sorry.

42:40 Yeah. And then talk about it. I wanted it all. Sorry, working, you know, and even on your website, you know, talking about like playing some of the hits and getting some of the people, I'd be like, I know some djs that are like, I never like, I will never play that. Like I don't play whatever it is. I mean, do you, what do you think about all that?

42:54 I think that that goes to that too. Cool for school mentality, you know? Um, it's not about what I want to hear. Is it about what they want to hear. I split up the dancing and the kind of two sections a, I call it open dance. One an open dance too. And I would say urban. That's one designed to get everybody on the dance floor. So when in classics, Billie Jean, Brian, I girl, shout love shack footloose you know, whatever, like those types of songs. Basically my goal during that time is to get everybody on the dance floor. And I was saying that the brides and grooms, you know your mom's there, your grandma's there and they want to dance at least one dance at their daughter or son's wedding. So generally open dance one is how we start the dancing. When we open up the dance floor, we try to get everybody dancing for at least for a little bit.

43:41 So I'll pay attention who was on the floor. I'll, I'll sprinkle slow songs and I'll try different genres. You know, maybe I'll play a disco track. Maybe I play Saturday night fever. I don't know. You know, I definitely am not, not like I won't not play celebration, you know what I mean? Like I won't get, I'll play whatever they want. Generally speaking, I won't go to those. Like, I'm not going to probably play the why MCA, unless you requested and you will, you tell me, you kind of walk back and then I know, oh, all right. Like if you want the lime ca then you also want, we are family probably and you want celebration. You know, you might even want the Maca Reyna kind of a thing. So I'll get an idea for, you know, quote unquote the cheese level. Right. Um, but I think that people want to hear the songs that they know and love.

44:28 So I don't ever like not play something. I just think that that's at the too cool for school bag, you know? So generally we'll open up the dance floor with open Nance one. Typically that'll last about an hour, maybe 45 minutes, maybe half an hour. Just depends on who's on the dance floor, what the vibe is like, what's happening. And then as the night progresses, we'll go into open dance too. And I always say to open ends too, to the bride and the groom, you know, uh, and this is for you guys, for your friends, your bridal party, you know, the people that are there that might be drinking a little bit, that kind of want to have a good time. Uh, generally open dance too is a lot of throwback jams. You know, it's stuff that you heard in high school. It's a backstreet boys sat, you know, it's spice girls want to be Montell Jordan, this is how we do it.

45:18 Hell Anelli right? Who doesn't love Nelly? But it's stuff like that. And maybe some Brittany, uh, basically it's for them. Some couples though, they really like Edm or they want maybe more top 40. I had a couple that was really in the trap music one time and so they gave me a bunch of trap songs to play. I'm playing trap Queen, I'm playing Fetty wap at someone's wedding. And normally I don't think I would like go to play that, but it's what they wanted. So that's the type of people that they were. That's the type of vibe they wanted to have. And Man, they got down like them and their friends, they got down and it was fun. So yeah, I think it's just about, it's about playing what people want to hear. I mean, it sounds simple, but I mean, frankly it is simple, but that's the biggest thing.

46:09 Although to your point earlier, that's where that preparation comes in. You know, like right as Russell William Russell Wilson says, right? The preparation, the separation is in the preparation them. So the separation is in the preparation. Basically. It means that that's what's going to separate a good djs from bad djs. How much prep are you doing? How much information do you have? Did you meet with a couple digit? Talk to them about what kind of music they like, you know, do you know the relationship between the friends? Can you maybe say something about that at some point throughout the night? You know, um, that's where that stuff really plays in. If you don't know what the couple likes or wants to hear, it's much harder to find. The right group, you might get there eventually. You know, you might try to songs in one genre song in another genre song in another genre.

46:57 You might go through four different genres of music until you figure out what people want to hear. And then if you hit them with too much of what they want to hear, they don't want to hear it anymore, you know? So you gotta switch it up, but you've got to know where to switch it up too. I remember when, uh, you were talking about the throwbacks and stuff and when like, yeah, it was like, when I start hearing like the backstreet boys and still haven't, it was like, I feel so old. Tell me about it, man. They're like, backstreet boys gets like the biggest pop on the dance floor. Wow. Backstreet boys, if you play everybody's back right where it's every bought that song. People go nuts too, you know. And the dancing out there, I mean, do you remember music video right, with the, uh, he was like a Werewolf and shit like that or um, insync tearing up my heart right with JT, like before he was JT kind of a thing.

47:52 And he had the hair that looked like ramen noodles and stuff. Like if he sees he's on a chair and you know, he's pointing and shit like that. That's what people love frankly. So I play that some, it does make it make you feel old, but hey man, age is just a number dude. Uh, what do you wish more people like BB asks kind of in the booking process when it comes to Djs, whether it's ask you out seizures, you know, like, what do you wish more people knew and thought to ask? I mean, I don't know. You know, that's a hard question because I tend to, you know, give people a ton of information. I always say after I'm done with my meeting, so I, when I meet with couples for the first time, I'll go through an initial wedding consultation meetings sort of a thing.

48:38 And basically what we do is I walk over the wedding itinerary lines. So like, um, I'll walk over the timeline so to speak, talk about how I break the music up and to kind of five sections throughout the night, talk about the different music that goes on in each section. I always stress to the, to them that this is just generally what I do. Generally what I play the flow is just kind of a general template. I'm going to do whatever you want and I'm going to play whatever you want. But in order to make the timeline of the receptions seem a little bit more manageable, I'll break it into five minutes sections. So the first section is going to be your pre ceremony music. Generally, I always tell people, you know, you want your ceremony, uh, you want your music to start 30 minutes before you say or ceremonies going to start.

49:28 Typically that's when guests will arrive. So First Section of music, pre ceremony music, and you know, again, I'll play whatever they want, but I always think it's nice with music without words. I love vitamin string, quartet, piano guys, you know, stuff like that. Um, after the ceremony's over, we'll be cocktail hour. That's the second style phase of music cocktail hour. And again, different people want different things. Uh, but generally I have a really nice playlist called the modern wedding playlist. A lot of female vocalists, Colby clay and grip Michelson. Maybe some Michael Bublé, maybe some Jack Johnson, just chill music going on. You know, people are drinking the cocktails. It's, it's background stuff, but it's nice. It's wedding vibe. Um, third style and music, dinner, music, dinner, music. Basically the same thing as cocktail music. Um, maybe a little bit more upbeat. I like to weave in some classic rock, like Tom Petty or the stones, stuff like that.

50:25 But some people want something totally different. And I split it up into these sections because some people are like, well, Danny, I really likes Sinatra during cocktails, but you know, we're nineties kids and we want nineties hits during dinner. Awesome. You know, who doesn't want to hear like Alannis Morissette during dinner? Like that's great and I'll do that for you. Right. Um, so that's the first three sets of music. And then you know, there's some formalities, toasting cake, cutting the first dance, you know, that sort of a thing. But once we kind of opened up the dance floor and then I get into those other two open dance one for everybody and then opened dance too for the bride and the groom and the wedding party and stuff like that. Uh, so I really try to make it manageable for them kind of a thing and to split the music up in all these sections.

51:12 And that's what I talk about during my initial any consultation. It's so funny when you were talking about Kinda like the couple and they want this notch and all that cause I think that's one of those things I learned planning the wedding because it sounds so weird cause like obviously like music is such a big part of the, like our lives, society and culture, everything. He's there for thousands of years by then. You know, like we're getting ready for our wedding. And then you're like, well, I don't even know. I don't know if I care or not. We'll get Dorothy really cared about. I mean she have like the list and the order and exactly how, and it's so funny for like someone that I didn't think she would care about that at all. And that was like a huge thing that she spent like hours trying to figure out.

51:52 Yeah. And you just never know. And that is one of those things where a couples are on a spectrum. And some couples I'll meet with, I'll go over my stuff, I'll talk about the general stuff that I do in play. And they say, you know what, Danny, we've been to four other weddings that you've done. That sounds great. Do it. Do your thing. They might have a couple requests, you know, obviously they're going to know what their first dance and their formal stuff is, but they might not have very many other requests. Uh, and then on the other side of the spectrum, I've had people that give me a playlist for cocktails, a playlist for dinner, a playlist for, you know, open dance one and open dance too. Um, and they tell me, we'll just play songs on this list that is difficult. As a DJ.

52:38 I, it's, you know, but at the end of the day I'm going to do what you want me to do. You know, you're, you're paying me. This is your wedding, this is your event. Uh, most people fall somewhere in the middle. Right. But yeah, it's one of those things where you just don't know. You don't know. A lot of people want, a lot of people care about very specific stuff and some people don't. But it is amazing. Just, I dunno just how, like you say, integral, like can music is and you just don't really get into, you know, you've been obviously do what you do or been to weddings and stuff like that. How important that is kind of for the flow and everything. Yeah. Well, it like a typical wedding is, you know, anywhere from five to seven hours. How are you going to fill up seminars in music?

53:19 Like it's daunting to think about, right? But then you break it into those sections and it makes it a little bit more manageable because you can kind of feel the vibe, right? What kind of vibe do you want for your cocktail hour? You know, what kind of vibe do you want for your dinner? Um, what is important to you for dancing? You know, do you want throwback jams? Do you want top 40, maybe you don't want to hear Michael Jackson anymore, you know, can't play Michael Jackson can't play r Kelly anymore. So these types of things are important to talk about and understand what's a couple of wants. You know, music is really important. I mean, soundtrack of our lives, you know, is the songs you hear a song. And I think, I think music, I think, um, behind smell music and songs are one of the things that jog memory. You hear a song and it instantly takes you back to a certain time of your life or certain place. Right? And so this is your wedding, right? You're going to have a couple moments that you're going to remember that's going to be like engraved in your mind and you're going to know what song was happening while that was going on. So it is important, super important.

54:35 Uh, kind of rounding out here, the conversation, where do you see, you know, obviously someone neo,

54:40 yeah.

54:40 Image Focus, brand, you know, kind of marketing corporate, you know, where do you see yourself going in the next couple of years besides obviously getting married, but where do you kind of see yourself taking things and we're where, where would you like to go?

54:54 So I would like to, you know, continue to do more weddings. I recently actually that recently, maybe five years ago I added a photo booth. So that's been great. I've been continuing to kind of expand the gear and the stuff that I have. Um, so you know, my goal is to basically continue to kick ass, continue to do more weddings, get more good reviews, um, and you know, just add, add more events to the book. Basically, I'm going to be moving at some point, getting married, buying a new house now with my new wife and maybe have kids in the next couple of years. So that's a big thing that, you know, as far as life goals that I'm thinking about. Um, but yeah, man, as far as business goes, just to do more events, increased the business.

55:47 What do you do when you're not a DJ planning weddings, running business, making coffee cups was sure. What do you do to fill that extra 1% of the time?

55:56 Um, so, you know, I got a golden retriever and I love taking him to the dog park. I love spending time with my girl. Of course. I just, my best friend and that's really nice. Um, I really like cooking. You know, I get down in the kitchen, uh, just last night I made 'em chicken, the whole chicken and in it, the instant pot, instant pot is the very first time I have a cook. That whole chicken before. And so that was actually a lot of fun. I mean you can go get these rotisserie chickens, but you could spend the same money to get a raw organic, you know, free range happy chicken and veggie spend for a rotisserie chicken. And so I just cut the myself right. And like Dallas, a lot of fun dude. We do blue apron sometimes, so that's fun to get the meal kits and the cook food.

56:49 I do really enjoy cooking quite a bit. Uh, I got into some like video and photography type work too. You know, I've always been super creative and it's one of the things that I would like to incorporate into my life later as I get older and you know, and we can only DJ for so long kind of a thing. And there's other, there's other things that I want to do that I'm interested in. And so I'm definitely in a photography. I just bought that little mini video camera that I was kind of talking about earlier. So it gives me appreciation for what you would do as I'm trying to figure out how to use Adobe premiere, the hell am I doing kind of a thing. It doesn't look nearly as good as your staff. Right. Um, but our Mamet share man, I don't know. So yeah. A, those are kind of some of my hobbies. Yeah. That's awesome. And then obviously the chicken worked out. If you're still sitting up right today. Oh dude, it was so good. Ate Too much of it. So good though. Had a delicious rub on it. Um, I so chase teaching. Mm. Succulent delicious.

57:54 Uh, this has been great. If people want to learn more about you and, uh, your services, you know, DJ, Photo Booth, uplights and all that, your wonderful personality, what would you have them checkout

58:04 so they can go to my website, You can Google my name. Danny Goldfarb. You can Google waSOUND, you can ask a lots of wedding vendors because I've been in the business for almost 10 years now and uh, people know who I am, so yeah, just find me online, find me on Facebook.

58:28 Perfect. Thank you so much for stopping by. It's been great to catch up and I'm excited to get you on and uh, it's been good, uh, to kind of see it again.

58:36 Pleasure's all on this side of the table. Read it. It's been fantastic talking to you and meeting your lovely dog and hanging out in your cool west Seattle pad. So yeah, dude, pleasure. Pleasure's all mine bro.

58:49 Uh, if you're a wedding vendor interested and participating in an upcoming episode, I have a great link. If you go, that's a great way I didn't make you fill it out because I know who you are and then we all were together. I just hit you up on the DM. Yeah. Just said, hey man, when are we doing this? And uh, you know, like, and subscribe. If you see this on Facebook, if you see it on iTunes, you can send us a review. You can also go to the But that's also a great way to do that. So I'm trying that. We're getting into year two here officially. So good things come to those who wait and I waited a year for you to come into my life here and be on the podcast. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Michael Joers, Ben Bridge

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And I am joined today by a guest. I'm really excited. This is a one of my former, you know, wedding clients or groom. Uh, he and his wife were here and uh, he is Michael Joers. He's a, he works at Ben Bridge as an assistant manager and he's also a registered jeweler and the American Gem Society. I want to thank you so much for coming in. It's so great to kind of like catch up with you and see you guys. And I follow your shenanigans on, on Facebook or Instagram all the time. So, so great to have you. And why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:48 Yeah. Uh, my name's Michael Joers. Like I said, I work at Ben Bridge in the Northgate Mall. Um, and I've been there for about three years. So, you know, just like helping people find rings and stuff like that.

01:00 And so you're also a registered or with the American Gem Society. So what does that mean for someone that doesn't know?

01:05 Yeah, so, uh, there's only certain jewelers that can be a part of the American Gem Society. It's ones that have sort of agreed to establish and maintain the standards that are set in American Gem Society. So it's basically boiled down, it's a consumer protection and ethics in the jewelry industry. So, um, just making sure they always honest and disclosing everything and you know, being there when people need stuff. Um, and being a registered jeweler means that you've taken like the, the Gia classes, the Gemological Institute of America, taking those classes, um, and taking the American gem society classes. Um, basically just studying diamonds in geology, being an expert. So being a registered jeweler just says that you know what you're talking about. So when someone comes in and they see that you're registered zero, they know that they're talking to someone that knows, knows what they're talking about.

01:54 Oh yeah, definitely. I've seen that. I, I'm just so excited to have you come in a just cause it's you guys and be, cause I do think this is an important vendor that we really haven't been featured on this podcast before. I mean, you know when things happen every day and you know, there's not always a videographer and there might not always be a photographer, but there's always going to be some sort of, you know, ring and jewelry that kind of signify that. So I think it's so cool to have you come in and I think I even remember seeing kind of on your insulin, the Instagrams when you got, when your certificate, you know, pass one of your things. And I was like, oh that's awesome. So how did you kind of backtrack, how did you kind of get involved in all this? I know, you know, when you guys got married, your ring, right? You guys are kind of custom design that. So uh, kind of go back as far as we needed to go. They get started on how you kind of got involved in jewelry and all that.

02:41 Yeah. So my mother worked in a jewelry store and I was young and my grandfather owned his own jewelry and watch store. And um, so it's always kind of just been there in the family and my little sister's a goldsmith, which is kinda cool. So, um, you know, it's just, yeah, it's just everywhere. And um, I've always liked and I went to, I studied painting and drawing at u dub and after that started working at Ben Bridge where I was able to pursue all of this. And the Nice thing has been rich pays for all of my education too, so I can just keep going with that while I'm doing that. So, um, yeah, it's just always kind of been there and I enjoy it. It's really, really fun.

03:17 Yeah. So, uh, obviously didn't you say you studied orange stuff, so you kind of have that creative kind of background too, right. So what is it, I mean, obviously just, you know, family stuff, but like [inaudible] called, what was the calling for you to kind of get involved in? Just like, well this is kind of what, what mom and dad or whatever it did.

03:32 Yeah. It's hard to explain. It's just one of those things that it's like, it felt right. You know, jewelry and always like looking at Georgia and I, um, actually made joy for awhile and sold it on an Etsy shop before I started working at Ben Bridge. You know, just cause I always had to be in jewelry, you know, in some capacity and um, yeah. So it's just always been there and been a passion and it's great to get to do that everyday.

03:55 Um, so what are kind of some common things in, and I know you kind of write up some notes too about some stuff that you deal with day to day, but what are kind of some common, you know, uh, questions that you find yourself answering, you know, for people kind of daily when it, when it's involved, you know, with, especially with weddings and things or kind of concerns that people have.

04:13 Yeah. Um, I mean the biggest thing is, you know, as far as like finding a place. So there's, there's just so much information out there, especially online and in stores and everyone had talked to seems to have different ideas about it. So the biggest thing is just finding a joy that you trust someone that you can go to. Cause it's, it's really a relationship that you're establishing. You know, it's similar with like finding good videographer or something. It's like you're going to always have that, but the difference of the jeweler is you're going to go back there every six months or every year to get cleanings and stuff. So it's really important to just find so many like talking to and, um, find somebody new trust. Um,

04:51 it's funny when a, so we got my wife's ring is, my moms I guess is my mom's engagement ring. And then, um, my dad had given her some diamonds at some point and uh, we ended up kind of making its own. It's your own thing that, it's her wedding band now, but it was like, you know, she just wears one ring. And, uh, it was funny because we had gone in and they had placed everything and done it. And so I said, I went into this jewelry and it wasn't Ben Bridge and I don't, I won't say who it was, but I go in to pick up her ring. And I said, Oh hey, um, you know, I think I need to start figuring out kind of what beyond I want to have and you guys have anything here? And they were like, oh, um, and they just like kind of pulled open the drawer and they just have like five or six things on like a little like plastic Tupperware. And then I'm like, well this is kind of what we offer. And that was like, oh, I said, well that doesn't make me feel very specialist high. And so I ended up finding another place in God we went through, I mean there was like a million different things, online catalogs and stuff. Cause I mean, obviously, you know, the main priority is on, you know, the girl and kind of getting her stuff, but the guys also needs some love too, right?

05:55 Absolutely. Yeah. And think the biggest thing is, you know, a lot of people are apprehensive to go into a store. You know, I think it makes a lot of people, you know, uncomfortable cause they just don't know anything about it. So just going in honesty and just trying things on and you don't have to feel like you need to buy something that day. Just, you know, being able to be comfortable, go try things on because it's hard to just look at pictures of stuff online and kind of imagine what you want. But you know, just being able to see it on the hand definitely gives you a much better idea of what you're looking for.

06:23 And then, I mean, do you guys find t I mean I do think it is kind of intimidating. I mean, you know, you kind of see the jewelry store and it's, it's, it's, it's a little you just people just to walk in there every day. And so, yeah, like you said, you know, you want to encourage people to come in, you know, see what they want. Um, do you find, uh, a lot of the people who are like getting stuff online nowadays and is that good or bad or do you find like you need to be way more like cognizant about kind of what you're looking?

06:48 Yeah, I think, I think there's a lot of things to think about when you're purchasing online. Um, I think nowadays still a lot more people, they'll do research online, but they'll end up going to a store to purchase it because you still want to feel it and see it. And a lot of times online you can't return something if you don't like it or, you know, so it's, it's a little bit more stress I think. And you don't know what you're getting when you're getting, getting it online unless you really, really know what you're an expert, which most people aren't. Um, so I think just being able to go in person and see things in the store is just such a big benefit. And I think a lot of people appreciate that.

07:20 Well. And I also like, I think, you know, like, um, you know, if it looks like it's too good of a deal, I can, it looks like it's too good to, same thing. Kind of like with the wedding dresses. I think a lot of people think, oh, I'll just get like, that's something I can get online and maybe save some money and get it shipped from overseas or whatever. And like, uh, rarely have I ever heard like that working out. Well, you know, I mean obviously it happens. Yeah,

07:39 yeah, yeah. The biggest thing is I always tell people, you get what you pay for. You know, it's like you could be the lucky person that that found the deal of the century, but it's probably not true. You know, especially with like diamonds and, and you know, precious metals and stuff like that, you know, you can, two rings can look similar, there'll be a big price difference. The reason the price difference, you might not realize the one online weighs a lot less or you know, it's, it's thinner or you know, the diamond may not look as good in person or something. Like that. So, you know, you really get what you pay for when you're, when you're getting jewelry. So just kind of be aware of that when you're purchasing.

08:12 Yeah, I mean, and like I said, Kinda, you know, of anything, you know, from your wedding, you know, your bands or rings or whatever it, you know, is one of those things like you're going to have forever. Right. And so I think that like, wanting to make sure a, that you know, you're set up with someone that's, um, you know, establishing that you can go back in and, you know, if you ever need to get it like resized or cleaned or whatever, but then also the know that it's going to last. Right? I mean, do you find like, I don't know, do you find yourself having to like, educate people on that and like, make sure they know that they can go to you versus like finding something?

08:43 Yeah, I think a lot of it too is, you know, it's just, like I said, there's just so much online, so many things. Like, I want you to videos sometimes about like, you know, like diamonds secrets or like things to know. A lot of it is just, just people's opinions rather than the truth of things, which can be kinda scary and a lot of people will come in and they'll have read something or heard something and it's kind of Nice to be able to kind of help people understand what the truth is or the reality or you know, certain gemstones people really like, but maybe what their lifestyle, it's not going to hold up to that, but they're not aware of that. If they just, you know, buy it from somewhere that's not going to help them understand. Um, you know, the purpose and how everything works.

09:24 Do you find now having kind of gone through the wedding process mirror, like I always say like I feel like I'm a better wedding vendor, like having been married and kind of got through that. Do you feel like you can kind of like talk with couples like more now? Like yeah, you've been in their shoes and kind of gone through that.

09:40 Yeah. And it helps just to like understanding where they've been and you know, establishing that relationship too. And you know, being able to give them tips and tricks that aren't necessarily jewelry related. I'd be like, Oh yeah, make sure you do this or this or you know. So it's always kind of fun to, to get to talk to them about that. Yeah.

09:58 So what, what yeah, I talk about Kinda like what your wedding planning experiences like, cause I do think it's kind of unique today were, you know, like you know, you guys recently, you know, married back in October of 16 and like, you know, I Kinda, you know, we kind of went through that and you know, obviously I only got a small part of the bit, but kind of like, what was it like kind of planning the wedding as you know, it engaged couple of, kind of like in this yellow area. Cause I do think like half of our listeners are like vendors and then half or like other people getting married.

10:25 Yeah. Yeah. I think there was a lot that went into it and I think it was kind of helpful for, for my fiance, my wife amber to the I, you know, was in jewelry and also worked in catering to while I was going to college. So I kind of had a leg up on a lot of those things and helping plan that. And um, yeah, as far as Seattle goes, I mean there's, we looked at so many different venues and trying to figure out where we're going to go cause there's like, do you want your guests have to walk six blocks, you know, through a city to go to something versus sort of lucked out being able to just get everything on one place and um, yeah. And then just so many vendors to choose from. And I was, I was asking, my family were on the way over here, like how did we end up choosing read as our, you know, cause I was like, I don't really remember cause she kind of looked up most of that and she was like, I think this works.

11:09 And I was like, yeah, that looks great. You know, but it was just, you know, she was looking it up and finding everything and you know, obviously it was a budget that goes in, you know, just the biggest thing I think for weddings is the budget. You know, when you see that in jewelry too, people can't just, you know, get whatever they want. Sometimes they have to like figure out what makes sense. And um, CF finding like a videographer that had really good reviews and you know, looking at the videos and a style that we liked and just a ton of research. I think every couple goes through. It's just researching. And so I think especially for vendors having a presence, you know, online is a huge thing. Having lots of reviews is a big thing to, to be able to have that presence and have that, that trust that customers can have because it's not like, you know, you can have your wedding and have videographer and be like, well next, next time we get married I'm going to have a different videographer. Cause it's like, no, you really get one shot. So making sure it's right the first time, even though you have to put a little bit of faith into it I think is important.

12:08 Yeah. Cause it's hard. I mean, and I tell people at the time, like if, you know, most if not all of the vendors at our wedding where people that we had, um, you know, I had worked with before and I always tell people like, I don't know what I would've done. You know, how I would have been able to find vendors. Like if I hadn't, I knew these people, I'd worked with them until like, I always like really a sim. I sympathize with people trying to, you know, you've never met this person from Adam and maybe you have a phone call or like, you know, we met at your venue for, you know, 20 minutes and you're like, now you got to trust them, you know, to take this football home. I mean, do you, uh, besides we've used in some of me, I guess, what advice would you have for, for people kind of like, you know, questions to ask or things to look for

12:51 or for their vendors? Yeah, I think, um, examples of their work. That's a big thing, right? Like for you on your, your website or whatever. I'm sure you have, there's a lot of videos of things or like your Instagram and things like that. So we can see what has this person done. It is that aligned with what we want for our wedding. It does so great. We'll choose out or you know, especially with photography, that's a big thing too because it's, it's, it's almost not about who you are, it's about what you've done. You know, when it boils down to at the end of the day it's, it's a product, it's a service. But really it ends up being a product. And you know, it's great for me being a part of Ben Bridge, cause you know, we started in Seattle in 1912 so you know, there's a lot of that history and trust and still run by the bridge family.

13:34 You know, Lisa Bridges our president. So it's kind of Nice to have that. And you know, just sharing your story. I think that's a big thing because it's like, you know, wedding vendors are people too, you know, like you're a videographer but you're also a person, you know, and you got married and you kind of know what that's like. And I think sharing your story, you know, will help your, you know, potential customers kind of be able to connect with you on a different level and getting to know them and really caring about their story I think is important.

14:02 Um, I want to kind of talk about, um, as we're talking about kind of your wedding planning, you know, just to share kind of your story about, you know, why you guys got married, where you did and kind of that whole thing because I think it's awesome and it's certainly something that's unique, so kind of set it up too much.

14:18 Yeah. Yeah. So like I said, you know, when I was going to college, I worked in catering at the hotel deca here in Seattle. Um, and my future wife, who I didn't know what the time was, I'm working at a murder mystery dinner at the, at the same hotel. So I was, I ended up working a lot of those events and catering. And so that's how we got to know each other. Um, when we worked together, we did a lot of the events in this one specific room, which we ended up being able to get married in the same room that we met in, which is kind of cool and pelvic hasn't, it doesn't happen that often. Um, so yeah, it was, it was a lot of things who are a little bit easier knowing the venues and the spaces and how catering works and all that. And, um, so you're able to figure it out and make it work.

15:05 No, I think it was, I think it was an awesome story and that, you know, even I think in like your vows and the second, you know, it was kind of all, uh, you know, just circled around. I just think that's cool because I don't think a lot of people like, cause like we had a wedding yesterday and he had proposed to her in Paris. And so there was like a lot of like themes about Paris and like the Eiffel Tower and stuff, but like, you know, they'd be able to get married and kind of the room that you met, you know, and kind of with that rich history, I think it's really cool as opposed to like, you know, unless they like, I guess they could fly back to Paris for them pass a little less doable. So, uh, but overall you would say like, I'm getting married in Seattle, kind of going through that process. I mean you felt like you obviously happy with everything and kind of, you know, thrilled with how your day turned out.

15:46 Yeah, absolutely. I mean there's just so many more options obviously in a big city than in a small town. And you know, everything just has a tendency to cross a little bit more as far as like, you know, food and venues and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, it worked out. I mean there's not much I would change. Um, and at one thing, especially where I read, like chose where like how I really want a good photographer, a good videographers, because amber mom got married I think probably in like the 70s, maybe like the 70s or something like that. I hope she doesn't hear this, but um, but she's, all she had was a VHS tape of her wedding or like a yes or no, not VHS cassette recording. So it was just, just the sound of it. And she said like she would pay just about anything to, to go back and to have a video. So you could, and I think we'd see that even being married just three years. It's like everyone's snore. I just go back and rewatch it and it makes you feel like you're there again and it has that, that special feeling. So yeah, it's, it's, it's, there's just certain things you don't want to I guess like skimp on, you know, it's like there's certain things you just got to look down the road 10 years from now, what's going to be important to us. Let's focus on that.

16:52 And so, and then I know that you can say you help do your, rang for your, and then did, you did talk me through kind of the jewelry for your guyses wedding cause I know a little bit but I don't want to get the history wrong.

17:02 Yeah. So at the time, you know, I was making jewelry, so there was, um, you know, I was able to design both of our rings and we both have a blue diamond and I ring, which is Kinda nice cause it's like you don't have to just do the same thing. I think a lot of people have their, the notions about what needs to be done, but it's like, it's really a want industry, you know, it's like, what do you want, you know, pursue that, make that happen. Um, and then I realized I totally forgot to make amber a wedding band and it was like the night before the wedding and we're both like stressed out and like, you know, writing our vows and she was asleep. And so I had my little, my little jeweler's bench that I made jewelry out right next to the bed. And so I, I was, I was like sawing through like making a little silver ring for her, hammering on it and polishing it and like she was sleeping. So I just like picked up her hand and was like, try and make sure it fit right. And, um, got it the right size. And so that was kind of a special little memory. Just, you know, it doesn't have to be super fancy. You just, you know, make something that'll last and something that has memories to it.

18:02 That's awesome. The amber is here in the plant with Rosie in the background and kind of laughing at this story. That's fascinating. I had no idea about that. That's crazy. Uh, so obviously like kind of one of the trends we talk about nowadays on the podcast is, you know, a lot of customization with weddings. You know, lot of, you know, couples wanting to bring their own stuff. So obviously, I mean, you literally like use your trade, you know, I mean, that's fascinating to me. Um, d do you, did you, obviously you guys can kind of enjoy it, but just talking about kind of that idea of like adding like personalization, do your as day.

18:35 Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think that's such a big thing nowadays too. Nobody wants what everyone else has and it's different from maybe like 30 40 years ago with social, social media. Everyone sees what everyone else has. So they want something more unique. There's so much, so many images out there, especially when people come to me for like engagement rings, wedding band and say I want something, I'm pretty, that's somewhat traditional but a little bit different. I think that's really important. Being able to sort of offer that customization to clients I think is really big. You know, whether it be any kind of vendor, you know, photography, catering, you have to be able to sort of meet the customer's needs and adapt, you know, change things differently or if they want something different, you know, it's hard to just be like, well this is what we do. Sorry. You know, because that never goes out well and like, you know, it's not about you. It's about making the customers happy and um,

19:27 yeah cause I wanted to talk about that because uh, customization kind of like with the rings and stuff and kind of like what you guys see nowadays. Cause like I know like my ring, like I have a lot of grooms, uh, the weddings I shoot and I always call us like ring buddies because like I have the same like that same ring, you know. So kind of talking about, you know, the ability that you guys have nowadays to really like help you know, men or women kind of with ever like figure that customer. I was like, I didn't even know. So explain to me like what, like what kinds of stuff are you guys able to do or like what do you see common things now that you help people work through?

20:00 Yeah, so it's nice to, we just actually launched our own bridal collection in November at Ben Bridge. Um, the bell Aponte line. So the nice thing about that is basically it's as you wish, whatever you want, we can make it, which is really nice. And with technology nowadays we can do really good computer renderings. So it's not just like a computer image where it's like everything's a different color cause it's just like a computer. It's a really nice rendering that looks just like an actual picture at the same reflections and stuff. Um, so being able to see that, um, and we have these hologram machines, so when you're doing a custom work through us, we can actually show you like a Hologram of what it'll look like, which is Kinda cool. Um, so you can like zoom in and turn it and like see every angle of it.

20:44 Um, and then creating you, once we settle on a design, we can create a wax so you can actually try it on and see what it'll look like. The wax is a different color, but you'll be able to get a good idea of what it looked like. Um, and then after that, um, it just takes, you know, a couple of weeks to produce the finished during, you know, we'll make sure it fits and everything. The biggest thing I see that, um, since especially nowadays everyone wants something unique, uh, as time, a lot of people will come in and say like, Oh, I want this, this, and this. I'm like, yeah, absolutely. Like, when are you hoping to have it by? They'll say Saturday, I'll say, I'm so sorry. Like that's not possible, you know? So I think just being able to plan if you're, if you're wanting something unique, planning for it, giving enough time cause anything's possible with enough time and money. Right. You know, so just planning, giving enough time for it. Um, a lot of customer it can take up to 12 weeks, which is why I like four months, three months or something like that. So yeah, giving yourself enough time is a big deal and just being able to figure out what you want is huge.

21:46 That's cool. Yeah. Like you said, be kind of being able to like, you know, do those renders and things. Cause you know, I mean, I know like, you know, with video, like, um, you know, things change kind of depending on the light they're in or, or you know, how, you know, if it's outside or what kind of, what light and especially like with jewelry, kind of like how the light reflects off that and how it looks. So, you know, obviously being able to do all that is, is way better than I imagined years ago. And it was just like, here's like, you know, rough guess of what it's going to look like. Right.

22:14 Yeah. I just have to have faith. I think. Yeah, just like building that trust and setting expectations is huge. You know, cause I know as a jeweler what it's gonna look like when it's finished. It's good to like, just convey that to the customer how it's going to look or how it's going to feel. Um, and even as like any kind of in a sec, a videographer, photographer and being like, oh, like it's gonna be an outdoor, you know, just so you know, this is what the sunlight, or depending on the weather, it's going to be like, just setting those expectations, just kind of as a better recipe for success down the road. Okay.

22:43 Um, so do you find a lot of couples like taking advantage of those things or is that something that like, obviously it's a newer technology that people are still kind of figuring out. Like, what would you say, like, do a lot of people customize now or how does that work?

22:57 Yeah, I think so. And I think especially with what the different metal options, like rose gold, yellow, gold, white, gold, platinum, you know, there's so many options. Somebody will see something and want to in a different metal. And you know, it was probably a little bit different than it used to be, where like, you know, like the, the person who was proposing would come in and secret and pick out something and not show anything. But couples come in together all the time. It's definitely much more common to see couples walking in then just, you know, that lone person coming in and trying to figure everything out. And, um, so I think it's nice because it takes a little bit of stress off the person that's proposing, cause you know, it's, you don't know, you know, you, you're pretty sure they're going to say yes, but you don't know if they're going to like the ring or, you know. So I think there's just so many options and um, yeah, I think people take advantage of the custom customization and you know, I like this exact during but want it in a different metal, so get perfect, let's do that, you know, making it,

23:48 do you enjoy kind of being a part of that and kind of like getting to interact and like here are the stories and whether it's like the guy or whatever we're going to propose or if it's a couple like, you know, obviously you're human. I mean the rings like kind of a major part of that. Do you like come to be in having that role in it?

24:04 Yeah, that's what it's all about. You know what I mean? You know, being in the jewelry industry, it's not always happy days. You know, like sometimes it'll be somebody bringing in jewelry from some, like their parents or you know, a family member that passed away. So it's not always happy. But the great thing is with weddings and engagement, you know, 99% of the time it's a happy thing, you know? So yeah, getting to be a part of that. And getting to know the couples and you know, seeing what they need and you know, just getting to know them like what were their weddings have like who's coming in. And um, I think that's, that's a, that's a fun thing. It's not just, you know, just a mechanical process. Like I think a lot of times it can be online. You know, when you're purchasing from online, you're not really buying from a person, you're not building a relationship, you're just, um, just ordering something and it shows up, you know. So I think that's nice is to build that relationship. And when they come in, you know, you know their name, you can help them, you already know the whole story. So when they come in and they need something, you just, you're that next step closer to help it be able to help them,

24:59 which is really great. I think one thing I wanted to talk about is, you know, the whole idea of like, you know, the blood diamonds are, or where the diamonds come from. Cause like I know w when Dorothy got, when we got engaged, it was big for her that she wanted a like, um, I, I heritage something that had existed already. And so like I said, we ended up having my mom's engagement ring that we kind of customized for her. But do you find that that's a concern with like brides nowadays and how do you guys kind of work with that?

25:27 Yeah, I think, you know, there's just so much in like the media and online about like, you know, like conflict diamonds and diamonds a which is basically any diamonds that are that fund like wars usually in like third world countries, you know, overseas and places like, uh, um, the nice thing is, you know, being an American gem society jeweler, you know, we take an oath to never supply any conflict diamonds. So there's something called the Kimberley Process, which basically helps track diamonds from their source and they have to get stamped every time they crossed the border and they're weighed and looked at and inspected. So all the way from the cutter to the jewelry store, there's basically a chain of custody. And another thing, aside from just the Kimberley Process is being able to know exactly where your diamond came from. So diamonds had been mined in Canada probably just for about 20 years, which a lot of people aren't aware of, which is Kinda cool.

26:18 Um, so it's, it's a modern diamond mine. It's a lot different, you know, than sometime in mines used to be. Um, the diamonds are tracked all the way from the mind. So when you buy a diamond at Ben Bridge, part of where at Cooma collection, all the Canadian diamonds, you get a little certificate that'll tell you exactly which mine it came from. You can look it up and see when it was mine, what the rough diamond weight, which is Kinda cool. Um, and just, just knowing that story is kind of Nice and kind puts people at ease a lot. Cause I think a lot of people are apprehensive because, you know, especially nowadays you don't want to be funding anything that's, that's, that's not good or it's not helping the world. And the nice thing about, about like Canadian diamonds for instance, is, you know, they create a lot of jobs.

26:58 They're environmentally responsible. They measure the diamond mines, measure the fish populations and Caribou populations and make sure that what they're doing is not having an impact on the environment. And when the diamond mine is finished, they kind of like put the land back as best they can to the way that it was, which is nice. Um, so I think that's a really important thing is just realizing that, you know, it's okay to want a diamond. It's okay to have a diamond. It doesn't necessarily say anything that it's, you know, it can be a good thing and just just ask, when you go to a jeweler, just make sure that they, they're aware of what they're doing and they're, you know, being socially, environmentally conscious.

27:33 That's a great point because like I said, we, you know, it ended up working out well, kind of like recycling and my mom's and obviously, you know, Dorthy was kind of happy with that. Like we didn't know that, right? Like, no, I don't think that she knew that that was like, we didn't know that was a thing. So I think, yeah, like obviously, you know, people just, I think nowadays like people just want to like do the right thing or like not do the wrong thing. And so I think yeah, if you would know like, oh we can do this alternative, cause you know, we have looked like doing the ones that they, um, the manufacturer. Right. What are those called? Like a, like a synthetic or a lab grown diamond. Yeah. So I mean we kind of like, you know, he wanted that idea. Did you find that that's a common thing people were still doing or is that kind of taken off?

28:11 Yeah, I mean the interesting thing about a lab grown diamond is, you know, the pricing is changing as the years go by it because it's easier and easier to produce them. So, you know, you'd like to say if you bought one now and it's maybe like 70% of the price of like a real diamond, um, maybe in like 10 years, it could be like 20%. You know, so it's like, it's not necessarily that joy is an investment, but just putting your money into something that will last I think is kind of Nice. And you know, the rarity of a diamond is, is kind of spectacular. Each one is completely unique, you know, aside from lab grown diamonds, which tend to be much more, much more similar. Um,

28:47 so you're saying that they are, they aren't going to hold their value as, as long. That's right. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Then something that's, um, obviously that's natural, right? Yeah,

28:57 yeah, yeah. And it's, you know, I tell people never buy jewelry as an investment. You know, it's just buy something you're going to like and enjoy it. But it is, it is kind of Nice to know that like, you're not, you know, you're not putting money into something that, that has no value or, you know, other than emotional.

29:13 It does, but it does a great way to, but uh, yeah. And also because you know, kind of going back to the whole like, you know, conflict diamonds and all that, um, do you find having kind of that chain of custody, like you called it, you know, it helps people know that like, you know, what they have is like real or is worth what they think it's worth or, I mean, do you find that people have a lot of those questions when it comes to like buying jewelry or like is this thing legitimate? Is this real? So talk kind of about that and how do you, I mean obviously Ben Bridge is going to be like up on, you know, doing the right thing, but like do you find people getting stuff online or whatever, like run into those issues where like it's not what they think it is or it's not worth it

29:52 worth when they think of this? Yeah, I think a lot of times people purchase things online and they will come in to Ben Bridge and ask us to look at it. And, you know, I'd say sometimes it's not what they thought it was, which is a little bit concerning. You know, there's so many places to go and get things. And I think just having that peace of mind is really big. You know, from the jewelry that you go to just having that peace of mind. Like I said, knowing them, trusting them. It's a relationship, you know, that's going to last for years and years and outside of just like your wedding jewelry, like going back to someone that knows you, that you know, knows your style and can help you pick out birthday gifts and anniversary gifts and you know, other things like that I think is really, really special. And um, yeah, I think the biggest thing is just just doing a little bit of research, you know, and making sure that the company that you're, that you're buying from you trust. Okay.

30:39 Do you guys have kind of an internal philosophy about like, so you know, Kinda like videography and then we're kind of capturing whatever like a forest or kind of making it pretty like, you know, where the ring kind of like is like the fundamental part of that. Like you guys get really excited about being a part of like that wedding process and where do you guys see your role kind of in that? And it's a terrible question, but I know what I'm trying to ask.

31:05 Yeah, well I think just us being the experts and having all those years and decades and centuries of knowledge on things I think is really, really helpful. And you know, building something that's going to last I think, you know, is really important. Um, you know, there's a lot of, a lot of things, you know, you can buy something in sterling silver with cubic Zirconia and it's gonna be really pretty, but you may not realize that after a couple of years you're going to not be able to wear it because all the stones fall out. Or, you know, like the stones don't last or so, you know, at Ben Bridge it's, it's really about just billing, you know, quality and standing behind it, which is why we have all over warranties and making sure that where you're going to go and purchase joy from is going to be there, you know, in 10, 20 years. It's kind of important, you know, and make sure that the warranty's make sense and that you know, you're covered and that they'll take care of you is really, really important is that we always want to take care of people. That's kind of paramount to us.

31:57 So when you're kind of talking about, you know, obviously people said the end up, but you know, relationship with their jeweler and you know, making sure that, you know, they have someone that they can trust, you know, talking about kinds of, some of the other things that people can, you know, use you guys for in terms of like, you know, anniversary gifts or, you know, what kind of other options do people have?

32:14 Yeah, I think, uh, I really fun tradition that I, that still carries on today as wedding gifts. You know, that that secret gift that like, you know, that the couple will give each other on the wedding day, you know, when they're kind of alone in theirs and they're getting ready rooms and stuff like that. You know, I think watches nice time piece is a really a really special thing. And um, we've been doing watches for over a hundred years at Ben Bridge, so we have, you know, really great selection and just lots of fun things to, to find and help pick out something special that they can wear, you know, on the wedding day and then have that memory to take with them for the rest of their lives too.

32:49 I guess one other thing we should attention on you, like you said, being able to, you know, bring jewelry back, like have it cleaned or whatever. I'm like, obviously, and I don't know the answer to this, but if someone has like issues with their ring, like, you know, a year later to sort of like what kinds of warranties and stuff, how does that work? I don't know. Cause like Dorothy is this custom kind of sets. I don't know if we even kind of fit into that balance. Is that traditionally work?

33:12 Yeah. Yeah. It's a little bit different when you go to like a really small, more like mom and pop shop. They might not have the same warranties or something like that, but most jewelry stores will have a six month warranty, which if you get, you know, your ring checked every six months, they check it off. And then if any of the stones fallout, you know, typically those are covered. That's the way it is at Ben Bridge. Um, and then there's also a lifetime care plan which you can add to jewelry. Um, and then that, that would basically cover everything, like sizing, refinishing for life. So you don't have to ever pay anything out of pocket again. Um, just having that covered is really nice. Um, and at Ben Bridge any been bridge ego too or a lot of different jewelry stores, you know, we'll, we'll clean your jewelry for free even if it's not from there.

33:54 That's kind of Nice. I think a lot of people don't get their jewelry cleaned as often as they should. You know, it's like a teeth cleaning, you know, go every six months and, but if it's been a couple of years, you know, might need more work. So it's good to understand that and that, you know, your jewelry will need work down the road no matter what metal it's made out of, it's going to need to be fixed and repaired. You know, stones might come out. So just good to understand that that needs to happen. And um, a great way, you know, cause I know that not everybody listening to this will necessarily be, you know, in an area where those had been bridges. You can always go to the American gem society website and they have a little tab called find a jeweler and you can go in there and put in like your zip code and they can help you find a jeweler in your area that's part of the American gem society. So someone that's trusted that's been around and you can even see the names of everyone who's a registered jeweler who's done that training. So you can go to that store and asked for that person, which is Kinda cool, you know? So that way, you know, you're talking to someone that will, there's knowledgeable, it'll take care of you.

34:50 Yeah. And I did want to make sure we kind of like highlighted it kind of all the, the specifics, you know, that you got had to do, like be certified for that. So like, you know, just walk us through that process a little bit. I know we talked a little bit about the certification and beginning, but kind of like, what does that mean and how intensive kind of was that to go through?

35:09 Yeah. So it, it really starts with, um, the Gemological Institute of America, the GIA, which is a sister company with the ags. So there, there are two companies are founded by Robert M Shipley in 1934, um, to basically kind of help educate and regulate the industry because before that there wasn't a lot of regulation as far as diamond grading and now there's a pretty strict set of standards. Everyone follows. Um, but as far as being a registered jeweler or being like certified gemologist or things like that, um, there's a lot of the classes that you take through the Gia, which basically kind of take you through all the Ma, the current information up to date information on diamonds and stuff like that. And I took a week long diamond grading class, basically just staring into a microscope for a week straight looking at diamonds. And you know, it's, it's, it's really great to, to be able to know what you're talking about. I think it really helps you kind of set up the customer better to get what they want. If you know what you're talking about. I think that's super important. You know, for any vendor, right. But especially with, you know, diamonds and things like that, that could be really, really confusing for first time, first time buyers.

36:16 Well and I did it in the end. Not only is it, is it a huge investment, you know, cost wise, like you said, like most people don't like, you know, you might buy like, you know, your wedding bands and whatever and then like, I dunno like a 50 year anniversary and it's not something that people buy all the time. So you want to go in, um, you want to find someone you can

36:35 trust. Right? Absolutely. I mean, yeah, trust is, trust is a, you know, and, and, and understanding that the person you're talking to knows what they're talking about. You know, cause I have been into a lot of a lot of jewelry stores just because it's fun to go into Georgia Stars and see what everyone else has. And you know, I have found that a lot of times I'll ask a question and somebody will give me information that's not completely accurate. So I think that's part of what the American Gem Society stands for is, you know, it's really easy to mislead a customer, not intentionally, just by not knowing what you're talking about. You can be lying to your customers and you know, you can be super confident in it, but it may not be the accurate so people can get misled and then it leads to, you know, heartbreak down the road. So, yeah. Yeah. It just really comes down to trust and not, and knowing that who you're talking to is knowledgeable.

37:20 Perfect. That was great. Uh, if people, um, what, what's kind of next for you, for you guys? Uh, I mean it can obviously always continued education and things like that, but like where do you, or is there more certifications you need to take? Or are you just going to like what's kind of your guys' goal now and then where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?

37:39 Yeah, I think just, yeah, continuing, you know, the education and helping people find great jewelry and stuff like that and just being available for people. Yeah.

37:49 Ah, and then spending time with your, your awesome wife and dog. Yeah, they're great. Yeah. Talk a little bit about kind of your personal time when you're not, um, you know, involved in obviously in Ben Bridge. What do you guys do and, and give us a little bit behind the curtain.

38:04 Yeah. Yeah. So my wife works at, um, at the sale of theater group, so we got to go see a lot of shows, which is really fun. It's not something I ever did before. I met her, you know, go to see like musicals or theaters, you know, like plays and stuff like that. But yeah, it's, it's been a lot of fun getting to do that. And yeah, like you said, we, we rescued a little, a little Pomeranian dog that's been, you know, absolutely nuts. Totally crazy. And I'm worth it, I guess. You know, I tell my wife like, we would probably not have kept him. He wasn't so cute, so, yeah. But he's got a good home now and yeah, we just have fun just living the life.

38:42 Yeah. I always see, yeah. The Instagram posts of like, oh, we're at, you know, the lion king now. We're like always saying is, I was like, ah, I get jealous cause it's fine. Well, you know where to go to get tickets, so, right. Let us know. Uh, that's awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming in. Uh, and, and you know, it's a good, uh, amber, it hit me up before about getting you on and I'm so glad we kinda like got this connected and to get to see you guys again, that, you know, face to face. I always tell people, and I've talked to other vendors like, you know, uh, you spend the, you know, the wedding day with some line and it's like this super intensive day and then like you never see him again and it's always, it's just weird. So it's kind of Nice to get to connect again. Uh, if people want to learn more about, you know, Ben Bridge and I, you know, like even this, it sounds like this crazy like customization stuff you guys do. Now I'm just talking about the website and then kind of where people can find more info.

39:29 Yeah, you can go to the, you know is a great place for any resources. Um, you know, if you ever have any questions, you can always email me You know, I'm always available to answer questions. You can always come in to any Ben Bridge store, you know, we're all knowledgeable and trained and so we know what we're talking about. So, and they're kind of all over, right? Yeah. Mostly like western United States, but yeah,

39:52 but anywhere kind of in Seattle, like I know there's like in Bellevue, obviously you're at the North Gate location and yeah. But all of it. Yeah.

39:58 Yeah. Downtown Bellevue, Alderwood, Southcenter. All over the area.

40:04 Perfect. Uh, and uh, before we go, I wanted to make sure I know it. So this is a, we're going into our second year, uh, of the podcast. Now this is actually episode 52 I think it will be. And so if people want to, um, set up, uh, maybe if you're a vendor and you're interested in coming on the podcast, I, I've set up a great link, which is a really easy questionnaire. You didn't have to fill it out cause I knew who you were and a if you are, uh, any, any uh, support, you know, if you want to like and subscribe the podcast and leave a review, I have a website It would be a great way to uh, show some support for the podcast. Again, this is our second year of doing it now and immediate, a lot of the vendors and stuff like Michael here. So thank you so much for coming in. Uh, one quick story before we go. I'm, if I haven't rambled on long enough for the shores, two years at the wedding show, Dorothy and I were across from the Ben Bridge, um, booth at the, at the wedding show. And so for two days we sat there and that's all we hummed in our head for two days when we weren't talking to guests.

41:12 So I always have a, I always have a tender place in my heart for Ben Bridge. So thank you so much for coming on. Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thanks.

Simon Mendiola, Brooks Range Photography

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm joined today by a guest I'm really excited about. Um, probably, uh, one of my longer time photography friends, both, you know, seeing him at wedding shows and working together and just kind of, I think we ran into each other last week. I'm just kind of out in the blue. It's Simon Mendiola of Brooks Range Photography. And I want to thank you so much for coming on today. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:43 Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. Uh, my name is Simon Mendiola and I do wedding photography.

00:50 And uh, how would you say that you kind of describe your style? Kind of describe kind of how you look in, in approach weddings.

00:58 So it's very a documentary in the sense that we want to tell your story, but we want to do it, um, in an interesting way. We want your photos to be unique, then we want them to tell your story. Um, but also kind of add that extra drama.

01:16 Yeah. It's funny cause I was kinda thinking about, um, the, you know, this interview today and kind of questions and stuff I wanted to ask. And you know, I work obviously with a lot of the photographers, but um, you know, generally if I'm seeing somebody do something, um, I, I of know, okay, well that's kind of what's going to look like even if I can't replicate it with video. I'm like, okay, they're going to do this or that. And I remember last year we were at, um, uh, Gosh, uh, Indian summer with Theresa and Ryan and you are doing all sorts of stuff. Like I didn't even really know like what the heck it was going to look like and you know, doing some cool like black and white stuff with the groomsmen. And so how do you get kind of those creative ideas and where does that inspiration come from?

01:57 So there's a lot of the inspiration comes from kind of other photographers. Um, I think there's this, there's always been this kind of drive to see like where we can take it and kind of always exploring a new lighting tricks. Uh, you know, everything from like posing obviously to keep it natural or interesting, but just something that's a little bit more out of the box that you don't see every day. And I think that helps not only to kind of deliver the best final product for my clients, my, my couples. Um, but also to kind of keep me pushing it everything creatively, if that makes sense.

02:41 Honestly. I mean even like just filling up your website tonight, I mean you, you know, like I said, you know, I run into a lot of photographers and you know, even like the wedding shows and like Dorothy and I are always meeting people and like I was looking at your stuff and it's like, man for Simon's really good, like seven really knows. Like, cause I was kind of have to tell Dorothy after we meet like, Oh, who is that? I'm like, oh no Simon. Like he really knows his stuff. Like he is a good, he's a good, I don't want to keep kind of talkative. So it Kinda, how did you get involved in weddings and were you always kind of interested in that? They're kind of walked me back, you know, backtrack here, kind of how did you get involved in photography?

03:15 So wedding photography actually was a complete accident. Um, photography itself was kind of a kind of an accident as well. Um, I took like a black and white film class freshman year because I didn't want to take a math class, but besides that I didn't have too much experience behind the camera. And, uh, I was on vacation in the Philippines and it was back when like the camera phones on cell phones were like, weren't very good and I just couldn't quite capture how beautiful everything was. So I was like, I'm going to get a nice camera. And, uh, so I researched it and I'm like, black Friday came around and like waited outside, best buy for a Canon t three. And, uh, but my, uh, my girlfriend at the time, uh, made me wait until Christmas to open it, so that was kind of a month to torture.

04:06 Um, and I just kinda started off trying to shoot landscapes and things like that. And, uh, and then I started shooting a photographing people when my God daughter was born. And then I had some friends that, um, ended up having a baby. And so it was kind of that kind of transition to that. And then one of my coworkers got married and, uh, I also said I would never, never photograph a wedding when I got my camera. Um, and one of my friends got married and, uh, I brought my camera to their wedding and I wasn't their wedding photographer. I just brought it. I love taking photos at that point. Um, so I just kind of did my thing and they weren't, they weren't great by any by any means, but I fun doing them and they enjoyed them. Um, and then a couple months passed and my other coworker actually, uh, ended up getting engaged and asked me.

04:55 She was like, I really love what you did and mark and Marcus is his wedding. Um, would you photograph mine? And I was like, I'm not a wedding photographer. I want to make that very clear. She's like, well, I'd really like it, like for you to do it. Um, so I think that was probably in like June and their wedding was in like may of next year. And so I took that time because I really, really didn't want to screw up their wedding. Um, I took that time to actually learn like how to photograph weddings because it definitely is, it's its own genre and it poses its own challenges. It's a little bit of everything. Um, but you also have to do all of that stuff is, you know, kind of under a time crunch. Um, so, and I ended up just by, by learning wedding photography.

05:47 I think I've always loved, um, kind of working on a tight schedule. Um, like I like the pace, I like, um, it, it's a challenge and I think that keeps it fun and interesting to be able to deliver, I guess a studio quality images. And like commercial level images, uh, when you have, you know, five to 10 minutes to do a set of photos sometimes. So that really kind of drew me in and, uh, it's just, I always kind of invested in, um, education and kind of learning the gear and then learning lighting. Um, and here we are as great as debate, but a lot of that education was really on your own, right. A lot of it. Um, I do have to give, uh, definitely credit where credit is due. Um, I met my former business partner, uh, Chris with Chinook photography and we met at a wedding show.

06:46 I just saw one of his images and it was just like, hey, that's, that's beautiful. And we kind of hit it off and we ended up starting to shoot together. We worked really well together and so we decided to kind of combine and create what is now Brooks range for photography. Um, so we worked together for many years and uh, he kind of allowed me the space to really try the things. Um, you know, that I had been learning, um, and in kind of a way that you wouldn't, because you never want to experiment necessarily on somebody's wedding day. So by having the two of us there, um, you know, he would get the shots and then it would free me up to kind of try some of the more ambitious lighting things. Um, and then I also, one of my big kind of photography a idols I guess, uh, is Pi Jurors, uh, with Lennon, Jersey photography.

07:40 Um, and I actually had the opportunity to go down and take a kind of intensive, uh, it was the first one they did. It was an intensive, a wedding photography workshop down in The Bahamas. So that was kind of an experience. And, uh, you know, the time I was like, I don't know how I'm going to afford this. This is fiscally irresponsible, but I'm just going to commit to it and I'll figure it out later. And I'm so glad I did because at that time I was kind of creatively in a Rut. I wanted to take my photography to the next level. Um, but I couldn't quite figure out how and just the things that I learned from him, a really kind of, you know, like just that extra 5% attention to detail and you know, don't be afraid to do like move things if you need to move them and put them back. Just very little things like that, very attention to detail and kind of kind of seeing. But also planning beforehand was, was a big one. Um, and so I definitely, between Chris and Pi, um, they definitely helped me quite a bit to get to where I am. So it's crazy cause like we were even talking, uh, I don't know at some point about, you know, even some of the staff were a severe, remaining isn't the right word, but where you're trying new things even out of the wedding and you'll like, you

08:56 know, you'll go out like they'll be eating or you know, the bride and groom or whoever will be easy. And then you'll be like, well, I'm going to go outside of here for like five minutes. Like, get this. Perfect. So then they can come out, give this incredible shot and then go back in. And it was like not, you know, you did all the, you figured it all out, all this stuff ahead of time, uh, even in the moment. And so then the, you know, they get like this once in a lifetime, you know, photo and it was like a minute of their life are so, you know, you go to and talking about,

09:23 yeah. Yeah, I remember. Um, so I, I try to do that, especially because we want to get, I always try to get at least one, what I call like epic shot. And it's usually, you know, when the, when the sun goes down where you can really start to play with lighting and just that drama and that something extra that you don't always see. Um, and that's usually kind of during one of the down moments during the, uh, the reception. But at the same time, um, you don't want to take them away from their guests at that time. So we kind of go out and get everything ready that way. They're only a way for like a very minimal amount of time. And part of that I think is, is planning beforehand. I do, you know, plan kind of like location scout before the wedding day. Uh, kind of figure out everything that I'm gonna need to figure it out, my lighting.

10:17 Um, so that on the wedding day we're not worrying about any of that stuff. I'm focused on them. And the other part of it, aside from the planning is just kind of experience, because you do sometimes get into those scenarios where, you know, you can't plan for something or a schedule. The schedule might, things might happen that order and you have to know. So, so part of it definitely is you plan for as much as you can. Uh, but then the experience kind of kicks in to make sure we're not missing a thing and they're getting a kind of these breathtaking, what we hope are breathtaking images, um, of their wedding day and one of the most important days of their lives.

10:53 No. And I guess I would agree with that. I mean, I look at a lot of, you know, spend a large majority of my life looking at wedding photos and video and it always is something I find enjoyable. Kind of looking at your stuff, whether it's, you know, on Facebook or Instagram or like you're getting ready, you're on the website. So I do, you know, as someone that, um, you know, video isn't as,

11:14 okay

11:14 I think, I think you're, you, you have a lot more tools in your tool belt. I think when it comes to photography and now do you think that you, you are someone that kind of utilizes a lot more of that then, um, you know, did, didn't maybe somebody else or, or whatever. So I do appreciate that. And, and also kind of, you know, me having to maintain kind of like the composure on the day, you know, kind of the bedside manner with the bride and groom or whatnot. And then also kind of trying to figure this out. I mean, do you, do you enjoy kind of, you know, besides this obviously captured beautiful photos, you know, do you enjoy kind of the wedding experience and being a part of that, that talk about your thoughts of being, being, you know, that role in the wedding day?

11:53 Oh, so

11:54 I know earlier I said that like when I first started, I would never shoot a wedding, but it is, it is by far my favorite, absolute favorite genre of photography. Um, there's just, to me it's, there's really like, what's not to love you get to, you get to spend, you get an inside look on, on one of the most important day of two people and essentially their family and friends to of their lives. It's such a big event, you know, people are coming together that don't always get to see each other anymore. So you get to see all these relationships and, and you feel like you get to be a part of that and that's special. And then, um, to be able to tell that story is just amazing. It's a, I feel incredibly grateful. Um, and it's just a good time. It's a great time.

12:43 I love, I love getting to be creative. Um, all of my couples and clients had been fantastic. I couldn't ask for better brides. Grooms a couples. What, what was your planting, you know, if you kind of hadn't gotten the, you know, the, the spark with the travel and everything, you kind of, what was your plan, you know, for, for what you were going to do or did you not, I mean, I didn't, I mean I'm not saying you had to have a plan. I didn't have a plan, but did you kind of know what you were going to do or what you, what you had hoped to do before you got into photography?

13:13 Oh, no, I had like before I got into wedding photography or photography in general, um, photography in general. Now I honestly, when I bought it, I just wanted a nice camera for one. I like traveled and I said I could take pictures of beaches and things like that. And, uh, it turned out at the time, I wasn't a very good landscape photographer, so I moved down to people which ended up working out in my favor. So, but that was actually something that Chris, um, kind of helped me quite a bit with was uh, cause he was coming from a Alaska was, was incredibly talented at kind of a nature photography, landscape, photography and then also incorporating, you know, couples into those photos. And so I learned a lot just kind of from him. Um, so, and we've kind of made that part of our, our brand I guess is to, is to really showcase the environment as well and kind of the landscape and make sure that we're capturing as much of the beauty of, of the venue or the locations that we can.

14:17 Well, and yeah, obviously, you know, in Seattle and kind of the Pacific northwest, I mean, you know, that's kind of, I think one of the things we're known for is, you know, these large, you know, for us in fields and mountains and things. And so, I mean, do you find a lot of inspiration in the area here and where, you know, we're kind of some of your favorite places to check out?

14:36 Oh, so, um, yeah, we've done a lot of, we do get a lot of engagements. Um, you know, obviously being in the Pacific northwest, um, we do enjoy kind of the outdoors and hiking and things like that. Um, one of my favorites I'd have to say is probably probably a rattlesnake lake and the a rattlesnake ledge. I was going to mix it up. The one that you hike up to from the lake, uh, rich rage or ledge, it's what everyone's above the lake. I always get them mixed up, but um, that's probably one of my favorite spots just because you have the, this beautiful lake down below that you can do photos at. And then there's kind of this little off shoot where you have these trees and they're kind of, they're kind of different looking trees and um, well you normally find like a traditional Washington forest, they're a little like thinner and a little more spaced out.

15:28 So it was kind of a cool, like different element. And then of course at the top of a, at the top of the hike, it's just, I mean, the views or if you've ever been up there, you know exactly what I'm talking about, but they've user breathtaking. There's a, I think one of the, there's an engagement shot on the website I think from, from the top there, which, uh, she actually hiked up in that dress amahs flip flops and I was like sweating and I think I had to pretend to tie my shoe just to catch my breath at one point. But, uh, that's, that's probably outdoor is probably one of my favorite locations.

16:03 Um, you know, kind of decided I was trying to kind of type in your website here again in the, in the interim. Um, yeah, besides me, the photographer, do you enjoy the aspects of kind of writing their photography business? Had you ever anticipated, you know, being an entrepreneur kind of doing that? Um, I always ask people, you know, at any family, you know, stuff they had like kind of led you to that or was that kind of a new thing for you to, to branch out and do that?

16:26 I guess? I guess it was kind of a new thing. Um, I know my mom like had a business when I was really young, so, um, you know, she always, I guess she always had that entrepreneur mindset. I think she transferred that to me. Um, but I never, I didn't have any like experience in it prior to, um, so it was definitely a big learning curve. Um, there was kind of learning how to run the business and do the things like, you know, the, the, the things that they don't tell you initially going into it, like, uh, all the SEO and blogging and things like that and uh, so that, that I've kind of had to learn along the way. Um, but yeah, it's, it's been kind of an adventure and it's been a learning process and it's definitely worth it.

17:14 Do you, yeah. Do you enjoy that aspect of it? I mean, I know that it's difficult, you know, how,

17:20 yeah.

17:21 Lee's uh, the little amount in our days and we actually shoot, you know, photos or video versus kind of everything else. You do you enjoy kind of finding that balance or, or how do you think about being the business owner like that?

17:33 Honestly, um, if I could, I would shoot every single day. I would just shoot and edit every single day. But in order to have the business, um, it, you kind of have to do that stuff. So you do. Um, it's definitely, I enjoy the creative side a lot more. Um, I'm not a great writer by any means. So blogging has been, uh, uh, a challenge for me. That whole like picture's worth a thousand words type thing, but then you have to type words out anyway, so

18:06 that's fine. Yeah. I'm just kind of looking through your website now and it is crazy. I mean, cause I've shot a lot of these, I got the address with the uh, the flip flops. You know, cause I've even shot it in a lot of these venues, you know, like oh you guys want to hear it. Salty is, I mean we, you know, we got married that saltiness. I mean I recognize, you know, delay ill and a lot of these different ones. I mean how do you, it seems like you have a really interesting way of, of, you know, finding a different angle or finding somewhere you need to look at that. I mean, how do you keep kind of the inspiration fresh and you know, you talked about taking those classes and stuff like just day to day now. I mean, how do you approach, you know, making sure that you can see something that not everyone else is seeing?

18:44 That's actually, um, one of the first kinds of things when I first got into photography just in general was, uh, I, I don't remember what book it was, but it was one of like the, the kind of most recommended, um, photography books when you first start. And I was just reading that and, um, something in their set kind of t to basically like start looking at your surrounding. So like, whether it's a street lamp or you know, like, uh, some sticker bushes on the side of the road, um, and like look at something that's not interesting and then like try to see how you would make that into an interesting photo. And so like, from the beginning, that's always been kind of in the back of my mind. And I'm, I find myself constantly doing that. Even like when I'm not out photographing anything, when I'm just out walking around, um, I look at something, you know, it's, it's definitely easy when you have, you know, beautiful gardens are trees and things like that or mountains.

19:39 Um, but sometimes you have less interesting kind of surroundings. And I feel like that's kind of our job to make it interesting and make it something cool. And so that just kind of training myself from the beginning to kind of see certain things, um, has helped with that. But it also, I liked that challenge of it too. Like it, it's kind of the added challenge to where like how could I make that look cool? And then, you know, obviously if you can do it, then they know what it looks like when you're standing there and then they see the final product and it's just like that added wow factor. And so that's that kind of, that's always kind of going on in my head. And I think that's what keeps the, uh, inspiration going.

20:26 I guess. I'm probably a terrible interview. I didn't ask. How did, how did that first wedding go with your friend?

20:33 Uh, you know, that by that point it actually, it went, it went better than expected. They were, they were happy with the photos, you know, uh, obviously looking back at your earlier work, it's, uh, you know, I'd hope that everyone who's kind of on a journey looks back and is like, Whoa, I've come a long way. But, um, yeah, they're, they're happy with it. It was a, it was a great learning process. I was fortunate that it was for friends, but it was also like you, I mean, you never want to screw up, but it was also like, I'm going to get to see you the next day at work kind of thing. So, um, yeah, it went, it went better than better than I expected. Um, which is, which is a good thing. So, and kind of just kind of kept building from there.

21:18 Yeah. So then why was he just kind of off to the races at that point that you kind of felt like you kind of had that wedding bug? I definitely had that

21:26 bug. I kind of wanted to shoot as many weddings and as many kind of anything that I possibly could at that point. Um, there was that kind of slump like creatively where I couldn't quite figure, like I had gotten my photography to a level like to where I could get it on my own. And, uh, it was kind of frustrating because I wanted to be at the next level and that's kind of where I actually taking that workshop. Um, really kind of broke through that and it kind of propelled me forward, I guess.

22:05 Where do you think that drive for kind of that perfection, their excellence, kind of that next level? Where do you think that comes from? It's going to sound cheesy, but, um, aside from like, I want to deliver the best possible,

22:18 well, you know, like there's this, that's what's expected me. I want to, I want to deliver the best possible images and really capture the emotion, uh, for my, for my couples. But there's also like, I feel like my photos are kind of an extension of myself because I definitely put myself into them. Um, so it's like when I, when I put a photo out there, it's kind of like I'm putting myself out there. Um, and so that kind of keeps me, I'm always striving to do better and better and better. Um, both from a couples, but also for myself.

22:58 What kinds of couples do you find that you know, are gravitating towards you and what kinds of couples do you find that you like to work with? I've

23:06 very fortunate. I, I'm, I'm, I've always liked interesting characters, you know, um, interesting stories, kind of a unique stories. And, uh, I definitely get, I think, I don't know what it is, uh, about my photography, but I've been pretty fortunate to attract some really interesting and just awesome, outgoing, fun couples. Um, I love to hear their stories. I'm always asking, you know, like one of my first questions is always how they met. And then I also like to learn kind of what they're into and what they like to do together because that will tell you a lot them and um, the relationship and kind of which, which I think you have to know to properly tell their story. So, um, yeah, I don't know if that answers your question.

23:58 No, I think that's a good answer. Um, cause you know, obviously at this point, you know, where you Kinda, you know, fine tuned in in, you know, you have a style that speaks. It's just always curious, you know, kind of who's like, I kind of know like the best made videos client, you know, I just can kind of tell if we meet or, or you know, when you book and you're like, Yep, that's kind of like, that kind of fits in to our just our family of, of clients. And so I'm always just kind of curious, you know, how other people will see that. And if you find like, you, you, like you said you attracted the same kinds of like interesting EOP for what that translates to.

24:31 Yeah, I think, um, I dunno, uh, eccentric might be too strong of a word, but definitely like a lot of my, a lot of my couples appreciate the lighting and the colors and the, and the, and the drama too. Um, I think one of the last weddings we photographed, um, I mean the bride was like, you know, I want everything dramatic, as dramatic as you can make it. We want drama, bring the lighting, you know, do your thing. Um, and so that kind of like basically opened that she just kind of set me loose to, to kind of create, and that was a, that the photos ended up turning out really awesome. So, um, yeah,

25:14 I guess one question I would have for you is, you know, we're someone, they, like you say you, you really liked the drama and you know, kind of like, you know, cool portraits and you know, detailed shots and stuff. How do you approach not, you know, the more mundane moments of the wedding, you know, and not that, you know, it's not all great, but you know, not everything is, is visually stimulating as, you know, setting up but sunset portrait or, or you know, kind of the first kiss or whatever. So how do you kind of bring the style that you have in that, those other, you know, quieter moments of the day?

25:47 That's a great question. Um,

25:49 was there a moment you do, cause you know, cause I, cause I've been alongside you so I know you do. So I'm just kind of curious, kind that that mindset that goes into it.

25:56 Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think, um, again, it's, there's something that always want to push myself creatively and just to make a scene. I almost like, like those moments personally for myself. Um, I kind of like those more mundane moments because it's, it's really a challenge to see kind of like, how can I make this super cool, you know, um, what can I do here to make this scene just, just kind of, I guess more, more interesting or add some drama to it without taking away from, from what's actually happening. And so it's always that, um, kind of pushing myself, I guess. Um, but again, there's a, you know, I'm always constantly, um, I, I think being in a creative field, um, it's really important to kind of connect with other creative people, um, because it, it's only gonna make you better, you know, you're always, so I get a lot of inspiration from all, like a post and, and one of the Facebook communities that I just really like, and I'm like, I'm going to try that next time.

27:06 Or how did they do that and try and figure that out. Um, and then I guess the other part of that is that first and foremost, we're storytellers. And when you look back through the photos, because what people don't realize is, is the wedding day, it happens fast. You know, I hear that so often from my couples that like, it just flew by. Um, so we want to capture all the things that they experienced and, and the emotion of that moment, whether it's laughter or, or like joy. Um, I want, I want to try and capture that in a photo. Um, so that when they look at that, they can feel that again. And you know, even during the kind of slower moments of the day, um, it's kind of like a hunt to, you know, what's, what's grandma doing? Or, you know, dad or, um, there's just things kind of going on at all times that were kind of hunting for. So

28:08 what is your favorite part of the wedding day? You know, is it, is it the, I mean, unfortunately, I guess NBDC answers, so we'll take that one off the board. But what is, what's your favorite part? You know, getting ready or dancing or what do you like to capture the most?

28:22 Oh, um, I mean personally I do, I love the speeches, but like from a photography standpoint, that's definitely where like videography is kind of the, the far superior medium, um, because you actually can capture what's being said and seen. Um, but as far as what I like to photograph or what kind of gets me is, um, the, the first dances, um, I'm a total SAP for the first dances. Uh, the, you know, father, daughter dances, there's just always so much emotion there. Um, and it's just kind of, it's, it's a very, uh, real and kind of raw moment for as much that's planned or isn't planned during the day. Like that, that moment is, is a very, um, it's just, it's just raw and it's just awesome. And, um, yeah, that's, that's probably my second favorite thing to photograph.

29:21 Yeah, this is, is, it gives me that is kind of like this weird like planned thing. Like, okay, we're doing this now. Like it is happening in this very moment, but you do get like so much, um, you know, and it could be the, you know, the bride and groom are, you know, the mother and the father, whatever. But like that is really interesting that you, that up like how this like really planned the thing that like you've known all day is happening and like at eight o'clock that night or whatever, it's still always leads to like so much kind of raw motion.

29:51 Oh yeah. It's, it's, uh, that's one of my favorite things to, uh, definitely the photograph and, um, yeah,

30:00 that's fine. One thing I did want to touch on too, I forgot to bring up when you were talking about, um, you know, photography and in, you know, the weather, it's happening so quick. Yeah. Dorothy and I attended a wedding, ah, for her friend over the weekend and I don't attend that many weddings anymore. And, uh, even as a guest, I was amazed at how fast it went. And I know that, like you said, you know, people, oh, you know, we always say it goes fast, it goes fast. And people, you know, the bridegroom or whatever, always kind of laugh after we, I really did go fast, but you know, I was a guest at attended and I didn't show up. And you know, I, I got there, you know, hour before the ceremony cause Dorothy was in the bridal party, but like it were really fast and I couldn't believe it.

30:40 And I said, I couldn't believe if this was, you know, our wedding day again. And like, I hardly felt like I was there in the hall and I was just kind of talking to people and not even having to do all the other stuff that, you know, if you're actually getting married, you know, that you have to take part in, you know, the man. Yeah, absolutely. That's funny. Um, talk about, um, some of your, kind of your favorite memories, Eh, uh, about weddings in, what was it like it really, especially couple are really unique location or whether someone's, you know, the year is to kind of reach out in your memory that, that helps you kind of remember him.

31:17 Oh

31:20 yeah,

31:20 that is a tough one. Um,

31:24 there had been right when I got into photography, um, there was, uh, we went up to crystal mountain, it was my first time up there. I just got like a new lens for my birthday, so I wanted to go try it out. Um, and I saw there was like a platform and realize it was for weddings and I was like, Oh man, like that would be, that would be so cool to, to photograph a wedding there one day and I actually got to do that this past year. So that, that's kind of one that stands out just as a, as a bucket list kind of venue. Um, the couple they were, they were amazing. They were so good to us, um, on top of that, um, absolutely amazing. Uh, so that, that one definitely stands out. Um, there was another, uh, I had a bride and she decided to do a first look with her dad.

32:14 And uh, so you know, he, she walked up, he turned around and I mean it was just immediately, it was just tears. It just emotion. It was just kind of on both ends. And she had a, I think she had a, a handkerchief that like had something embroidered on it for him. Um, that was like very personalized to them. Um, so that, that definitely stood out to me as well. And then I guess the last one that I would have to say is I did shoot a four day, um, Indian wedding and, uh, that was probably the most trying it was, I mean it was so much fun and it was so colorful and all the events or just a amazing, but it was, I think between day on day two we shot for like seven hours and got done I think at like 1:00 AM got back to the hotel at two charge all the batteries, you know, emptied all the cards. I had to get up at four 30 the next day. Um, so to wake up to shoot the next day. And I think so. I think in total it was something like basically, uh, close to 30 hours, 28 hours of photography on like two hours of sleep. So, you know, anytime I have like a really long wedding or anything like that, I always remind myself of that and I'm like, Oh, you can do this. This is no problem. But uh, that, that one definitely will always stick in my mind.

33:43 Whether looking back, whether, uh, maybe some of the, the biggest, uh, challenge or learning that you kind of, you know, got, you know, from kind of like just picking their camera that kind of like be in the wedding photographer now, like in business, you know, what, what was kind of that hard as hurdle or, or what is something you kind of wish that you, um, you know, new net, you know, and let you know now that you wish you knew, but kind of getting in and one of the biggest kind of learning curves,

34:08 oh, um, from a, from a business side, probably Seo, it's one of those things, you know, you need to do. Um, but it's also one of those things that it takes kind of time to see that, the impact of that. Um, and like, just the keywording and things like that and staying on top of it, because by the time you want to do it, uh, you know, you should have done it a year or two before. So, uh, and then I guess from the artistic side of things, um, it's not about the gear and it's not about, um, you know, you, you could take, uh, I think one thing that I learned was you could take a tack, Sharp, beautiful image, but if there's no emotion there, every single word, you know, versus you capture this, this great moment, but it's kind of blurry. The blurry moment with the, the real moment will always win. And that's, and that's more important than anything else. So, yeah.

35:17 Yeah. I think that's something that, you know, I find myself struggling with it too sometimes. Yeah. He's, you know, it when you want this perfection and sometimes yet. So as other things, you know, and I might even get asked from, you know, a couple like, oh, the, you know, you have a shot at this and you're like, wow, you know, it wasn't really whatever. But I'd, I don't even care just because that they overwork. I think when we sit there and kind of stare out at two inches away from our face on the computer screen for hours and hours inn, you know, we kind of get lost in that, where they don't, do you find that that sometimes the couples are just so, you know, just to kind of overtaken with emotion,

35:51 um, when they see like certain images or,

35:54 well, it's just that they just said they, like you said, they care way more about kind of that just the impact of kind of having those things captured in like, well, if you're, you know, focus ring was, you know, 0.1 millimeter off of whatever it should have been or, you know,

36:07 oh, absolutely. I mean, and especially like kind of doing this, you, you see every little thing and you're like, ah, I need to do this and I need to do that. And, and what they're seeing is really just kind of the main focus of the image and not everything else necessarily. Um, and, and that's definitely one thing I've learned is you can have,

36:31 it's more important to capture that moment than it is to, you know, even if it's just somebody cracking up from a joke or something like that, then to take a a, you know, kind of set up perfectly technical image if you can do both even better. But, um, yeah, that's, that's definitely one thing I kind of learned as I went in there because I think my mind was always hitting these checklists of how I wanted the image to look and kind of feel I wanted. Um, so I had to learn to actually find like the feeling that's already there.

37:09 Yeah, I think that, I think that is tricky, you know, and I think I was guilty for that too when I started and you know, you do a couple and driver, hey, like this is what I, you know, I got to get all these, you know, x, Y, and z every day. And like, you know, you do, you then you do them enough and you realize like, yeah, you need to focus on, you know, the different elements and make their day unique. Right. And even if it's, you know, at the end of the day, you know, as long as they're married and you know, it's, it's, we're all going to get to the same ending at some point, but, you know, it might be a different destination. And kind of like you said, having to kind of capture that stuff just as you can, you know, as it goes along is a super important skill to have.

37:48 Absolutely.

37:50 Um, how do you kind of stay a, I've read online, you know, a lot lately, you know, some photographers kind of, or getting frustrated or, um, you know, just kinda lacking inspiration mean how do you kind of always, you know, stay motivated and constantly kind of strived to keep refining your skill and, and like obviously moving into this season and, you know, talking about, you know, kind of being the optimistic for new couples in stores and stuff like that.

38:17 Um, part of that is, is definitely just like obviously loving, loving what I do. Um, I would, I would never want to be responsible for, for photographing someone's wedding day if I didn't, if like I wasn't 100 in it. Um, and I know, you know, towards the end of the wedding season, it definitely, uh, you're tired, but even, even though you're tired of you, you still love it and, uh, you always want to bring your best to the table. Um, the other part of that as far as is by pushing yourself creatively, I think it keeps a, for me anyway, it keeps it from getting stale. Like, I never want to fall into kind of a formula because there, there definitely are, you know, where we've been doing this long enough where you gonna go, okay, I can do this and then, and I know this is going to work and I know this is going to work, but if you're repeating the same, like any job that I've ever had where I had basically repeat the same thing over and over and over and over again, I get super tired of. So it's kind of a way to keep me creatively invested. Um, and, uh, I guess I forgot.

39:27 No, that was good. That was a good answer. No, no, that was good. Yeah. I mean, it just, I, how would you advise kind of other creative, you know, it could be photographers, video, kind of any, any creative field that, you know, obviously you kind of have that strive for, for, you know, doing new things and thinking outside the box. What would be kind of your final piece of advice, you know, um, a lot of vendors and other creatives listen to these podcasts and well, what would kind of be your advice for them?

39:55 Um, for me, I look at, I actually look at other photographers that are like a or other creative, even like in a totally separate field or genre of photography. Um, Kinda that I admire, uh, different styles or different approaches. Um, because if you're, if you're only looking at people doing the same kind of thing that you're doing, it's not, it's going to be much harder to kind of advance your skill set. Like, um, I think I've always had kind of a, I I've liked the aspect of lighting and adding that extra kind of drama and that wow factor. Um, but my photography in itself is definitely kind of evolved. Um, and, and part of that is, is by looking, my biggest advice is one to network and connect with other people. Um, you know, other, other photographers, other videographers. You know, I've even started studying, um, kind of cinema techniques and how, cause the way you might approach a scene is very different.

41:02 Like the way your mind works in telling a story is not at all the way mine works. And I, and I'm so jealous of videographers and I think the first time it worked together I asked you like probably 30 questions just because I was so interested in and kind of that mindset, you know, of how, how you think about your shots and your cuts and you know, just like I might see an image in my head, you, you kind of see, um, the different scenes of, of how you're going to shoot, you know, this, this panning shot and then like a reveal. And that's something I had, I had no idea about. Um, so learning about that. Even like learning, just learn about things that are, I think I looked up, um, uh, like makeup,

41:43 okay.

41:43 To like on, on how to put makeup on highlights and things like that. Just to learn more about lighting. So, and then like I learned a little bit about like color theory and how like certain colors, complimentary colors, this kind of stuff you learn in like middle school art class, but how that applies to photography. So all of these different things, um, kind of come together, um, for the final product. Uh, try different things, you know, a food photography or um, just just reach out to your community,

42:16 uh, and

42:19 the more different from you, the better. And then you can kind of see what you like about what they do and it'll, and try that and it will, it, it'll change the way you do your things and kind of help it evolve.

42:33 I think that's great advice. Uh, I think that's actually fascinating. It was really a, I enjoy listening to that. That was great. I kind of moving in, you know, now kind of, you know, through this wedding season and beyond, um, what, what's your next goal or where do you kind of see yourself in the next couple of years? Uh, you know, if everything works out.

42:54 So I'd still like to be in business, which is always a gift. But, uh, um, no, I, uh, I hope that, uh, I continue to have amazing clients. I definitely, um, I love to travel. So I always liked doing a over overseas kind of stuff actually. Um, or just, you know, somewhere new. I always like to explore and a destination weddings or an opportunity to kind of see something new and also a shoot somewhere that you, you like photographs somewhere that you don't always get a chance to photograph at. Um, I actually have a, a close friend who was kind of in my wedding photography community here in Seattle who's moving down to Mexico and, uh, we're trying to see about shooting some weddings down there, so that should be exciting. Um, but yeah, I think just kind of, uh, keep, keep pushing it, um, creatively, um, books and more destination weddings and uh, yeah,

44:06 when you're not, when you're not doing weddings and income, the, you know, working on the all year need techniques, what do you do kind of in your free time for fun. That's Kinda Kinda always one of the things like to touch on at the end is, you know, when you're not doing the day to day stuff, what do you do for fun and what are your interests?

44:21 So I really, um, I enjoy obviously hanging out with my friends, but I love live music. Music's always been a huge part of my part of my life growing up. So I really enjoy that. And I tried to go out and see as many live shows as I can, as my schedule allow and I'm trying to get into trying to get into, I watched a documentary on this guy that like free solo rock climbs. And so now I've got this like rock climbing bug, but I've never done it before. So

44:56 got it. The gym the other day and that saw you outside?

44:58 No, no.

45:01 Have your inside the LA fitness like, um,

45:04 uh,

45:05 you know, whether they call it then there that it's not fake rock climbing, but it's fake rock climbing. Oh yeah. No, they,

45:12 that was, that was, uh, trying to work off all the in and out burger and a Roscoe's chicken and waffles from the week before. That's awesome. So, uh,

45:22 perfect. I, yeah, I want to thank you so much for coming on today and it's ice, you know, as someone that I've known for years I am running into, they're really kind of get a, a chance to sit down and kind of chat and, and you know, here here a little bit about your story and kind of what makes your mind tick. Um, if people want to learn more about you and, and your really unique photography sound, like I said, you know, if you want any joy at all, just, you know, go to and browse the images or you know, Instagram or whatever. But if you want people to learn more about you and your website and everything, where would you have them check out?

45:54 Um, so the website and then we also, we're also on Instagram at Brooks Range Photography. And then we have a Facebook, which is I believe, just And then we, I am redoing the blog right now. Um, so that not, not only will that have, um, like all the weddings and things like that that you can read about, but we're also going to kind of expand it with, um, kind of tips for wedding day and even like, uh, the way we light certain things. So whether you're a, another photographer or, um, you know, you're, you're planning your wedding or you're just looking to kind of read about, um, other couples and check out some more of the work on there that the blog, we'll have all that on there. So,

46:42 well, I think that's awesome because like I said, if I haven't emphasized it enough, I do really think that you, you know, you and, and you know, Chris with everybody, you guys have a really, you know, you specifically really unique, you know, approach. I can't kind of emphasize that enough on kind of this, this audio a medium. So I do hope that people kind of check out your side and in your work and, and really kind of see what you guys were working with.

47:03 Thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you for having me.

47:06 Yeah, thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

Marilee Kimball, 321 FOTO

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And I am joined today by Marilee Kimball of 321 FOTO. And I am so excited to get on and chat today. We've gone back and forth for a couple of weeks and spring break and I was gone and, and you were gone and sick kids and stuff. So I appreciate you taking the time to come on today and it means a lot. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:38 Hey, well, I'm Marilee, and thanks for having me on and with 321 FOTO, a photo booth company that does photo experiences. We specialize in weddings and we also do corporate activations, but really our specialty and kind of what we focused on over the years has been a wedding photo entertainment.

00:57 Yeah. And what do you think it is? I mean, I, I'm a big proponent of photo booth. I talked in the past about, you know, we did a wedding tour, uh, and afterward he was like the vendor only thing and anybody you can get everybody out of the photo booth who was so popular even just for wedding vendors to do. So. What is it about the photo booth that people like so much?

01:16 Well, I do think that it's this opportunity, it's like the social icebreaker. So I kind of to call ourselves a social bartenders, like we get on site and we're kind of like the pre funk party, the party and the after party. So like were there, like, we're ready to party when we show up. Um, and so I just think that that carries on to people. Like they see that we're having fun, they can see other people having fun. And so it just kind of draws a crowd. But the thing that, um, is really significant for us is the printed element of these events because everything is so digital these days. And we do a lot of digital on the backend. But when people have something that they're walking around the room with that's really getting people's attention and it's, you know, it's like a moth to the flame.

02:01 No, I totally, I go there. I mean my wife, uh, even just as you're talking thinking I'm sure on our fridge, I know we have at least four or five different, you know, strips from weddings and events and maybe it was even when a year guys is just from a event we went to, but I know that she is a big print those out hang them up. We have him on the magnet on our fridge right now. So do you think it's interesting to just kind of nowadays where, um, you know, you guys are able to kind of capture both that the, um, you know, the printed thing, but then also like there's tons of new kind of, uh, not millennial but kind of new 20, 20, kind of I, we were talking about like gifts and like other animated things. I mean, you guys really kind of get both ends of it, right?

02:44 That's right. Yeah. I mean, I kind of approach it in two different ways. Like we have a traditional old school booth where you can get in and sit down and close the curtain. And that's a very intimate process like that. You can get a couple people in there, maybe like six people, uh, nice and close together. And then you've got the open set kind of thing. And so with the open sets, uh, we really like to add a decorative element to the space. So like we're thinking of it in this other layer. Like it's not just we're taking funny pictures of people goofing off. It's like we're looking at the backdrops as being an important element in the room because it's a big space that we take up. It's about eight foot by eight foot, you know, and so you could have something there that's just big green screen monstrosity. And that's something that people do or what we do is more, um, we like to add, like I said, a design element to it. Um, and then further than that, you can go to a completely digital component that we were kind of discussing. But for us, I really lived that kind of keeping it real. I'm trying to add some something real to the space, especially if it's going to be digital. Because if it's, if that's where we're stopping at the night, then there should be something about our setup that adds to the space

03:55 and boost. I mean there aren't really nice, right? I mean I was looking on the site and stuff too and I know I've seen them and um, you know, in person and talk to you about the fuel, but kind of describe kind of the actual, you know, I would see like you guys tried to be like pretty upscale luxury Kinda, you know, refined looking, kind of talking about that.

04:13 Yeah. Thanks for noticing that. I'm, I'm actually the designer of those and uh, I went to Cornish College of the arts in Seattle, so my focus when I went to school with furniture design, so when we were first starting to develop these, we were looking at old school classic, you know, like kiosks booths that were, you know, in movie theaters and a malls across the country way back in the day. And we were thinking we need something to be portable and we need something to show up in these spaces. But like what does that look like at the four seasons? What does that look like at the Fairmont? Like how do those things get there? So we really wanted to speak to the people who knew that quality because you know, the photo booth is just a box at some point. It's just a piece of furniture and anything can be about the quality of imagery paths that, and so we wanted to marry like really high end photography and video experiences. Um, like, and when I say video, I mean like gift bursts and boomerang, that kind of thing. Um, and we wanted those to exist in a space where, again, we're just looking like quality, quality, quality. Um, and I think that that's reflected in the product that we've been able to develop.

05:22 That's fascinating that you say that you weren't some schools for furniture design. Cause I totally see that. You know, when I see kind of the boxes and stuff, that's really, I always think it's so interesting. Um, you know, what people do now with weddings and kind of how they got there. Right. And you can definitely see kind of those influences and how people, you know, went through and different careers in school and, and stuff before that.

05:44 Yeah. Well, I mean, the thing is, is like, it was such a fun project to do just to really look at the history of photo booths and the history of cameras and trying to bring those classic elements and you know, go with something that's monitoring because, you know, we're not printing film and, and there still are photo of this that are doing that, those processes, they're very few and very hard to find, but they do exist. And we wanted it to feel that way though and have that classic bit. But I think that like another thing we talk about is that layer of quality. And we figured that, you know, there's just people that get it and there's people that are going to notice and that level of quality, uh, not everybody sees, but the people who get it are our clients. And, uh, there's the guests who are getting it. And coming up like Whoa, what is this thing? And checking it out and looking at all the details cause we, we thought about all those details, we made those happen intentionally. Yeah.

06:35 Yeah. Cause I definitely you, you definitely seem like error. If you, if you go to enough events you'd definitely seen like there's a difference. Right? And you want to kind of like you said, any kind of inhabit that space and yeah, if you aren't like the Fairmont or whatever or somewhere that you know, you want it to be nice and not kind of be an eyesore. Right. I think it's hard where you know like me, like our video cameras like are kind of a nice who are, where you can kind of design that around something that's like looks awesome and it's kind of almost looks like it's meant to be there and then the guest and kind of interact with it. Right.

07:06 Yeah. And you know, something that's really interesting about photographs, just like when we started, this was 10 years ago, well actually we're going into year 11 and it was very much just the classic school booth that was out there. Um, there was, you know, some inquiry about photo entertainment and a and an open sense, but to us we were like, I don't know about that. Like there's something really nice about being behind the curtain and having that intimacy. But then we started to see what happened when not just one person or two people, but like when the whole room shows up with a smartphone, like everything in our society has changed in 10 years and to see the impact that that's had where it was weird to be in the corner of the room wide open, taking pictures 10 years ago, but let's say in the last six for sure.

07:54 Like it's not a problem because everybody is taking out their phones anywhere they go. They're taking pictures openly. So you have a different interaction with people being totally comfortable in like huge packed events. They have no problem. And I, I kind of look at what we're doing is like putting things on stage. Like we're, we're creating the stage for people to step up too when we're doing our studio this. And it's really cool to see people, like they see the gear, they see the set and then they see themselves. And it's really important to me. I want people to see themselves. Like you come into our booth, you can see yourself live on the monitor, but people see themselves in this environment and their behavior changes just based on what, where, where they're at in the night and what they see. You know what I mean? And if they see their friend behind them just being ridiculous, they're going to go there and they're going to do it collectively. So the photo booth was not my intention to be a social experiment, but it totally is. And I am like, uh, you know, just falling, going, this is what people are doing these days. And it's, it's really fun to see.

08:59 It really does. Yeah. I think it gives people permission to, to do stuff that wouldn't necessarily be like socially acceptable. Sometimes we have it, we have a wedding this summer. And did you know there was like a guy with like one of those horse at things like with the Unicorn and the square. And I'm like this is not like going in the video cause I don't want this to be like an Ra did you know, wedding video experience. But, but then, but then you know the, the thing clicks and then they're like okay we're done. And then they walk off and you're like, that was really weird. And that was that you guys too. I Dunno. It's interesting. And I mean yeah,

09:38 like I would like to speak to props because you know like when we first started doing this week, we curate like what we want to have out for people. And initially there was sort of like an expectation that you're supposed to bring a certain things. And what we've seen over the years has really made us not want to put out a bunch of props. I mean it's, it can get like a little thrift store looking at a wedding. It can be like there's this table in the back room and I, I understand that. Like those are fun and funny things, but when you're taking beautiful pictures and you're taking pictures with this group of people that maybe don't get together very often or ever, you know, it's like two families coming together. Um, I'm a, I'm a fan of very intentional curated props, but like the table on the back corner with all this stuff, like we, we just did away with that a long time ago and we don't really participate in that from our point of view.

10:32 And if people want to bring that, that's fine. But for us it's like there's so much expression that people have an, and a lot of my employees that worked for me, um, are also from Cornish and artists and dancers and theater majors. And so like, we're expressive, you know, and I mean put a dancer and the photo booth and I mean for days you've just got post after post after post. And I love to see that. Um, so you know, the horse had the, the funny stuff, you know, like feather boas or like a definite no for us. Like I'd never want to see a feather boa in my life ever again. Um, fair to say. But I enjoy the weird aspect of it. But I also think that there's something else that can be doing that's maybe like people are letting loose in a totally different way. Like you don't have to hide behind it. Crop like be who you are. And I think that that goes back to like that keeping it real and trying to like get in touch with the people. Like even as an abbreviated as people can be at a reception, like these personality traits come out and it's fun to capture.

11:34 Yeah. And then talking about too, cause you said like you are a lot of like your booth attendance or whatever, you know, our, our, this and things like that. Do you find that having people like that kind of helps? Like, I know if you go to like a photo booth and there's just like some kid that's sitting there like, okay, go, okay go like maybe, but if you have somebody that's working the booth, it is a lot more kind of creative and, and, and outgoing and personality driven that that kind of helps people too.

12:01 Absolutely. I mean this is an experience, you know, and if you put a dud in the corner of the room, it's a weird thing. It's a weird thing to interface with. I mean not necessarily performance art, but we are performing, I mean this is a thing where we are there to engage the guests. We want to have, you know, high energy and um, you know, quick turnaround. Like this is like quick, short conversations with people trying to get them comfortable. And at some point I like, it doesn't matter what happened before you hit the door. When you come in, you're onstage, you're performing, this is your people and you're trying to provide this experience. And um, interactive. That is a connection. And so I think that again, it's like we're not acting, but it is a performance. And interesting that you bring that up because kind of the root of my business was that my sister got married, uh, this was 11 years ago and she wanted, she's a photographer and she wanted to have like an old school, classic boots come to her wedding.

13:01 And the company that she had hired totally stood her up and said like two weeks before the wedding, we cannot be there. So sorry. So she was devastated and she goes on the hunt for this like photo booth to find in the Pacific northwest, there weren't very many options. And the one that she found, they sent this like really tacky box that had been painted with this like, you know, shower curtain that went around it and this dude and he shows up and he sits next to this load with the whole night and reading a book and like we're up there and go crazy. And he's just like sitting there reading this book and like not saying anything to us and we're a very fun bunch. And so it was weird to have this dude, like not be able to have fun with us. And also it just made it so awkward.

13:45 So we sort of looked at that and we were like, we have to do better than this for people's weddings. Like this shouldn't even be an option. Like it's not, it's never an option that we would have picked. Uh, but now that there are so many, like people jumping into the photo booth industry, you really see this scale of quality to where people are charging a hefty fee, calling themselves professionals, calling themselves, voted with businesses and they're bringing garbage and they're setting up garbage. And we've experienced that personally. We've paid for it. And, uh, I can go back and look at her guest book and it's very obvious that that wasn't our company.

14:21 Oh yeah. No, I mean, I've seen them to where, you know, you get it and it's like die, you know, it's like a step above an iPad or whatever and you're going in, you're, or, or even in. And I know that there's a lot of them nowadays to, it'll be like a photographer that does it, which like I guess it's a photo booth. It's not really a further book cause it's not really the same thing. Right. You know what I mean? Do you either know or is that, am I wrong in thinking that that is not the same as a phone?

14:47 I think that at this point photo booths really aren't photo. I mean their photo experiences, we have real photos and they're on our website and you can see, we will bring you a photo booth and you sit in it cause it's a booth and you sit down and you close the curtain. That in my mind is the definition of photo booth. But the photo experience has changed and it's become the category that everybody has just fallen under. So people aren't going to be googling for photo experiences. Bride and groom's, they're looking for photo booths were just kind of all lumped in there together. Um, and I resisted the whole like, you know, low end version completely. We just, we don't do it. I see it. And I'm like, Hey, no, you could, you could save so many there, uh, in buying equipment, but it's not fair to our clients.

15:38 So, you know, we're just that, that's not our market. And I do say like, there's a market for everyone because everybody has a budget and everybody does deserve to have fun at their events. So I'm not trying to be like, so Bougie, Bougie. Then I'm like, oh, nobody else counts. Only you know, the people at the Fairmont get the best, but it's like, um, they have a budget and so we're bringing it to their budget and to the let you know, the level that they're having, their events that, and some of my favorite weddings have been, you know, in the basement of a church with people that care by Costco. And, you know, I mean, I, I'll show it to whatever, you know, we just want to have a good time, but we want the people who are at least contracting our services to get the best quality they can.

16:20 Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I want to kind of get in it kind of the origin story here a little bit. So you said you went to school in Seattle, did you, did you grow up here? Are you, are you a native?

16:30 Yeah, I am from the Pacific northwest.

16:33 And so you said you went to school for furniture design initially. Kind of. How did I, you know, I know you talked a little bit about your sister's wedding, but uh, how did you, how did a a furniture designer study or go to kind of running the photo booth company?

16:48 It's been sort of an interesting history because I, I got done with furniture design at Cornish and uh, everything had been moved overseas, like all of the jobs for designers. Like you could be a designer, but you had to be a senior design position. And then all of those jobs were being sourced out to China. And I'm like, well, what am I going to do for work? So I got a job working for, at the time, uh, Mo Mocpoc was called experience music project and I got to help open the museum and I was on their exhibit team, so we were building out, um, exhibits and that kind of thing for them. And, um, at that time I also got involved in doing graphic production and it sort of brought more graphic designers. So I like to think that I'm, you know, a person of many hats and, and layers here.

17:33 So I've got the furniture design degree and then I'm working in exhibits and we're trying to like make these experiences for people where they're coming up. And, you know, I mean, we were, uh, doing full buildouts there, um, down in the Soto district. And so by the time, uh, let's see, where did we go from there? So like I was working for them and then I ended up getting pregnant with my son. And, uh, there was just a whole bunch of layoffs were happening and I ended up getting laid off with, you know, uh, our entire team was dispatched. And so I was just trying to figure out what to do, you know, and I was working from home and freelancing and building websites and just trying to like do some graphic design stuff. And so when my sister had her wedding, it was kind of like an Aha moment where all of this stuff came together and all the spokes aligned and then we just got rolling.

18:30 Cause yeah, that was definitely, you know, do you figure 10, 11 years ago, like you said, there just wasn't as many options in terms of, you know, people that choose. Right. So yeah. And, and obviously you see, you know, you guys use saw kind of what you didn't want. And so then how did this come about kind of building this, you know, for a better word, like kind of luxury photo booth company brand?

18:49 Well, I hang out with a really interesting guy and this guy was my, um, his name is a tiller of archer and he was my, uh, upholstery instructor when I went to Cornell. She, he is, we're like a philosopher. He's, he's really a cool guy. He just had his 70th birthday. And so like I like to hang out with this old dude and we just have a lot of conversations and we talk about things. Um, and so there was a lot of conversation where we're sitting at like literally at the table having talks and talking and talking and talking about what this could be the potential for this could be. And so we were just daydream in it and we, we did daydream that for awhile and the first photo booth we mean and we prototyped was the photo booth that we ended up sticking with because we have thought about all these details over a period of time and we've drawn it and mocked it up and then it just works.

19:42 Had you had, you know, it's kind of doing this, you know, entrepreneurial, I eat any like family members anything, was that like, yeah, obviously you were trying to figure out something to do, you know, after getting laid off. Like I'm always curious when people spa I'm like, okay, well I decided to start a business. Like, did you have any, like, you know, other family members or anybody or any kind of experience of kind of doing that?

20:05 Yeah, yeah. My Dad is a, an entrepreneur and he definitely is a guy who comes from like the hard knocks and was able to be a very successful person and has had, you know, a lot of things that are in his experience. It showed me, I was like, oh well it's, I guess if my dad can do it with his backstory, um, that seems like potential. And, and really he was somebody who I leaned into an athletic questions. Um, some things I chose to do my own way regrettably cause he was right in hindsight. But, um, yeah, I did have that. And then I also had a sense about myself that I know, and this is just true for me. Like I, I love this business, but I love my family. I'm a mom and I chose to be a mom. And so I did not want to get my business so big that I couldn't be at home with my kids.

20:55 Uh, that was really important to me. So I had a lot of people that we're reaching out and they wanted to franchise my business early on and they wanted me to go nationwide and get big. And I really said no to that because I could see the writing on the wall and that was me being a workaholic and never home. And what would be required to make a business grow like that really requires so much attention. And I mean, even with staff, you know, you're dedicated to that. So I have intentionally chosen to keep my business small and like at a, I call it a boutique scale where we're just serving our local market. We're, you know, we're going to pick and choose what we do. I don't take all my inquiries, you know, I, I definitely want it to be mutually beneficial. So if it's not going to work with my kids having a hockey tournament where we're traveling out of town, I'm not going to take it. Um, even though I have staff and they could work it, um, I'm very involved with all of my events and, um, I really, I liked that about my business.

21:52 What were some things kind of starting off, like you said, you know, you have like asked you dab or supervisor, we never bill. What were some things that like really surprise you about how hard it was kind of getting, getting the business going and now obviously 10 plus years later?

22:06 Well, when we first started there was a recession and so people are like, you're crazy. Um, but I didn't feel the effects of that. Like we just kind of showed up, uh, online and started doing, you know, open houses and, and jumping into wedding shows and showcases and we just got immediate response and I was going, there was a recession going on, like, what is, that's not applicable here to this because it seems like weddings were still happening when corporate went down. Uh, and so people were still getting married and uh, and then when things got better, then we started to see our corporate members come up. And so there's just been a nice balance where things ebb and flow and we've been able to keep busy on both sides of it.

22:52 Yeah. Is it talking about the difference in value between doing weddings and then obviously the more corporate events and maybe where it's obviously upscale weddings too, but you know, there's, it's a day, you know, it's different kind of doing that, doing a corporate event. Right.

23:05 It's way different. I mean, I love the, I love the love of the weddings. Like I love that people are showing up and they love their friends and they love their family members. And so that's like something that's great. And I would say that the behavior is mostly better. Mostly not all of them, but I mean the idea that like people, a lot of times at the corporate events, you know, they just get there and they get, just get so hammered so fast and they're just looking to like, and the party right as they arrive, you know, and, and people can get really, um, I think with our corporate events, I see a lot of people just being moved into more like the taking experience where, um, one of the things that I love about what we do is, uh, for weddings as our guest book. And so we're encouraging people to like right in the guestbook and we're putting pictures in there all night. And so there's this engagement that we have with people where they're thing, um, you know, something come together for their friends and they're excited and they're sort of like working towards that. Whereas, you know, at a corporate event it's just me time and then people are on their way. So it's a, it's different that way.

24:14 Yeah. But yeah, with, and especially with like the guest book where you get, Eh, it's kind of neat for wedding cause obviously it's, it's an activity for the gasping. And it's also usually I take home for like the bride and groom to, you know, the man.

24:24 Yeah. Yeah. And so like with the guests look like those are interesting because I mean, it's like mad scrapbooking. Like you're just at this event and it's just like, okay, I'm going to get this stuff in there and try to make it look as good as I can. Super fast turnaround. Um, and we actually ended up having our books custom made here in town by a paper hammer in Seattle. And so they make our books for us because we were looking at it like I don't really want those plastic sleeves. I don't want to see that night. I'm not going to just like go buy some $10 book and charge somebody, you know, 100 bucks for a book that they could go buy at Walmart or my goals. So, um, we've been kind of working on revisiting the next edition of our book and I think paper Hammer's going to put those together, but we're doing some larger formats now so that's going to kind of change but love the guestbook. It's, it's the best part of our surface for weddings.

25:18 What were some of the skills, obviously you talked about kind of doing the IOS and graphic design and websites and freelance and stuff when you were kind of figuring that out, but like what were some skills that you were thankful the you had kind of transitioning into doing your own business and running things yourself?

25:33 Well, definitely the graphic design helps because I know that that can be quite expensive. And again, it's so nice to see where things have come because if you wanted to do a website as a person who doesn't have graphic design, I'm talking about like, there's so many options now, but at the time there weren't options. So I was able to really carve out our look and our niche based on like putting something out that people were like, oh, that looks cool. Uh, when websites didn't look as cool. So that was really helpful in getting a scene. And then I think further, uh, more like all of our prints are Brandon, so we'll take like the invitations from the bride and groom or the, you know, the, the wedding folks, whoever's getting married and we'll put those onto the print so that there are some harmony in their events. So we want to see that, you know, invitation. And then when they take that print home and they put it up on their fridge, they've got that going. So, yeah, being able to do that design in house has been really helpful.

26:29 Um, do you, obviously it's been, you know, years now. Do you still remember kind of some of those early weddings and kind of how that, how that went or was that, was that exhilarating? Was that scary? Was that what, what was that like?

26:42 Yeah, I think that like

26:44 I still get scared. I mean, I like, it's still scary because you're like, you don't want anything to fail. Like it's, uh, there's, there's not one time but it's gonna be okay for it to fail. Um, and I just feel like if you're not nervous showing up, you're, you probably don't care as much as you should. Uh, so initially, yeah, I mean just trying to find out like where's the loading dock? Like where do, where are we going to end up if we like show up at the loading dock and how do we deliver this thing and get everything in on time. Like that was a challenging in the beginning, but, uh, we pretty much know all the doors now and we know where we're going and we've worked through that. And then I, I just think like everybody's event is largely the same because you've got like the things that will always happen in a wedding, but then it is different because whoever is showing up at the event, and there's a lot of times that there's family dynamics that you don't know about. I mean, and they start to surface later on in the night and uh, you know, we've seen our fair share of drama and that's been, I don't want to say entertaining, but it was, it's definitely been entertaining to see some things go down. Yeah. Have you, I was going to say, how do you keep, you know, the, on the, on the questionnaire you say, you know, over 1500 events that you guys had done, um, how'd you kind of keep things fresh now and keep things exciting for you and the rest of your team?

28:01 I think that like you got to love people to do what we do and I do and I'm really social that way. So, um, for me, like it's just exciting if I'm going to be the attendance at a wedding and showing up and engaging with people. Um, I did have some time where there was a time in this business history where there was just life that happened. People got sick, people died. Um, it wasn't, I wasn't in a place where I want it to be at a wedding, you know, and I didn't really have that energy working for me and that was, that was tough. I mean, I really had to like rely on my staff to get me through it and I just kind of was like, here's the stuff, you know, and like really pushing to be authentic on the backend when I was interfacing with people.

28:45 Um, but that really pushed me to make a decision. You know, I was like, am I going to stay in this business or not? And making that choice, I make it annually, I review and I just go, where am I at? Where do I want to be? Does this feel good to me? Am I do have the energy to do this? And, uh, with kind of building out new elements that our business, it's really reinvigorated me cause I'm always looking for this like creative outlet. That's like a really fun part of what I do. So there's just been a whole bunch more creative options. And so now there's like all these different challenges that I didn't have before. And I would say that the graphic design and the furniture design and the sets because we go back to working at emp and like on the exhibits team like that stuff is more important now than ever. So that's, and kind of interesting.

29:34 Yeah. We were talking a little bit off, you know, kind of off Mike before about kind of some new equipment and new, you know, boosts and things you guys are working. Do you want to kind of talk about that?

29:43 Yeah, I mean we just picked up a couple of photos. Like I said, I've designed mine and so I was hesitant to bring in something that I didn't have a hand in, but I met some friends, um, going to different expos and um, like professional learning, uh, functions where I've met some people. And I'm like, oh, they've got really great gear and they're selling it and it's the quality that we're looking at. And uh, this new booth that we have, that's our agency booth that really is allowing us to do these creative outputs. And I'm talking about like a CMY K if we're like the whole image splits apart and you've got like all of these things happening that are motion graphics or like the background changes and there's digital overlays that are moving and the graphics are moving. And so this is all stuff that's happening right now because there's been such a shift.

30:35 I mean, people can go to their phones, right? And they can design something that's really cool and there's all these assets and elements that people are making available. Some also seeing like so much stuff about like, like I said, it was graphic design lets you don't have to be a graphic designer anymore because there's so much that's just people are creating and they're making open source. So you can kind of grab that and bring it into the mix. Um, and those are all in relationship to new technology. So if you're kind of relying on, I'm just going to tether this, you know, camera to this laptop and I think that that's the output. I'm going to get a, which is what, you know was the original inception of this. It's like you're kind of ancient history within like six months. I mean it's just moving so fast and I think we can all see it when we pick up our devices and like how, um, the resolution has changed and, and that's, that's been pretty interesting. So we've got like a lot of stuff happening with gifts and boomerangs that they weren't even really happening in this way a year ago. They're v they're very different right now.

31:40 Yeah, I was going to say, I mean has it been hard because I know, you know, there's like lots of other, um,

31:46 okay,

31:46 let's just say other different types of wedding vendors and say like, okay, well I'm going to add the photo booth on and that could be a DJ or photographer or whatever. And you know, obviously like they're not going to be as prudent about keeping on top of everything. Maybe in terms of like the, the trends and everything. So like how hard is it to, like you said a year ago, like what, what's a boomerang or you know, when you guys started, like none of this was, how hard is that to be kind of been keeping on top of year after year for all that stuff and figuring it out? Like how to incorporate it into your business?

32:17 Right. I mean I think that like having training in graphics and motion graphics is very helpful for this. And I think that there's a lot of other elements that go into just being tech savvy. So, um, it's funny because we are very tight with a lot of photographers and a lot of photographers branched out when they saw that there was this market include a photo booth or maybe a Dj who wanted to include a photo booth. But as those photographers, especially the high end photographers starting to see their photo booths having issues during the event or something that needed attention, they could not facilitate that. And a lot of them either sold or their photo booths or just stopped offering. And they just would refer things directly to us. And they just call us and say it like, I have a photo booth. I don't want to do it.

33:03 I want can you please do it because you know what you're doing. So, um, there's a lot to keep up on. I mean I'm constantly in education mode and you know, that's, that's the one thing. It's like I'm trying to predict the future, but nobody really knows. I mean you're just kinda like seeing what's next. And it's fun. Cause I, I do have kids and so I'm starting to ask them, I'm like, what are the kids liking kids? Cause they know, I mean, and they have a language that is, is new. So that's, that is also happening.

33:31 No, absolutely. Yeah, I know that. I mean I've seen that firsthand, you know, numerous times with, you know, photographers or other people that, you know, they're like, they're trying to do the reception details and also get the photo booth going and then the papers out and they don't have anybody to run it. Cause it's supposed to be automated, but it's not. But you know what? I mean, but that's the same thing. Like I'm feeling like, you know nowadays with like photographers and everybody wants to add like a highlight video did the package, but obviously like I would hope that people aren't going to be, as you know up on the trends is I would be just focusing on video or like you would be running the photo booth company versus you know, I'm a forest that wants to add a photo booth more without, you know, I'm just making up stuff now. But you know what I mean? Totally.

34:13 I think that there's like, I mean there's companies that try to do at all and like I said, I mean good on like let them do it, you know what I mean? Like what, whatever it is like market for everybody. But if you want something that's specialized, then you want to find somebody who is making that third thing. And that is where we see that rise of professionalism where we're looking at people who participate in things that make real businesses, real businesses. Like we were kind of talking about, you know, during the wedding show, doing open houses, like showing up, being part of the community, um, like what you're doing with this podcast and like bringing a community together where there's a lot of new vendors that are showing up. And I mean in incredible talent that's coming out of nowhere. I mean, I came out of nowhere, you know, so it's like fun to have a space where we can meet those people and form partnerships.

34:57 Uh, because I'm not going to be a florist, I'm not going to do the floral for the backdrop. I'm not going to be our videographer. I'm not going to be your photographer. I'm going to specifically and only do photo booths. And that's just the nature of my business. And I think that that's what makes me such a rad part of a good team because I see all these other people who are very specialized and you're like, okay, we're all blending together and making this special moment. And these teams oftentimes are indicated by the couple, but it could also be just that there's a planner who knows what's going on. And then sometimes it's just a random blessing. It was just like, wow, this is so where did this come from? But, um, it, it is fun to be a team of people where you're not trying to beat the system, spread yourself too thin. So

35:47 yeah. I want to talk about too, just kind of your, how you guys feel like you fit into like that. What are you planning experience, because you know, I'm sure there's, um, you know, some, some couples in their booking and same with video where they're like, okay, like photo booth. Okay, check. We're done with that. Where I think you are, you guys are a little more, you know, uh, upscale but also just more personalized to the couple and kind of that brand. And you know, where people are kind of making the decision like, yes, you want to choose you guys, we, you know, we want you to be a part of our day, you know, or it's a planner saying, you know, we want you to be on this team. So how do you guys kind of fit into that in view? Kind of helping the couple figure out what they want in terms of your, you know, what you're offering for their day.

36:30 Well, it's interesting, it just depends on when people find us. Like often, like in the past we were like the very last thing people were adding in. They would see if they had a budget for the photo booth. And now I have people who are looking at us before they even have their venue. And I think that's crazy. I'm just like, you don't know where you're getting married. Okay, well we'll be there. But I mean those are the things that I'd hope that they would have figured out. Um, I do say yes to them, but uh, you know, and also like we do get asked and more often now than in the past about, you know, who are other vendors that we would recommend or maybe they've like narrowed it down and then they want to ask a trusted team member like, oh, we have like two videos are first on the line. Like who, who would you pick kind of thing. And so we based that just off of our experience with people and um, and that's Kinda fun cause then you get to end up working with friends and stuff that, you know, that it makes us like we're all at the party, this is great, but we're working but we're, we're enjoying it.

37:31 Well I always working. Oh it's right there. Yeah. I know. Sometimes I'm like, I'll be like with a photographer and I'm like, I think we need to like cut it out. We need to like get back to work. You know, it's like it's Tammy that much fun. Too much fun. Totally. That's funny. But, but you guys, you do feel like you, you know, a lot of your couples are like making the conscious decision, like to, you know, to book you guys and then like you're kind of working with them to figure out like, okay, what does this look like at your wedding reception? Kind of.

38:00 Yeah. I mean I think that like there's a, I have a couple of couples this year who want to do something that's more custom and so we're having work dialogue and conversation on what that looks like because those elements are important to them. And I always feel like, you know, like when you go to the wedding show and you see like that there was 5,000 people in a day or whatever come to that. There's like, I always think that there's 5% of all of that or the people who I really want to talk to and there's just really like one or 2% that I'm going to make that real connection with. It's really strong. And so, um, yeah, I mean we definitely get to have, I wouldn't say like it's an influence but it's, it's like it kind of is. I mean we're, we're just kind of like opening up what we have done in the past and making suggestions on what worked and being able to stay very definitely like, oh no, please don't put us outside. You know, like without a cover because you're going to have these terrible photos even though you think it's going to be a great idea. Like you, you don't want to do it that way. So those are the things that we can kind of advise on and make sure that people, cause there's just a lot that they don't think about.

39:08 Yeah. What are, and that's how it was kind of one of the questions I go to. What are some common misconceptions that you wish people knew in terms of like further boosts in, in booking in there? It could be anything from booking into, like you said, putting somebody outside when you're like nobody is ever going to go in the other room to go take photos.

39:25 Yeah, right. Like location is really important. I mean I just, I don't want to be the thing that's in the side of the room that's not getting used. Like we're there to be part of the party. So if it's a matter of they're going to have cocktail hour in one space and then you're going to go have dinner and another and they're going to come back to that space, then it makes sense to be there. But if I'm going to be in one spot and nobody's gonna know about that for the rest of the night, if we're in a spot for an hour and then everybody else's far away, I don't, I don't want us to be in that spot. Um, I think that there is a big misconception about outdoor stuff. I mean, people don't understand light and lighting. You probably understand that quite a bit. You just that people, and it's like you're going to look right into the sun and you're a, you're, everybody's going to be squinting and the pictures are going to be overexposed. And like there's things that I think of in regards to that. And then being from the Pacific northwest, like you never know what to expect being outside, uh, there better be a plan B, c, d and e that exists so that nobody is disappointed.

40:27 Um, yeah, I just, I haven't been, this is a cup, I will say the venue, but we, they were, it was you, you had the park and then they had the shovel you in and it was like, almost like it was gonna rain and then all the chair sat outside and they said, oh, what do you guys, what do you do here if it rains? And they were like, oh, we don't, there's just what it is. And I was like, wow, dude. Like Babs, you know, and we, we missed it by 15 minutes. But I wanted to ask you too, you were talking a little bit about, you know, lighting and stuff, so like the photography aspect of this. Did you eel like have knowledge of that before the bride in and you kind of learned or how did you, you know, obviously you have the branding and the, and the graphic design and the building. So where did the photography aspect comes in?

41:10 Well, I mean, I've been interested in photography since I was a kid and so I've had cameras in the past and I've taken, you know, so classes in college, but it was never a focus of mine. And then my sister being a professional photographer, that was something that, uh, I got, you know, interested in. And then when I had a kid, you know, I was taking a lot of pictures of this child and I didn't want to take crappy pictures and we didn't have an iPhone at the time that could take this beautiful shot. So I was, you know, kind of exploring photography around that time because of my children and then, uh, trying to get great family photos and then that transferred that interest into all of the above. Gotcha.

41:53 Um, a couple other things I wanted to touch on before we go. I, you know, obviously being the part of the Seattle Way and community for, you know, a decade plus now, uh, obviously, you know, Seattle's wildly different now than it was when you started. I me what a better worst, wait, what did you kind of seen besides just obviously a confluence of a lot more different types of photo booths and photographers and videographers and everything else? But,

42:18 well, I mean, I, I don't want to spend time totally complaining about the traffic, but I mean like getting around town is interesting, you know, when you have to be in different places through the day. So, I mean, I think that the, the aspect that I've seen from my businesses, because we have more than one photo booths, so like when we have to go out, it's like very strategic in our planning and it's become much more difficult to get around in Seattle. So I don't do as many events in the same way as we used to. And so there's some shifts that we have to take into consideration and it's like, you just don't know what's going to happen getting someplace. Um, and as far as the city goes, I mean, there's a lot of interesting architecture. There's some really cool spaces that are popping up. And I mean, I just think that there's a lot of naysayers, they're just like, oh, we want old Seattle back. But it's like, it's not coming back. And you know, I'm just trying to rise with it all and just kind of take a look around and just keep getting a footing and seeing like, okay, this landscape was changing. I just got to remember that this street corner, it does not look the same. I don't know where I'm at. But hello to Seattle. I mean, I love our city.

43:23 Do you think, um, and obviously, yeah, it's a, it's, it's still a thriving wedding community, right? I mean, even just compare it to like all talk to vendors down in Portland and that, you know, even just the difference of pricing and stuff in between. You know, Portland and Seattle are like, we have a, we're gone. I said, our friends, you get married in Spokane next weekend, you know, talking about just kind of the health and he know competitiveness of kind of the Seattle, why the market?

43:46 Well, yeah, there's a lot of weddings happening. They're just happening in different ways. I mean they're not necessarily, um, all looking at a magazine anymore. Like there was a lot of online influencing. People are checking out, you know, your Instagram accounts and they're really like wanting to see what is your body at work look like? Can I see a portfolio? Um, and I, yeah, I mean, I don't see an indication on my end that things have gone down in the love factor, like people loving on each other, but you know, like, can we speak about this real quick? Like, we were, we were part of the community that was really fighting for rights for our gay friends and loved ones. And so to see that culture be embedded in what we're doing, and I think I kind of felt earlier and I was like the bride and groom, but I, I try not to say that because I, I really feel like the couple is what I mean.

44:37 Um, and I need to make sure that that's the language that we use because there are so many different ways that people show up and love each other. And that's something that's really exciting about right now where it's, we are a bubble, you know, we are a place where there's so much inclusion and there's, people are seeing each other and they're not, they're at least wincing and nobody's, you know, like making it weird. I mean, they shouldn't be at that wedding if that's the case. And I don't see that anymore. Like I'm not seeing that at all. And there was a time where I didn't know what society was going to do. You know, I just didn't know if like people are going to be able to make that shift. And so we're so excited and delighted, but I think Seattle above other places, I'm going to include Portland, I'll just wrap the, the west of the Pacific northwest. Like let's just stay over there for that. But I mean, so much inclusion. So, and it's so cool. And so I love a gay wedding, like nobody's business and I love to show up for those.

45:37 That's funny. Yeah. I was still at Q 13, ah, covering when a gay marriage and, and marijuana passed all at the same, you know, we covered kind of all that stuff in the midnight that night. And that was, uh, that was a wild night of news TV coverage kind of leading into that sub should no, we just got back from San Antonio and like, you know, my wife doesn't travel a lot to like, you know, other places outside of Seattle like that, but you know, and it's just kind of interesting. You're like, oh, you know, yeah. But it's, it's always fun. He, she's like, I don't want to get too far into it, but was it, was there, it's funny kind of getting her reaction walking around. So

46:13 yeah. I mean there's the conservative nature of the larger part of the United States exists. And I mean, I don't even really want to talk about that as much as I want to talk about the fact that like what we do up here, if we really love each other and we see each other and we allow people to be unique and I'm about uniqueness and I'm about like, you know, letting people be exactly who they are and being real about that. I mean, just the idea that somebody would have to suppress their love for another person is, it's heartbreaking and we don't have to do that anymore. And we, I dunno, we get to educate people who are family members who might show up at the dinner table and you're like, I don't think so. Oh, I thought you were saying about that, but, um, maybe you just have never been exposed. So allow me, and, uh, that's something that I'm prideful and that plan is intentional. That was good.

47:08 What would you, I, you run this for 10 years, what would you, what would be, um, you know, a word or two advice for, for younger, you know, business owners, entrepreneurs, obviously female business owners too. You know, as someone that's kind ran email, obviously successful business for 10 plus years now in terms of kind of, um, you know, and that you could take that with everywhere you want.

47:31 Yeah. I, I would say there is room for you. You know, there is room for you to do your thing and explore kind of like the uh, personality and aspect that you want to provide to this community and, and step into, I just think that there was a lot of room, there's a lot of people who are doing things different ways. Um, I still really, really believe in quality and I know I've said that you could probably go back and use status, a shot glass word. Um, but I just want there, I want people to show up professionally. And so Phil, you're new to the business. Bring your a game. Like these are, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Even if there's four on your books for that weekend, um, and each one of them should be treated that way. So I'm kind of looking at the highest level of quality for imagery.

48:19 Um, and there's also a new thing that's happened within the photo booth community where there's just more open dialogue about it. Like when we first started, we had to like develop our whole set up ourselves. So everything was proprietary. And I'd look around and I'd see like a photographer in the back corner with a long lens trying to like capture what we were doing in the space. And I'm like, it's not cool. Don't do that. But now you can go to a photo booth show and it's like a car show with all the hoods up and so everybody can see what's inside. It's not a mystery. I got nothing to hide. You know what this is, you know, it's like going into a cake place. Does it have flour and sugar? Yeah, it does. So you gotta bring your own, you know, you to bring your own perception to this. There's just a lot of different style choices. And I just think that people will be drawn to a person's business if they are authentic and bringing themselves into their business and not just, you know, making masks and trying to like put out what they think needs to exist, but really like look at different things that are happening. Um, design wise and, and see what's, what's consistent for your brand.

49:27 No, and I think that that's great. It's nice. I think email that could be whether a videographer, photographer for it, you know, anything is, you know, you know, don't put on a mask, you know, kind of be authentic I think all about is, is good. And I also, I kind of echo the, um, yeah, the professionalism and like, even if you are kind of trying to figure out if it's your first year you're trying to do this, like, um, you know, there it is their wedding day, you know, at this someone's day and, and um, you know, it needs to have that importance to it. You know, even if you're new and not charging a lot or whatever, it's still their day, you know? And, and I always tell people, if, you know, if you want to experiment, you can go, you know, take some video on the park if you're trying to figure out something and then try to, you know, trying to learn on the fly. Yeah. Even like when we started weddings, like, you know, I had shot news for a long time, you know, I knew how to, you know, work on video camera before I ever walked into a locked into a wedding. So,

50:19 yeah. And that's helpful. I mean, I, I feel like if somebody is buying a turnkey solution and they just feel like they've got it figured out, something will go wrong. Can I just also say that it's, something's gonna go wrong and you really need to have some experience so that you can not make those mistakes at somebody else's expense. Um, I'm not going to say that I don't ever make mistakes, but they're very infrequent. And when I do, I own them. And I tried to find a process to avoid them instantaneously. Um, and I think that that's something that's really important. I, we have never had a photo booth fail at an event. Um, and, and that is because after all of these events we've been, because we take that great care to make sure that we're prepared.

51:04 No, I've had deals with a lot of equipment and things. I, yes, I would definitely echo the processes. Uh, finally, uh, before I let you go, when you're not, you know, running this and you know, you've talked about your kids and stuff. What do you guys do for free time? Whether you guys just got back from a trip, I mean, give us a little, a personal, kind of just a background about you, uh, for anybody listening and he wants to know more about, you know, the woman kind of behind the brand.

51:33 Oh yeah. Cool. Um, well my kids both play ice hockey and so my daughter plays on my son plays rep and so we do a lot of travel for hockey. So actually we're just starting to Spokane and like we'd go up to BC and that kind of stuff for hockey. Um, and that's been a lot of fun. And my husband, it's funny because like I'm just a social butterfly. My husband's a complete and total introvert, like he wants nothing to do with any of this. So no offense to the community who's just like not hanging. Um, and he does beekeeping. Um, so that's kind of something that he gets into. And as a family, I got my parents to live kind of close by and I am, my sister lives down in Portland with my nieces and so we do a lot of like family gatherings.

52:13 And right now it's on the list for the summers. My Dad just came back from California. He's been down there building a hot rod that's 57 nomad. That is incredible. And so he just brought that back. So, um, for all my high end stuff, I still can go sit at a car show. I've planned to do a lot of that this summer, you know, when I can fit that in. Um, so I've got a lot of different interests as far as like craft and that kind of thing goes. But like I like to keep it a little down home and really about the fam.

52:43 Did you say beekeeping?

52:45 Yeah, totally. How's that? Um, well he's got seven hives and a garden and that's like, this is like my other side of my life. I feel like it's so different than what I do. Um, but I don't have anything to do with the bees. I actually was the one who was supposed to be the beekeeper. Like I was interested and then he just took it over and I was like, you know what David, this is all you. You got this. Just handle all those, these, yeah. Uh,

53:13 well I want to thank you so much for coming on. I, it's been so nice and I know we've kind of interacted and been around each other, but to kind of sit down and chat and it's been great. If people want to learn more about you and your, you a, what would you have them check out?

53:26 Oh, I would love for them to go on and check out our Instagram feed, which is @321fotobooth. Uh, also our website has some great information about our service, but I think that we're pretty much wrapping most of what we're doing on Instagram these days.

53:42 Perfect. Well thanks again and for hopping on and taking the time and uh, I really appreciate it.

53:47 This has been fun.

53:49 Yeah, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Um, one other thing, um, I've been kind of posting a little bit, uh, if you want, if you are interested in, they'd be in the guest on an upcoming episode. You can go to and if you want to subscribe or leave us a review, you can go to So I'm, we don't, you know, doing this for profit or whatever. So it's just trying to get, uh, get some more reviews and things like that would be really appreciated. Uh, thanks again and check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Mark Schaefer, Mark Schaefer Magic

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm really excited. I'm joined by a kind of pseudo past client friend, uh, and now a podcast guest. I think this one's gonna be really fun. I'm Mark Schaefer. He is a magician. He does tons of weddings, corporate events, live events. Uh, we met, uh, shooting one of his shows here in Seattle a couple of months ago. Mark, thank you so much for coming on today, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

00:42 Yeah, that's great. Thanks for letting me be here. Yeah, Mark Schaefer, uh, here in the Seattle area. Like you mentioned. I mean, I'm, I'm a magician and a wanting to kind of share the story of, uh, you know, who I am and how I got into magic and a to answer any questions you have about me as well.

00:58 Yeah. I'm, I'm a, I'm really excited. I, I've always been a huge fan of magicians. Um, we, I famously a drug my wife down to a Las Vegas last year to see Criss Angel at the Luxor before. Yeah. I didn't even know he was leaving. I guess he's not at the Luxor anymore. I just found out. So I'm a huge fan. I, you know, I've worked with magicians in the past and I think it's, you know, it's an awesome addition to, you know, weddings and events and everything like that. Uh, so how did this all start? I mean, there's kind of a, not your typical career path. I mean, not that any wedding vendor is a typical career, but I, how did you get inspired and you know, take me back as far as you want to go.

01:33 Yeah, sure. Uh, I get asked that question a lot. Uh, I was actually adopted and, uh, I was on a family vacation to Pennsylvania and I was a visiting who I thought was my aunt and some cousins and I walk in the door and I meet a lot of new family members. But what I did not know as, as meeting my biological father that day and my grandfather and I had known about them since I was a child because my name was changed when I was five years old and I had a lot of questions. So, but not knowing who he was really, he walked in and showed me a magic trick and broke the ice with me. Right. That's how he introduced himself. And then he turned around and walked away and I said, where did you go? And, uh, he came back and I, you know, that was kind of the start of my relationship with him, but that what got me into magic was experiencing that belief in magic, if you will, experiencing a magic trick in front of my eyes.

02:24 So then like many other children, I stayed a part of it for a while and, you know, got a little magic set, got some tricks. Uh, I worked on presentation a lot and uh, kind of started doing things for friends and family and school. And as I gradually got a little bit older, more towards grade school and high school, I got asked to do private shows once in a while, birthdays. Uh, but really kind of that's what got me started. And then as I got into high school, a little bit more, entered some competitions. I was part of a very large high school and we had an annual talent competition. I did not want to do it right. I just want to keep this as a, as a hobby. Some small parties. I got kind of got suckered into it. At that time I was, I had a big stage production show with doves and illusions and fire and they got coerced into it, entered it, and I won.

03:13 And so that's kind of what really made me start believing I could really do, do this on a much bigger level. Uh, was this something that uh, you know, you had support from like family members and friends. Are you kind of out on an island kind of working on this? Yeah, it was, uh, I had support family and friends that, you know, they got tired of you. Hey, hey, let me show you this, or let me try this. Or did you see that so much? So you'd walk in the room and we were like, oh no, you're not going to show me another magic trick, are you? Um, so I got yeah, but got a lot of support, uh, where it was became kind of interesting. I hear it. I think you hear a lot of artists when you had that conversation with your parents and say, you know, I really think that a major in biology and a minor in chemistry for doctor sounds great, but I think I really liked this magic thing.

03:55 Uh, so there was a bit of a turn there and maybe the support level, but it was never on encouraged to do it. Um, and so that's what really pursued, you know, my interest in saying at what level can I take this? And so, uh, yeah, I would say I had support but some nervousness during the college time. Yeah. Cause especially like in high school, I mean I, it's tough to be out there like that. Right. And really put yourself out there. I mean, did you just kind of, uh, adapt to that or is that something that's still hard or, yeah, it's a magic for me was something that helped me break the ice much like I learned from my dad, my parents and I, we moved a lot. And then when my parents were divorced, uh, my mom and my, my other two brothers, we moved a tremendous amount of time.

04:37 And what I found is a lot of people struggle even in adults in life today, struggle with moving to a new area. How do I introduce myself and acclimate myself with magic? It's, it's, it's fun. It's interesting and it's unique. So it, I had the ability to take something that would, I felt even if I was maybe insecure, we're talking to new people are shy, believe it or not read. I used to be very shy. Um, I would use that as a tool to introduce her to break in something, break the ice with somebody. They, hey, he's kind of cool. He's kind of fun. That's unique. And so I use that a lot to create friends and relationships even though I moved, you know, 10 plus times as a child. No, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, and how did you figure it out, you know, even when you were a kid, kind of like, were there certain like tricks and illusions that you like to do or like certain things you gravitated towards and why?

05:24 And Yeah, I, you know, this I like magic that happens to you and in front of you and uh, the spectator can participate in, but I was always fascinated with Doug Henning and with David Copperfield, Lance Burton. And so I kind of had that decision within between the stage and the closeup magic. So those are the two areas I started more in the kind of this closeup, magic, coin's cards, things that happen. Then it got more into the stage business cause I thought, hey, that's what I really had to do to take it to the next level. Um, and then I remember watching a couple of episodes of David Copperfield specials on TV. I mean, you'd go from everything from making the statue of liberty disappear too, you know, for asis changing in front of you in a, in a closeup manner. And that's what made me really kind of shift my main focus to closeup magic.

06:13 Yeah. I mean, I remember growing up like seeing a lot of those specials, like the Sunday night, I don't know if it was like the NBC with David Copperfield. I mean like what do you think it is about like the art form of magic and that kind of live in your team and they really like draws, you know, everyone from kids to adults and everything in between.

06:31 I think it's hard for us to put ourselves back when we were between zero and eight years old. But that magic of believing in Santa Claus, if you will, or the kind of the art of the possible or the suspension of belief. What, what made me interested in magic is what I hope to impart in those when I, you know, do magic for others. And I think that when you saw the family's gathering around and everyone was talking about it's that impossible. It's that how, how can you trick very smart brains, how can you get, you know, bring me back to that childhood. And what I tell people today, adults I interact with is we all have tough days. We all go through Tufts lot weeks, days, hours. But that brief time that we're experiencing magic, it brings us back to when we were a child and back to when everything we believed in everything. And you know, Magic's truly seems real at that point.

07:19 Yeah. That was like when we did the show that we just did an in Fremont and one of the ladies that I was there, like a lot of things. And you had there never been, I mean she was like four. I mean it really was forward, uh, you know, during the show and then afterwards, you know, even doing the testimonials and stuff from mean like she was still like shaken. It was just funny, you know, and you just say, man, this is like a, this women's, you know, older. And just seeing a lot of stuff in her life and still like she was told,

07:45 yeah, it's a, that we get that reaction a lot. And in some of the, I was just doing a show not too long ago and uh, it was, uh, you know, part of the routine is kind of a mind reading routine from a mentalism perspective asks you to think about someone that meant something to you. And uh, we were going through the routine when you revealed the name, she actually stood there and just cried. And it was so, it was so powerful for her in that, you know, even for that split moment, she believed that somehow I was able to read her mind and figure it out. But it was less around that. It was more about the experience that she had with us at that time. That brought up a memory of someone who had just recently passed. And so through magic and bringing her back afterwards, I spoke to her and she was talking about how that moment, that one moment on stage, sure, you've got the disbelief, you know, how did you figure that out?

08:33 But more is she said it was like a fast forward movie running through her mind if all the memories of that person. So to me that's powerful, right? And in magic we want to invoke many emotions, whether it's a happiness may know mysterious or whether it's just per perplexed. But you know, there's tears, there's laughter, there's a frustration and a lot as long as it was. So I see your, to kind of get back to your stores who we're doing the magic in high school and then it Kinda did that transition to college thing you kind of talked about kind of not, so how did your path go after that? Yeah, so, uh, well during college I was still doing magic cause doing magic a lot in Las Vegas at the time, commuting back and forth from Arizona. Um, at that point I met a person who works in Las Vegas and in Phoenix and kind of was my mentor to take, take it to the next level.

09:23 So again, you know, I'm, I was faced with, all right, I'm going to school, I know what I want to be. I was a premed student. Um, uh, but at that time a lot of my friends were doctors and surgeons like, I'm not sure you really, really want to do this. And I kind of grew up in the tech world as well. So customer mixing technology with magic and ultimately, uh, went through and you know, and finish, obviously I'm not a doctor today. Um, but uh, during college I started really getting promoted. Some agents pick me up, started doing some corporate shows. I'll never forget my first, a big company show, if I say the name 24 hour fitness, they hired a, hired me and brought me around to their national sales meetings and I really thought, you know what? I feel I've accomplished something here.

10:03 And it further validated that that's what I want to do. How old were you when that was going on? I was, uh, to about 21 years old fad. There had been pretty exciting. Yeah. I was like, oh, was exciting. I read what happened is they booked me and I was so excited. I had the great, great and this, and we have such a big pizza party, there's a couple of thousand people will be in and out. I need you to bring three magicians, three of you. And I'm like, great, no problem. Land the deal. Right. And then I realize, wow, who are the other two magicians I'm going to bring? So one of my best friends, John, is as is at one of the most, you know, a wonderful performers today. We got in a room real quick, found a third person and uh, we've all been doing it ever since.

10:41 That's awesome. Uh, so, so, so that was going well then you were touring and stuff. So then did you end up, uh, do you were, you weren't ended up being a premed student? No, no. Premed biology minor in chemistry. Okay. I still love it, but, uh, now I just, uh, I'm a patient instead of the doctor. Uh, so after college and where did you find yourself? So yeah, so after college I had traveled around doing magic all over the world. I've been fortunate to travel a lot and there was a period of time that I always said to myself, then I stayed to myself. Now if you're not doing what you love, it's time to stop doing that or take a break. So I actually took a break from fulltime magic and went back and pursued my passion around technology. Uh, so I worked for a large technology firm at the time.

11:26 And what I found though is almost an every interaction or meeting with a customer, with a coworker. I was still showing magic, but I got to embrace the love of the hobby rather than a, you know, eight to five job where I was traveling all around the world, have lost luggage. Uh, but it's always tech, you know, brought me right back. Right. And, uh, for me again, I use magic in, in business and presentations. Uh, it's a unique kind of way to communicate a message. So yeah, I went to, took a bit of time off, uh, from full time, but I've never stopped being a performer. I do. People find it interesting cause you know, you're like a successful businessman. I mean, you look like a businessman. I do. They find out like, oh, you do, you know, magic and stuff. I'm like, what is that kind of reaction?

12:11 Yes, it happens a lot, right? So, yes, I, a lot of my magician friends jokingly say, hey, you look like a corporate guy. He just came out of the, the, uh, the CEO's office. Um, it's, it's a powerful tool. I joke it's a competitive advantage for me, uh, when meeting with large customers because I don't have a problem getting a meeting. Right. Uh, I can tell you honestly that many of my large corporate customers, uh, if we're going to have a meeting with them, they ask every meeting and had the last 10 minutes to be magic. So they'd bring in their, their, their administrative assistants or coworkers. Um, but yes, I was just in a large, a meeting here in Seattle with a large tech firm with the top executives and someone stopped in the middle of the room right in the middle of a very interesting heated conversation.

12:54 Said, is it true you're a magician? And this is the president of the u s of a large technology firm and said, we have to talk more about that. And subs has followed up with me ever since because not only does she love magic, her son is like, could you please help? So yeah, it's, it's great. It comes up every day and was awesome. And then you have kids. I do a, what do they think about having a dad? It's like a magic man. Oh, they love it. Uh, uh, they, uh, even everything from my license plate that they asked me to get to their friends, uh, my, one of my children loves magic and, uh, tries to learn a little bit, gets frustrated sometimes, doesn't have the same perseverance I guess, or, or lack of social life that I've had when I was learning as they joke, but they really, really like it.

13:37 Um, it helps one of my, one of my children, or with a similar challenges that I had when, how do I, I feel different. I feel quiet. I move around a lot. So he uses some things. They're not quite as passionate to be honest. They've, they've more around my other passion of playing golf. Um, but they, uh, they like it because a lot of their friends have either seen me on television or see me perform. And so they're like, hey, that's, that's a Mark Schaefer magic. He's a magician. And so my kids feel a bit, you know, kind of proud of that. So. Yeah. And I want to talk, we were talking a little off my cause even when I think, uh, when you had booked me and I was looking at whatever in the prep and I saw kind of the America's got talent, you know, photos from the auditions and stuff.

14:17 Uh, can you just talk a little bit about that? And I think that probably a lot of people watch him or you know, AJT America's got talent. Yes. So we, yeah, it was, we, I was on the, America's got talent, not the, the America's got talent champions, which was the last one, but the season before. And uh, even though we did great, got a standing ovation, the way reality TV works a lot is it was cut. Unfortunate never placed on television, but the experience that I had there was just phenomenal. Uh, and you know, we have some opportunity here in the near future to possibly be back on that show and a couple of other television specials. Um, but it was, it was great and I can tell you that it was not a passion for me to do that. Uh, I feel good in, in magic.

14:59 But what I was trying to do this with was with my children to make sure that they understand that it's okay to try something big, to put yourself out there. Rejection is part of life. And if I made it, I was happy. If I didn't, I was just as happy. I think it was a good life lesson for them. I think it was more powerful for me to see it through their eyes. Uh, there are great and they're happy with all the photos are coming out of the media day and I was there. And, uh, but yeah, it was, it was a great experience. I hope to, you know, maybe see my face on that, uh, in an upcoming a season. But you know, nothing to complain about it. Outstanding.

15:32 Yeah. Well I think if anything else it uh, you know, shows like that kind of help keep, you know, magic acts and other variety accident he's alive where I think it would bear very easy and you know, 2019 that kind of not do a lot of that stuff anymore. So,

15:46 yeah, I think if you look now, magic is as popular now, if not more than ever. Uh, if Shin Lynn listens to this, he'd love it. A good friend of mine, he won America's got talent and champions. If you look in the last five years, three of the magicians of one, um, there's magic specials popping up everywhere. There's magic theater sold out for months at a time and large cities or either the in or try to do one here in Seattle, right. To be honest. Um, and so there's just a lot more interest in one of the things that we're trying to do is change the perception of what magic used to be. Right. A lot of people come to me and they say, okay, I want to see your video or I want to meet you. And I always ask, great, let's do that. But maybe, maybe help me understand what you're looking for and honestly is, well I just wanted to make sure that you're, you're not here with a top hat and a rabbit and a magic wand. So if you look at the magicians of today, we're trying to change it, kind of more modernized. What, uh, what it means to be a magician or performing a mentalist or what, so these television shows are really helping bring out that new wave of magicians.

16:44 Yeah. Cause even like I was saying that like I'm a big, we went and sat criss Angel Mike, he just built some whole new theater at planet Hollywood. Amazing. It, they'd dropped, I don't know, $100 million in to doing this thing. So I mean, like you said, it is really kind of like changing, you know, like you said, it's not really a top hat.

17:00 Yeah. And it's nothing to take away the traditional way. You got to go see his show, by the way, it's amazing. And the new theater, uh, but yeah, it's nothing to take away from traditional magic if there's magicians at listened to this, you know, but, you know, cutting a rope and linking rains, uh, fascinating, traditional magic. Uh, however, a lot of people feel they've seen that. So, uh, with technology and with the Internet and with Youtube, it's really required. Much like technology firms have to be innovative. Magicians, we have to be innovative, we have to be creative and you know, new presentations and new content. So I, that's what I'm excited about. You know, the Internet is not necessarily a great thing for magic because a lot of people just go to expose the secrets and they feel satisfied there. Okay. If that's them, that's fine. But I really think that it, it pushes a us to try and be more creative.

17:50 Yeah. So talk now kind of about, uh, and we'll kind of segway into, you know, weddings and events now, cause you know, this is a wedding podcast, but like, uh, I could just talk forever about this kind of stuff. I'm talking about Kinda the, the church CD now, kind of your act now, what you, you know, like to be known for what you are known for and then we can kind of segway into it,

18:08 you know, doing other stuff. Sure. Yeah. So the sh I have a touring show that I'm doing now. Again, it's the one you helped with and we're, we're, we're going to a next will be California, then Arizona. Uh, and my show is called mind hack. So it's a, it's a mix of two passions of mine actually. It's a mix of multiple passions. Uh, it's, uh, a little bit of bringing in the mentalism side. And if for those of you that don't know what that is, is more of the tricks that the mind, if you think about that, uh, then a mix of closeup magic, whether it's, uh, you know, items appearing or disappearing, um, uh, right before your eyes. And then there's also a little bit of technology, uh, and, and golf, right. I'm an avid golfer and you didn't see this part cause we had to change it for the theater. But I, I'm mixing all of my passions because then I believe that I'm showing who I am. So, uh, what I would say I'm probably more known for today is closeup magic. Um, a lot of that came probably from doing so many big shows with live animals and birds that traveling around in a, in a semi truck essentially. Uh, it's a lot harder than showing up with my suit and my pockets like am now and saying let's go perform for two or three hours.

19:17 That's funny. Yeah. And it's great too. I think it's so unique like a eno filming your thing. I'm like, I'm not one of those that like tries to, um, you know, really if I figure out kind of stuff. I mean, sometimes it's like, well, you know, maybe, maybe not, but I'm not like sitting there like analyzing the tape and stuff and my, the, but it's funny cause like, and I've filmed other magicians in the past, like even watching, uh, going back through, you know, the stuff when I was editing and I was like, yeah, I don't know how we do all that. And that's kind of been, you know, and even for me to sit sitting there studying now, I mean, it's gotta be really hard to kind of like be up on that. Right? I don't write, I don't know. I didn't magic for five minutes when I was a kid. I mean, it's gotta be really hard to kind of keep on,

19:54 do that. Yeah. I think the hardest part of magic is, is a lot of people are become technically good, right? They can do the slides, they can, they can do the moves. But how to become a performer is the hard part. People come to see you, not just what you can do. And if you can bring people through that story with you, uh, they're less likely to sit in your audience and say, I'm just trying to figure it out now. Don't get me wrong. There are those people still. Uh, and that usually what I tell them is you can either sit here and enjoy a 60 minutes and let you know, bring you back to a place that maybe you believe that magic for the split time or you can just try to figure everything out. But at the end, what are you really have? You have just, hey, I figured it out versus a story. Um, but yeah, I would agree.

20:35 I would agree with you there. Yeah. Cause my wife is one of those like, cause I'm taking, you know, we want GGT and I've taken her to like criss angel and say, she's like, uh, oh I don't, I don't like any of this. But then it will be something. And she's like, oh wow. Like how did, how'd they do that? Like, so she's

20:48 like a closet fam. Like she doesn't want to admit it, but she, she gets impressed, you know? Good. Yeah. And I think that's why as entertainers into my show, if you think I, I in the opening of my show as an interactive video, so it's getting you, you know, kind of telling you who I am, what I do, why you should care. But it's kind of that quick trying to blow your mind. And I think that if you, even if you heard in the recording that you did in the show, most people in the crowd like, whoa. So you catch their attention there. And then I do a little bit of a traditional closeup trick, but onstage, and then I'd go into some mentalism and back and forth. And then again, one of the things you didn't get to see because of the facility was I kind of have an illusion at the end.

21:26 And I try to bring people through almost like a movie. There's a middle, there's a beginning and there's an end. And I tried to tap it, a type of magic that I know might relate to at least more than one person in the room because some people don't like men's limits if scares them. Uh, and some people, you take out a deck of cards and the first thing that says, oh, I've seen that trick. Even then there's millions of things that you could do. You know what I mean? In tons of, you know, crowd interaction, you know, both onstage, offstage, people yelling. But you know, obviously you feed off the audience to like almost like a comedian or a musician. Right? I mean, imagine if you're out there playing and you'd get no interaction and uh, yes, and that, that makes for a tough night. Uh, and so, yeah, so kind of signaling the weddings.

22:07 Um, you know, I was, we were singing off Mike, uh, one of the first weddings, you know, I ever did. Uh, you know, how the big magic component to it for the couple, I'm talking about kinds of, some of the different ways that you see magic, I guess introduced kind of in the weddings, right? I would say the most common is what we're asked to do. Strolling magic, a closeup, magic interactive magic. At the beginning, uh, it was, people are coming to the reception, right? You typically in a, not all weddings are the same. You, you've probably done a lot more than me, but the, a lot of times they'll come in and they're the bride and groom and family aren't getting photos and there are some remote location and now they need to have a commute time and then other guests are showing up.

22:49 Some people know each other, some don't. And then there was a cocktail hour or some type of a, you know, a, an hors d'oeuvres and a lot of people stand around and he kind of being a fly on the wall, it looks awkward to some people. Uh, so I think with magic, what it does is it helps keep that, that excitement level up. It gets people engaged. It's almost like a warm up band is for a musician, uh, keeps their energy level high, their engagement high. And also one of the best things it does is I bring people together. So if I'm walking and I see a group of six people and I can tell they don't really know each other, I bring them together, I bring into magic, get them involved, blow their minds, and then they start talking to each other. And now I've served kind of as a networking between them.

23:32 Um, and then lastly, it's, I guess you, some restaurant magicians will say it's the same thing. It reduces the perceived time of waiting around. If I'm busy, if my mind is occupied, I'm interacting with a magician. Next thing you know, I feel like I just got there and now they're announcing the bride and groom coming in and we sit down and we have dinner. Uh, that's the majority of the bookings. The second would be many offer, uh, asked for a kind of a full stage. You were talking off mic with you and I is about, hey, there's a dinner and a show and we've done this multiple times. Uh, actually many times over the last many years is, uh, our focus though is to make sure that the bride and groom are part of that. Of course, right? It's their special day. It's not my time to be on stage. So we will do that at the request of the customer, but we want to make sure that, you know, we catered the show. So it's never your stock corporate show. It's all about continuing to put the focus on them. But then yes, sometimes you, you, you do the entry, you build up some excitement, then the DJ announces, Hey, we're having a minimum magicians coming back at the end of the night you've already created. So the awareness and then you close off the end of their evening, right before they danced the night away.

24:42 Yeah. And we did one of those and it was great. I mean, it worked out great that they had, like you said, kind of a

24:48 mmm,

24:48 right before the grand entrance, you know, a little bit of banter with the audience. Never, you know, they come in.

24:54 MMM.

24:55 Yeah. The Magician does something with the groom. He looks like a rock star, you know, impressing this, the life, you know, it ends up and it is where, you know, you're there as a magician of the act. Like you're able to entertain me,

25:06 but then also like really kind of draw that focus back to them. It's almost like an MC, right? You're an MC that's has a fun skill and doing it without a doubt. That's, that's the only way to truly be successful in and continuing to make their night. Cause you want at the end of the night, do you want the guests walking away and remembering the wonderful wedding and that couple and magic just becomes another, a vehicle to make that happen. And it's, I've been part of a couples from the very first PR proposal, you know, the, the guy's proposing to the, his soon to be wife. She has no clue. They take their, hey, there's just happens to be a magician here and make a ring up here and then follow that all the way back to the final time where you're writing. The last wedding I did, we actually had the, uh, the groom be part of it and he was not aware that the bride was also part of it. So we had a great time doing that. Yeah.

25:58 Talking about the difference of, um, you know, obviously being like onstage and then being that in, in the, you know, it's still a big audience, but a little more intimate. Um,

26:06 obviously a lot more personal with it'd be in the way. Talking about just kind of the difference of that, the difference of closeup being onstage or just like how it is for you and in performing like, okay, yeah. So in performing I'm a people person and you, even Jojo eight, where like, Hey, don't you talk with your hands, don't and don't hit the table. I like to interact with people because I've traveled all around the world and everyone has amazing story. So I feel that when I'm doing closeup magic with them, I'm much closer. We're interacting, there's ad live, there's ad hoc, a conversation in jokes. It just come about, right. And you get to make a lot of people, you know, believe in magic, but also the star when you're on stage, you're still trying your best to do that. But you almost feel as though you would say it, you know, acting.

26:48 It's like that fourth wall or so I'm, I'm speaking to a crowd. Uh, it's a very scripted show with some ad hoc capabilities, but I'm interacting with one or two people and they become the eyes and ears of the audience. So you kind of have to approach it differently. But to me it's equally as fun. Uh, you can do certain things that you can't do in closeup magic. Um, and you get to entertain a lot of people at all at once because you know, so many times a client will book you and they say, hey, we need you for an hour and a half and you're walking around and so many people didn't get to see you. Right. Some of the, some of the best testimonials emails I get afterwards, this is my gosh, half the people are still talking to you six months later and some people are bummed they didn't get to see you. At least with a show, you're kind of closing that, that loop there where you're performing for everyone at once and you, uh, you get to make, some people have star, right? Some people love to get on stage, some people are very nervous.

27:42 Um, do you like being a part of like weddings, like down, I mean, you get kinda caught up in the emotions of that and the love and kind of all that, or is it just another way to kind of interact with people for you?

27:53 Oh, I definitely do. My wife and people will tell you I'm a SAP. Uh, I can't remember like the last wedding, I probably didn't have a few tears about. Uh, but no, I think that it's a special day. I remember my special day. Um, and I love being a, you know, they, it's a cliche term. It's like the magic of love, right? Is it is magical. And being able to take something that I love and mix it with, you know, someone's special day, uh, and make their memory in even the slightest most memorable again, is, it's absolutely something that led to do.

28:24 Uh, what'd you guys do for your wedding?

28:26 Uh, well, we, uh, our wedding was small. Um, we had both been married before, so we took and the opportunity to get married at our bosses, our old boss's house. That's how we got introduced. And it was right on Lake Sammamish and without the, you know, it wouldn't be a wedding without or interception without magic. So I hired one of my best friends, uh, in the world. Uh, Eric Samuels out of Canada. Came down. He was part of it, but he did his show, uh, for us. And it was a hit. Right. I, I joke that, you know, hey, do you remember I was there too. I would joke with my friends. They're like, Eric was great, but I was there too. Right. All joking aside. But yeah, I mean, it wouldn't be the same. It's kind of a brand that I have, right. As far as entertainment. And I just think it makes any event that much more memorable.

29:14 Yeah, I agree. We did that last summer we did a, it was like a joint 50th birthday was a husband, wife. Uh, it was like a $70,000 birthday. Wow. That's quite the birth. Yes. But they had a, I don't remember who, what bid they had, you know, they brought in the magician and you know, they had a juggler and like, um, I ribbon the answers, but that was like a huge focal point. Uh, you know, and these are all like really rich. I mean this is right guy. They shut down the restaurant, they have this thing, but I couldn't, I said, Gosh, you

29:42 know, everything else they have. And they had a magician that just like you said, kind of going around and although those people really knew everybody, and I'm sure there was some awkwardness, you know, you're mixing, um, kind of social circles of a husband, wife and kind of throwing this joint party. Right, right. Yeah. It's, every party has downtime or every party has, you know, ebbs and flows. And I could, we could talk for hours about the various times I've been hired and, and why. But yeah, I think that, you know, every single event that we have, whether it's a small house party in California, uh, and so many people that hired me for private events when I lived there, um, as well as here, but I had two particular people that for five straight years, uh, put me in the Limo, paid me very well to come to their house on Christmas Day because it was, it was such a powerful thing to them.

30:32 Magic and they loved magic, but their guests, they were also a very wealthy family and in Laguna up on the beach. Um, but it was, it was interesting. I'm like really of all the things you just keep doing its magic and they just said, it's one of the number one things people talk about. You ain't no time and time again. So constantly have to find new things to show the same people over and over. But it was a, it was still to this day I get contacted by them. That's great. So where they have like a big Christmas party, a Christmas party. Yes. Have you come up? Oh yeah, I'd come up every single time. And even when I moved away, it was interesting is because I'd done this same thing over and over that you become almost part of the family. Right? So you would find, hey, I'm there, let's say they pay me and they'd be there for a couple hours.

31:10 I would swear that, you know, after the hugs and kisses and that welcomes and how have you been? I haven't seen you in a while. You know, 40 minutes passes and they're just part of it. So yeah. To them you much like, some people have rituals for the holidays. They're ritual was to have magic be presented for everyone young and old. And it wasn't just, hey, entertain the kids. It was more engaging with the adults. So that would be a must be an ICBA cats in that, in that family, right? Oh yeah. How do you kind of figure out new, uh, new tricks and ideas and kind of keep, keep it fresh even for you, Emily, you said now you're, you know, you work and do this, but how do you kind of keep it fresh and keep calling? You know, I in magic a lot of routines or ideas can build off of one another.

31:52 Um, obviously in today's technology world we're inundated if we would like to be with find ed looking at other magicians and you know, you can sort of going into brick and mortar shops, which is a total, you know, a heartbreaker for me that they're going away. For the most part, everything's online because I remember I worked in a magic shop and being able to sit there and read books and jam with other magicians, uh, was something that really, really set apart the, the lack of their personal experience that we buy online. But I digress. The, I'm just talking to other magicians that has some friends share some ideas. Sometimes you come up with things by complete accident. Right. One of the, or one of the routines I did in the show that you saw w came out of complete accident of another routine not going well.

32:35 And so you're like, wow, this part of this routine, a works great with this part of routine. Be Put them together. Let's see if I have something. Uh, if you remember the whole goldfish routine, um, that was two separate things that came together, which was awesome. Yeah. I was going to ask you over the years or how you have been like, things that maybe didn't go right to plans and I don't know if you have any funny stories that you know off the top of your Heather. Oh, I, I have a lot. I mean, in magic we have something that's called the, we have to be ready for something that's called an out if something doesn't go wrong. So you would probably, if you were a magician of watching a lot, you would realize, oh, he messed up. But you might not know as a, as a non magician, but you know, funny things, uh, that have gone wrong.

33:19 Let's see. Yes. So I was doing the gold fish routine that you saw once and right when I went to make the big reveal, I don't want to say it here if in case you haven't seen my show, um, the person decides to drop the glass. So it was very anticlimactic there. Cause now we have clean up on aisle six and the best part of the routine I was waiting for all night is there. Um, I, when I was a dove magician, uh, I had a couple of routines where I, you produce a dove and multiple ways. I usually like six or eight of them in my show and they were trained to fly back. I spent countless hours in my house training these birds to fly back and I was in one of my largest, uh, venues and I produced the bird that I need to fly back to me.

34:00 And then that bird, I was going to finish that bird. Well, the bird proceeded to fly around the audience a bunch of times and land on four or five people. And it was so funny because I'm on stage feeling like, oh my gosh, but the audience is in stitches. Just laughing. And then lastly, uh, talking about where something didn't go right, but it turned into a miracle for me. Uh, I was opening for a movie called Lord of illusions in La at the Mann's Chinese theater and I was the hired magician, one of a couple to do the celebrity, a movie opening. So there's the, all the a list celebs are there and I'm doing magic and uh, it's just going great. I'm meeting David Hasselhoff, so the world when the Baywatch crew and the nine and two one oh crew, I mean for kind of dating herself back then.

34:45 Um, but this is, it's part of my signature in my email today is Penn Jillette from Penn and teller was just heckling the heck out of me and I didn't understand why. And what happened is the audience turned on him. They're like, no, because we're having a great time. I was working on some really strong material and he stood up. And if you haven't met him or seen him, he's a big tall guy, like six, four or tolerance, your height or taller. And he says, if you're so good, magic boy, stick my card on the ceiling. Well, Carter on the ceilings, a traditional magic trick. Well, I looked up in the ceilings, a good 80 feet in the air. So making lemons from lemonade. I'm like, if I can do that, you, you, you'll stop heckling him, you'll be quiet. Let me enjoy is. Absolutely. So I gave it all, I got through it up there. Not only did it stick on the ceiling, it's stuck on the one beam that was there and the entire Mann's Chinese theater with absolute in nutty. So again, I kind of took the of the heckling side of what comes with us and you know, and turn it into a memorable line, which I got aligned from him now that I use as a quote. This is, I have no idea how you did that.

35:50 That's awesome. I, yeah, we, uh, I saw him and Penn and teller. Yeah. Down in Vegas and that was quite the show. I mean they're uh, yeah, like kind of local, you know, I the the newer wave of still restate. Yeah.

36:03 Yes. There it shows great if you know anyone at listened that hasn't seen it, the hell at the Rio. They do a great job. They're constantly innovating and trying new things as well.

36:10 Yeah. I wanted to talk about um, you were talking about the bird and everything and, and a lot the humor and the, is that obviously a conscious choice to inject kind of a lot more humor in your show. Is that, how do you look at kind of ease, I know you said kind of like building it like a movie set or like a move, but like talking about kind of having that humor and making, making it fun and kind of, right, right. Yeah.

36:30 I think that how I started building my show is I believe in, in being really critical of yourself and accepting feedback and growing. I did a character survey, so I sent a character survey out to a good hundred plus people. Some are friends, some are family, some are people that just see me in the past acquaintances. And I asked people to describe in a, and there was a question, I went through a kind of a consulting on this and it was very interesting. The show that I was building was, was more against the character, what people thought I was when they interact with people on stage and in person. Uh, I'm kind of a goofball. I like to laugh. I think you know, something great's about to happen all the time. Uh, and, and you know, kind of funny, quick-witted. So I like to take that expression of f humor, laughing and incorporate in this show.

37:20 Um, cause I think that it's, it's a, I would equate it to, if you take a, you know, like a Denzel Washington actor and now he's a, an Adam Sandler role or Adam Sandler is going to be a serious, uh, you know, a role in a movie, it doesn't quite fit. It's just against that person's kind of natural character. So I love to laugh. I think Lao laughter heals a lot. Laughter creates excitement in the show. So, yeah, I try to ebb and flow different comedic bits. But I'm not a comic either though. So I have to be careful that I can't deliver certain tricks with certain jokes that don't fit my character.

37:54 Yeah, I mean I think it's a fine line between kind of, um, be like you said, kind of the mentalism with also then, you know, like injecting humor, you know, cause people want to have fun when they go out. I mean, you want to be, you know, kind of have your mind blown, but you also kind of, yeah,

38:09 yeah. Mentalism is a, a lot of people, it gets a bad rap because it can be what we call procedural. It can take a long time to get to the end. And if they're in that journey and today's world, particularly with cell phones and, and kind of where I'll have a little bit of add a is if you're not making people laugh and being quick witted and being interactive, you risk losing them. And as a performer on stage, if you start losing people, it's an uncomfortable experience. But then also you want them to believe and want to refer and see you again and come to another show. So yeah, I think that, you know, building and the, the, the laughing and building and suspense and also building in the wonder at the same time is kind of the kind of the secrets to success I would say.

38:51 Sorry about you email in magicians or kind of anything else, uh, you know, kind of out of the norm, kind of injecting that into weddings and events. You know, we talk a lot on this podcast with a different planners and vendors and stuff about like, it seems like people nowadays really want to kind of make their wedding stand, stand out or kind of have their unique flair or kind of what they're interested in talking about how, you know, like hiring the magician or hiring a juggler or a string quartet or kind of kind of allowing, you know, you helped me to allow couples and other people to kind of make their events really unique and different.

39:27 Yeah. So I think at first starts off with w you know, everything from your first conversation with the client is, you know, what are you trying to achieve? What's, what is the, I mean it's almost like a company value. What's your, what's your mission, what's your definition of success? And then we started asking lots of questions around the environment, the area. And then I typically will ask a lot of questions or are there certain who's going to be there, um, you know, how they had passed entertainment in the past, how does that worked, what hasn't worked, what worked well? Um, and then, you know, gate kind of gauging their appetite for being part of the show. And then what I will do is I'll outline you typically how the flow would go and I would, hey, does this work or does that work? But also bring a point of view, right?

40:13 Cause you know, sometimes it's their, their first and hopefully they're only wedding and you and I have worked a lot of them. So bringing ideas that might challenge their norm or their comfort a little bit so that we can bring a different experience that we know kind of works. Um, but I think that making sure that you have, particularly a magician or juggler, anyone making sure that you really insert them in the right timeline of your event. For instance, we're doing magic while people are eating is, is not a recipe for success. Right? Hey, we all know where that waiter comes by. Hi Sir. How was your first bite? Mm, real good. Whether, you know, magic is interactive, so if all of a sudden I'm trying to interact with you now, bringing that suspense is, is now a inconvenience to you. Same with when you're on stage. Uh, uh, just a bunch of everyone's down eating and clinking their, their forks and knives. You want full interaction with the audience. So we help, we help customers walk through the kind of, the pitfalls of when to do and when not to.

41:14 Um, what is the, you, you talked to me about the really cool show that the opening for the moving there. What was, what was your favorite performance you've ever had? Favorite? Uh, and it could be just because of the venue, because of the audience could be cause of something else.

41:29 Uh, you know, I have a lot of favorites, but I would have say probably one that's still in the top of my mind as a very first time. I actually, as a true entertainer, got to perform for my dad. The, he's, you know, he wasn't a big part of my life. I did, like I said, I didn't meet him and I got to show giving back. Right? I got to show something. You know, he, he always, I think, struggled with not being part of my life and not being able to show up, teach me how to be a young man and all of that. But he always questioned did he ever really impart anything to me. So being able to do that performance where he got to experience that, uh, was, was great. Uh, maybe next to that from a, from a memorable, memorable perspective is a lot of the public shows that I do now.

42:16 Uh, I donate a 100% of it to charity. So I love doing a show where I give back to something. And so, you know, one of my recent shows I was able to do and raise money for a particular topic that I'm fond of and working for a technology firm, they match that for me. So giving back to community. But yeah, probably probably the first time you ever got to perform for my, uh, for my dad. So he saw that he did in part something that I love in into me. And then, um, uh, probably second to that was performing for my best friend's wedding. Uh, unfortunately passed away shortly thereafter. But the time that we spent together working on building his night to make it a powerful, memorable evening was the most creative magic show I had ever done for anyone that's very different than what I have I do today.

43:10 But that creative process with him was a, it was something that I'll never forget. Yeah. Is Your, is your act something where, I mean obviously you know, there's kind of a lot of tricks and things, but like you know, if a bride or groom or a corporate client, you'll kind of wanted to, hey, can I come up and do some things or do the, you know, are you able to kind of talking about kind of being able to customize a little bit for, for the client? Absolutely. So it's, it's like Lego's almost, right? We have a, we have a certain flow on my show as a, I have a script that I've got blocking and everything, however we realize that one size does not fit all. And the best thing that I found in doing magic, whether it's closeup magic with you sitting at this table right now, read or a big large corporate show or a wedding is making it personal, right?

43:56 So whether it's the bride and groom and I'm doing a trick where we reveal a serial number, that serial number is the exact date and time they met when he proposed to her in this city that someone picked as a city that they got engaged in is bringing things back. A recent corporate show was all around the client, right? So everything from customizing the story, uh, customizing the props that are out there, that's the only real way that I want people to want to hire mark, not just a magician. And I think the way you do that is, is taking the time to say I'm a vehicle to your success. No matter what the event is, work with you to make it the most memorable it can be.

44:37 Where do you see, and I know we talked a little bit about, you know, uh, more modernizing the top hat and things, but where do you kind of see magic going in the next two, five years? I mean, where do you kind of see that trend going? Yeah, I think we're going to come

44:51 continue to see more a technology type magic right? A, this is the, the age of Youtube, right? Uh, again, it's not necessarily something that has to magicians love if people consume that media with the intentive experiencing magic and, and loving it. But unfortunate a lot of people are you using technology to expose secrets. Uh, so it's creating a lot more requirement for us to be innovative. Uh, so it's interesting, it's an interesting dichotomy because we want to film a, I used to have a lot more media online and then people were taking my ideas. Um, but I think that we're going to see a magic if as current trajectory we're going to see a lot more modern shows that are highly interactive, the coming to large cities around you as well as mixing that with technology. Um, and the last on that, the whole technology piece read is some of what we do is so powerful.

45:46 People nowadays believe it has to be some cheating kind of technology. So how do we take that and balance of traditional kind of in a theater or you saw remove the walls of potential technology but still leverage things like magic with iPhones, right? Or magic with, you know, taking off your, your airpods in severing the, the cord and putting it back together. It's stuff that they're passionate about because people are attached to their phone. So if you start doing things with their phone, they're fascinated or, or nervous or in, in, in watches and things. But I think that we will, whether we like or not continue to see more and more what we call television magic or youtube magic.

46:25 I talk about kind of what you have coming up next and know you have some shows coming up and, and other things. And how do you, you know, how are you kind of building out the rest of your year and keep going?

46:34 Yeah. So my, my next show is next public shows in, in Roseville, California, a foundation I'm very fond of as well as the Roseville police athletic league. I was a reserve police officer myself for a few years and my family lives in Roseville and my nephew works as an explorer there and what they do for bringing youth, uh, an underprivileged youth into safe environments to do their homework, to study, to have mentors. But also build a healthy relationship between the police and, and, and the children. Uh, and it's sponsored a hundred percent [inaudible] run by police and their families off hours. So it's a great charity. I have a big theater out there, about 550 seats, uh, and, uh, you know, it, we're looking really forward, debuting a couple large effects there. And then, and then I take that and I'm coming back to Seattle, uh, to do a, uh, another show with a large golf organization out here.

47:30 And then, um, you know, you asked me earlier around interacting with other people. I was a consultant for a Seattle band here that's pretty, uh, releasing a new music video and song. So a, on the, I think the 27th, the 28th, there's a public show here, uh, that I'll be doing as well. And then a few remote sites likes, um, Arizona, uh, bosc brewery is a local company here that we're partnering to do a charity event, hopefully for a local charity for supporting, um, battered women and the children to come back into their feet, get jobs. So it really just, I'm kind of chasing the, the areas that I believe in, in, in, in, and can support.

48:09 Well, yeah. And I mean, and I it just having you on it because cool A, just to kind of pick your brain about magic and, and events and things. But I think like we were talking, you know, if, if having someone like you on that's more of a unique vendor can like, you know, how people think about that, whether it's, you know, couples or planners and thinking like, well, you know, whether some like kind of out of the norm, cause I'll tell you is, you know, as a videographer, you know, photographer, you know, even as a guest at the wedding, like, you know, having different things is always great. Yeah.

48:36 You know, I would say I would agree. Obviously I'm biased. I'm a magician, so, but, uh, most of the feedback I get, I mean, I'm, you know, over 40 now, I've been doing this for a long time and I've only ever had one person in my life that I've interacted with and didn't like magic. And it was because it was so strong. They thought I was like, uh, which, uh, I'll never forget that day, uh, that I could go on the top of one of your funniest moments because I was, I was floored. But yes, you're, you're riding and you know, most weddings not all have videographers. They have djs. They, you know, so people go in there and think, I'm going to, I'm going to dance. There's going to be a DJ, there's going to be food, there's going to be drink. But if I think about taking magic as a way to, to even elevate it even more, create a unique experience that people will talk about. Because, um, you know, you can have a face painters I see a lot as well, uh, that leave a memory when you leave, you know, but magic is, people will still come and talk about it years later. I mean, uh, the, the last show I did, the last private show I did, someone just contacted me and said, oh my God, I still can't figure out how you got that card in my shoe. And so it just creates additional memories on top of the event.

49:43 I will say, and just to kind of reiterate what you've said about bringing magicians on, but I think sometimes there might be a perception of like, oh, like, oh magician in the wedding. Like I don't know about that. Or like how is that going to go? Is that going to be hokey? It's like about, I'll tell you all the weddings that I've done and I've had magicians, you know, a Sorento hotel, you know, Bell Harbor, um, that we, the, like I said, the restaurant, we should, you know, and Ethan Stowell Restaurant, they paid $70,000 to shut down. I mean, there's not, these were not light affairs, you know, I mean, obviously you can have light, but I'm saying that like, you know, you can bring in a magician to really help elevate without it feeling like it's a, you know, like necessarily as like your, your uncle Bob in the house.

50:28 Yeah. I mean, what I would say today, I hundred percent agree. A lot of times people will call me and you know, hey, I've been calling around and you, I've spoken to a few people and you know, you're not the, you're not the cheapest person. Uh, what I would say is no matter what your artist is that you're looking at is interview them and talk to them and, and get references if you need to because you're right, there are some people that are early in career in any job. Um, and so if, if you have someone that's not experienced in hundred percent making that day special, they've, they've cut their teeth on, make, you know, making mistakes and learning the hard way, you can end up with that situation every once in a while. Um, I will approach be approach or approach an organization or maybe an event planner.

51:11 There's an event planner I work with in southern California that had an experience like you just mentioned, and they will not refer a magician again because of that. So again, it's, it's, it's ensuring you've got the right person lined up that meets what your expectations are for the event. Otherwise. Yeah, it's a tough, it's a tough sale. Perfect. I, if people want to learn more about you and your unique, you know, brand of magic and more about you and your personality, where would you have them go and check out a, I'm on all the platforms. You know, Mark Schaefer magic. It's Schaefer. There's a lot of ways to spell that. Ah, so Instagram, Facebook, my website, a soon to be a YouTube. We'll be releasing some more video content and starting as early as this weekend. So I'd love to have people come out to any, any public shows.

51:56 I post them on my website. Again, all in all public show support a charity. So if there's something near and dear to your heart that you want to come out, come out, have fun. Talk to me after the show. Uh, for those of you that might be interested in magic and the last show you were there, uh, I had a student there, but I get asked all the time, hey, can you teach something? Because I think everyone that can learn a magic trick, it's relative to either you're the life of the party or it's a way to break the ice or something even in a business meeting.

52:23 Perfect. Well, thank you again, so much entertaining all my questions and, uh, my, my random inquiries about the world of magic. Uh, thanks again for listening to, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview, thanks so much.

52:37 Thank you.

Aly and Krishna, Glitch Films

00:00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by a couple of long time friends that we've been talking about this and trying to work on getting this scheduled for a long time. And I'm so glad that we're finally getting to do this as my friends over at Glitch Films out of the Portland, Oregon. And uh, I want to thank you guys so much for coming on. It's late on a Sunday having to deal with, you know, kids going to bat and things like that. And I, you guys have really worked hard to get this together, so thank you so much. Uh, why don't you introduce yourselves, tell us who you are and what you guys do.

00:00:49 All right. We're, well, we're Glitch Films and we're based out of Portland. We are Krishna and Aly, husband and wife team.

00:00:57 And uh, we also want to thank you, Reid for what you're doing for the community and this awesome podcast. It's like the only resource for wedding vendors here. And, or for wedding guests to get to know other wedding vendors here in the Pacific northwest. So we, we've been listening since episode one and we really appreciate it. Um, we are, yeah, so we're a small husband, wife, team. We've been in business for five years and, um, we have a kind of a unique take on wedding video. We, yeah, we wanted to create something that was something you couldn't get anywhere else.

00:01:30 Yeah. And I'm so excited just A to have you guys on just to have another, you know, videography team on, B, cause you know, I do think we're kind of a similar timeline in terms of, you know, that's kind of how long I've been doing this. Uh, and also, yeah, I do think, uh, you know, they take the, you guys have is so unique. You know, I see videos all the time and here and it could be, you know, around the country, around the world and I do always a really appreciate kind of be unique take. And, um, you know, I was even looking at your site today and, uh, I think the tagline was like, you know, wedding videos you'll actually want to watch. Right. So why don't you guys Kinda, you know, walk me through just kind of like what your style is and how you approach it and why you, how you tried to stand apart from everybody else.

00:02:13 Right on. Yeah. So we kind of describe our style as we focus on the party. We focus on the dancing, we love to have couples do their first dance outside at sunset so we can fast cut it in to their actual first dance. Um, we like to use a lot of like upbeat music, um, sometimes electronic music if we want to go there. Um, but mostly just super fun, more fast paced.

00:02:41 Yeah. When we first got into doing this, we kind of looked at what was out there and we, we liked, we love the cinematic quality of, of what was happening at the time, but it felt the majority of wedding films to us felt very, uh, a little bit forced and a little bit overly romantic. And at the time, especially, it was, you know, th this was a new thing where we were using DSLRs to create this cinematic look. And so I think people, you know, really took it to an extreme and we wanted to kind of flip the table on that and do something totally different. So

00:03:16 I like inspires us and we love to dance. We love to have a good time. And that's really what inspires us about video and about filmmaking.

00:03:25 Yeah. And when we sat down, you know, when we sit down with couples, we always say like, we don't necessarily aren't going to, you know, you're not gonna see every moment of your wedding, but you are going to have all of those emotions you're going to feel in your heart. That excitement of being there and seeing all of these people, um, looking excited, moving around, like having a great time.

00:03:45 Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. I mean, like I said, you know, I'm here, I see so much just like, um, you know, slow Mo, like same songs like, you know, over and over and over again. And like, even on my side, it's like, you know, tired of the boring wedding films. Like I think, you know, we have a similar, you know, different words in different states, but they're very similar kinds of mindsets. And I mean like, so when you guys got into that, like had you ever, I mean, I guess we'll kind of get into how you got into videography, but I mean, had you guys ever thought like, we're going to be like doing wedding videos full time, or at least you know, most of the time, man, that you guys do like lots of other events and stuff too, but

00:04:25 with, yeah, I mean, I think, why don't I, I'll, I'll just sort of quickly tell the story about how we got into it. I feel like we need to tell the story a whole thing. Yeah. So when we, so we actually met each other, um, coming out of Rehab. So I, I was, uh, uh, a drug addict and she was an alcoholic. And so we kind of came together in this time of life where we were re kind of rebirthing ourselves and coming out. But that's cool. That's good. It is. Yeah. It informs what we do. So when we met we, we bought an RV together and we traveled around the u s it was kind of like make life exciting so that we, you know, so that we can make better choices and kind of start afresh. And we started doing this, we started basically like doing travel logs, like a youtube travel log of our, of our travels. I won't say the name on here cause it's just, I can't, they can't get out. But it was, we started off with some really bad videos and over time we started to kind of improve the production quality. You get really nerdy with it and our followers sort of started saying to us, you guys are like really good. And, and that started coat, that sort of coincided with us running out of money.

00:05:34 Yeah, it definitely, we were broke when we got back from traveling and we also had this new found skill of telling stories. We got into documentary work and we really didn't see us going into wedding film making full time. But we started and we just really loved it. Like we get to work together. We get to be with people who are like happy and positive and we just love to like add to that energy. Um, and when we first started, we did start, you know, going with going through the motions and doing more like slow romantic stuff and it's just not really what inspired us. Um, so we definitely developed our style over time into something that works for us and something that inspired us every day.

00:06:17 Yeah. And I think, you know, um, talking with the theme of addiction, it's, it's funny, like love and being this part of peoples in a part of people's lives when they're in their most happiest, most, you know, um, purest form of themselves. It's an addictive thing. It's like, I mean, I'm, I've heard you talk about this on the podcast read, you know what I'm talking about? It's like, it's such a honor to be a part of people's lives. So I think when we got into it, we were, it was really fun. Yeah. We didn't know that we would keep doing this, but it's, we can't stop.

00:06:48 It's so funny cause I, yeah, I can't remember, I was just talking to her on the podcast, but um, I had done a, a wedding film, um, like in August and I had met someone else at the wedding reception was like, Hey, I'm getting married in a couple of weeks and we ended up having the data open and so I ended up booking him and then, uh, John, the other group was at obviously that wedding because you know, they were friends and I was like, oh my God, it's so exciting to see you again. Yeah. Like he knew me cause like we filmed it. I mean like we eat, I mean like he knew me but not nowhere near as excited as I was to see him as he was to see me. And then like you said, it's totally that, you know, you just get caught up in like the moment and it's so kind of, you enjoy that a riot. Is that kind of what you think?

00:07:32 Oh yeah, totally. We, we also get to meet and work with a lot of different people at every single wedding. And so it like grows our community and it grows our like skills for dealing with different personalities. And I know it's helped me in my personal life. Um, keeping like a positive attitude and always being a, a good addition.

00:07:56 Yeah. Cause in the end, you know, a wedding is, is you can, you get, you can get your ego in it, but a wedding is for the writing room and trying to, you know, yeah. Trying to just keep a positive face and, and even a positive heart around it is like really important to us because it's such an honor to be there on the day.

00:08:14 So when you saw about, you know, doing like these travel logs and stuff, like, did you guys have any like videography experience beforehand or was it a lot of like kind of self taught, figuring it out?

00:08:25 Um, so for me, I didn't have any experience at all. I had never even owned a computer. I just really like when we met, I didn't even have a cell phone. So I was very like anti, uh, so for me it was like Krishna taught me how to edit. Um, and I just like took it and ran with it and was like, this is what I want to do. I love to edit. Um, and Christina has a different story.

00:08:47 Um, yeah. So I actually, I, I dropped out of high school when I was a kid and I got a job at a TV station and you know, similar to, I mean, not, not quite the same as your story read, but when I heard when I was listening to your background, a lot of similarities in our experience and um, so it didn't do as as much shooting as you, but definitely was around the production side and, um, was able to kind of see that workflow. And so I was there for, Gosh, three years, four years, and that was when we were using mini DV and shoulder cameras and you know, a PDX tens and all of that. And, um, so now is when we, when we, so I basically, I stopped all production work, didn't even own a DSLR. And then when we got back into it, it was like, oh my gosh, look at all you can do with this minimal gear. Yeah.

00:09:34 You just got like right back into it. And I was like, well, what is the side of this person? Like I had no idea. Um, and then when you got back into it, it was just like full speed ahead and, and it's just really, it was really awesome that we could be creative together at an early stage of our relationship. I guess.

00:09:52 She put me to shame so quickly though, and it was so, she got so good so fast. I was like, aw man, I got, I had a headstart. I'm not gonna, I'm not going to negate that.

00:10:03 Yeah. Cause I didn't know, you know, I were, and that's why sudden so interested in talking to you guys or work with, you know, there's tons of like husband, wife, uh, photo teams, you know, everywhere in the world. But I don't, I don't know of his many kinds of husband, wife, video teams. And I don't know if that's just because, you know, videos is harder or like, you know, and it takes more of a skill set to do it. But I mean, do you guys, when it comes to like running the business, are you guys like, you know, who is a creative, who's doing the business, who's kind of managing or is it kind of 50 50 or am I opening up a whole can of worms of the one that, okay.

00:10:37 Oh No, we know, we know our roles, but our rules now, you know, it's funny because I always liked to tell couples that, you know, we'll know a lot of husband, wife teams that you do meet with. Usually there's a primary and a secondary and that is so not the case with us. We, we both have our own unique styles of shooting and we both have different aspects that we take on. I do the more wide sweeping shots, um, like a, you know, gimbal work and sliders and stuff like that. And Aly specializes in those like sniper. Um, you know, 7,200, uh, like really close, not close in shots. She gets all the stuff that really matters.

00:11:15 Yeah. But for as far as shooting goes, we're pretty 50, 50. Um, and editing, editing, I think we're like 80, 20. Yeah, I do most of the editing. Um, but Krishna is a super fantastic editor that I get, I am inspired by. So I just try to emulate his style. I'm just a little bit quicker. And then I'm Krishna deals with like, um, most of the business side, a meeting with clients for the first time, uh, dealing with bookings and stuff like that.

00:11:48 Yeah. I handle sales and kind of the glad handing and the, the getting to know people and then she'll do the second meeting, which is more like detailed schedule, get down to business. Um, and it works really well that way.

00:12:01 Well I also seeing you, you handle kind of a lot of like the social media and stuff. I mean I see kind of the alley in the background a lot and you, you know, not in the back, but you know, like your, Hey, I'm here. I'm looking at Ali's working really hard. They're sitting here, you know, kind of doing whatever. But I guess you, I guess, you know, maybe kind of like, I don't know if we really pinned down like kind of your guys' style. I mean there's someone you I shot knew this for a long time. I'm a lot more kind of tripod based. I mean that's my world. I'm kind of getting into the Ronan kind of stuff now and I kinda, you know, have some drone guys I use, but like, you know, when I see your guys' style, like it's, it's really cool, right? Like it feels really like fresh to me. So I guess, can you describe kind of, let's, let's boil this down before we move on. Like how do you guys look at that and, and how do you make that kind of stand apart?

00:12:53 Yeah, so I think what we, um, it's funny, we, when we named ourselves, we just picked a name out of the blue. I mean, Aly Kinda came up with this name just randomly Glitch Films and we didn't think a whole lot of it. Other than that it was a really bad name. It's not what you want on your wedding day. Still a bad name, it's fine, we're just running with it. But over time we started to try out things like a actual glitches in the video at specific moments to kind of just bring the edginess up. We um, we've used, you know, a lot of handheld footage, a lot of fast moving footage. Um, we will,

00:13:32 yeah, so do a lot of speed ramping. Um, and we use a lot of Krishna's awesome steady cam work, which I totally love. And you use those ion crane for that. That's something I can do. Um, and we like to speed ramp those shots. Um, we love to get a lot of awesome like dancing footage and first dance footage. So we really do focus on like the couple's first dance if specially if they have choreographed or just like all over it. And we're going to try to film it like the best we can. Um, me on like a tighter Lens and Krishna on the Zion crane kind of orbiting looking like a crazy person but getting awesome shots.

00:14:12 Yeah. It was a actually a ballet dancer when I grew up and also did some other forms of dance. So for me, being on the dance floor and holding a camera is just like the most natural thing in the world. Interacting with people on the dance floor, you, you'll never see a wider smile then when I'm able to do that. So, um, that kind of informs what we do and we love to cut that in with portrait, a portrait dancing as well. So I'll, I'll, I'll also like carry a little speaker along with us everywhere we go on the wedding day so that we can all, and we have a special playlist so that we can always get couples to dance.

00:14:45 Yeah. Like if you hire us, we will make you dance.

00:14:49 I think that about sums it up.

00:14:52 And then in terms of kind of like putting it all together, like you said, you kind of focus on the lot of, you know, uh, a little more edgy. I would say, I mean it was like what kind of couples do you find are attracted to you and the work that you do and the kind of guys you like to work with.

00:15:07 Okay.

00:15:08 Yeah.

00:15:10 So um, it's been an interesting journey there. I feel like when we first started doing the kind of edgy or stuff that people would hire us and we would be a little concerned about it because they would send us over some example films and it was definitely not the style that we do. And so we kind of had to just cross our fingers every time and bank on the idea that what what we were doing was cool enough that they would fall in love with it. And that's what we built on.

00:15:39 And we don't necessarily get just like younger clients in their twenties it's, we really have like all age ranges of mostly just super fun people who really just want to have an awesome time of their wedding. That's kind of been like a constant for us is like every couple we meet with is just like we saw your videos and like it looks so fun and that's what's important to us. So I mean, people focus on what they want to focus on on their wedding day, but a lot of the clients that we attract are focused on just everybody. They love having a fun time. Uh, we also get a lot of people who are like in the Edm music and electronic music of all kinds. Um, which also seems to be a factor in hiring us too.

00:16:26 Yeah, I like to describe the music that we use as not necessarily electronic but synthesized. So we, we do tend to shy away from like Floki or natural sounds and we, we, we tend to use synthesize songs. We just find that it's for the style that we use and for the, the flow that we like to use and the way that we like to mix songs together. It just works really well.

00:16:48 Yeah, I mean that and that's kind of the hardest thing, you know, I think for a lot of, I at least for me and like I know other videographers is either when people were trying to book you and I know like, you know when I was getting started there then like you know maybe rates are a little lower and people go like, well you know I really like your pricing but I really like like how this person does it or how that person does or like you said, they kind of like our sandy knew these examples and like I've always tried to run, you know, my video more as like a business and like an art. I mean obviously like I want to do, you know what I like, but ultimately like you've said, you know it's all about kind of the bride and groom and, and, and their day.

00:17:24 But at a certain point like you're only able to do stuff like your mind only works one way, right? Like people would send me like for example, like if they send me your videos and I would be like, I don't like, my mind doesn't even like work and that way to either do that or whatever. And so I get what you're saying where, you know, you guys obviously had this vision and the people are sending you stuff and so obviously it worked, but I mean, what, what kinds of reactions and we're like, did you gather to kind of help you kind of sway in the way that you guys are going now?

00:17:56 Um, so one of the first like really risk taking videos we did was kind of our second season. Our first season was pretty slow or just getting a new, at our second season when we were really trying to like start finding our feet, we just had a feeling about a couple. We were like, we think we know that we can do what we want. And we put some like hardcore hip hop and electronic music in it. And we were so scared. We were like sweating when we send over their video and we got the best reaction we've ever had. And that's because we did what we love. So that showed, um, and that, that was kind of like full speed ahead. After that, we're like, okay, let's, let's keep doing what we love and not second guess ourselves.

00:18:39 Just to fill in the story a little bit on that. I, I actually played this song for Aly and I was like, Oh man, wouldn't it be awesome if we could just use this? Like we can't, like obviously we can't, but wouldn't that be cool? And she's like, let's just do it. And I'm like, why not? Oh, we're going to get no way. We're going to get sued or something, you know, or they're going to hate it, you know? And, and she encouraged us to do it and I remember sending that off and we were like going camping or something that weekend and I was so frightened. And then, you know, to get back that email of like, this is the most amazing thing you've ever seen. Like, we hadn't, we didn't know you guys were capable of this. Like we thought, we frankly didn't know what we were, that it was going to be this good,

00:19:19 still super proud of that video. And that was four years ago with, you know, worst camera's worse, tripods, all different gear. And we're still proud of that.

00:19:27 I think if I were to advise somebody who was just getting into the industry, you know, across the board, it's, if you kind of do, you know, you're yourself on all every level you can be. Even when we meet with clients, we tell them the same story about how we met and how we got into it. People respond to authentic authenticity and true, you know, emotional resonance. So, um, I think, yeah, we just kind of took a leap of faith and we keep taking that leap of faith every time. And if we can, that's, that's how we know we're doing it. Right.

00:19:58 No, I agree with that. And I think that people, especially like photo and video, I made it, it's such an intimate thing on the wedding day. Like you're so with, you know, the people on. And I do think like, people know, like, you know who I am and like, you know who like Dorothea is my dog and like who we are and like you guys and like, you know, I want you to know as much about me as I do about it. You know, you have, I'm going to be with you on your wedding day. I'm like, I totally agree with that. And I'm like, you know, all the way down to, you know, the video and it is so funny. Like, um, I totally know that same feeling, um, you know, sending the, like those first couple of years like you would, you would send off if thing, I'm like, I remember now, like I get like notifications on like my email, you know, if someone like clicked the link or whatever.

00:20:40 But I think I used to just like go on like Vimeo and just like refresh, like the play count to see that, to see if like they played it yet and we're like, oh wow, okay. We wash it. Okay, okay. I guess we'll see you that. Yeah. Talk about, I, I, that's actually a great segue, kind of talk about that. You know, that fear of like, obviously you've put your people know, like everyone always says, oh, you know, I know like video takes a lot of the time. Like there's always Andean, but talking about like putting like your heart and soul kind of behind that and sending it off. What do you think about that?

00:21:11 Wow. Yeah, it's a, it is, it's so funny. You're right. People do say that they understand how long it takes and sort of how much effort you're putting into it. But I think for the most part they have no idea. Even if they say that, um, it, it's for us, you know, if we were doing this for the money, we would've been out of, out of this business a long time ago because the amount of hours that we put in, in the amount of thought that we put in, you know, waking up, thinking about a video, going to bed, listening to music for videos tirelessly cause he can't find the right thing. Um, we do really put our heart and soul into it and it becomes kind of our life. Um, so it, it's, when we send it off, no matter what it, and even if it's, even if we know the couple's going to love it, we feel totally safe with what we've done. That it's terrifying.

00:22:00 I think I'm a little less terrified than you because I'm a little bit more detached about it because I would, I would just, I dunno worry myself silly if I was like, oh, I love it so much. What if they don't love it? But it's kind of like a kid you got to send off to college. Like you did your best, you did what she could and now they're going off into the world and you just got to see how they see how the world takes it.

00:22:26 Yeah. That's probably been the hardest learning lesson for me. And it might sound like callous how I say it. Like, yeah, like I try not to get like super emotional about it until I send it off because yeah, totally used to be, you know, you'd spend all this time and like, you know, like my highlight videos are longer, but you know, if it's like eight minutes or whatever and like, you know, you've looked at like every single second of that and all this, and then somebody is like, oh, we really don't like, and you'd be like, ah, no. Like they don't even understand. But yeah, so like I'm like, I totally tried to like, and then once they come back and they love it and I'm like, okay, I like now I can now that it's accepted, I can, I can be happy with that. But otherwise, you know, you, you kind of worry yourself silly where you're, you know, you get so attached and I, you know, I see people post all the time online like, oh no, I'd spent all this time and people, and it's like, you Kinda, you know, it's still, it's still a client based business at the end of the day. Right?

00:23:18 Yeah. And not everybody is going to see like the tiny little transitions that you just like melt over. But it's really nice to work with your partner because you're like, look at this transition knelt over it. So I think we show each other appreciation and those like little more like technical things that we want each other to know. Right.

00:23:36 And the flip side is that they don't notice the little things that we might not feel 100% great about. That's, and I mean, I know, you know what I'm talking about, that that's the other great thing is that there, you know, is their wedding day. So, so, you know, we might obsess over these tiny details and they don't even, they don't even see it, you know? So, um, yeah, it's, it's uh,

00:23:56 no one else to say about that. No, that's on the flip side, if you have somebody, you know, I, Dorothy as a teacher and where she is not connected, I can bring her and then show her until they get that. And she's like, I don't even know what you're talking about. So, although it is nice to have a party, he didn't know is exactly where you doing. Sometimes kind of, you know, it's nice to have a blind vote there and they're like, I don't even though you're talking about here. And then say, Oh okay, I'm good. Okay. I don't have to worry about that. Um, so getting back kind of the end of the story here, so you guys are, are, you know, trying to figure out how they kind of make it go at this and, and you know, you come up with the name and then like how did, how did it go kind of like starting the business? Like was there, you know, obviously like everybody has growing pains and stop, like how is, how did that work for you guys and kind of figuring out to make it a go for reals?

00:24:48 I don't, I mean there was a lot of like start and stop and we worked on a lot of projects just to make money just to get by just so we can stay afloat so we could do the projects that we love to do. And now we're doing like every single project is amazing. So if you're a first year videographer just like hang in there because we did some terrible projects, like terrible documentary works who works for some, you know, companies and stuff. Um, but we, we just like kept going and sometimes it was a lot of like trial and error. Also working with your partner, you have to like really work on your communication and respecting each other's opinions all the time. Being 50, 50 partners is not always easy. Um, super rewarding. Definitely. In the beginning we were eating a lot of bean burritos and you know, we just, we're not there yet. And it's, it's nice to remember those times because we're like, wow, it's awesome now.

00:25:48 Yeah. And I, I will say one of the biggest factors for us when we first got going in terms of starting it starts and stops is we actually changed locations. Like the four times we had these like sort of, you know, um, we would start a wedding season and start to build up some momentum and then we would move. And, uh, because of, uh, yes,

00:26:06 so don't do that. We started in the bay area where I'm from and we moved up to Portland and our business really took off. And when I got pregnant we decided to move back to the bay area IG mistake. Um, and it is really difficult. Like are our clients still are like, where, where do you live? You know, where are you even, so that was, I think that was our biggest hurdle was just changing locations so many times.

00:26:32 Yeah. I, and you know, we're still, we still do a ha a bunch of weddings down in California, just referrals that come in and you know, I can remember a number of seasons we were driving up either either down to the bay area or up to Portland, like I would say two or three times a month just because we had these weddings that we had booked, you know, in the previous season. Lack of foresight. Exactly. So that's been a big challenge to as far as you know, getting going. Now, thankfully we're, we're firmly entrenched in the wedding community here and I have to say the wedding community here in Portland is like fantastic. Yes.

00:27:08 The best that I've been to. And we've traveled a lot to do weddings, we've done weddings and all sorts of places and Portland is super welcoming. It's like a really big wedding community family up here.

00:27:20 We do love to come up to Seattle to theirs. There have been some incredible vendors we worked with up there as well. And couples. Yeah. What up Seattle?

00:27:27 Yeah, talking about Tyra Porn, I was just down there for a hot second on, was it Friday I went down, I had to do an interview really quick at the u s bank ability and I think I was in Portland for like 45 minutes and then he had to beat traffic. But um, yeah, uh, talk about Portland, you know, what's, you know, I know Seattle is, is I find maybe a little more higher budget than Portland, at least kind of clients I talked to you. But what, what do you guys find in, in terms of like both video and kind of just weddings in general in Portland?

00:28:00 Well, I will say you are a wedding photographer. Friends tell us that the, it's Portland is, there's a higher per capita amount of wedding photographers than anywhere else in the u s and I really believe that's true and it's starting to be the same way with video to a much lesser, lesser degree. So the, the, the competition is definitely, you know, there's definitely competition in the media and the wedding media world. But the weddings

00:28:26 like friendly competition though, like we just had our first wedding videographer meetup. The photographers get together all the time, but for some reason videographers just haven't gotten together. And Craig flood of Watertown, Watertown films shout out, um, he got a bunch of awesome videographers in the Portland area together. And that was, it just felt super comfortable and nice to be around peers, people who have similar lives as us. Um, and it just feels super welcoming.

00:28:55 Yeah. We even have like a, uh, you know, almost everybody who's in town. There's like a group where we all pass around referrals at this point and we know each other's style. So it's like, you know, it's, it does feel like a very, you know, community over competition sort of a thing. As far as the weddings down here, uh, I will say they tend to be, they don't tend to always match our style in the sense that I would say the majority are, you know, Boho styled in a field. I'm very natural, very uh, sort of whispery that's kind of how people describe their wedding.

00:29:29 Also films and works with our style. As long as it's the right client and they want that type of video. Um, I would say yeah, as far as price point goes, Seattle is a little bit higher budget, which is nice to go up there sometimes a for a change of pace. But we're, Linda's pretty, like, I, I feel like it's pretty middle, middle level budget and um, yeah,

00:29:54 so there are, there is an influx of people as well to this town and people complain about that. But for us it's, it's almost a feeling like a blessing because we're kind of, we've established our style, we've established ourselves in the community and as there's an influx of people, there are more people who want our very specific, you know, very niche sort of a thing that we do. So for us it's feeling very expansive and like every year things are moving forward in a really nice way.

00:30:21 No, I, yeah, and I knew what you mean in terms of like style and stuff. I mean, you know, you guys seem a little bit more like industrial, maybe a little then didn't like that whiskey. But like, you know, in Seattle like, you know, we have, you know, it's like barn venue Barbara and you Barbara and you sit there and you know, you can go do like we have some awesome like brick buildings are really cool stuff in downtown Seattle. So yeah, being just the, you have a style doesn't mean like sometimes having the different style and applying it to something that you're not normally shoot the man. So I get that. We're like, just because it's not what you know necessarily what you guys like, how you would have your wedding to be like, that doesn't mean that you can't add your own flair to kind of whatever that is it's talking about. Yeah. A husband, wife, team. Talking about your guyses wedding. Uh, how did that go?

00:31:06 Our wedding was pretty awesome. We were very young. We were 23 and it was when we were just starting wedding video. Um, thank God because we hadn't been to a million weddings and didn't have a million ideas. We had limited ideas, limited budget. Um, it was in California in my mom's backyard and she completely re landscaped everything and we're super big on lighting. Um, so the biggest focus of our wedding was creating an awesome, like Sherry lighting kind of situation in the backyard. Um,

00:31:44 we didn't have the money to buy that lighting though. So we, I remember, I think it was two nights or three nights before our wedding, we were like hand soldering and like electrical taping together. These ghetto lights from home depot that we, yeah. That we have,

00:31:57 yeah. That we like soldered it all together. Um, but the, I mean as far as like the results, everyone was like, this is a very, very magical, because we are in video and we know how much lighting is so important to the feel of a space and have a party. Um, we also had all of our guests were the color of our wedding, which was blue. So what I heard from guests was they felt like they were like a decoration and everybody was like a part of it and was like on the same team. I also heard some people be like, oh, now I got to buy a blue dress. But it was, it was really like special for us. And um, we had like 70 people there. It was pretty small and intimate. It was nice.

00:32:41 Yeah. We, we, our, our wedding photography was donated by a vendor that we had met and uh, they that, which was very, very kind and they did a wonderful job. And our friend Brian, who we had just started, he was, it was his first wedding he ever shot and he shot it. Yeah.

00:32:57 Great job. He did a great job on our wedding film and we edited it ourselves, which is very fitting

00:33:04 all shot on a five d mark three w like, you know, handheld. But it's so cool how it is cause it's, it's so different than what we would do, but it feels so authentic.

00:33:13 Okay,

00:33:14 well that's good. I mean at least you guys have the video. I feel like we, we don't do them anymore, but we used to do a lot of video meetups up here and that was a topic of conversation when I was, there were so many like, and even husband wife teams that were like, Oh, you know, we just can't believe that not everybody gets a video. I said, Oh, who did that? How'd you got? Oh we have video. We didn't have video. And I'm like, well how as a, how are you supposed to eat sound out for someone? I mean, I guess just the regret, you know. But um, I talk about kind of, and this was a salon I was going to get to later. We can talk about like, um, you know, not every couple in Seattle, you know, has a video, right? As I'm sure not every couple of in Portland has a video. Um, so kind of talking about your thoughts behind that. I don't want to lead the question too much.

00:34:03 Um, I don't think that every couple absolutely means a wedding video. I don't think that every couple of wants that for their wedding. I am very, very biased because I think that, uh, especially after our own wedding, I just know how many moments we forgot. And also we were so young and beautiful and it's really nice to see yourself in video before you have kids. It's lovely. And there were so many moments that that you miss. Like, cause you only have two eyes. Like we're two videographers running around all day capturing those moments that you miss on one of the most important days of your life. And I always tell clients in meetings that, you know, sometimes they're like, oh you guys are a little out of our budget and we totally understand that. And we say, if you don't go with us, go with somebody because just those shots are just, they become super special for the rest of your lives.

00:35:02 Absolutely. And photographers, you know, I always say I wish I was as talented as they are at capturing the moment, the an entire scene in one frame. That's so cool. We can't do that. But what we can do is use the motion and the audio to pull you in to that experience again. And um, I think that is something that video and offer that's so unique and you know, I would actually disagree. I think, I think every wedding needs a videographer, even if it's just a, a single shooter and, and alive Mike on the groom. Just something to, to make sure that that's captured because um, I have, I have just had so many conversations with people who regret not, you know, not having it done. Also, as far as

00:35:44 like photographer, I mean with photography, you get those amazing still images, but you don't get any of the amazing, beautiful words spoken. And that's what's so incredibly important and what you forget, you forget what you say in your vows and then you watch him over on your anniversary and you're like, oh man. Like

00:36:03 I haven't been doing any of that. No. You're just like wow.

00:36:08 Poetic and beautiful and like you relive and you feel, you feel the feeling that you felt on that day and in that moment. And that's what we tried to capture every single time.

00:36:20 Well, yeah. Well that and, and I agree that you have the much more difficult given them of cancer started in Austin. I would have had, but you know, it's just interesting to me because even before we came on, I was looking at, we had a, a pretty well known photographer just get marriage here yesterday. I'm like she was posting um, you photos in taking out her vendor isn't, it was a co one juror who she had to do her video and like no video. Right. And like, yeah, you know, really nice, super nice like cl venue, high end photographer, high and Dj high end photo booth, high end planning or hand, like all these things. And like even, you know, there's four I, a couple of photos posted like one of the photos is like damn with a microphone, like giving their vows. And I'm like, wow, I wonder if we'll know what they sat or not.

00:37:03 You know, I don't, it's just frustrating because like even, you know, we say it and it's like now we have a friend that's getting married and she's, you know, they're kind of on the fence and it's, you know, it's, it is like kind of this world of, of regret where either people, you know, can't afford it or don't want an ad and then feel bad later or whatever and like be here is someone that, you know, she's been in the wedding industry for years in shows like not to do it. And so it's always is curious to me and kind of where other videographer is kind of feel about that.

00:37:29 That is a little weird that she is in the business and two didn't get a a wedding video. I wonder what, which videographer she worked with that turned her off that much too. Huh? So video. I mean it is funny how many people too I talked to who haven't eaten, who still don't even realize that it's a thing who genuinely think that if they hire a videographer, somebody will show up with a shoulder camera with a light on it and we'll be two inches from their face. And so I think just kind of the awareness thing, I mean it's changing really quick with Instagram and stuff, but um, it's uh, yeah, it's, it's astounding how many people still don't know that it's a, it's a possibility.

00:38:09 Yeah. Talking about how do you guys use, you know, obviously a lot of social media and I see you guys doing a lot of like silos sheets and stop talking about how do you guys try to like change that perception to kind of market and kind of show your stuff off?

00:38:23 Well, I will say like we talked about, we use stories quite a bit. Like, um, you know, with social media when we discovered stories, it was such a liberating thing because suddenly we were able to put something out that wasn't perfectly polished product that still allowed people to get to know us, see behind the scenes and it, it felt okay to do that. And so we've used that to, to a great, uh, to a great degree to just help couples get to know who we are. And that has changed the game for weddings.

00:38:54 Um, also what you said about the styled shoots. So most weddings are from April to October pretty much, right. That's like our wedding season. So we really have a lot of downtime in the off season to do and we still want to do cool stuff and we still want to put out cool videos. So we started doing styled shoots two years ago. I think I'm up here in Portland and it's been a great way to like to showcase other vendors and it's been a great way to meet other vendors and to also be creative in a different way. Um, because I, I don't really recall any like any video people who are doing styled shoots at that time. And we've, we just thought it would be like a fun, cool thing to do and now we're seeing it everywhere, which is awesome. Um, because not only did they get photos of the shoe, but they get like, you know, a fast paced in our case film, um, to showcase other vendors work.

00:39:50 And it allows us to be even riskier with what we're doing because there isn't it, there's not a bride and groom that are, you know, that this is this thing that they're going to watch for, you know, eight years or whatever. It's something where we can really truly push the envelope and take risks. And if we see clients responding well to it, we can start integrating that.

00:40:09 Well, classic me, it gets, it gets your guys, like you said, networking in the kind of getting your face and name out there. And, and I do think, you know, a lot of the times there is a perception of like, you know, if if you hire, like you said, the videographer were where the shoulder camera be like, oh yeah, we hired this videographer. Like he showed that half hour for a ceremony, it filmed and then he laughed. Right. I've been talking with other photographers and they're like, how's it go? Who, what was, I didn't even get his name. I didn't even get, I don't know who that was either. The WHO and we're like, I, you know, tried to like put, you know, our name and face and like you guys and like, yeah, this is who we are. We're going to be there. This is what we do. This is how we like to work. And like, I think that's so important to me. Do you, I don't know, have you heard stories like that or what do you, I see you nodding your heads just about kind of

00:40:53 those thoughts. Yeah, I think it's super important that the clients know exactly who we are and who is going to show up on their wedding day. Um, sometimes we go to meetings and they're like, well, like, do you hire people out? Like who are your shooters? And we're like, no, like you're looking at it. This is, this is us. Like, we're getting to know you now so that you can be really comfortable on your wedding day and it's not just like some,

00:41:21 well, and, and to, to even add to that, um, as far as like, even in the editing process, I always tell clients we're going to be, you know, starting from the first meeting, we're getting to know their personalities and we're, we're, um, we're seeing what they like and they don't like, and, and we're, we're going to know their micro expressions on the day. So as we're shooting their toes and the uncle was getting a little too tipsy and he's saying stuff that they're not into, we can like, see that that's happening and then trim it out or, or, you know, or minimize it as part of the final film. And that is not to be underestimated as a, as a service and as a, uh, what, you know, something that we can offer as a smaller company. Um,

00:41:59 right. And just getting to know the couples like on a very like person will basis. Like we still keep in touch with people we met at weddings five years ago because they know who we are and they, they keep up with us and we keep up with them because it's kind of a, a close experience and you kind of want to know who's going to be there on your wedding day.

00:42:23 Absolutely. And I will say in our reviews, like the, the thing that we find most heartwarming, you know, most rewarding for us is the, when they say, Oh, you know, these, these people were like, not only were they, did they make a great film, have they added to our wedding day? They, and it's something that I see you on the reviews for you as well. Read, um, is like, you know, the same thing. Like Reed was awesome. He like, you know, he, he not only made a great film, but like he was a genuine part of our day. So that, that, you know, uh, that's something that is so cool to see and we feel like is really important.

00:43:00 Yeah. And that's always a big thing for me. And I think kind of going back to like, you know, people hiring videographers or not is like the thing I always try to express the couples is yeah, I always want our service to be like a, a zero subtraction, like only only adding to your day that at least you know how my style and that's, you know, everybody's like, I don't, you know, I don't have people do a lot of other stuff that, you know, maybe the photographer would have them do where they're like, I just always want people to know, like having us there is only going to like aid in, in your memory and kind of like, you know, the memories and capturing things and like, I just don't want to be like the pain in the butt about it. And I, it seems like you're a symbol way, similar way where you really want to just help to kind of enhance that. Right?

00:43:42 Yeah. And that's, that's one of the things when we first got into this that we felt like we could do, we were like, wow, we have, we have a unique energy and we aren't going to be flies on the wall. Like we are, we are people that are there that are going to bring our energy and it can be a good experience or not. And we just, every single time we do it, it's an, it's a practice and an exercise to make it the best, most positive experience that we can.

00:44:09 Um, talk to me a little bit about Kinda your process. You, you've mentioned a couple of times about kind of, you know, meeting and then you know, or meetings with clients or kind of getting to know them, talking about how do you guys approach that if, if somebody, you know, wants to book you guys and, and kind of walk me through kind of your process because you know, I think video is, is going to be different than in terms of like how people interact and how we book and company to company is to kind of walk me through that.

00:44:36 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think one thing that we always emphasize is that we always do a face to face meeting and that might mean facetime if it has to be that, um, we find usually, you know, a couple, even if they're coming from out of town is going to come and meet their vendors at some point before the wedding. So we try to, even if it's just for a short little meet and greet, we try to always make that happen. We find it makes such a huge difference with the final product and we've definitely had success. Um, you know, not meeting a couple before the day, but it's, it's, uh, it's something that we try to minimize. So, um, we have, the meetings are so important to us. They're structured in a way where we start off by, you know, really talking to the couple and asking them about them.

00:45:17 And I think that's something that a couple, you know, isn't always expecting there. They're kind of expecting a sales pitch. And for us, you know, it truly, I mean, I don't mean to make it sound like we're like trying to be exclusive or anything, but we do, you know, sometimes dear couples away if it seems like it's not going to be a good fit or if it seems like they're prioritizing something different than what we're going to offer them. So we do ask them, you know, how did you meet, what, what, what drew you to our videos? And, and then we kind of do go into like, emphasizing, you know, what we, what we offer and what's unique about us. Um, yeah. And, and how we work exactly. Like, especially, you know, I would say we tend to be of the people here in Portland, we tend to be a little bit more lit in terms of how we, how we, you know, light receptions and toasts and even bride prep and groom prep.

00:46:09 We'll, you know, we'll bring an led panel or we'll bounce something off the ceiling if we have to because for us, you know, if it's a minor, a minor change on the wedding day, we would rather do that and have, you know, this lasting thing that, you know, that people, where they feel like they look the best in there and they feel really good about it. Um, you know, we at receptions, we tend to, like, we try to fade up the lights and fake them down and stuff like that, but I always make sure that I tell couples during that meeting process so that they know that if they're, you know, if that's not something that they want to hurt her ties, they can go with somebody else. Um, you know, I talked to them about audio, about where tripods might be placed and how other vendors might feel about that.

00:46:49 I tell, I tell them to talk to their photographer about it and make sure that it's going to work well with them. You know, for us, we would so rather preload all of that, all of those logistics and, and make sure that a couple is 100% go with it so that on that day we can say to another vendor, hey look, you know, this is what the couple wants. We want to work with you as best as we can, but this is what, you know, this is what they hired us to do. So, um, hopefully that answered the question.

00:47:15 That was a good answer. Uh, what do you wish more people knew about videography or, or you know, a couple of planning and things are or asked, or what do you find, you know, I always say like, you know, what are some common pitfalls or whatever, what do you wish that more people in? And this is usually a stumper, so if it takes you a second, that's okay.

00:47:35 Um, yeah, I think there's a lot, there's a lot of, um, uh, I think please list all of them. No problem. I'm the main one just at the very beginning of the day is really focusing on choosing your locations wisely. Like where the bride gets ready really affects the photo in the video, but especially the video because we don't really have as much leeway as far as color goes and stuff like that. So finding like really clean, right, open, nice rooms with a lot of natural lighting. We really like, sometimes we'll go into a bride prep space and the makeup artists, we'll be doing the bride's makeup in the bathroom with like orange lights and then we die inside and we, you know, help them move their stuff over to a nice bright window so that the bride just gets there, her video back and is like, wow, I look freaking gorgeous because you placed me in front of this window. Um, I also think, what are some other things

00:48:35 you mean? Uh, you mean the basement of like a airbnb that have no windows and you're like, why are we, why are we here right now? Sorry, I cut you off. And I was just remembering one of our most fantastic, and you read these from last year and I was like, I can't even stand in this room.

00:48:54 How can you even see each other? And we do have a lot of daylight beauty lighting for that reason because we first started off and we started our company very, uh, light focused. Um, and not a lot of video companies do that. They tend to kind of add their lighting kit as they go. We started off right off the bat just we want beautiful lighting. We mixed lighting creates, you know, strange skin tones and it just, it is a pet peeve of mine. It drives me crazy. So we started off very lighting heavy so we can fix those basements situations, but it's still isn't going to be as great as like a beautiful window with some natural lighting.

00:49:35 Yeah. And does speak to that. We had really, really bad cameras when we started. So it was kind of a necessity to learn to light. Well the sensors were not great. Um, so that's kind of how that evolved. I will say another huge pitfall is not focusing on the DJ or hiring and, and I've heard, you know, some amazing interviews with that you've done with Djs that really care about their craft and, and truly like create a, an event, an almost a script or a script or like a, a way that the things are going to flow and they spend a lot of time thinking about it. You know, that's not always the case. And um, if there, you know, if a Dj isn't thinking about where they're placing their microphone receivers, they're wireless micro Seavers, even though we have backups and we're using solid state recorders on the, the groom and the officiant that can still, you know, as you know, like the PA system cutting in and out still be audible and that'll greatly affect the way your, your wedding vows sounds. So that's such a huge thing.

00:50:33 And just to clarify, I mean the DJ is very important for the reception to you, but where it matters for us when you're hiring a DJ is more for your ceremony. So a lot of, a lot of clients, they won't even think about the DJ's set up, but it's going to be during their ceremony. Are you going to hold a handheld mic during your vows? Who's going to hold it? Um, you know, where do you put your receiver or a lake? It's, it's all very important to a video. And we do have many, many backups that we use just in case that doesn't go according to plan. But obviously it's always great to have multiple excellent

00:51:07 sources of audio. Another big pitfall that's coming to mind when people are hiring a videographer is, is not looking at complete, just looking at kind of like a highlight, like little montage has and not looking at complete, um, films or not looking at enough of a variety of films. It's the same thing with photographers. You know how it is in the industry right now where there are these workshops and these, you know, quote unquote style shoots where a bunch of people show up. The work's already done for them. They're in beautiful light, they snap the shutter and they can upload something. It looks gorgeous, but you look at a, at a full album and they're not able to handle the light. You know, they're not able to respond quickly to the changes in the variables on the day. And that's the same thing for video. So it's always kind of looking at that wide variety of, of jobs and making sure that, that they're able to handle those different conditions.

00:51:56 Um, I have one as far as hiring a planner. So a lot of people don't think it's super important to hire a planner. Um, if you're, if you're going to hire a planner, that's awesome. They're amazing. They make your day runs smoother. Um, also it's super helpful to just have a timeline for the reception. Um, if we go into a, a, a wedding reception and we don't know when things are going to happen, it's a lot harder for your photographer and your videographer to be prepared. So I think a lot of times it's, it's really good to know when your toes are going to start, where they're going to give the toast so that your media team can be prepared.

00:52:37 Yeah. And just to kind of echo back on that, the getting ready locations for video at least kind of the way we do video, you know, it's more kind of that like full picture of you kind of start to finish where you know, I think a lot of photographers can, can kind of focus on kind of some of the prettier stuff and like we have the wedding and a couple of years ago and you know, they got ready at their house and that was great and it was like an apartment in Tacoma and he got ready, I think it their apartment and she was at the moms or whatever. But then like, you know, their, their reception was awesome. I mean, it was, you know, doc to the nines and they brought in custom lighting and foggy and whatever. And like my video has start, you know, at the beginning and like when we got the photographer, got it published in whatever, and like the only photos that were in that, you know, submission were, you know, nice portraits in the light and then, um, kind of reception details.

00:53:31 And so it's just, yeah, like you said, just kind of thinking about those getting ready locations. I mean, even if I tell people that, you know, even if it's just like an airbnb or for like a couple hundred bucks you don't like, I mean I get like, I wouldn't want to do further on video my house, you know, here. But I mean, just, just making those thoughts. I think that's a great point. And even for photo too, I think that's a great point that people don't think about enough is a, where they want to get ready. So thanks for bringing that up.

00:53:56 Yeah, it's definitely something that gets overlooked for sure.

00:54:00 Yeah. I think, I think thankfully I am, see, I think we're seeing that it's changing in the industry. I mean w w or maybe work, I don't know whether to tell our clients that that's true. Yeah. Maybe that's what it is. But it does seem like there's more thought put to that as this cycle of, of, you know, people seeing other wedding. I was on Instagram and having sort of these examples are as coming through. So

00:54:21 I did want to ask one kind of foggy, you were talking about, you know, making sure that people are looking at enough, um, you know, examples and things and seeing that. And I do think, you know, for photo or a video, I do think that that's really true. Um, you know, I feel like even now I had, you know, a couple's last summer where, um, you know, we booked an I, we have hundreds of it, you know, there's plenty that chooses to look at. And I, you know, we still do get that from time to time. Like, Oh, you know, I didn't know it was going to be that long, or I didn't know it was going to be this or that. So, I mean, talk about just like you said, making sure that couples, you know, really look, you know, whether it's you guys or whoever, like really look and kind of do their research and make sure they know Kinda what they're gonna get. Talk about that.

00:55:04 So, I mean, it's really important for us when we find clients that we know at our first meeting that we are their people and they found the right people because we, we do know a lot of videographers in town are a lot of photographers in town who are amazing and you just have different styles. So I think it's really important to do your research, um, who's around, who's in town and really like try to focus on those creative details that maybe you're not used to looking for in your everyday life. Um, because video and photo, it's, it's a little bit different than, you know, it's a, it's a creative form. So just making sure that you like the music that you're, the videographer chooses, making sure you really, uh, like their, the way that they film portraits. Um, the, the audio clips that they choose to use and how they weave together that story of, of your love story. Um, it's really important to, to notice that I think music is a really big one. Um, Cook, clean and crisp audio when you're looking for a videographer is very, very important. Um, sometimes it's, it's really hard to, to hear audio with is if it's not perfect and clear when you're also trying to overlay that audio over music.

00:56:30 And I will say, you know, we live in the Pacific northwest, same in Seattle and Portland. You know, the, the chances that it's going to rain on your wedding day or a lot higher here. And so looking in and making sure that should, you need to use the backup, the backup option where you're indoors, it's a little bit darker if you know, let's say you planned a beauty, you know, this wedding out in a beautiful place outside seat, making sure that they're able to adapt. I always tell couples when they're choosing photographers, especially look at how they're handling dark spaces. That's, that's the thing that I always emphasize because that's what's going to show the skill and what's going to show the, the ability to adapt. And um, same with videographers, just, you know, it's fine if, if you're 100% sure that you're going to be outside and then beautiful, some beautiful light all the time, that's been great. You know, hire somebody that just based on their framing and their style, if you're, if there's a chance that it might change, they've got to be able to handle that darkness.

00:57:20 And that's a really good point. Um, making sure that your media team,

00:57:24 uh,

00:57:26 it lines up with your venue. So if you're going with a venue, like an old hotel and it's going to have orange chandelier lighting and no natural light at all, um, making sure that you go with a videographer and photographer where you've seen their work in those dimmer spaces and you have confidence that they can adapt to that

00:57:48 space. Yeah,

00:57:49 no. And that, I mean, honestly it's something that I get asked a lot too. It's like, well how do you guys see the little lie or how do you handle this? And like I always say, you know, I just buy the equipment and you got, you know, you guys would lie to, you know, you just, I buy it some of the work and you know, when you do it enough, you know, like we do, you're going to spend the money, you know, same with a good DJ or same with the gift photographer. Uh, one other question I had and I think we were along in that thing of this podcast. We're only interested if people are here. Um, do you guys, there's a thing in Seattle now we get a lot of the photographers I'm offering kind of like highlight video packages kind of as like Alan's. Do you guys see that a lot in Portland or is that kind of a Seattle thing right now?

00:58:26 It's starting to come into the market for sure. And you know, I don't think it's, I have mixed feelings around it. I think it's great if, if you know, if, if they're able to do that well and handle both things. Um, the thing that I've always noticed when it comes to photographers and move into the video space is that they don't have that emphasis on audio. They don't have that background on audio. And it can take a little bit of time to get that to, to understand how to adapt to those different conditions. And so what we'll often end up happening is that you'll receive a film back and it'll look like a moving slideshow where, you know, it's, it's great, it's, it's just like the photos but, and, and it's moving and that's fantastic. But you're, you're either hearing on camera sound that sounds really distant or nothing at all. And so that's my, my concern when it comes to photographers offering video. Um, that's the one limitation that I see.

00:59:17 Yeah. And I think, I think it's great. I think a moving video music video, great. But what we do is we really craft a story based on what was said on their wedding day and we really create a narrative. And that's something that I don't see a lot from that

00:59:32 also, we've, we once tried to do video and photo at the same time when we were young and dumb and boy is that hard. Like even now we can even approach trying to do that. This is such a different way of thinking,

00:59:45 uh, vague you for a answer that farmer at diplomatically than I would a again, uh, I just know there is an asset. We just have that couple, I was talking to a gal and she, they have the photo and they were going to do it but they can only offer them a ceremony, audio or reception audio. They couldn't offer both. And I didn't and no one I've ever talked to you cause I understand that. But that was when I was told and I didn't understand that if they were like ranting legs for two hours and they couldn't get them. But I just, I wanted to ask that because I do think that's a common trend now. And so I was just kind of curious, your thoughts is as video people what you thought about that.

01:00:22 Yeah. I'd love to know why, why I dumped him, know the reason behind that.

01:00:26 They didn't book me or I'll sign where I would know that answer. So, um, well thank you guys so much for coming on and, and like I said, I really appreciate kind of getting to know you guys and, uh, you know, seeing your work from afar and getting the chat even through this kind of Skype window, uh, has been awesome and I know a lot of work with, you know, scheduling and putting the kids to bed and, and everything. Um, why don't you, uh, well first off, tell us a, just two seconds about your family life, um, before I did want to ask you about that, about your wonderful baby. Uh, before we go, uh, before I segue off.

01:00:59 Um, so our family life is awesome because we're always together. It can be a challenge to balance work and family life. Sometimes we have to switch off editing or, you know, get a babysitter for the day. Um, but it's definitely like a balance.

01:01:17 Yeah. We have a two year old son. His name is Phoenix. Um, he's, he's kind of this amazing little bundle of joy that's rising from the ashes of, you know, it just kind of coming from this in this core relationship that we've created and that's why we call them Phoenix

01:01:33 as a man bun. And he looks exactly like both of us at the same time. It's crazy.

01:01:39 Yeah. I will say, you know, the way we shoot weddings has changed just slightly because it's being a parent. You start to understand the importance of, of children and even as it relates to like the father daughter dance and the mother is Sundance. The, the importance of that and how much, you know, when we first started doing this I was like, okay, we don't like kind of not,

01:02:00 no, we just cry the whole time. We just cry and film.

01:02:04 Absolutely. So that's really, it changed the way that we do things. But um, yeah, we don't have daycare services. We just keep our kid at home here. So, uh, it's, it is a challenge to try to keep him engaged and, and be there with him while we're both sitting on laptops, just trying to crank out work all day. And we also take a lot of adventures. One of the reasons we moved to Portland was because of the gorge. Um, so we put them in a backpack and we go on hikes and we tried to get out every other day at least I will say also vendors around town, you know, kind of know us as these people who will show up to styled shoots with the baby in the backpack. And I'll, you know, I'll shoot full on, you know, gimbal just like doing the steady, you know, the Gimbal, walk with the backpack on. It's a whole thing. So, um, yeah, it's, it's been really cool for him. They start to get an understanding of, of media even at such a young age.

01:02:54 Is this a funny a seminar? I'm, I'm very much a homebound and so I see these high, see you go on. And once I got us, that's good for them. It's good. It's good. I'm not going to do that. But that's, that's cool. That's neat. So I just, just, no, I watch it and just know. I see that. So that's awesome. We'll do, we'll take a hike for you read. Yes you can. Please do. Ah, well thank you guys again, so much for hopping on today. I just wanted to get that last kind of thing. And before I forgot because I did, I did have that joke about the hike and I wanted to use, um, if people want to learn more about you guys in the, in your awesome films and your story and, and find more of your work, where would you have them check out and what would you have them do?

01:03:30 So we are, you can also follow us on Instagram. Our handle is at @GlitchFilms. You can watch our crazy stories. We are totally ourselves, so have fun with that. Yeah, absolutely. The website is the main place and um, you know, we are on The Knot and Weddingwire and all that, but if you, the the best thing to do is to submit an inquiry through the website. Even if you're just trying to get in touch with us and just make up a wedding date and will or you can email us if you have questions. Even if we just get questions and we don't have inquiries, we love to answer questions. Um, yeah. If anybody wants to get in touch. Yeah, you can email us at us u s at [inaudible] dot com it goes to both of us. Um, and we do love to work with younger videographers and meet younger videographers and mentor them. It's like, you know, we get so much more out of it and then they ever could. So it's uh, yeah, please get, do, get in touch with you if you're just new to the industry and you have questions.

01:04:28 That's good. I'll crush all their souls and send them to you guys. That sounds like him. No I'm teasing. I, that sounds great. Well. Thank you guys so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding or any of you. Thanks so much.

01:04:43 Thank you. Thanks so much.

Phebe Rossi, Nuflours

00:09 Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos® We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by Phebe Rossi of Nuflours, a a awesome bakery and the Capitol Hill. And I want to thank you so much. It's a beautiful day for coming and spending some time inside. I appreciate it. And making the drive here. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you guys do.

00:34 Yeah. Well thank you for having me. It's great to be here. I'm Phebe. I own Nuflours. It's a certified gluten free bakery here in Seattle and we're a full service bakery, which is a little unusual for gluten free. So we have a full pastry line. We do brownies, cookies, we do a and Tiramisu, we do breads, and then we do custom wedding cakes. And we do so many wedding cakes. It's a lot of fun.

00:58 Yeah. And uh, we were just kind of talking off mic that, you know, I, it's gotta be a huge demand nowadays, especially in Seattle and everything. And be talking about, have you seen like come to a big spike or if you guys just always been busy

01:09 w uh, there's definitely been a spike. So I started the business in 2011 and I started it right on the front end of that gluten free Serge and I, I kinda saw it coming and I went, you know, now is the best time to start a gluten free bakery. There's going to be a huge demand for it. And a couple of years, um, there was already a community that, you know, if you have celiac or you haven't tolerance, you have to eat that way. But there was not a huge, um, social awareness about it. And so having the gluten free trend come and happen really educated a lot of what I call normal eaters, um, into the, the necessities of it. And it actually opened up a lot of opportunity for people to eat a more diverse diet too.

01:50 Yeah. I mean was it just kind of that there was just a more awareness? Cause I mean obviously people had difficulties before. Was it just like people finally figuring out like what was going on? I mean, I'm pretty not educated when it comes to that sort of thing. So I guess it would be good to just kind of educated as well.

02:05 I think the movement started for a lot of reasons. A like food trends come and go and there's, um, in like the Paleo trend has come and gone. You know, there's, there's always alternative diets that kind of come in waves and it was kind of gluten frees turn. I don't know how else to describe it. Um, you know, and there were definitely a lot of people that started the gluten free diet because they saw it as an opportunity to lose weight or to cut their carbs or to reduce the sugar intake. And it's not any of those things. It is literally alternative grains that, um, digest very differently if you have an intolerance or Celiac. And if you don't, you're simply eating a different diet. Um, the challenge that happens with a lot of gluten free products is they're higher in sugar, they're higher in starch and they're nutritionally devoid of anything that's worth eating. And what I did with Nuflours, so when I developed her recipes, we have a whole grain based flour blend, which is over 50% whole grain, which is unusual for gluten free. And um, I reduced the sugar and I just use really good quality ingredients. So like our banana bread has loads of banana in it. Our pumpkin is organic pumpkin. We use locally sourced ingredients and just really natural, um, good quality ingredients.

03:26 And so what, what was your background before starting the bakery? Had you had any, uh, entrepreneurial goals before that or how did that come about?

03:34 I actually have a fine arts degree. That's awesome. Yeah. So I got to find years degree in ceramics. Several years before I started this and I was working in the finance industry and I just loved baking. I was baking as my evening and wintertime therapy basically. And I went gluten free for health reasons. It totally changed the way I felt. I just felt amazing physically, but mentally, um, emotionally I was just depressed. There wasn't any good gluten free available. And then I woke up one morning and went, wait a minute, I know how to bake, I know how to cook. So I started developing my own recipes and playing around in the kitchen and it was challenging, but I started creating some really amazing food. And then I thought, you know, there are a lot of other people out there that have to eat this way, don't choose to eat this way and want just really good food. And so I spent my evenings putting together a business plan and then quit my job and started

04:34 bakery. Anybody, I always ask like, anybody in your family and been an entrepreneur, you're like, was that scary for you? Or

04:44 it wasn't really scary. Um, I was nervous about it for sure, but I'm also a very determined person and I'm very data driven. And so I looked at the market opportunity and I looked at what was really out there and I just went, you know, this is, this is a great opportunity and it would be tragic if I didn't do it. Someone else will step in and fill the gap. And the funny thing is since I opened in 2011, um, at that point there were two gluten for other to other gluten free bakeries. And since then, you know, fast forward eight years, there's still Nuflours and two other gluten free bakeries. Those gluten free bakeries have changed, but there's still just three of us in the Seattle area, which is just bizarre to me because it's such a huge market and there's such a huge customer base.

05:34 Yeah, that's crazy. I would think that that would definitely, yeah, that there would be a lot. So we'll go for you guys talk about this fine arts degree and then what kind of, how'd you kind of get your education and kind of Meld to where we got right?

05:46 Yeah, so I was a little bit of a late bloomer. I took it a few years off in between college years and worked my way through school, came out debt free. Um, but I, I got a fine arts degree in ceramics from a tiny little arts college in Portland, Oregon, College of art and craft. And they focus on the technique of it a lot. So very, um, born out of the American craft culture. And I just love creating, I love creating beautiful objects, but I also enjoy creating beautiful objects that have a moment of permanence and then you consume them and they're gone. So you're touching people's lives in a very immediate way, but you're not filling space with, you know, chotchkies things that are just going to sit around and collect dust.

06:40 Why ceramics where, what was the draw for that?

06:44 I just love, I love creating three d form. The funny thing is like baking is very similar to ceramics. It's seen sculpting things out of, you know, sugar, sugar paste instead of clay. And you bake it a much lower temperature. But it's, it's very similar in terms of a tactile satisfaction. Exactly. Uh, so you said, so you, you Kinda, you, you knew how the bay

07:06 can you kind of saw this, you know, market gap I guess, or would you say,

07:12 uh, how did you self taught baking or how did, how did that just kind of fiddling around? Very much self taught. So I grew up on a farm in the eighties and nineties in eastern Washington and I really appreciate it. My parents raised me on real food and when I moved away I didn't realize like, wait a minute, I didn't have my first pop tart until I was 19. I ate at Mcdonald's once in high school, you know, and just like not missing it when I was a kid cause it was a little bit weird, you know, not ever going to Taco Bell, but at the same time just having my body really appreciating really real good food. My favorite chore as a kid was baking the school, um, the cookies for a school, lunches for me and my sisters. And it turns out it was just, I like to being endorsed but,

08:02 and this, we just got back from Spokane. Where did you grow up? Well, at Wala. Oh, awesome. Was there though? It must've been quite the transition to go from Walla Walla, the Portland, and then now the Seattle and Capitol Hill. How did you kind of handle that? I was very much done with eastern Washington. Yeah. Yeah. Just because of, uh, the, the size or the rural? No Sir.

08:23 It's, it's a little too rural for me. I really enjoy going back and visiting. I still have a lot of family that lives there and it's beautiful. And then I come back to Seattle and I am just so happy to be back in the city.

08:36 It was funny, I, uh, I went to Gonzaga, but I toured Whitman, which is in La, and I remember, uh, we tour the, the downtown, which was like four blocks and I was like, Oh, I think I'm good here. Yeah, no, it is, you know, is Spokane was like, you know, at least had, had a little bit more city, uh, size to it. Uh, so you went to college, our baking. I had you, uh, did you kind of immediately get into doing weddings when you started or how did that kind of transitioned into doing events and stuff?

09:07 Actually, I did that. The funny thing is I, I moved up here to start my business February, 2011 and I had initially planned on just starting with farmer's markets, but, um, my now brother-in-law was running Ed, uh, chef business at the time and he had, you know, industry contacts and a friend of his was supposed to be doing some gluten free wedding cakes, ended up having to back out and he went, wait a minute, I have somebody that can take on your orders. So the very first product I did was like two wedding cakes, like right out of the gate because the farmer's markets hadn't started. I had no wholesale accounts and I already had clients. So it was very, it was a very lucky break.

09:48 And, uh, so obviously, you know, always a huge demand there. I do you, do you enjoy kind of that aspect of it and, and, and you know, dealing with brides and grooms and doing events. Do you like the idea of weddings and talking about come of that?

10:02 I say weddings honestly are the most fun. Um, we, we have several different aspects of business that, that areas of business that we cover. You know, we have our retail shop, we do, you know, wholesale throughout the Puget sound region. But weddings are where we really get to play. Um, it's every wedding is customized to every wedding is very personal. And to get to meet with the bridal couple and say, hey, what do you want? And either they come with, you know, an inspiration board, they often come up with a Pinterest that has, you know, 20 pins. And we're like, all right, that's great. You know exactly what you want. And other times we have couples that come in and they're like, well, I don't know. I've never shopped for wedding cake. And we're like, all right, so then we pull out our portfolio and we're like, well, what's, what are your colors? What do you think? Is there anything in particular that you really like? And it's very rare that we have a couple that has absolutely nothing that they were thinking of. They just don't even know how to begin. And so it's, it's a lot of fun. It's where we really get to play and be creative.

11:02 Yeah. Do you think it has to be a cake shopping has to be one of the more pleasant parts of wedding planning, you know, if you want to give you right down to it. Um, how does, how does it work just from a procedural, if couples, you know, interested in like talking to you guys about doing wedding cakes and I assume right, you can do other desserts and things as well.

11:22 Absolutely. Yeah. So if you want a cake, we highly recommend that you schedule a tasting with us. Um, it's where we get to know each other, where you get to taste our cakes and figure out what you like, why you like, what combinations do you like. And for us to really good to get a good idea of what you're looking for and if we're going to be a good client fit for you. Um, and beyond that, you know, sky's the limit. We've done so many dessert tables, you know, like little mini tartlets, little tiny pies. Um, Moose, uh, uh, petty petty for forays, Tiramisu, shots tonight. You, you name it basically if you want it, we will make it for you.

12:02 Yeah. Cause it seems like that isn't, at least when we go to the weddings now the trend is, you know, you might have a cake or a little or cake and then kind of more, I guess trying to like give diversity of the client or that the guests so they can have more substance use or have you kind of know the salary. Why have you come to know this? Cause you know, I think like back in like the eighties, it was like, you know, big white cake and that was kind of what people thought. And nowadays it could be anything. Right? So talking about kind of that trend as you've seen it. Okay.

12:28 What we've noticed is when things are definitely trending smaller and, uh, more comfortable, more relaxed. So, definitely not that, you know, seven tiered big white wedding with the crazy a Cinderella dress. Um, it's much more relaxed. And so we do a lot of, you know, one or two or three tiered wedding cakes or we'll do, you know, a cutting cake with, you know, five other dessert options where guests can kind of mix and match. Um, when we're doing the full dessert ourselves, which honestly were gluten free. So often we do the cutting cake for the bride and you know, for other guests. And then another bakery will step in and do the rest of them, the rest of the dessert table. But when we do, we try and have something for everyone. So, you know, it's first and foremost gluten free. But then we also have a couple of dairy free options because a lot of adults are dairy intolerant. They just don't know it. We'll have a few options that are maybe Paleo or we'll have a couple of vegan options. So we really try and provide variety that's going to be delicious and beautiful.

13:28 Yeah, no, my, uh, growing up my brother had and still has severe food allergies for nuts and eggs and fish and I mean, it's like runs the gamut. So, yeah, I mean I think it is challenging. Yeah. If you're a guest at the wedding and then going and like my wife's a vegetarian or if you're gluten free, you're kind of, you know, making sure you feel like you have a place and that you're kind of being accommodated for. Right?

13:49 Yeah. Yeah. Well you went to enjoy and celebrate, but you also want to feel safe.

13:54 Um, do you, do you, uh, do you talk about kind of just, you know, weddings and, and, and love? Do you kind of get caught up in that and kind of baking this cake is kind of part of that? Or do you look at it more like, you know, kind of just make it something for the client and it could be a graduation or a birthday or a wedding or talking about that.

14:13 I get really excited about weddings because people are just so happy. It's, it's just, it's like this huge, huge day. And how can you not want to be a part of that, you know? And so just from the beginning of the process where the cup of comes in and often word like the last chore that they have to do their last appointment and they're just so relieved to be getting to sit down and like taste cake and have fun. And we just say, what do you want? It's your day. Oh, well we think are are, you know, everybody will want vanilla. Everybody likes vanilla. And I'm like, honey, what do you want? You want carrot cake? Awesome. Let's make a four tiered wedding cake. This all carrot cake with cream cheese because it's about you, what you want. Um, but just encouraging them to really own their day and just get excited about it and getting to participate in that is just, it's so exciting and so fun too to be a part of that.

15:05 Um, yeah. When you were starting now, like you said, you what you were doing, the farmer's markets and events and stuff and then you have like a retail space. It was that, was that always a goal or did you anticipate that or is that something, how did that come about?

15:18 Uh, I very much intended to have a retail space. Yeah. I have historically bootstrapped the business financially and I didn't have a lot to start with. So I wanted to just test the market if it was really what I thought it was, um, by doing farmer's markets. And I was also working out of a shared commissary at that point in Lower Queen Anne. And so, um, it was a great way to meet other people in the food community, but it was also a very financially, um, low risk way to start the business. And so I just worked crazy, crazy hard. And then, uh, we opened retail in 2014.

15:53 That was a, I'm trying to think is the, I guess it was a good time, right? Cause the crash was coming before that. I always tried to place, we'll kind of where everybody was and Jackson and then kind of open now a capella. I mean, Seattle must've changed even from 2014 to now at capitol kind of radically. Right. How do you, do you guys still feel, do you still enjoy being on Capitol Hill and all that and how do you enjoy kind of having that physical space to kind of interact with customers? Right,

16:19 absolutely. So we're on 15th and Mercer, so it's up towards volunteer park. It's the quieter side of Capitol Hill, less than I life. And we got that location because it's a little bit more of a destination because we knew a lot of our customer base was going to be coming in from the suburbs or from out of Seattle. And so being able to have a little bit more parking and to be able to have a little bit of seating so they could come in, you know, have a sandwich, pick up their birthday cake, pick up a loaf of bread and a box full of pastries. Um, and to have it be a little bit more walkable, um, was exactly what we wanted. And since we opened in 2014, that particular section of 15th has been seeing a little bit of a revival to, uh, so it's really exciting to see the neighborhood kind of grew up around us.

17:06 How do you kind of, that balance between you, the events and the bakery and the retail? I mean, how do you kind of manage that and the, do you have a team that you kind of work with or how do you kind of handle all that? Right.

17:18 I have an amazing crew. Amazing. So I have a general manager and she oversees a lot of the personnel side of it. And then I have, you know, retail staff that's specifically all they manages, the retail counter. And, um, and then in the back we have a couple of different types of bakers. We have production bakers, we have a few staff that all they do is finishing product and packaging for our wholesale. And then I have, um, production support for my Ba, uh, my cake specialist. And then I have a cake specialists where all does is cake. And I still do cakes once in a while a little bit, but mostly I'm just taking care of my people. And then, you know, sometimes meeting with wedding clients and you know, running the business.

18:00 Yeah. Do you ever miss kind of getting your hands further in the day? Talking about that?

18:04 I very much mister creativity and um, I also acknowledged that what I really wanted to do was create an amazing business. And at the end of the day, I just want to feed people really amazing, gluten free. I say like happy bellies, make happy minds and happy hearts. And so if I want to do that, it means that I need to enable my team rather than having my hands in, they kick myself. Because if I'm in the cake, it means I'm not running the business. So an I now thrive with watching my cake specialist create beautiful wedding cakes or having another of my staff person does it. My staff, um, developing new recipes, like we're working on a dairy free cinnamon roll. It's so good.

18:49 Uh, how do you as someone that also not nearly as is many employees, if it just said fine, you having to find people that were a few, like how do you kind of as a business owner, you know, in part your vision on other people but also kind of let them have the creativity and like find people that you really trust and can drive. What is that? You know, it's shiny to me. I assume it's challenging.

19:10 It is challenging. Um, it, a lot of it has to do with their interview process and then our training process. So, um, my general manager, um, it takes on the bulk of the hiring and we're looking for a little bit of, you know, can you do the job? Are you capable of doing the job? But a lot of it that we're looking for is just culture fit. Are you going to be a good part of Nuflours culture? Are you willing to be supportive of your fellow staff, of your fellow team members? And Are you willing to learn? Because once you hire on with us, you're always going to be learning. And then our training process, I'm dependent on what position we hire you for. It's training that's upwards of six months. Um, it's, it's a pretty meticulous program.

19:57 Wait, what is the hardest part that you find in terms of running the business at the scale that you have at?

20:03 Ooh, that's a tough, honestly for me, it's trying to make sure that I'm giving my team the information that they need to do their job and the training that they need to do to do their job and then getting out of their way and letting them do their job.

20:22 I assume in, in doing as many weddings and events and as long as you guys have been in business, you must have some funny stories. Talk about kind of, uh, any, the standoff.

20:32 Well, it's funny cause when I started, um, there's this website called what is the cake feels or that comment is still just like really terrible cakes with just like terrible spellings or all of that. And I'm just like, Oh God, I hope I never have a cake. The ends up here and I haven't yet. But I always was just really very conscious of cake fails. And one of the tricky things about delivering your wedding cakes during wedding season here in Seattle, which is you know, weeks long is I'm getting your cakes onsite when sometimes you have to take a ferry and have them arrive in one piece. And the, I've only ever had one cake fail and it was in July, it was a three tiered vegan wedding cake. So if you can imagine like cake is already like fairly tender. It has a really nice delicate crumb.

21:21 Vegan cake is even more so. So you like you look at it and it just like wants to turn into a pile of crowns. So we've like preach a this cake. And I was like traveling with it and with, you know like ice bags. I had to get on the ferry, it was a two and a half hour drive to the, to the site to location. And I'm just like, I hope I get there. I hope I get there and it's fine. So we pull into the location and I, I pop open the back and literally a third of the top layer had just cascaded down the side of the cake. And I'm like, there's nothing I can do. Like I have my emergency kit, I have some spare frosting, but I can't piece together like a third of a layer of a cake. What am I going to do? So I go inside and thankfully I knew the catering team and they're like, oh my God, honey, how can we help? How can we help him? Like, do you guys have some flowers? Unfortunately the bride had wanted flowers on the cake, but we found some just enormous leaves that are about as big as my face. And I just like Kinda did some patchwork. And by the time I was done, it was just gorgeous. But half of the family was sitting around waiting for family photos to happen. So I had an audience trying to patch this cake together. It was so nerve wracking.

22:39 Uh, we had had one of those this summer where yeah. Like it came and it slid to like one side of the van or something. So they definitely had to be careful about how they kind of positioned it for the room because if you look from one side, it was kinda crooked. Uh, what, what do you think? Uh, yeah. What, what do you think are some common pitfalls that you see that people kind of dealer with big, you know, could be cakes or other kinds of baked goods for their weddings and things. Like, I always kind of asked that, like, what do you, what do you wish more people knew were asked about? Kind of in terms of the process of working with you guys?

23:15 I wish that people were much more comfortable to be okay. Wanting what they want or just being open to the possibilities. You know, he's like, you know, some people they love Tiramisu, but they're like, oh, half of my guests wouldn't like that. It's your wedding. Be Okay with it. Like my wedding, when we got married, I was like, you know, well, I own a bakery. I don't want cake. And my guests were like, you mean you don't want cake? And I'm like, no. We had pistachio pudding. It's like this very, very like savory dessert and everybody had like this individual like potted pudding and it was beautiful and it was delightful. And I just encourage people just like own what you want. It's your big day. Don't worry about disappointing your guests. Just be excited. Cause me more about that. And that decision not to have cake at your wedding. That's fascinating. Well I like cake but I eat a lot of cake.

24:07 I'm a huge fan of cake for breakfast. My favorite breakfast is like a slice of, of cold, like carrot cake or co or cheesecake and a cup of black coffee. And so you know, like when it comes to my wedding and you're like, we're taste testing things all the time, just like, you know, I don't really want that. What, what do I want? Well we're you getting married in June and I kind of like pistachios, so let's do something a little different. And my husband is like works for me. I talked to you about your wedding. Yeah. Where'd you guys get married? We got married at the course and building, so it's in Georgetown and um, it's a historic building, just kind of tucked under the overpass there on airport way. Um, it's a beautiful location, is seats, I think 30, 32 and so, uh, we had a very limited guests lists, which was really nice.

24:54 I'm, I come from a large family and my husband comes from the east coast and so I didn't want to end up having, you know, like 200 people. So we added an a venue that could have 30. And it was really, like I say about what we wanted, you know, we cared about food. We're both very into food. And, um, I didn't worry too much about photography or any of that. I just said, you know, I just want it to be about the food. So we had a friend of ours performed the ceremony in the ceremony was basically a swapping stories about each other.

25:29 And then at some point we, you know, exchange some vows and then we went inside and you know, my father in law had put together, um, it's huge, long classic jazz playlist because he's extremely into music and we ate dinner for three hours and it was wonderful. And when was this, 2012 so you were kind of transitioning, kind of starting off and doing this right. Had you, had you done a lot of ways at that point or were you still, we've done several. Did you ever feel, and you never felt the need, like you just want to do your own thing? Right? Pretty much. That was awesome. How is your husband in terms of the wedding planner? He was fairly engaged, uh, in terms of, we would just like sit down and say, what when we, we, when we initially started the process, we went, okay, like videographer, photographer, you know, like, you know, what's the venue?

26:21 And we, we actually looked at a fair number of venues and then we were just getting more and more and more stressed because we're like, we want to throw this amazing party. We want it to be about what we want, but we're getting wickedly stressed and like we didn't really worry about having a budget, but we just sat and we looked at each other and we're like, what are we doing? What do we really want? Okay, what do we care about? And so we came up with a list of just a couple of things that we cared about, which was, you know, having our parents there and then, you know, other family food and then it being outside I'm like, okay, we've got this.

26:56 Um, well yeah. So it seemed to me, like I said, some of that's surefooted like that you could really help couples also kind of find their and their on voice. Right. Were you very much have what you wanted to do and how you want to do it? I do you find that you ever, like you said you wish were a couple of side of the boys, so you find like you have to help them get that boy sometimes. Yeah.

27:16 And that, that's actually a really fun part of the process too. Like if they're really unsure, then we just pull out our portfolio and say, okay, you know, we do, you know, fondant cakes, we do butter cream cakes we can do and like the full range of flavors. And so there's that side of it. But then also what do you want it to look like? What's your theme? Oh, you don't have a theme or like, sometimes they'll be like, it's actually caused play and we're like, awesome. That's amazing. Well let me show you my three d dragon cake. Let me show you our red vs blue Lego cake. You know, and like Geek culture is very strong here in Seattle. And so encouraging people to just like not be shy about it and like, oh no, let's do it.

27:55 Well, I would have to imagine what the, as many years as you've been doing it as many weddings and other things, like you had to have seen kind of your fair shake. Right. I mean, has there been anything that's really kind of throwing you off or I guess what would be the most interesting kind of thing that you've worked on?

28:09 Honestly, still my, my favorite cake today that I made was a to scale elder Red Dragon d and d cake. So the, the couple, and this was back in 2012 or 2013, um, the couple had wanted a three tiered cake with the dragon painted on it. And I was like, okay, great, I can do that. And then about two weeks before the wedding, I was just like, I was working on diagrams and doing some sketches and I went, you know what, this is going to look great from one angle, but the space that they're in, you need to view the cake from, um, almost all sides and it's not going to look good. So I emailed them and I said, hi, do you mind if I'm not going to charge you any extra? But I would rather sculpt a d dragon? And they were like, yes, please. Because they cake toppers were, um, mini figs that they had painted, um, mainly figurines, uh, the, the bride, the groom, and then their dog in the middle. So I sculpted a to scale older red dragon that was climbing up the side of the cake. That's awesome.

29:12 I'm sure they were over the moon. Yeah. So that you would say that that was the most unique case you've worked on as there ever been any that you thought like that was going to be a bigger challenge than maybe it was and it ended up being good for you. Like when they came to you and you're like, our other live, we're going to be able to do that.

29:29 Hmm.

29:29 Are you just confident than you can deliver on anything? Really confident.

29:35 Okay.

29:35 It helps you. Like my cake specialist is incredibly talented and she's very clear her skills too and she's also willing to challenge yourself in play. So

29:45 yeah, I guess, I mean, do you find that you kind of go through those themes of like, I don't know, is there a lot of like game of Thrones desserts and stuff now? I Dunno. I mean, do you guys find that it's kind of, I would think that that would be one way that couples could kind of like be on trend. I guess with whatever's going on is that

30:00 yeah, we don't see that so much with weddings. We do see it more with birthday cakes. Like we did a lot of Pokemon birthday cakes.

30:08 Okay.

30:08 That's awesome. Um, I'm, I'm just kind of

30:13 find it so interesting that you kind of have grown this so far off of just kind of this knowing where the market is going. Right. I mean, where do you think that that drive came from and where do you think that, like how have you been able to find success where like, I'm sure there's lots of other bakers and people that have not had as much success?

30:32 I think just clarity, resilience and passion. Um, really understanding what I'm trying to accomplish and why. Um, I just want to feed people and they always say that a lot and people are like, oh, that's so sweet. Congratulations. I'm like, no, like feeding people and doing it well with really good food is hard. Having the resilience, like I just started, I just hit my eighth anniversary with, um, Nuflours and there's been some really challenging years in there. But saying this is really what I should be doing and I see where this business is headed and I know what to I, what I want to accomplish. And having that longer vision, seeing that big picture really helps you get through those really tough times.

31:21 Yeah. Cause I bet there's, you know, cause a large, either a large portion of our audiences, you know, brides and grooms, but then also other wedding vendors and people that are looking, uh, what, what advice would you give for people like that that are starting the other are struggling or you know, one or two years in,

31:38 remember why you started it, what's your passion? I just love giving people ground. Yeah.

31:47 Which of course she came with today. Uh, some, uh, dairy free brownies, which uh, I'm sure Dorothy and I will be excited to enjoy it later. Is it, is that like a, a maternal instinct to feed and where do you think that that comes from? Just the desire to like give people food and make people happy like that.

32:06 It came from the way I grew up. I grew up in a very large family in eastern Washington. I have several dozen first cousins. I'm one of seven myself. And we just grew up in a culture of food. Like we'd get together for family picnics all the time. It would have family over and barbecue and there was just this sense of, um, it's how you tell people you love them, how you care about them is by, you know, bringing them food. You know, like somebody has a baby, you call them and you're like, okay, let's, let's have the list of, you know, who's bringing you wet when so that you don't have to cook for the first, you know, three, four months that you're a new parent and it's, you're overwhelmed and just sleep deprived, you know, or Xena somebody passes. So you have a, you have a potluck. Everybody comes together over food. And I just, I see like there's such a social connection point where, where food is concerned and I don't ever want to let that go.

33:06 I guess in, and yeah, as much as you know, times in Seattle and everywhere kinda changes that that's still always kind of be a constant. Right? I mean, you can't, Amazon delivered.

33:16 Okay.

33:17 You know, like a wedding food and events and, right. I mean it's, it's, uh, talking about Kinda the future, like, do you continue? Like, where do you see the next kind of the path going for you guys in the bakery?

33:30 Well, I just want to keep growing, so I really see the bakery. I'm, this year I'm really focusing on growing our cakes more. Um, a lot of people still don't even realize that we're here in Seattle. Um, but for those that need to eat gluten free food and like we're a certified bakery, and so being able to provide everything and have it be safe, you know, dairy free options, all of that. Um, I just really want to see our co cakes just explode on the other side of the business. We actually sell cake by the slice to some of our, um, local groceries like PCC. And I really want to see that I'm getting out more into the Puget sound region.

34:10 I'm talking about the process of being in the being gluten free certified and does that obviously challenging, you know, talking about kind of going through that process, the process. Yes. So Wrigley and three s free certified through

34:26 the gluten intolerance group and it's a fairly intense process. You have to go through a vendor verification process where you vet all your vendors and if they're not already on the approved list for the GFC, oh. Um, you have to get them approved. You have to have them send in their paperwork saying that they're gluten free facility and how often they test and all of their cleanliness practices. Um, and then you have to verify all of your ingredients individually and then you have to continually verify all of your ingredients. So we do gluten particulate testing every week, even though we don't ever change ingredients and all of our vendors have been verified. So we still have to maintain, uh, uh, checks log and we get audited annually.

35:11 That's crazy. It's, it's a lot. I bet you most people that shop and like, you know, like don't even really come to realize all the work and stuff that goes into that. And obviously that's like pivotally important for you, right. To kind of maintain that standing. I mean he's talking about that and it just kind of making sure that like people know like exactly what they're getting and when they come to you guys.

35:32 Yeah. So for me it's very much about having that nationally known seal of um, a lot of people do know our story, but as we grow, there are people that obviously haven't met me or haven't heard of us and you know, by word of mouth sometimes they, you know, first discover us by seeing, you know, a Brownie sitting at a coffee shop and they're like, oh, who is Nuflours? And then they see that little GF logo, that certification symbol and they know that it's safe to eat, not just that it says Nuflours, a gluten free bakery. What does that mean? It doesn't mean anything unless you have that little seal of approval

36:05 dark. But the diversification of all this and kind of like you said, getting into the store is getting into, you know, cafes and things like that. I mean, do you have that up? Do you have someone that heads that up? I mean, how does that work to kind of continually find it? Just that's like a whole nother level then a lot of the people that are on here like operate that

36:25 it really is, I talk a lot, I sample a lot. So we have what we call it, a vendor hugs program. So we go and we try and visit, um, a lot of our, you know, B to B customers pretty regularly. So you can just like dropping by saying hi, you know, what can I do for you? How's it going? Um, and then looking at who else is out there that we consider it to be, you know, like good customer fits, um, taking samples to them, introducing ourselves, seeing if they're interested in initiating a gluten free program if they don't have one already. Um, and you know, sometimes just offering them free product and seeing if they want to kind of do a customer test and see if there actually is a need for it. Um, we do still get a lot of people reaching out to us because we are a fairly well known local brand at this point. So people saying, oh hey I like, I hear you the best gluten free in the city. And I'm like, yes, yes we are.

37:18 Enjoy kind of being that face and having to put yourself out there like that to, to sell that. I mean do you, I know like some business and creative types like to be behind the scenes, what word you kind of like to be in and why do you like that?

37:32 Historically I was hiding in the back. I had a business partner. She joined me about a year and a half after I started the business and then she moved on to other opportunities last year. And so I'm transitioning into being more the face of the business and I'm discovering I'm really enjoying it. You know, I get to share my story. I get to talk about our products and I get to talk about our team and we just have such an incredible business and an incredible product and an incredible team. Like I just get so excited about it.

38:05 Yeah. What is normal? I ask you then what keeps somebody excited coming to work everyday? I mean you obviously seem like super thrilled. So what, what is that, that, what is it that excites you about, you know, continuing this journey and could kind of continue with that growth pattern?

38:19 Knowing that I'm affecting positive change in people's lives? Oh, what we make is a femoral. It's meant to be consumed, but there's going to be pictures and like you're going to be working looking three or wedding album, you know, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. And you may not remember like, oh, that was a Nuflours cake, but the cake is going to be there. Like we touched your life, we touched your kid's birthdays, we touched evidence. And to me, just knowing that we are supporting people in a healthy and positive way is what really keeps me going.

38:58 Uh, talk about what your life looks like outside of work, whether you do, you know, talking about your family, what do you do when you're not running this kind of large scale

39:08 got going on? Well,

39:11 I'm sure there's so much time in the, in the fraction of time that there is. What do you like to do? I actually really enjoy cooking.

39:20 It's not making accounts. I really enjoy cooking.

39:25 My husband. Uh, we have a lot of fun doing that. And then, um, uh, what do I do with it than that? I read a fair amount. Um, I'm really into a classic Saifai so like Cj Cherry, um, Philip k Dick. Um, that's what I do with my winters. Oh yeah.

39:45 Are you guys able to uh, be a little less seasonal or do you still kind of have the same cause like Seattle, the wedding season, the cell where like where you guys have other things or do you still find you kind of have that seasonal?

39:57 We are definitely seasonal. Um, the retail quiets down in the summer, but that's really when weddings pickup and write about when weddings starve. Now I'm slowing down a little bit. Um, we get into the fourth quarter and that's when the holiday's pickup and school picks up. Um, and where our auctions season picks up a little bit too. Like we do a lot of donations. Um, and so like c or Q two weaves nicely into Q three weaves nicely into Q four and then in Q one in January, um, it gets a lot quieter and it's actually kind of a busted relief cause that's when we, um, you know, reassess, you know, internal systems, what do we need to update? Who needs training, how can we make things better for the coming year? And so we just kinda like sit back a little bit and reassess and it's a really great time to do that. And it's nice that we have a little bit of a breather to do that. Okay.

40:52 Yeah. I, I always agree with that. This, yeah, if you're going a thousand miles per hour all the time, you know, it is good to kind of be able to have a little bit of self reflection even if you kind of have all these different things. Uh, what do you wish more people knew about you guys or your products are gluten free baking and there, what do you, what do you wish, you know, if we're in here, they to educate and get your story out, you know, what do you wish more people knew or asked about or were aware about?

41:16 I think just gluten free in general. Um, gluten-free historically has a bad rap. People like, oh, it's, I don't need to eat gluten free, so it's not going to, I don't want to eat it. It's not going to taste good. It's like sandy or it's too sweet or it's just try it. It's just a Brownie or just try it. It's slice the cake. Like, just because you can eat meat at every meal if you, if you do eat meat doesn't mean you do. So just because you can't eat gluten it at every meal doesn't mean you shouldn't try other things. So, you know, just eat a diverse diet, you know?

41:46 And uh, definitely. Yeah. Enjoy some of these, uh, awesome. Uh, brownies and other treats, I guess. Do we get the final rundown of all the different products? And things you guys offer. I know we've talked about cakes and desserts and things like that, but maybe kind of as a final wrap, you know, what all different options you guys have. I'm sure there's more

42:07 so 20 minutes later. Yeah. So, well when it comes to

42:13 weddings, we do, you know, of course multi-tiered custom cakes. We do dessert tables. Um, so many desserts, you know, cupcakes, um, individual like petit fours pies, mini cookies, that kind of thing. Um, we also work with, caters quite a bit doing breads, so when they have bread baskets or bread for it, um, appetizers, we do that. Um, and we do have, you know, wholesale prices available. Um, and then in the retail we also have a full pastry case. So we do Tiramisu, we do a is we have savory, so we do like quiche and sandwiches and soup, that kind of thing. What's your, uh, what's your favorite dessert? Oh my goodness.

42:55 Pistachio pudding. Oh, that is so to my grandma and two, to be honest, we don't sell that at the shop. That's something that I make at home for myself at the shop. It really depends on the day,

43:09 but like this time of year where it's like still a little bit cold and crisp in the morning, but it's warm. I love a slice of Tiramisu.

43:16 That's awesome. Well this has been so nice for you coming into today. I appreciate you making the drive from Capitol Hill and it's, it's such a beautiful day outside and I appreciate you taking some time to stay inside a, if people want to learn more about you and your bakery and just all the, I mean countless different kinds of ways that they can see and get it. Uh, where would you have them check out and what would you direct them to?

43:37 Yeah, take a look at our website. It's or you can always give us a call (206) 395-4623 and find out what we're about or pop by the retail shop and say hi.

43:50 Perfect. Well thank you so much. And again, thank you so much for the brownies. I appreciate that. And taking the time to stop by and chat. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Melodi Ramquist, 1000 Stories Events

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by a Melodi Ramquist of 1000 Stories Events out of Vancouver, Washington. And Melodi, I want to thank you so much for coming on today and take it some time. It's a beautiful day here in Seattle. I don't know how it looks down in Vancouver but certainly it's nice to get to catch up with you. And why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and a little bit about what you do.

[00:39] Awesome. Thanks Reid. Thanks for the opportunity. I'm really excited and I went outside to go get some coffee. Um, and it's sunny and bright and really cold and windy. So I'm back in my office and happy to have this conversation. So, 1000 Stories Events wedding planning and coordination. Basically I started this business November of 2016 with a kind of a go live November 1st. So it was a from scratch grassroots, like what am I going to do? How am I going to do this? Um, you know, what's the name? Who is my target audience? What's the business plan? Where is my office? What am I going to do? So I started from, um, you know, we moved up here in June of 2016 from southern California without a plan, just an opportunity arose to leave la. We jumped at the chance to get out and we moved to Pacific northwest. So, um, came up in June and spent a couple of months kind of figure out what to do next.

[01:45] What were you, what were you doing down in LA before that?

[01:49] So I spent about 20 years in LA in retail, so it was a retail buyer and then I sold jewelry and accessories to other retailers. But you know, the retail industry is pretty broken. Um, and so that industry does change so much. So it was no more fun to it. It was just hard work. And at that point now the CEOs are over looking what you're buying. I don't know why. So, um, the last job I had was wonderful. I got to work from home and travel to visit my customers up in Seattle and San Francisco. And I went to New York, a Taryn and I got to work from home and I loved it. But they went out of business. And so I lost my job. So then I'm like, well, do I get another job in downtown La and make those five hour commute or do we get out of dodge? And so we left.

[02:48] And so when you say we, who all moved up to Vancouver

[02:51] as my partner, ray and I, so he's a wedding photographer and he's like, well I can just take my business up there and we'll just figure out what you're going to do. And I got up here and I kind of looked into the retail industries and you know who's up here? We got with keen and you'd have the dean does. Then you have Nike and Under Armour, Fred Meyer. And I kind of look lightly at the jobs that were available with like, why did I move all the way up here just to do the same thing? So I'm like, that's really not in the wheelhouse. Let's not do that again.

[03:27] And so, you know, weddings and wedding planning and then, I mean that's quite a, that's quite a leap. So how did, what kind of inspired that process?

[03:36] So ray had been shooting weddings for about 12 years and although I am not a tog refer, um, I love kind of a second shooter. I can handle detail shots, I can handle those second angles. Um, and so really he has me as a client care specialists kind of along the way sales you post post event sales and just, um, from my retail background to doing that and I am a customer service smile. Um, I kind of demand high customer service from all the people that I buy from and vendors that I work with. Um, and in turn I'd give that back to my customers. I want them to have the best experience. So, um, my last year in la I also did a relay for life events. I had six big city events that I ran for the American cancer society. So that was kind of, there was like, you know, weddings and that pretty and lovely and great personal moments to these very emotional 24 hour events on a truck, sleeping in a tent where you don't really look all lovely and pretty. So both of those experiences and like I am like the logistical person, put people in touch with other people, make a comprehensive plan. But I want every one of my clients have, they're very, very, very personal moments.

[05:08] That's fascinating. Yeah. Similar. Uh, I lost my father to cancer years ago. We did media really for life at our local high school. Uh, talk to us about that kind of, how are you involved? You said you kind of ran that and maybe for people you're ran logistics belts for people that don't maybe know why, would you give a little bit about what, how much work that was for you to kind of help

[05:29] coordinating? So the relay for life where people have, don't know, it's a 24 hour kind of a lock on it. There's no, it's kind of a team thing. You're just trying to keep people on the track to raise awareness. And each of those team members is out there kind of trying to raise funds for the American cancer society. And it started, I had five events that have been running a long time in one that I was starting from scratch. They're like, hey, come on in temple city, go. Um, and so you do a lot of community outreach. You're trying to meet the movers and shakers and trying to get to know as many people to try to connect with everyone that you can find that either is battling cancer and survived cancer may be lost someone to cancer. And trying to find those connections because we're there to kind of support and help them through those moments.

[06:22] So the event itself, again, it's a 24 hour event, so you're starting with this lab that like celebrate survivors and they get to have that first lap and then through the day as a lot of fun and bands and food and teams and often just fund raising events. I'm always during the nighttime and then ending it the next day. But logistically you're bringing in, you know, lights and sound systems and you have to make sure there's an ambulance on site. You have to make sure the local police know that it's going on. You're counting thousands of dollars, tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash during those events. It's a big fundraiser. So you know, between trying to get the community involved in city council involved and all the know survivors and their families involved, that you can find, it's takes about 11 months to plan a single event. So you're doing six of those and you are just in different times like trying to get your event going and through the day and then you have a month off and then you start it all over again.

[07:34] Yeah. So I mean a lot of sort of, should I be that really got you kind of ready to go for what you're doing now. I mean, cause I know like kind of the, this overwhelming amount of work that goes into that and, and uh, you know, that definitely would transition kind of into doing weddings and stuff like that as well. And so then you said you kind of the second shot as well and we're involved about, I mean, did you enjoy that aspect of it? Did you enjoy kind of being that, not that what he planted, he wasn't hands on with weddings, but like Yo, with photography, I mean did your like placing the rings and doing details and stuff like that, did you enjoy that?

[08:06] I love all of that. Is there is just so beautiful, like everything's set up really when you get there and start shooting that day. Um, the dress, the bride, um, I think that a lot of female wedding photography's have an edge over males because you get to get in that room when she's not dressed yet. And so I'm always the one in there where she'd be comfortable with me until she was, you know, so I still want to get those shots, like we don't want to miss those. So I'm in there taking those shots and then as soon as she was clothed but up, then I'm like, okay, right outside the door, just waiting. So she was like, okay, I'm ready to have a guy in the room. Um, and so those were really fun moments, like laughing and giggling. Like are we doing a little like Sean had like Polaroid, sometimes we take a fun little like needy Polaroid, which we can hand off to the groom right before he walks down the aisle. So kind of for his eyes only for seat. Um, so all those kinds of Glen moments, you know, that happened in a wedding. I have last doing those.

[09:12] That's awesome. Did you, uh, you said you spent quite a bit of time down in La. Did you like that? Uh, it's a lot different, right? They may,

[09:21] yeah, I didn't like La. The one thing about events though, as they happen 12 months out of the year, and so although there are events happening here 12 months out of the year, they're really truly a wedding season so that you're all human to, you've been trying to like jam as many events as you can handle, um, into a small, short, three months worth of work. And I'm just a, a single entrepreneur, so I can only really do one or two weddings a weekend. And I prefer just do one, so I can do a good job with that one and not be tired for the next one.

[10:02] Uh, so the, so you come up to Vancouver and you said you kind of looked at the retail scene and said, well, maybe you know, let's, let's figure out some of the here. So how did the idea to come about kind of LP, the wedding planning business? Uh, it's obviously you had, he had been entrepreneurial kind of in the past, but like what was it about kind of starting the business now and say, you know, this is what I'm going to do,

[10:23] you know, a little bit of research up here, show that there weren't a lot of wedding planners. And so, you know, when you're coming up with a business plan, you're like, well, what's the competition out there? So it's like, okay, well it's not inundated like Portland would be, or la or probably even Seattle. So there's room, um, and with what I've learned and done events in the past, like I'm very good at it. You know, like I have the tools and the organizational skills and the people skills to kind of make it work for people.

[10:59] Yeah. What is it about kind of like taking him out lead and kind of doing those logistics? What is it about that that excites you?

[11:06] I don't love my couples have this great vision of what their day is and sometimes that's like, and I'm going to walk down the aisle to the song and then my first dance is going to be did this song and then we're get um, I don't know, do this dance. And I'm like, okay, but what time is the caterer we're going to be there? Like I didn't know. I'm like, who's picking up the cake? Cause they're was like, oh, we're just getting a cake from Alberta. And it's like, okay, well someone has to get that cake and when are they going to get it and how are they going to transport it? The one that just kind of keeps coming up and up and up. I want, I'm not a florist and to a lot of bakers, so I'm cutting a wedding cake terrifies me. I'm like, I'm not experienced in that. So if people are like, oh, I'm getting a three or four tier cake baked for me, I'm like, well, who is going to cut that for you if you're just picking it up at Albert sentence? Um, so making those plans, it's sometimes you're like, oh, I don't know. I haven't, you know, been a banker. I'm like, let's find out if your aunt can do it. So making sure that there's a plan for all those details so that it just works smoothly.

[12:23] Yeah, it is. Like you said, it always fun to kind of, what people are focusing on are like, oh, we're going to get married at this time of day because that's what we want, but they don't know. We'll do the log in to be able to get there by that time. Right. The lights could be bad or I was just finding what people are. I remember a weather, my favorite couples from last year we met and it was like an hour and a half consult, which was actually a really long console, but my consults are that normally an hour and a half and they were so excited that they were basically doing Micah room for that, which is not an uncommon thing. You know where you get married, the one space and then you moved people outside and then you flipped to space and they thought that that was like the most amazing thing that they had ever heard and they were so excited to tell me about how they were going to do this room flap and how people were going to leave and then come back in. And I just kept thinking like, yeah, like basically nine out of 10 black needs is, that's usually kind of what we do. But you don't want to like burst her bubble and you're just like, yeah man, that sounds awesome. I'm really excited to see it.

[13:24] Yeah, you're right. You want to make sure that their event, a special to them and their thoughts on it are unique and different, but you want to make sure that they know that you can also handle those roles. So it's like, um, you know, up here at the Brickstone Ballroom where it's a single room. And so trying to flip that from a ceremony to a reception is sometimes the most worrisome part for brides are just like, I don't think we could look at how are we going to do that. I'm like, I can flip that around for 150 people in 15 minutes. You're like, don't let that hold you back. Like we can make that work and you're not even going to know you're going to go out and take pictures and come back and it's a whole new space.

[14:09] Yeah. And uh, just to, uh, I guess give contacts yet. You see, you also, um, manage the Brickstone Ballroom, which is an awesome venue we were talking about down in Vancouver, kind of right. I guess downtown Vancouver. I don't spend a lot of time in Vancouver, but it seemed downtown dish to me when I was there. And I actually would probably want to, like you said, have you back on because I think we could do a whole nother hour about kind of managing the venue and seven, needless to say, you kind of know, especially with like do with the photography to me in a lot, there's a lot of different aspects of the wedding that you've kind of had definite hands on experience, right?

[14:46] Yeah. I mean as a photographer you're there for a whole six, eight, 10 12 depending on the packet so that people behind. So um, yeah, I've spent a long, long hours at weddings. The other thing that gives me a head like an advantage I think to now as the coordinator is the photographer doesn't have to worry, they will never miss a shot. So I know the importance of the photography and so we're working through the plans for the photographer gets to have their say in the final timeline. They made sure they know where everything's happening and then, you know, before a grand entrance happens or a cake cut her first dance, I'm first going to make sure that the photographer has their spot that we miss those parts.

[15:32] Well no to, I remember what we were planning our wedding and my player Rebecca was talking about how would we had our, she was going to make sure that like the dress and shoes and stuff was ready for when, you know, our photo and video teams got there so that they could get shots of it. And I remember thinking like, wow, I don't even care about my, you're like, I wished that that was ready for me when I came into more wedding and Z it out. Because you do like definitely I definitely was like, no, when I work a wedding where the planner that's going to like take care of that stuff, handled a lot of those logistics. Obviously a lot of the, the um, do you mean vacation? And then when I'm working with ones where it's not and it's like you can definitely tell the difference, right?

[16:10] Yeah. So, I mean the one that are sometimes there's a brides and grooms at the alter getting married and that those men realize what the photographer and never gave the ring back. That was kind of like run back to the hotel room and get a ring so that he can continue on. So like wow, these guys really did a wedding party

[16:35] near here with them. Yeah. Right. Cause you probably deal with ones, add the Brickstone that you're recording it and then obviously once a year managing and yeah, I've done lot. I'm sure you can definitely kind of tell the difference.

[16:45] Yeah. So I mean many of them go off without a hitch, without a coordinator. Um, as long as they have dedicated people that help them. Um, but I've done it before, but it's the ones that really are just like, oh my sister is going to do it or my mom's going to do it or my bridesmaids were going to do. Um, they don't go. That's what it was like. And even if they can kind of get through the ceremony and the reception, if Paul's apartment the end of the night when the, who's going to clean all this up, when you're like, hey, you have less than 90 minutes to clear out and how this place clean and put back together. And then the people that were like, well that was the contact person at the beginning of the day and they're like, oh no, I'm not doing that. I'm not cleaning up. I'm not saying I'm like, who's who's in charge of that?

[17:35] All the way to the end. So as a wedding planner, that's really one of the most important things I bring to people. Like yes, your, your mom, your aunt, your grandma, your bridesmaid, your sisters, your friends want to help you set up and help you through the day. And I'm all for that. I worked great, great with them, but I wouldn't say it's something that you have to go get dressed for pictures and be in the wedding and be in the moment. So if all the tables, all the decor isn't completely set, Lisa, but that way that's okay. I got it. You go do that. And then through the reception I'm, they're just kind of cleaning up, tidying up, keeping everything moving along. And at the end of the night, mom's aunts, bridesmaid's shoes are off, they're exhausted. And they're still a lot of packing up today when they're always like, how are you still on your feet running around? Like that's kind of my job. I'm the last one out. Like it will all get done. So that's one of the things that I always try to really explain to people when they're like, well what do you do? Like I'm going to be there till the bitter end for you.

[18:42] Well I will say to kind of echo that sentiment that, um, cause I see a lot of people you post or I'm talking with people to say, oh well we have a venue cord. The other like, so we don't necessarily know if we need to have like a day of coordinator or wedding planning or, or the of that. And they'd be even in our wedding, either we got married that salty is and salty. Is it here in West Seattle? You know, we had Mindy that was like our um, they a person, but once like dinner was served and stuff like she was gone. I mean it was up to like, you know, you are, you know, our wedding planner to kind of like you said, kind of wrap that night up. You know, that she was there getting through, you know, getting the bar service and getting the food out of the and making sure everything's going to, they're like, she's not staying there until one in the morning. You'd like you are, I mean most of the time I don't want to speak for all venues, but like you're like you said, you're that one that's the last one out to kind of make sure it all gets picked.

[19:37] Right, right. I mean there's different venues with different levels. I started going to fight. You have Hiltons and golf club resorts and they do have an event coordinator, but that person is really in charge of catering and making sure that food gets out on time. They're out there to make sure that Brian gets down the aisle on time or that the flowers arrive or that the therapies as are set, they have nothing to do with that. So whenever I get to get me those venues, I'm like, please, I will work well with you, but I'm going to make sure that the couples event goes off without a hitch. And so I spend a lot of my time networking and meeting the new owners. There's other venue owners and it is like you just get this phase and then you clean it all up. Well part of it, it's, it's a, it's a lot for the couples, you know, um, I'm there to give them the best customer service and help them have a wonderful event and it's a little bit about, I want to make sure that then you won't or wants to work with me again and my reputation's and path that here's a real professional who's going to leave it intact.

[20:48] Everything's put away where it supposed to be put away. It's cleaned at the level we wanted. Um, and then I told a couple of like, look, when you work with me, you're for sure going to get that damage deposit back cause it's, I'm having that walked through with them. Then vendor, then you owner at the end and they're, the ones are like, it's perfect. It did a great job. So, um, there's a few full service venues that might have then a day of coordinator. But like you said, oftentimes they don't stay till the end of the event. Uh, so why would you kind of run down some of the professional services that you offer and just to kind of talk through kind of the different things that you offer to clients? So I do full service planning and that's typically, you know, 13 months long, a little bit longer if they need help, if that's helping them find venues.

[21:42] Really kind of comes down to the budget. I try to get couples to sit down and let's talk about that during the word money. No one ever wants to like really worked with a budget. Like you don't want to do any planning until, you know, like how much are you willing to spend, how much do you have saved? Is Anybody in the family helping you? Let's talk this out first because you know you have people that want to do a $12,000 wedding but they learn by 300 guests like Ah, this is it. You're going to be serving pizza. So, um, I want to full service, like let's talk the budget, let's talk through the guests, let's figure out where it's going to be. And then I knew a lot of that that work. Like what kind of food do you want? What kind of flowers do you on?

[22:26] I researched a bunch of then vendors then that are available within their price point. I feel it's a good fit because you can just, you know, Google for us then your area and there's 500 so I'm kind of doing that work, bringing my clients, professionals that are good to work with and I let them ultimately decide between the two or three that I bring to them. Like who do you like to work with? Who did you get warm fuzzies about? Um, and so the full service includes a lot of that. I get partial planning if they also have figured out a bunch of that on their own, if they have four or five vendors already picked out and just need help finding a venue or vice versa. But really I feel like what I typically book down here is my day of coordination and my day of coordination packages includes 30 days of a planning review first.

[23:22] So I want to go through their wedding plans, make sure we didn't miss anything, and then start working on that timeline. I help facilitate the rehearsal and then I'm with them 10 to 12 hours a day of the wedding and that's kind of what people like the most. But I feel like, um, a lot of times up 30 days they've missed big. So that's why I need, other day of coordinators are just starting off and they're like, I don't know why it's so expensive or that I'm so mad. I'm like, well, I'm not just there for six hours or eight hours or 10 hours that day. It's a longer process and I would never just walk into a wedding the day of and say, oh, hand me your timeline. I'm going to like manage this timeline and would all reflect on me if the caterer doesn't show up or you know, something falls way apart. I want to make sure that we've planned for everything that we possibly can plan for well in advance while we have time to fix it.

[24:20] Yeah. Cause I do see that a lot. People looking for like, Oh, you know, we have everything planned. Like everything's ready to go. I just need somebody to come in and just for the eight hours. And like you said, like that's not possible because you have to have all that. There's so much footwork you have to have before the morning starts. Right? Yeah,

[24:37] yeah, yeah. That would be, um, walking into a disaster. Even if someone like me, you've got everything planned, I'm like, hi, I don't know about that or nothing.

[24:47] Why not? It might not be played to your standards. Right. You know, people might think, oh I have, like you said, I have a cake baked, but you don't, they don't know how it's Kitty Mirror where it's getting to or from or how it's getting delivered it right.

[24:58] There's so many venues are going to do it yourself like outdoor bar and they start talking to people 30 days. I don't like, what are you doing for trash dumpsters? Do you need a dumpster for these 200 people that are coming? Um, porta-potty is, do you need bathrooms out there? Like oh yeah. Or were they rented like one like port-a-potty Saul wake up 180 people coming. You might think that it helps to have a plan that they've never really planned a wedding so they don't necessarily know those.

[25:31] No, I need that was like, well like you said too, I mean it's kind of that real talk stuff. Like even the money thing where I think like you said, I think maybe like a lot of people now are the email just society like, oh we don't want to talk about like muddy and what things cost and like as a wedding vendor, like [inaudible] dog about money for days. Like what does this cost and what does that cost and what should you spend and how much, and I'd be right there. You think that kind of doing the wedding thing to it, you just get used to that. Right? And like you said, the pore of your body, things like real talk, real things like real logistical things that we need to figure out.

[26:03] I think so many people think someone in my business like, oh, that's a luxury, that's not in the budget. Um, but if they were to work with me and it initially they would probably end up saving a ton of money in the long run when it's all said and done between relationships and not overbuying my health, these brides at show Hubbard, you know, we started working 30 days out and they show me everything they bought for the core and they can change their mind midway through to buy this stuff. Why don't you just borrow this stuff or, well you ask if someone else has this morning you asked me, you know, I have a really portable table calm rentals that I can get you see you under the dollars. Um, so yeah, I feel like I'm trying to always make sure my clients on the resource for all of this, like rely on me.

[26:56] Trust me. I know people. I can help you out. Um, it is the best view language. [inaudible] uh, like I have a current bride who call me, I was in the middle of the Portland bridal show and this girl was found me on the Internet. Like how, I don't know if you can help me, but my then you fell through, um, it was at a private golf club and they just decided, you know, uh, uh, marijuana date. And so they bumped me. It's in six weeks. So I'm like, well a bridal show, but as soon as I can get away from my booth, I am going to go talk to these two venues. I know and I'm going to get you, well one of the venues are right next to me and is another golf club resort and they're available and they're running a great show special.

[27:43] And then then the other one was also available. I'm like, if you can come here tomorrow and introduce you to two people. So without even looking my services, I got her an appointment to find a new venue and her and her mom were like, can you get us through the rest of the, and so they signed up with me right on the spot. And since then it's been like, I don't have a dress yet. Like we'll go here for her address, go here, I got you covered. You know, and it's, sometimes they call and leave a message and don't get called back and it's, you know, Ben, there's just get busy and they didn't mean to neglect. It was just, they've been busy with the shows. And so, you know, the alterations ladies like didn't get back to her. And I'm like, let me call him first. It's who you're going to want to go to. I know they can get it done for you. And so, you know, they finally got ahold of her and she's like, I couldn't do this without you. So those are, those are the perfect clients. Um, that kind of fall into meeting mean, but then appreciate every tiny little thing that I can do for them and it's going to be great and fun and beautiful at the end. We'd been in like six weeks.

[28:56] So yeah. You were talking about doing the wedding show. Do you like doing those as a way to attract clients or kind of how do you target clients and find you knew a couple super quick.

[29:05] Yeah. Well right now, you know, I'm still pretty new. So I started, you know, my first bridal show was February of 2017 and trying to get booked for that first year when people have been planning in. So they were definitely a necessity. Um, the last two years I then lingerie did two shows this year, three shows. And I'd like to not have to do them. We're kind of figure out what's the right one where I can get the most clients, but Trump, I'm tracking where they're from now. So I know I'm like, oh, I got two from this and for from that one, from this. But then the following year I'm like, oh no, I got one from that one and three from this one. So the best part is it puts you in front of the most possible clients that you can talk to, especially ones that are seeking out wedding coordinators. These shows are full of photographers and caterers and there's like one or two wedding coordinators. So, um, that's already, uh, a boost for my business, but I'm there for them. So, um, they're, they're constantly them.

[30:21] Uh, so w what kinds of are the target clients are couples have you look to work with?

[30:26] So you know, that first year it's kind of anyone that will book you and you're like, okay, then let's try to make a deal and make this work. Um, but now you're in, had a really pretty successful first full year. And so I'm now kind of looking through the clients that are seeking out wedding coordination, like kind of seek out my services and I'm not trying to sell myself so hard. Um, millennials, you know, that's the age group that's getting married and they want it to be very personal and that's perfect because that's what I liked to do. I will try to put their vision in place, but they're busy at work. Like they don't necessarily have the time or the knowhow to plan this party that they really want. Um, also moms, I worked great with the moms and the aunts of, a lot of times it's moms that hire me because of others.

[31:20] Like, I know it's been following me or it's not my house or I'm worried I'm not going to enjoy the day. And so they hire me for their daughters and sons ways and I'm fine with that as well. And then, um, I have not done a lot of the LGBT appear, but I'm super open to it. I think weddings are so new to that whole group of people, um, that they're typically still small personal. They're not spending a lot of money on it. Um, and then trying to figure out where did these like traditions fall and I'm all about, I love to explain traditions, what they mean and how to do them and then figure out a way to bless them and just either do it your own way or not do it. Um, kind of retell that story differently than how it's been told for ages. A lot of these come from weird place. Yeah,

[32:19] because I was going to ask you about that, cause you were talking about millennials and kind of play a need and wanting to put their own stamp. I mean, do you find like I've talked with other people where they say like, Yo, that's a new big trend, like personalization and everything that goes anywhere from decor to even like you were saying like taking certain traditions and switch them around your, so how do you like to, you know, facilitate that and the way either, what do you find you do enjoy that and kind of put your on helping people put their own spin on it?

[32:45] Yeah, I, I, I mean just within like wedding community here, whether it's the vendors are the venues or other networking. I like to be the conductor, you know, I'm like, let me introduce you to people. Let me find someone for you. Um, so kind of the same thing in planning this, when you sit down, you're going through the timeline. Like are you going to do a bouquet toss? And a lot of, I'll let you know, I don't want to do it. You talk because we're in allows to one of our friends to get married. So there aren't any single women coming. Um, but otherwise I like to do it like, well then let's tie in Nordstrom's gift card to that bouquet and do it for all women. You know, it doesn't have to be the same. Like the next person that kept this k is going to get married. Like let's make it a fun thing. It's a photo off isn't it? Um, so just talking through once we get to know what the couple of like, you know, do they want their dog in it? Do they have kids? A lot of my couples have multiple kids together or they're blending families together. So it's, you know, along those traditions don't always make sense, but let's make new family traditions or find a way to give a nod to those traditions and the ways,

[33:59] that's a funny, our wedding on Saturday had um, he had a four and the five year old and then they have a half months old together and that eight month old was bound and determined to walk down the aisle. And so like, literally like for the two hours and we were all like dealer, her hair makeup and stuff. They walked that kid down the aisle probably 25 times getting him like almost like a dye. We gotta get them trained to do it and then I'll tell you during the ceremony, he walked down and it was fricking awesome. This eight year old, a little bay or A's, I mean, sorry, eight month old little baby and like a toxin the diaper and just both arms up walking down. But you know, I worked and that was like, he's, he's like you said, you know, blending these families and kind of giving everybody, you know, a place sit in and letting them kind of, you know, have their own special kind of symbols in it. Right.

[34:49] Yeah. My wedding that I did, um, last month earlier in February and nine snowstorm, they were planning to get married in the fall. May Have, uh, I think, I think Sydney is like 15, 16 months old and they have a little girl and so they were going to do it in the fall when she can be the flower girl. Um, and then try though she's pregnant again. So now that like now I want to do it as, as the game, so you know, eight weeks, 10 weeks into it, like just like, let's play on this for right away. And so, you know, the baby wasn't quite able to walk down the aisle all by herself and they still got it down there. And I'm like, if it takes her longer, if she sits down or if she turns around, let's just be, patient does give her all the time in the world to get down there. People are going to love to see her. Um, and so that was a celebration. Again, plan very short, but you know, they have all the details that they wanted and it was a beautiful day with some snow. There's not chuck walks first.

[35:51] Oh, no way. That's awesome. Did you guys, did you guys get hit down there like we did up here?

[35:57] Not, no, you guys got way more snow than me did, but you know, just not prepared for it here.

[36:03] Oh absolutely. Yeah. I talk about kind of social media in terms of a, you know, a kind of marketing and it would be, you know, kind of reaching out for new clients and things like that. How do you approach that?

[36:18] Yeah, I don't have like a super professional social media team behind me. I'm very active on Facebook and Instagram and I tried me on Pinterest. Really that's more just ideas setting and helping my clients show me what they envision that usually not super realistic, but at least I can understand what they're looking for. Um, the line social media is just me on the go with my mobile devices. Um, it's just real genuine. There are moments I don't really post the bride walking down the aisle. I might be that the next day or you know, a week later, but I'm not coming back and editing those posts and, you know, making them all professional. So I have a new website and I have galleries on there from each of my weddings that I do. And those are the professional at the time. So, um, I, I love this part of my website and the gallery links back to the photographers page so they can see my favorite parts of the day. Um, but it goes, any clients are looking at it and they're like, oh, I really like the way these pictures look. They can click right through and get the photographer that shot them. So yeah, like social media is a fun way to reach out to people, but it's not necessarily driving where I'm finding clients. Oh yeah.

[37:42] Do you like, uh, the running the business aspect of running the business or do you, uh, is that something that, you know, and believe me, I talk all the time with, you know, people can take photos and not be able to do taxes and like, I can shoot video and I don't know how to balance a spreadsheet at all. So I don't believe me, I'm not one to judge, but do, do you enjoy that?

[38:04] Yeah, that's about right. That's part of like the logistical background. Like it's everything from the budget and the starting off all the way through the taxes and paying my bills. You know, I don't do my own taxes. I helped people that do that. But um, definitely like receipts are in order and you know, thank you card. I don't even have a very good CRM. It's just me keeping track of it on my calendar. Like this is when they booked me. This is when I start, this is what I send the car. This is when we get started. I'm all the way through to here's, you know, after the event, here's my thank you cards and here's my Christmas card or New Year's card, here's their first anniversary card and all this gets put into my calendar and I just kind of all live by the calendar.

[38:50] Yeah. So when you talking about a CRM, do you want me to give a little more a background? The, do you, do you use one, do you enjoy that? Do you, like you said you kind of have, I have like the most complex, a series of Google documents and she'd say you've ever seen, so what, how do you manage all that?

[39:06] I am not on Google docs and I'm trying to figure out 17 hats for the Brickstone Ballroom so I don't have to follow up consistently young when payments are due and all of that. I'm on planning for my event planning organization. So it's really each event gets planned in. The invoices are all there. So I can, I do my bookkeeping on one place, which is nice. And my calendars are all shared. I mean beyond the and ballroom. I also started the Vancouver wedding showcase, so I'm doing those monthly, it's a little boutique wedding show. And then I'm working with a couple um, venues as well and doing their open house events. Now that they've seen the Vancouver winning show chase, they're just like, can you do one of those friends down here? So I'm doing a lot of those too. So I run four Instagram accounts and Fluor look a general sense.

[40:07] So you're really kind of all into this now. This is going in front of the La retail buying. See now it's it. I mean they're like a hundred thousand percent weddings, right.

[40:16] It is a full time job. I mean, between my business 1000 Stories as my full time job, we come to this office, I do my business out of here, the Breakstone Balrow I run all the events and the accounts out of here. Um, and then, yeah, so started the Vancouver wedding showcase. Uh, what else? Oh, I'm part of the car county wedding professionals group. I have a lot of networking in the Oh, the wedding industry here to just get to know the other vendors and then trying to go meet clients through these like open house events at venues.

[40:52] Yeah. Talking about that networking and reaching out and about, and then if you want to, I mean that's just crazy even doing this wedding showcase and all about to be any part of that you want to touch on. But, uh, talking about the networking and the kind of building those, yeah, I guess connections are expanding. That web

[41:11] really for wife taught me how to create an event from scratch. Like they're like go to temple city and figure out how to start an event. So, you know, I stopped in the Chamber of Commerce, I'm all who's who, who's Jane? Like who's on the city council? How do I need these people? Um, where is it, this place? Is there any, you know, great unreasoning events already here in this town? What can we do? So when we moved up here, trying to figure out how I wrote this, I went to the Chamber of Commerce first and I met a black Gowling Erica laws who knows everybody in town and she's since left the chamber and now she has an impactful women impactful people down here. So I do a lot with that. I owe her a 10 she introduced me to one of the top photographers down here who's been introduced me to the other wedding pros to business networking international. And I probably will have me do networking events. Bli is weak queen and the rest are like monthly. So at least eight times I'm doing networking events.

[42:24] Do you like, do you I do in the BNI groups.

[42:28] Yeah. You know, it's not, I got a lot of immediate business being an event coordinator out of it. It takes time. Um, but again, coming new in town, I'm starting my own business. It gave me a chance to go, I know an insurance person who does events insurance and you're going to need, not only are you getting married, you should relocate your insurance on your house and your cars. You're aren't going to need a vet insurance for your event or just, I mean, the venues are all going to require it, but I always think that you should cover your event in case for some kind of cancellation or the presence gets stolen or whatever your typical day of venue insurance isn't gonna cover that. But kind of back to be, and I kind of put me in touch with people outside the industry, but within my community. So that's been, um, a great place for me to meet people. And then that's also just in addition to, although wedding networking. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

[43:30] Uh, do you want to talk about some of the favorite venues and things that you work on? A down in Vancouver? I mean I assume in the inmate they, when I see Vancouver you have a greater kind of Vancouver area kind of how far you like to spread your wigs.

[43:40] Yeah. I love Vancouver. I haven't worked a whole lot in Portland but I've gone beyond Oh to the coast and done a few out there, which is fantastic. But um, in this area like of course the Brixton home, cause I'm partial to that. And then right down the street as the historic trust that have a bunch more kind of older historic buildings. Um, but there's so many great outdoor venues which are huge in the summertime and they definitely need wedding coordination whenever they can get it. A venue owners really appreciate when couples bring in a professional to help them. Um, Lucy's gardens has parade, Windy hills wiring. I love, um, oh, what's it called? Well, Anderson Lodge up in like, Amway is great. You can stay all weekend up there in their cabins. It's a wonderful, beautiful space. And then one of my favorite places is probably out at maple leaf event, Tom Stevenson, indoor outdoor space.

[44:43] There's a lot of versatility of those. So really those outdoor venues that have indoor space, can I help in case of rain or wind or cold or even eat? Um, but I had a lot of fun in the last year and I have a few more this year as private homes. So, um, you know, having an, an aunt's house or my parents' house and I love doing that because I think the parents want to enjoy the day and now you'd have to be this host as well. And I liked to help them set the rules. Like we'll, do you want people in the house, are they going to be using the restrooms and the house? Are they coming in and out or are we keeping people out of our house and you know, building tents in restrooms outside and they really appreciate, um, someone from outside kind of taking that on. So they don't have to be the main homeowner. I can be the person that directs people where they need to go and where they can and can't go. So I love working with private homes.

[45:43] Yeah, I was going to say then, yeah, you kind of get to be the big enforcer and then they'd all, they get to look better and then they get to say, Hey, well, you know, we just see we got the professional here at Dell. Doesn't want to do,

[45:54] oh, you're the boss, you're the boss. I'm like, no, no. The brides, the boss or the off the boss. I'm the muscle. Yeah.

[46:00] Yeah. This is going to say it's like the heavy, you know, I'll take care of this. I'll make sure I, there's like some common pitfalls and things that you see, you know, uh, the couples you work with kind of constantly go through either, it could be a, you know, buying too much stuff and not renting decor. It could be not making sure they have enough budget for catering. Man. There's some columns kind of pitfalls that you see that you wish that more people do about.

[46:25] Um, that's a hard one because there's very simple things and one of it's like, Hey, read lists, whether it's my list or the not with of things not to forget. Why is everyone forget to take a cake cutting money. They're trying to cut it with plastic knives and forks at the end. They have this beautiful cake and no one brought that. Um, and just double, triple check the list that you brought. Everything that you needed to in the brain. You forget. I'm a mental is like pictures of loved ones that can't make it, that you made a plan for. Then someone forgot to bring it. Um, catering, you know, if you want to cut back on the cost of a wedding, it's how many people you're going to be. So it's either the quality or quantity or what you're going to feed them or how many you have it you're going to feed. Um, so you know, if your venues already said the biggest way to cut your budget is to figure out, do you have to invite all those people or do you have to serve all that food?

[47:31] I don't know. It's, it's trying to find out from the couples what's important to them. Some people want great photography, some people want great flowers, some people want to spend all the money on the dress. Um, some people want the venue to be stand out and I like to tell people like, you can have anything you want. You probably just can't have everything. So you have to like, you know, let's wait it out. Let's allocate the budget. That makes sense. You can look at kind of basic wedding allocation that you don't have to stick with us, like figure out where the money's being spent and you might have to cut back on some things. Again. It kind of just depends what they envisioned their day, what's important to them.

[48:16] Yeah. I think just one thing, and I was thinking about this, who you're talking about kind of venues and staff is I think people, uh, making sure I didn't, especially in Seattle, like it's, it's so hard to find a venue on a day and I think like people kind of rush in and like want to put that deposit down and they don't necessarily know like what comes with that venue or not. And then they'll be like, oh crap, I, you know, I see a $10,000 or whatever. And then now I also have to bring in my own linens or if I want to use their linens, it's extra. So I guess just to add on to that, just because I was getting to kind of think he was just making sure that you know, what all comes with, and it could be anything, it could be your four, it could be your plan, it could be video venue, but like making sure you know it's coming with that because then it could end up costing you more. Do you get other things if, if you assumed maybe that they

[49:09] true. And I had to give like, okay, I'm not a lawyer, but give me your, all your contracts when you hire me, let me rip them over because I can at least promise you, like you only booked a Dj or four hours that you think they're going to be your ceremony and reception DJ or um, you booked. You're like, oh, we're going to have these specialty cocktails and you've lived through and you're like, they only allow beer and wine. You can't even have that. So, um, you know, read the contracts or let a professional read the contract and then simply how a contracts have you were like, Ooh, contracts are scary. I'm like, the day protect you as well as me. They pretend me, but they're going to ensure that I'm bringing you everything I said. So you don't have a contract with the vendor, then you don't really know what they're including or not including. So contracts are super important for the couples or the families for whoever's, you know, hiring new people, they should require one.

[50:10] Yeah. And that's my favorite. This way. They're like, well we need a Dj w just just for the ceremony and am a part of the reception, but our ceremonies it too. And then the receptions at six and the venues out four hours out of town. So it's like, well actually you're booking them for you know, 12 hours, whether or not you really thinking about that

[50:28] coffee time and all. Yeah.

[50:31] I, before we go here, I wanted to come here. Uh, you had, you mentioned you wanted to talk about some best stories or favorite stories. Do you have anything? I'm sure you see it a lot, even coming in from La and, and you know, d transitioning here and, and having this kind of wealth of different things you're working on.

[50:48] I mean, that's where the name of my company name from is 1000 Stories cause they're all so different. And I have a favorite of all of them. So whether they got married at the Frank Sinatra House or at a private home on Nassco in beach in Oregon or you know how the little 18 month old walking down the aisle, um, or a destination wedding from Manila to La with um, a bridal party of like 18 bridal party and 18 sponsors that you have like 36 people in the wedding party. She just very sweet, small like same sex, um, gatherings of like meaning 35 people, um, that were just like the biggest joyous celebration because the people who waited so long to get married. I every has the best story I think. Really I live on my own.

[51:51] Yeah. Cause you were talked to I I'm the pre law pre-questionnaire Kinda I shouldn't out to about a year old bit. That micro [inaudible] you planning to, do you, do you find that, is a good niche to kind of be a part of it too? Is that a little bit planning? Do you, do you enjoy that?

[52:06] Cause again you can still plan for it. I have a whole blog on my website about it because I think it can still be beautiful. The one I did last year, same thing, she was pregnant. So they decided, you know what, we're going to do a big party next year after the baby comes. But photography was super important to them and she's like, I want the dress, I want photographer, but the rest is just going to be the two of us. Cause it's either invite both of our families, which would have been 75 people or just leave it for the two. And so I planned that. Like it was a fabulous, a fishy in that did a great job. And then the photographer and I were both the witnesses. It was just those two and us will and then in the baby and then they rented this great house.

[52:55] We had hair and makeup. Then I think that flowers along the, you know, on my way out there, I haven't, I did it like whole service for her. Um, and then they hired a private chef that night. So when we were done and leaving the shop came up and he was going to cook them a romantic dinner at this beautiful house on the Pacific Ocean. So there's great value that it costs them all that much money and they still had money then to buy a house and you know, um, how their big coming up this summer. So I love planning for them and it can be the two of them or it can be like 20,000 people.

[53:33] That's awesome. Uh, kind of looking forward to 2020 and beyond to me I, in terms of like, no the only bookie, but in terms of like goals for you business wise, uh, how, how are you looking forward to the next couple of years?

[53:46] So 2020 is going to be huge. It's gonna be huge. Everyone loves the numbers. I have bookings for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and one 20 2020 and four 20 2020 and 10 10 20 times. Like everyone wants those special dates. So I know next year is going to be crazy. That's said is I still have a lot of openings for 2019 it's kind of booking slower, but then at the last minute, like it's kind of filling in. So I'd like to be booked out further than I am. Um, advise to people getting married in 2020 is at least get your venue booked now because those prices are going to go up and those dates are going to be gone. So I'm the venue and save that date for yourself and then you can do the rest of the wedding planning. Um, and then beyond, it's, you know, just kind of continuing to do what I'm doing. There's, you know, every wedding is different so it's always going to be a challenge and there everyone's going to be different.

[54:52] Yeah. I was going to echo the A, I was talking with, I figured it was a photographer after one of our weather. You'd shows about, you know, you talk with these like 20, 20, a couple said, oh, we have all this toy. It's like, yeah, we'll, we'll talk to you in awhile. And as someone that works for himself and likes to book dates, you know, it w it is helpful to, to book ahead and if you know you want the 2020 and to be done, I very much would like to not have to worry about booking that day, whether it's today or a year from now. And so yes, like you said, if you know that those are the dates that you want and like you said, locking your venue and it's okay that it's okay to talk to some other vendors too. Cause I guarantee you the people that have uh, neither were for themselves to want to know that.

[55:33] Oh yeah, we're good for that day that were uh, like uh, 18, 18, 18 last year, which was like crazy popular appear like I leave the book in like both of those like way later than it never should it because we did two weddings a day and it was like way later than it ever should have been. Like, man, I probably talked to like 45 different people that were all getting married and it ended up being one of our friends got married that day and then someone that got married to the private residence so they could, you know, get married that day. But like it is okay if you're getting married on the popular day just to go ahead and get that stuff locked down

[56:06] at least a year in advance. So those popular dates I think for next year, I definitely feel like a lot of the prices are going to go up from venues. It's going to be more expensive next year. It's kind of like people maybe haven't raised their price in a few years, so they're going to do it, it's going to be next year or something. Well how could even while you're getting the 2019 pricing, so you know, a lot of them, they don't require a lot of deposits. Some, some places require a lot of caring doesn't require a deposit. So book one, get one that you like. And then if you, you know, keep looking in two months from now when I, you know, cancel it if we did something else, go ahead. Like don't cancel it on the week or month before, but you know, if you're afraid of losing that date, get it booked and then, you know, Tylenol end sooner than later.

[56:55] Well a Melodi is, it's been so nice and that we've been emailing for a couple of weeks now to kind of get this set up. I want to thank you so much for coming on and taking time and like I said, I definitely want to have you back on to talk about the Brickstone Ballroom, which is a phenomenal, uh, you know, a venue in Vancouver and I've shot there and like I said, it's right downtown, but if people want to learn more about you and your wedding planning and then kind of, it sounds like a lot of really exciting stuff in terms of like the, the Vancouver Wedding Showcase all sorts of things. Uh, what would you have people check out? Where would you direct?

[57:25] Yeah, they should probably go to my website. I, it's brand new. I had a website for a long time, but I just spent the money to get a nice one put together and I am really enjoying it. So you can see my work. See what I do. You can sign up for our newsletter and a kind of get tips on wedding planning. Um, if you know people that are getting married in the theater of the home page, there's a share this page so you can just send an email to somebody that would link right back to my website and see the additional shows I'm doing. But I've been through a wedding showcase will be on there. The Laurelhurst Club Event will be on our shortly and then again like galleries of, um, of uh, events that I've done. That's a great place. You can contact me right there.

[58:16] Urban, did you say you're also active on social media and all sorts of things like that, right?

[58:21] Yup. @1000storiesevents

[58:23] Perfect law. I want to thank you so much for taking the time today. This has been a a good, I think, insightful conversation. And, uh, this has been another episode. Uh, Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another, whether you bed your injury or, thank you so much, Melodi.

[58:37] Thank you. Please come down to Vancouver and we'll do another one in person at the Brickstone or, uh, around Vancouver. I would love to bake you. Yeah, thank you. All right, bye.

Rosalynn and Ernestine, My Perfect Wedding Assistant

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And I'm joined today by two new friends of mine, Rosalynn and Ernestine with My Perfect Wedding Assistant aka Bride's Bitch and a why don't you guys introduce yourselves and uh, thank you so much for coming in. Who are you guys?

[00:31] Thank you. My name is Rosalynn and I started the business

[00:36] I am Mama Ernestine Rosalynn's mother. And we decided to put our expertise together in business after going dealing with it ourselves with their own wedding. So we're excited. Yes.

[00:48] Awesome. So this all kind of came about because of your wedding?

[00:51] Yes. So, um, when I had my wedding, I never even heard of day of coordination. I only heard of wedding planners and that just wasn't in our budget. So when I had a friend come to me asking if I can be like her wedding assistant and I was like, wait a minute, what we're doing there has to be some type of business for it. And I found out about day of coordination and I was like, oh my gosh, this is so brilliant. I wish we would have had that. And then the brights bitch was born. So a good, how'd your mom get involved in math? So what happened was, is she's my mom, she's my best friend. So I tell her everything. So she was so excited and was like, oh, I want to start helping out. And then people fall in love with her. She's known as Mama Ernestine to everybody. So then I was like, okay, you just have to be like a lead coordinator. And so she quit her job of 14 years. 14 years in Cameron world. Yeah. Wow. Yeah.

[01:43] Or were you doing

[01:44] before? I was a logistics. I was a trainer and um, worked for DHL and was training. I did that for 14 years and we really wanted to kick this off. The goal was I would work full time and then do this, but it was so new to us. We really, I was like, you know what, if I'm going to go for it, I gotta go for it. And they offered a severance package. Took it. That was my way out. And here we are today. Best decision I've ever made. And how long ago was that? And that was four years. Three years ago. Three years ago.

[02:19] Was that, that was a scary decision for you guys to do that?

[02:23] Yes, very scary. Very scary. For me it was hard because I just, if the business didn't take off like I wanted, I didn't want that in the back of her head. Like, man, I wish I would've just stayed with my job. So, and of course as her daughter, I know she believes in me and everything, but still it was just a huge amount of pressure on my shoulders too. Cause I'm like, I have to make sure this takes off so we can make sure we have, you know, money to pay for living expenses. So luckily it did, but still, and that's awesome. And so just one,

[02:53] you guys give me a little rundown first off about what exactly you guys do, what your focus is in terms of weddings and, and planning and coordination and that kind of thing. Yeah.

[03:01] Yes. So we specialize in day of coordination. So we start working with the bride about six to eight weeks before her wedding. We basically become kind of like the project management manager of their wedding. Um, we're the point of contact for their vendors. We go through all their contracts, create their timeline, their layout. Um, we also do full setup and cleanup on the day of their wedding as well. So they don't have to worry about that. That's kind of our huge selling point. Um, most day of coordinators, the setup and cleanup is kind of iffy kind. There's some strict stipulations to that, but we do bring in a team and take care of the full setup and cleanup of the wedding.

[03:37] Yeah. Our number one focus and goal or mission shall I say, is let family and guest be guest and you can, anyone can try to sell me know I've got family that will help and know my mom, my aunt. It's not realistic. And the one thing that we know and what I get, I go back and think about my daughter and son in law's wedding. Ryan, we don't remember half of it because technically mama was acting as a day of coordinator and had no idea. And it's so imperative because the goal is at that it's a onetime shot and you know, I'd give anything to go back. That would have been the one vendor I would have paid the most money for is to have someone come in and run that at the end of the night. Our family said, well hell they were out the door. I just remember us packing everything up. I was exhausted. You know, just, it's one thing that the best investment anyone can do. Get someone to help with that.

[04:49] Yeah. And I would echo that. We had a wedding on Saturday and they had a coordinator and it was the same thing. You know, she's running and packing up stuff and doing all that work. And meanwhile then you know, you can see all the, you know, mom, dad, friends, family, everybody. They're not having to deal with all that. She's dealing with the caterer, she's packing up stuff. Even just the packer nap and kind of getting everything situated. I mean, I remember we got married too. It was like, what do you do with these gifts? And whether you deal with, right, I mean it's all this kind of the set, people don't think about it,

[05:16] right? The bride and groom shouldn't be bombarded with that. And then poor mom, where does it go? Enjoy the party. They should be drinking, eating and having a good time. Yes.

[05:25] Uh, so this all kind of, it came about because of your wedding. Uh, why don't you tell me about that? How did that go?

[05:33] Well, I was a bride Zilla I think

[05:36] I can say yes, he work,

[05:40] you know, it's so interesting with weddings because you know, you can go online, you can Google things, you can go on the knot or wedding wire, but you still have no clue what to do. And that's where I do wish that I had a day of coordinator because there was just so many things I didn't know and I wasn't confident in. So for me it was frustrating. So who do I take that frustration out? My mother, my bridesmaids. But I mean, it was a beautiful day. Don't get me wrong, beautiful day, but there's just things now as a coordinator that I look at that I wish I would've done differently. Like our venue, we didn't have a long access time to her venue, so our reception was really short. We were rushing to clean things up in time and then again we didn't have a cleanup crew, so it's like my mom packing stuff up, but I wanted my mom with me and it was just all chaotic. So

[06:31] how do you think it went? Well, you know, it was beautiful. I mean at the end of the day it was executed. The one thing that I look at is she had a vision of what she wanted her wedding to be like. And this is the other part why having a third party, a coordinator come into play. Normally they have a vision, but as a mother we want to put our input and we want to put our spin on it. And sometimes you bring in all those family members and you're trying to get them to help the bride and the groom's vision gets lost because family thinks they know what is better and you spend all that money and you put all that time and effort and it's, it can be disappointing. And so it went great. But I do look back at what she wanted.

[07:21] We, we've, we kind of failed her on that part because again, us being family, wellcare what she want, put them, put the, put that centerpiece stair and deal with it, you know, and it's just how it is. So, you know, the real, the reality of it is, is they can have their vision, but having a coordinator or a third party come in, we, we don't have any investment in it. And that's what's nice about it. When that bride and is telling us what they want, we're there to give that to them. There's no other type of emotions or investment and we really are there to make the best decision for them. Um, you know, like Rosalind said, if they have a short access and you're telling me that hey, we like to party, we're going to be able to bring that to you and say, okay, you got to think about cleanup, you got to think about now we need to think about where we can adjust and make sure we're executing your vision.

[08:17] And that's, that's what we missed and we just didn't have that. So, but it was beautiful. We had a great time, but if we would do it all over again, number one thing, have one. Yeah. And I agree with that too, that even just having that moderator, like if you want something and you have a family and like, you know, with our planet or like we can just kinda throw her under the bus, then it'd be like, Hey, this what we got to do it. It's just nice to kind of have that where it's not these budding head butting heads where you, you just played them or you say, well they had Oscar Lids, Arrow, let's ask him and see what they want to do. You know, where'd you guys get married? That thornwood castle in liquid.

[08:56] That's awesome.

[08:57] Was that back in? So for

[09:00] 2012 yeah. 2012 march. March, 2012. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. That's awesome. So you guys had swine. We had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun, but the day just went by so fast. And that's what one thing I always tell our couples as the day goes by so fast, so fast. So I wish that we would have kind of just took a moment and breathe it all in rather than just going, going, going. But overall it was a beautiful, beautiful wedding. So,

[09:31] so then, you know, kind of a, so you go through this process and you figure out, okay, well this is something that we needed, you know, we could have done better with diversity. And how did they kind of, the seeds start at the end for first starting your own business? Like, did you have a history of that? What were you doing before? Did you have any experience?

[09:46] Yeah. So what I did is in 2016, um, I started my perfect assistant, which is like a virtual assistant, pat personal assistant business and one of my friends, coworkers, she was like, Hey, do you do like personal assistance for weddings? And I was like, no, but I can like need and make some money. So she hired me like a week before her wedding and like basically just had me come in and figure everything out. Like on the day of they didn't know what the core was going to be set up. They didn't know what side the Brit bride was supposed to stand on. They didn't know how their timeline should go. So I was just like thrown into it and was just trying to make it all work. Um, it did. And then I was like, oh my gosh, this is a whole nother business that I can start. This is that day of coordination. So that's how it came about is kind of that coworker that kind of opened my eyes. And then when I was thinking about her wedding, I started thinking about my wedding and I was like, man, if I would've had someone like me to come in on the day of no ties to family, no drama, like that would've been so ideal. So yeah.

[10:52] Was that, but I mean the idea of kind of starting the business, I mean that, where did that come from? I mean even doing the, my perfect assistant, all that would be what kind of spawned all that. I mean they just,

[11:05] mom, I asked the laugh, you got our own businesses. Tell the story how you started your own business

[11:13] with my perfect assistant housing something. So, so

[11:18] how she started her own business, she worked for other employees and she was not the type of person to, um, great at it. But she would have those, she's an entrepreneur. Rosalynn, it's an overachiever. She's an entrepreneur. And when she would work, she would get these great jobs. But for her it was like, I need to do it my way. So she would leave. She, you know, she never left any one called, but it would just be okay. We're going through another copy up applying for another one and her last one, she finally took the plunge and said, I need to be my own boss and I need them.

[11:59] Make it happen. Yes. That's what you're getting at. I was like, wait, what? Yeah, I, I love being my own boss. I mean, don't get me wrong. Having your own business definitely has its struggles and challenges, but I could never go back and work in corporate or work for somebody. Again, just the idea of just being able to build my own brand, my own company. That was something that I never really thought about, but once the idea was brought to my head, I was like, wait a minute. I have to go for this. So you're right. Yeah.

[12:28] Robbery. Your mom here, given this would have been that you, the podcasts where they've been over it. Yeah.

[12:35] That's so funny because I was, again, as we're best friends, I'd get that phone call me at work, mom, I'm going to quit. I can't do, they're fun. I need to move on. And we finally said, let's, let's really sit back and think about what it is you want to do again. She went to school, got her degree, just, you know, it's like she's an entrepreneur. So it's great to see her really take those ideas and expand them and take them where I know she could take them. And here we are today. Um, you know, again, I, what was it when we got the, when we decided to do the, the wedding coordination business and we're thinking about the name, I literally, it's, she calls me in the middle of the night and she says, mom, I've got our name, what? My perfect wedding assistant. A brides bitch and I screen because me coming from the corporate world, literally, I'm like, there's no way we can add that name. And I slept on it and I woke up the next morning and I said, she said, mom, think about our personalities. That's who we are. And we didn't want to come into a business being fake. You know, we are as real as it comes, we're more professional, we have all that. But we want to keep it real. And I slept on it and I said, you know what, we'll go with it, but we have to own it 100%. And that's one thing we have done. We tell people, we don't sugarcoat it.

[14:11] No, I love it. I, uh, as someone to the Er had difficulties, uh, applying for jobs and, and just finding something that I thought would fit, you know me, I totally understand that. Where I, you know, I just got to look at it in the plane when I was here back, I used to work in California and it's like finally I just made my own thing because it's, you know, sometimes it is easier just to, even though it's not easier to run your own business, but it's the trying to fit the mold and might be easier just to make her own mold, uh, talking about kinds, uh, the clients that you attract people, you know, I tried to be pretty authentic to, I, I respect that and appreciate that. So what kinds of clients and in do you find like you attract,

[14:52] I think with the name? Um, it does kind of filter out our clients cause don't get me wrong, when we do wedding shows, we do have a few people that kind of raise their eyebrow at our posters and signage. But the brides that we have been blessed to work with have been absolutely amazing to the point where it's not just us leaving with them as our client, it's us leaving with them as family. We're able to build those bonds and it's not just we're working with a couple couple, we work with mom and dad and uncle and brothers and sisters. So it really becomes like us adding more to our family and that's what we absolutely love about it. So I think we like to kind of attract the, the fun bunch of people that like to party and have a good time, which we don't mind.

[15:36] So exactly. We're going to whoever you are, we're, we're going to give you what you want. But there is definitely, I think you're right. It filters out and those that give us that look, we know that that's probably not going to be the, the match or the relationship that, you know, that's going to be 100%. And that's what we love about it. It definitely filters out and knowing, oh, I love that. Oh, we love it. You know, and that's the vibe we want.

[16:11] That's funny. I, um, back couple of years ago, I used to have one of the top videos on our site was, um, you know, it starts off and it's all pretty whatever and then it cuts, you know, shows a dress, whatever and the bride's getting ready and she's like opening up this card and it like cuts and the photographer Jessica, it's like, oh, Elizabeth, like your retainer is still went. And she's like, Oh, you know, and this is funny moment that she takes it out and she's last and she's like that, you know, that definitely needs to be in the video. And I left that in for a long time for a similar idea to you guys where it is to kind of that, not a hard filter but that soft kind of the filter where like if you watch it and laugh at them, we're probably going to be on the same page. Whereas if you watched that and thought, oh my gosh, how could you ever do, then maybe we're not going to be the right fit. Right. Talk about, um, you know, where there are lots of different, um, you know, planning options or coordination, talking about the importance of finding that right fit with the people that are going to be kind of helping with the day.

[17:11] Oh, it's definitely important. That's, that's a huge factor because like we said, our biggest thing is it's not our vision. It's our couples divisions. So if someone's coming to us and

[17:24] they have no

[17:24] idea like what their vision is, well, we're probably gonna want to take a little bit more time to spend with them to help them figure out that vision and not make it our vision. It's really important that it is about the couple and their day. So we, we do, I think that's one thing we actually really strive that is with are the couples that we attract. It's usually those ones that do have that vision. They know what they want. They just need someone to implement it on day of. But with that also becomes a personalities. So like Mama, she's very, very fun, loud, charismatic. Um, so if you're looking for someone that's a little more, I don't know, I don't want to say fine and constrained, but I mean she's not going to come in a suit with a clipboard. Um, you know, our thing is you want to go out for a beer or you want to go out for a glass of wine. Like that's how we usually like to do our consultations. Um, so we do try to keep it a lot more like low key. We're not uptight. We want, we want our couples to be comfortable talking to us about whatever it is. We hear a lot of family drama stories because people feel so open to talk with us about it. But that's what we want. We want people to feel comfortable talking with us and build that trust. I think that's huge. Absolutely.

[18:38] Um, yeah,

[18:40] it's funny. I can't imagine, I would have to think of a lot of parents that have helped you know, a deal already in your pay for a wedding and kind of go through all that. I that would never want to do this ever again. And here you, you know, went through all that and now they either you've created this, you know, it's your life now. Uh, was that, um, obviously, you know, supporting your, your kids or whatever, but was that a, were you nervous to kind of jump back into that world after having kind of gone through it and moving?

[19:09] That's a good question. That's a good one. You know, I didn't, I've always been, um, I'm always that type of person. People come to me for things and to fix things and it makes sense. And even as we've done as many weddings as we have, I get a lot of moms that, you know, the bride's being bribed Zilla and I've got the mom crying on the phone and I'm like, you know what? We know the kids are going through their thing, but mama got you. Guess what? Not only did the bride get a bitch, Momma gets a bitch too. She get Mama, bitch and mama takes care of her. So I sell that and it's a good relationship. I have built some great relationships with parents because I get it. They're spending all this money, they are just as stressed and trying to make their sure that their children are getting the dream and the vision that they want.

[20:04] And sometimes the kids kind of forget about that and not realizing that the parents fit the bill. So the nice thing I've been able, that's what I love about us. We're able to really draw that line and filter. She can cater to the kids because they understand that. Um, and then I can also bring that filter in with, well, let's, let's look at, you know, we've had it where the mom wants to, you know, walk to sundown but the or I want to give a toast and, or they want to be a special role. And of course the kids are like, no, I don't want the map. Well now hold on, let's find a spot that we can give Mama and daddy to do that doesn't steal the spotlight, but we're not also pushing them. So I love that and that's what I feel I do bring to the table that balance and making sure everyone gets the best of the both worlds and enjoy the day. And I love that.

[20:58] I think that is a great dynamic. Or he said where you can kind of deal with the brides and grooms and you can deal with it to kind of have that, um, you know, different ages is obviously, but just different mindsets where, you know, you lived through it the one way and you look through it the other way. Yeah. Uh, yeah, I totally know what you mean with like the family. We add a, I don't know if I've ever said the cert four, but we had uh, my wife's parents were like terrified to give a test. Uh, you know, and they were obviously helping to pay for the wedding and so they wanted to do it um, way earlier then, you know, would probably be, I don't know, like traditional just because they wanted to kind of get done with it and then not snowball to. Then my wife's sister wanted to get firs early and then, then my brother wanted to give it, you know, so they ended, it ended up being like, we had these six toes. Like, well, you know, it is like about trying to, like you said, accommodate where they're spending that money. Kind of getting where they're coming from. Trying to respect those wishes because it is hard. And when you're planning, you know, when it's a bride and groom and then you're like, well no, there is actually, you know, the pocket,

[21:58] there's that book and they're just as important. And I get it because trust me, we went there are, was the money was like, oh my God, who's pant for this? Oh my God, it was bad for this. And so absolutely to make sure that that balance is there, that everybody is still in good about the night and their roles and what they do. That mom and dad is not just a pocket book, but there are a part of their special moment and make that is so important. It makes the night even more spectacular.

[22:27] Um, so I want to talk a little bit about, uh, finishing up about a pre kind of wedding stuff, our pre company stuff with you guys. Uh, what kind of work were you doing before? Anything that Kinda got you used to what you're doing now? Or do you feel like you took anything from your past life into what you're working on?

[22:43] No, I was in the medical administrative field for like six or seven years and I loved it. Um, but my hobby was party planning. I love to throw parties. Like anytime I can put a theme to a party, I would do it. Like if grandma was like, oh, let's have the family over dinner, I'm like, let's do a western theme. Like everything just had to have a theme to it. So finding out about wedding coordination and design and everything, I was like, oh man, that's kind of like, I didn't know it at the time, but it's kind of a passion. So that's how it kind of worked out. But I think to the Admin side is huge because that's what a lot of people miss when starting a business is it's not just going out and doing whatever service or product you're offering, but there's all the backend work. So that's what it has really, really helped me kind of give us that balance and help us grow because I do have the administrative experience. Yeah. So what, and what did you go to school for? Um, I went to school for it and business management.

[23:40] That's awesome. Why that, what kind of, what was your original player just do in the medical administration staff?

[23:46] I was all over the place cause like I was in the medical field, but I wanted to be a teacher. That's like, that was my ultimate goal. I always said I'm going to be a teacher, I'm going to be a teacher.

[23:54] And then I found out with just

[23:59] admins what I loved about the Admin side, it was the customer service part of it, kind of, and feeling that feeling of being needed. I love that. Like, oh, we can't operate today without Roz. So like I love that feeling, but I'm like, well, I can just take that and do my own business because then the business won't be able to operate without me for a while until I get it all set up. Um, yeah, no, but going back to it now, I just think that, um,

[24:25] I, I'm happy with like my past jobs because I feel like I learned so much from every job, even though it was like a lot of jobs. Like, she's not over exaggerating,

[24:37] but each job I learned something, whether I was there for two years or two days, everything was a learning experience. So I'm grateful for those.

[24:46] It's interesting too because as she started the business, I had, my experience was the operations and that's what I did a lot when I worked for the company training. And as she's admitted, you know, running a business, it's really hard and you get all these ideals in place, but you have to get these processes in the admin and get it set up. And that's where as well we kind of came in, I started coming in helping with her employees. Let's look at your processes, what can we do? And it's amazing how we've fine tuned it and we're really getting it to where this is how we want it to be. Um, and then it was even better when I was able to come on full time and leave, you know, my day job and be a part of that. Um, we've done several different ideas. We did a handy assistant job. I'm, we've got to give Ryan her husband props because her husband has been there 100% whatever you want, honey. So we've, we took, we tried that.

[25:54] He's our man bitch on the Arbor building now he's into the decor thing. So every wedding we're always like, no, I want it this way. No, it looks better this way. He thinks he has like the magic touch now these are going to coordinating his own wedding, coordinating you.

[26:10] It's on weddings. But um, you know, bringing all of those skills in what we all have and the family, it's really us helped it to mold it and bring that together because the admin part is the difficult part of it. It's trying to make sure those processes and how you're wanting that vision to go was being executed in that way. Just like we do for a wedding. We have to have that down.

[26:36] No, it's, it's hard. I mean, and even like the info that I have to have going into a wedding is a small fraction

[26:44] compared to, you know, with the coordinator would, but you know, I do like, I feel like I've gotten, you know, the last couple of years, you know, the processes really down and like I'll go back and look at like old, you know, weddings and stuff like to post something again and take, I'm like I don't even have a vendor list for well like who is the, like I didn't have any him. I'm like dude I just have a start time. Like how do I compare it to like what I have now? It's like where was the sweating? Like what is it, you know, I just, I just have a lot more info on that. But I know you mean where it's like trying to fine tune those processes and that's like one of the things I tried to sell for people to like, you know, it's we're going to like, I'm sure you guys are like know we have these things in place now. We've done this a lot and we can kind of get you guys to, um, talk about, uh, we were doing like operations and stuff before. Uh, was that

[27:34] okay

[27:34] in the big company? Was that more or less stressful than

[27:38] now? Less stressful. Um, you know, it was less stressful because the, the things that I find here is before someone told me what to do and I executed it and now it's more of I've really, we really have to impress that client. There's a lot more, I'm going to be realistic. You working for a company, I don't do it right. It's really not my bad. I'm still gonna get paid whether or not I may get the hand, you know, you, you know that bad review, you know, you should've done this, you should've done that. I'm doing this though. I got a sale because we want that good review. You know, we need that review. That's what's going to help sell the business and keep it. So it's definitely more stressful because I've got to get the details right. Got To make sure that the communication is going well. So absolutely. This is hands down, definitely work with me. Come in, I got to work with this one.

[28:52] No, that kind of segways me into my next question where they always say, you know, like don't work with your spouse or don't work with your family and you've kind of failed on both those fronts, right? When you're talking about having your husband help out and then obviously working with the mom, talking about kind of bad dynamic. Um, do you guys ever get sick of each other and maybe wait until the end of the podcast if you guys are going to get in a fight? You answered

[29:17] no, we, when we first started we, we did good, but there was definitely that, um, it was that nervousness and intimidation. How do I tell you what I'm feeling without hurting your feelings? Or if we did speak up, you knew that you would take the person off because then you would hear was click, click, click, click, click. But we're not talking. Um, and over the years, you know, with any business and we had to, again, you know, you hear that model don't mix work and family work. And family, it can be done. But it's that open communication and trust me, we've had those conversations where, okay, we need to have a meeting, we need to talk about this. And, and really respect is what it came down to. And us being able to really sit down and say, well, this is how I felt when we, you know, didn't want to go.

[30:16] And that's, I think what has really helped us is there were times at the beginning we were missing the respect value, and then we realize that and it was able to come back and say, let's hold on. We need to reevaluate this. And I think that's what's made us so successful now and we're now, we can have, you know, we're doing the process this way. Yeah. And we can literally have the conversation where it doesn't become an argument that you just want to do it your way and you just want to, you know, so we've, we've definitely overcome that. And so Ken family work together. Yes. But it really boils down to that respect.

[31:00] Well in the beginning it was on this we, there's going to be honest right there. Cause it was a hot mess. It was just because we all didn't know what we were doing. We were all new to this. So frustration and temper was there. Um, you know, Ryan thought one thing she thought another, sometimes I was in the middle some, it kind of was like a monkey in the middle, but the positions would change. It can be any, any one of us in the middle.

[31:24] Ryan would go, I'd be, well wait a minute, looking at this, you know.

[31:28] Yeah. So I think our first year it was really hard. But I think what helped is after our first year experiencing the weddings that we had and all of us finally realizing, hey, we have a business out of this and we can actually make something out of this. So we're like, okay, let's sit down and figure out our roles, figure out the boundaries, figure out that respect. And that's what really kind of brought us all together because we finally realized this isn't just a hobby. This isn't just a side job. This can be what pays for our bills. So that kind of made us kind of buckle down and, and get things straightened out. But I'm, I can honestly say it is the best thing being able to work with my mom and my husband because they are my best friends and they tell me when I'm wrong and they praise me when I'm right. So it's nice to have that balance. I do appreciate that. When do the, you know, when did that kind of realization go from wig? Like, okay, this is something that's, you know, somewhat viable too. Like this is something that we could actually roll with. How did that, do you kinda remember that? Was there like a light bulb? That's probably the, the tooth out. The two ticks, 2016. I mean, the first year we did, yeah,

[32:34] weddings. We work for peanuts. We work harder. Literally when I said we work for peanuts and at that point I didn't have no income coming in or we were like, oh my God, how's this going to really even happen? So we worked for peanuts and we really realized, so, um, we needed the competent and just like you said, I mean I can go back and look at a bride's folder from two years ago and there was like, how come there's nothing in one timeline where I'm like, Whoa, where's all their information at? Who was there cater or you know, we're now we have a book and we know where we've grown. So definitely that first year, um, I think because we all, again, it was so new to a solid and then we were able to really sit down and say, like Rosalynn said, where are we going with this?

[33:27] Is this going to be true income and can we make, and we realized we could. And um, that was really the opening that first it was that first, the first year was rough sledding season wedding with Susan was rough. Yeah. Yeah. Cause I think, um, it is tough. We're crossing kind of that, you know, even doing it, you know, largely full time, but still kind of having an alternate and clubs and stuff and kind of trying to get finally over that. I mean, did you just figure like a, we're just going for this going for this is as hard as we can or was there any trepidation at all?

[34:01] I think we kind of just said we're going to go for it. I really think that's what it came down to. And it was just like, okay, let's invest the money. Let's invest the savings and to getting the website up. Um, we got our first little office space in downtown Tacoma cause we were just like, it'd be nice to have a place where we can meet the bride's instead of still going to coffee shops and everything. So we kinda just said, you know, cause my husband was working full time so thank God for him because he was able to support us financially, why we're trying to build this venture. But um, yeah, I think it just came down to us all being like, okay, are we all in 100% are we going to give this everything we have? Because if we fail, we want to make sure that we did everything in our power not to. So that way there are no regrets. We didn't want any what ifs, what ifs, what if we did this instead? What if we did this? Let's just put everything in and go for it.

[34:48] And it was great because I think from that too, that's how we changed our, our vision with the business. And we started the decor and including decor package and then we, you know, we were literally in a small space, literally no windows. So it was a shared office and we have the decor down in the garage and like a dungeon. And I'll never forget we took the first cup, we thought they probably thought we were going to kill him. It was bad, you know, and, and it was like an epiphany that, okay, this isn't how we can operate. Are we really going to take this business to the next level? Absolutely. And we made sacrifices and made it happen and we moved to another space. Um, that was great. We finally got a window. It was actually a front door that couples could come in.

[35:42] We weren't having to go to a coffee shop. Um, but we had all this decor in there. So when they would come it was quite crowded because normally when they come to pick out the decor, they want to bring moms and they'll bring out, so you've got like eight people in here and stuffs knocking down. And we were just like, oh, okay. So then even from that, looking at how we've grown, we said, okay, we've got to take it to the next level and get a bigger space. Of course that's more money going out. But we said, you know what, if we're going to go big, we're, we're going to go for it. We're going to go big. And we got another space. We now have a beautiful showroom. Um, the excitement to see couples, um, come in and wow, literally in a showroom, like you'd go to a rental place, they're looking at what they get to you. So it's just amazing. And that accomplishment, it was well worth it. Um, what was the

[36:44] biggest thing that it could be the, the store for it, but something that you underestimated in terms of the importance or challenges? Like for mine, I always say like, you know, taxes and getting like my account and order. That was like my big like Oh crap and then I kinda got that wasn't getting no sir in front of what was something that you thought would be easier that wasn't

[37:05] money? No that, no it is that the management of the money because you think you know we have family all the time. It's like well oh well how much do you usually charge? And it's like that doesn't really matter because when you take out your business expenses, you take out your payroll. It's like really not left with a lot. So just being able to manage the money to understand my numbers because that was something I had no idea about was numbers, profit and loss. That was all like completely new to me and I'm still learning that stuff. But you know, getting a CPA and having someone to kind of help me manage that. That was definitely probably, I think it was the hardest part for me is understanding that that's really hard

[37:46] and you've done great because now even going into this year, the mindset is way different where we're really looking at, okay, what were our expenses? What was our revenue, what was our profit? You know, what we're really seeing the light. And again, as I say, it takes, you know, you start a business, everyone thinks that coming into a business, oh you own a business and you know, honey, we again, we started off working for peanuts and we're still there. We're still growing. But I think that's been the biggest learning is really organizing and keeping the business aspect in order and understanding those a profit and loss.

[38:28] Yeah. I was talking to Ryan on the podcast last week. Who you guys, you know, no, yeah, that's what we had talked about too, was um,

[38:36] nobody gets this, the amount of money, the output that it is, like you said, like getting the store front. And I wanted to ask too about the decor. You guys have to kind of manage that as well. So how does that work?

[38:49] Oh, we're still trying to figure that out.

[38:54] Inventory is growing. I mean, yeah, we're the ones who manage it. So, um, luckily now we do have, um, our team is growing so that helps out a lot. I'm Aubrey who's kind of our admin assistant. She's also a coordinator. She's been kind of helping with keeping our inventory updated, getting it all on the website and stuff. Because what happens is everyone's like, when we tell Brides, oh, you get access to our decor inventory. Okay, well what is that? If it's just a few tea lights and you know, one type of linen, I don't know if that's really going to be worth it, but when they come in and they're able to see everything, it's like, oh my gosh, hobby lobby on steroids. That's what we try to make it. So, um, yeah, that, that's kind of been the other thing that we're working on right now is trying to keep our inventory management, um, organized and also how we're going to grow that side. Because eventually we would like to just do decor rentals. And you don't have to book a coordination package with us, you can just rent items from us. So that's kind of the,

[39:51] the next thing. Entrepreneur mind going right now. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it, it, it, it, when we, when we started this, when we would get weddings and of course the brides would bring their decor, um, so some wit big and they had a lot of decor and you were just like, oh my God, boxes, no labels. And our heads would just spin. And then of course they'd go buy this stuff and say, well, I don't have any use for it. Do you want it? So that was kinda how we started it and take you. Okay, yeah, we'll take them. And, and then we'd go to some that wouldn't have a lot. So we started packing little things, just stuff to help enhance their decor. If they didn't have enough, and then they'd be like, Oh, where'd that come home? That's beautiful. And then we realized, you know, wait a minute, we're kind of on a something year.

[40:47] Um, and from there we've just grown and grown. And then we said, let's just start throwing the decor. The biggest skull behind that is number one, it saves the couple money. The decor can get so expensive and you're using it one time. Now they've got to worry about how am I going to get rid of it and all I got to worry about selling it. The other big issue last year was the biggest issue was somebody got to pack all that stuff and take it home. We had parents in the parking lot fighting and arguing because they couldn't get it all in their car. So you know, one thing we sell is that's another stress thing that your family don't have to worry about and who's taking it home. If they do it right and book with us, they come with one little box. It's like the little specialty things that they want, but let us take all that stuff home and not worry about that. It's, it's huge and priceless to be honest with you.

[41:45] Well that's the, yeah, the huge thing I with, I do think decor. Rental is so important because you know, it's like every day I see like a thousand people on Facebook. Are you trying to sell? Oh, I have 500 of these little, I don't know. I wouldn't even know. I mean I'm a guy, I don't know what all this stuff is, what I see him. I'm like God, that's just the period of the acids when we get back or 20 bucks or whatever. Yeah. If you just were able to kind of rented and especially like you said, have somebody kind of be able to pack it in and out. Is that, uh, what would you say are common like pitfalls that you see and they can be your clients or other wedding clients that kind of go through, like an example would be like kind of buying in a lot of decor stuff and you don't need to buy me. Do you guys see some stuff that you're continually educating people about that you wish that people do?

[42:30] Oh, okay.

[42:31] You know, we only have so much time.

[42:35] Well, you know, here's the advice, especially for the DIY. Sometimes they think more is better. And you know, if you don't have a vision or a theme, that's where it becomes, they're buying so much. Where when, I mean we had a bride that three truckloads of stuff literally, and we, it took us two to three hours to clean that thing you up because they had so much stuff, you know, more is not always. Um, so keeping that, that you know, you can, you can have elegance and you can have sometimes getting them to stop and think not only that you go and spend all this money on the venue in some of these venues are beautiful, but then folks want to come in and sprinkled glitter all over it. And it's just like, where are you going with this? You just spent all this money on this beautiful venue, use the venue, left the venue, speak for itself and that subtleness so it's a hard one. If we could, you know, if anything we we, you know, and that's what we try to sell, what the decor and letting them know that we can still give you what you're wanting, but it doesn't always have to be more, more, more, you know.

[44:00] And sometimes I think too with, especially now with like Pinterest because a lot of weddings and brides want to go that DIY style, which hey, I'm all about it. I love DIY. I love budget saving, all of that. But sometimes it's actually

[44:14] even

[44:15] more affordable. Yeah. Yeah. It more expensive to do the DIY side rather than if he would have just hired a florists and had them do a simple center her weights. So I'm just like, ah. Cause then you have to think about, okay, who's going to put those centerpieces together? Who's going to transport them? Whereas if you just want to hire that floors, they could

[44:32] have done on that for you. So it could have saved lots of time and money.

[44:35] No, my, uh, I think I've said this before, I'm here, but my buddy Dominic, I shot his way the couple of years ago and same thing and they were like mean. He just was really conscious about saving and your God bless him and I didn't even think people are going to hire us to do the video, but uh, like I saw him that morning and he's getting ready. I was like, oh hey man, how's it going? He's like, oh, I'm really tired because we were up till like three in the morning, you know, putting together the massages and stuff because they wanted to do, you know, and so whether it's going to cost you, it's either going to cost you time or money and so you just need to kind of figure out what's more important. Yeah. And it could, like you said across and you both, if you have the screw into the APP and half,

[45:14] I spend all this time, it's stressful. It's stressful. It's already stressed enough because you want the state to go. Perfect. Um, so, you know, we can tell anyone, I think back and we always try to ask couples what's important to you? And that's the big key is the core of the big thing. Okay, then, then maybe that's where all your focus is, but you can't, you really have to find that balance of what do I really want from this and what's important to me. And that's going to be the key to the success because it's all stressful. But when you're trying to make every aspect of it and it's all important, it's just, there's just no way you're trying to please a hundred to 150 people. There's just no way you have to cook, you know? And that's that we're going to bring you back down to reality. You know, we're going to bring you back down to reality. That's the big key.

[46:11] Yeah. When you were talking about the, uh, the, the lessons more, I had shot a wedding and I was thinking, I was like, I don't know who that, because I didn't have any of the info. Like we were talking to them as far as if it was the, but they had, it was like vintage on beyond to just like dropped off like her entire, but it wasn't that, but it was like they just dropped off their entire, you know, truckloads of all this stuff and like they had, um, Mohs and like books and you know, couches and like, and if I had had you at two hours, I could have shot all the different decor things, let alone people be there seeing it right where you're at. If I'm sitting at the table, I'm only seeing the two things that are in front of me, you know? And so I just was like, I just stopped me and it took them all day. You know, they were there all day, the was all this stuff in and then it's like three, three and a half hours and you're done. You know, maybe you could expect and let be, like you said, if that's, if that's your ideal,

[47:06] that's your idea. Go for it. But really no, that, I think that's the key is getting couples to think about what is it that I really want, what's important to me and where they can think about that. Because then maybe I take from this, if this isn't that much, now we put that money more towards this and that's what the focus or no, I really want videographer or I really want, okay, well if that's not we can cut some of that and keep it more simple and now again, and now you have more money to invest over there.

[47:40] So talking about, um, if couples year, why they use you guys kind of weird. When do they find you, when do you reach out kind of windows, that process? We're kind of, if you are working, like if we, if I was getting married that, you know, how would, how would I work with you guys and how would that move?

[47:55] It's actually changed within the last year, a year and a half because when we first started, we found that couples are booking with us, um, anywhere from like six to nine months before their wedding. But for all of our brides from this here, they booked with us like a year and a year and a half in advance. So, um, that's the other thing we say we do specialize in the day of month of coordination, but we're available to our couples as soon as they book with us. So if they have questions, if they need vendor recommendations, um, if they just need a vent because I need someone to talk to you, like we're totally there for them. So, um, it does help because they all, they always have that. Um, they can confide in us like, Hey, you know, I read about this when I'm not really sure if I should be booking my DJ at this time or is this something that should be included in the contract? So it's kind of Nice for when they do book pretty early with us. But usually it's, it's about a year out, I would say no man wants to hear.

[48:50] Um, we do check ins with them, you know, once a month, every two months we tried to just, hey, how things go on. Some tell us. I haven't even thought about it. Okay. Not a problem. Some say up, I've got this keeping up with where they're at and then you know again, then we'll do a walkthrough with them. We want to schedule a being you walked through. If they, if they book our main bitch package that includes the decor inventory. We normally bring them in about three to four months before the wedding because we want to make sure what they're using for decor and if we have it, if it's something we need to, you know, think about getting or what, where we're going with it. Then we do that. Then you walked through there, we're going to reach out to those vendors, create that timeline, pull everything together. At that point they should just be focusing on the little things about them and enjoying. Let us think about those little details that you know we need to worry about.

[49:49] Yeah. I think it's so helpful to have somebody to, you know, that knows what they're doing, to be able to ask questions because it is like this whole, you know, I think people think that they need to know a lot more about whether you played it, you know, people don't write. It's a whole new thing and, and it, you know, it's tough. He goes like, you know, people say like, you know, which I booked my DJ or how much is that cost and we need, I see all the time people ask you about like, why, you know, I have this much to spend for this or that. And like that might be a reasonable or my nod and might be able to even know, you know? And so it is a, I think like you guys said, kind of doing those check ins and having um, you know, a sounding board. Yeah. I'm going to probably take you up and your number and I can call you and call you and vent from time to time, that shoulder to cry on. Absolutely. But no, I think that's important. Kind of finally here, you guys talk about what you're kind of launching, the decor and stuff. What's the next kind of goals and what are we looking to accomplish in the next couple of years? Where do you guys kind of see it

[50:45] growing? More coordinators on our team. That's, that's another thing. Um, it was, you know, me and my mom and my husband Ryan in the beginning. Um, so now we do have three of the coordinators we have on board, so we're getting them situated this year. Um, and then

[51:02] our longterm goal is, that was our short term, which we're pretty much there, but our longterm goal is we want to have our own venue. We, you know, doing this business, we've also watched, um, you know, poor couples, they get a venue, oh, can I use this? Can I use that up? That'd be an extra charge. Gotta be this. And we would really like to have that all inclusive. You know what you're going to pay. Maybe you're going to pay 12, 13,000, but you're going to get your bartender, you're going to get your, you know, minister, you're going to get your, we, that's our ultimate goal is to really have, but not just that low budget, but it can either be low or it could be at the high level, high end, you know, depending on what your needs. And that is our true ultimate long term goal. We want our own venue.

[51:52] That's an exciting area. So where are we starting the footsteps on the other? How is that looking?

[52:01] Uh, I'd say 2020 is the goal. We're going to start actually looking into that this year. It's, you know, just making sure we have our whole team on board feeling confident. Um, you know, we're, we're still learning, like we're still learning every day. Every wedding is a learning experience. Seriously. Um, education has been something that's always been important to me and that's what I try to tell like my whole team. Like, don't ever feel like you're at a spot where you think you know it all because there's always more that you can learn always. So, um, I think that we're just gonna really focus, especially this year, we're kind of trying rebranding a little bit. Um, we want to be more confident in our brand. It's kind of been back and forth since we've been trying to build things and figure out what we're trying to do. But I'm branding getting our team on board and then 2020 will start looking into the venue possibilities. So, yeah. But it's exciting.

[52:56] Did you guys, uh, everything you a backward, you were doing the, you know, your project management, kind of the coordination and the, and medical assistant, all that, but you'd ever be kind of like so deep into why do you feel now?

[53:08] No, never, never crossed my mind. I probably still would have been working for the company, travel in the world, doing the thing, wouldn't have never thought that at all. And I love it. I, again, the best, the hardest decision I had ever made in my life. Um, you know, as a mother and, uh, and, and I'm an entrepreneur was the hardest decision, but best decision. And it was one of those things. Sometimes you just gotta go for it, follow your dreams and go for it.

[53:39] Yeah. And I just have to say like, you know, even with the past jobs that I've had, the feeling that I hated was knowing that for the rest of my life, Monday through Friday I have to get up at 8:00 AM I'm going to end at 5:00 PM and now with the weddings, you would think after so many people always ask me all the time, don't you get sick of the weddings? No. Every single wedding is different. It's different. Yeah. It might be similar in some ways, but I never wake up feeling like, man, I have to go to this wedding. It's always excitement and that's what I love about it. On top of that, the wedding community itself was just the vendors. Yeah, I have to say it. We've had some amazing vendors help us out along the way and just those connections, you build the support and the wedding vendor community is awesome. Even you. Like, I appreciate you so much, so thank you.

[54:22] Yeah, so that, that, that's been a huge, we've just, we've added on a whole new wonderful family. We work with party on the rocks. Jan and Claire loved them. They're another mom and mother duo. I think about rich and George at Rein Fire Ranch. We've become family and you know, joining in and, and having that Rion with My Perfect Bartender, he was great. And how we connected with him at a wedding and now look at us. We're really close. I'm just adding that addition on. Family add on just has been great and we've looked totally forward and we're looking forward to meeting so many more. Absolutely.

[55:02] Perfect. This has been such a great talk. I want to thank you guys so much for coming in. Uh, if people want to learn more about you guys, your company, what you guys do, where would you have them check out?

[55:12] They can check out

[55:21] Well this has been so enjoyable. Thank you guys so much for coming in. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Rion McConnehey, My Perfect Bartender

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And I am joined today by a new friend of mine who came bearing gifts and a good drink, which we can talk about. Uh, Rion McConnehey of My Perfect Bartender. And Rion, thank you so much for coming in. Why don't you introduce your, tell, uh, introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do. Yeah. Read. Absolutely. No, thank you very much for having me. The fact, uh, as I mentioned earlier that I'm even on your radar was a big one for me. So I'm, I'm very happy to be here. Uh, my name is Rion. I'm a private bartender that does bar services for private events. I'm specialize in weddings. I love the wedding community, but I've done, um, you know, remembrances, I've done fundraisers.

[00:51] I did the Puyallup Fireman's Ball. That was the most attractive event I've ever worked by far. That was pretty cool. Um, yeah. And just really here to kind of take care of all your bar needs for your big day. And I've been a bartender long, long time, loved the bar industry. I was raised in restaurants, love everything about it and uh, gosh, decided about a year and a half ago to take a crack at this private thing and it's been going really, really well. I get really good reviews. People seem genuinely happy. I'm happy with the services that I offer and at the price I offer. Keep all the insurance and all the licensing and check and everything. Make sure that you're safe and protected because, uh, you know, alcohol does have a big liability. So I do like to make sure that everybody's safe but have a good time and we found a good balance.

[01:33] We really do it. My Perfect Bartender, it's been, um, it's been a great year and a half. I can not complain. Well, I thank you so much for coming in and like I said, you brought a, you brought gifts and I did. I did. Well, it didn't feel, it didn't feel right. You know, certain people have their specialties and minds. Alcohol. I, I asked you reboot, your drink was and you said luck is soda. So I went and picked up some, uh, some vodka soda. I'm not drinking vodka soda. I Hate Soda, but I'm drinking vodka. Red Bull to give me a little pick me up. But yeah, no, it's absolutely my pleasure. I appreciate you letting me be here. Oh, awesome. I'm so glad in, I do think it's important to have a, you know, a bartender sign here, you know, I think alcoholic, he said that's such an important part of, you know, weddings and events and, and all that kind of stuff.

[02:09] Uh, so how did you kind of get into, you said you, you know, we're doing bartending for a long time before you went private, so kind of how did you, you were kind of saying off Mike, how you grew up in restaurants and everything. Yeah. Yeah. So I grew up in there and I've done other types of work. A lot of people stay in restaurants and the kind of field trap because the money is good. I've tried other things. And I just always find my way back to the bar. That's just what I love. It's more of a long, it's what I do. So it was a bartender for a long time. Um, and then, uh, Geez, about two years ago I'd done a couple private events, but I did a wedding for a close friend of mine up Allie and RJ. And I was like, wow, I really liked, doesn't really want to take a crack at this.

[02:46] I had some money saved up and did some research and then I was actually super duper blessed. Um, something I kind of mentioned. Yeah, off, off a microphone was I, when we did that wedding, I worked closely with um, a mother daughter do well with my perfect wedding assistant. And you notice the names are similar. I'll get into all that. And so when I, when I decided to start the business, I knew that, um, friends aren't cheap. So, so I reached out to people, I was like, Hey, can I take you out to drinks? Can I take you at dinner? I just, I just wanted to learn a lot more about the industry. And Roslyn and Ernestine, I'm over at my perfect wedding assistant were so fantastic and they, they welcomed me in and it was the cheapest promo dinner. I taking people out to dinner and drinks.

[03:27] They got two appetizers and a Mike's hard lemonade and that's how our business transaction started. It was fantastic. Um, and so they kind of, they, they recognize that I was a good bartender and I recognize kind of their stability in the industry. So they taught me some stuff and they, they kind of helped me build a website. She helped me get in with Howard over at the Seattle, a wedding convention, which I just had my own booth at this show. I was really proud of that. Um, and so yeah, they kind of showed me the ins and outs and we work really closely together. And then the rest is kind of in history. Yeah, they helped me book, I'll, they've helped me book a lot of work. And then once I kinda got my feet on the ground, I started booking a lot of my own work and then a lot of referrals and a lot of shaking hands.

[04:04] And knocking on doors. And Yeah, the rest is history. It's, it's been fun. It's been a fun experience. I liked this, but I like making people happy. I genuinely, that's one thing I really want anybody listening right now to know is that I love you and I want you, we will there. Nothing's off the table. We'll get whatever you need. Um, we will talk about budgets, we'll talk about, I can help you prep a shopping list. We'll talk about equipment. I do venue consultations. That's one thing a lot of people don't think is when you find your venue. I will call your venue and I'll say, Hey, my name's Rion and the licensed bartender that looks really good for you guys. That helps them get their deposit back a lot of times. And I say, Hey, do you have a bar or do I need to bring my bars?

[04:42] Do you have an ice maker? Do you have easy access to refrigeration, running water? Just all these kind of little things that a lot of people don't think about. And I really just try and get to know all of that. Um, and that I can convey that message to you and we figure it out. You know, everything can be figured out, everything can be figured out. Yeah. Cause I do think like nowadays and you see a lot online and people wanting to like find a place and bring their own alcohol or hey can somebody have somebody set up stuff or know somebody that could pour drinks or whatever. And there's so much more that goes into it. A, I mean just logistically and then be also like you're saying liability with heaven, the licenses and things like that. Right. I mean talk about some things that people don't think about necessarily.

[05:20] Well absolutely. So what's, what's you can to serve at a wedding. Most venues, all, they really require it. Different venues have different things, but it's a $10 banquet permit. You get that online and what that does is basically allows you to serve alcohol to your guests. And what a lot of people think is like to stay in budget on budget friendly. I'm a budget guy myself, you know, I don't knock that, but they're like, oh, we're going to have uncle Jim bar 10 because it won't cost any money and don't have uncle Jim Barr tent. Um, uncle Jim might be great. He might have the best intentions, but uncle Jim hasn't been doing this like I've been doing this. Um, you don't have that liability with uncle Jim's obviously a very broad term. You understand what I'm saying? But yeah, I'm uncle Jim doesn't have that liability.

[06:01] He doesn't have that insurance. He doesn't have that experience and he doesn't know how to gauge the venues or help you make kind of a shopping list or really even the most loving, confident uncle Jim can't give you the confidence of what I've kind of done over time. Um, and people, yeah, I want to save money. And so like my, my rates are really rolled the program out to raise my prices like 50 bucks. But the Promo I did for the Seattle wedding expo was $300. I'm really proud of that price. 300 gets me for the day. My insurance, full consultations. I'll help people to shopping list. I'll do venue consultations and then you get access to all my equipment. I have collapsible bars, tables, linens, beverage dispensers, Kagy equipment, all that kind of stuff. And so I just kind of pay that money and just, it alleviates so much stress just knowing that that we will bring this bar.

[06:48] The bar will be good. It will be taken care of. I'll be there till the bitter end. We'll stay. We'll clean. Yeah. Uh, did you, did you like the lighting show? I loved the wedding show. I love the wedding show just because I, I like talking, I like meeting people. I like shaking hands. I love meeting other vendors. I love going to venues when venues have boost and I don't try and promote myself. I just ask one question, one real honest question. I'm like, are your bartenders taking care of you? Are they taking care of the venue? Are they promoting safety while having a good time? And if the venues and a lot, I'm like, they're like, you know what, our bar tenders are great. And I'm like, that's fantastic. I hope that continues to go well. And then some of them use kind of have to take that time and they're like, you know, maybe not.

[07:28] Um, because you do hear a lot of these horror stories about bartenders. I'm especially when you hire your friends is they drink, they get drunk. Um, they want a party. Um, and it just, you'd hear these horror stories, people falling asleep in cars, this, that, the other thing. And uh, sorry I got a little top topic from the thing, but uh, yeah, love the Seattle wedding show. Love this God winning show because, well we can talk about two things. One, I do have, you know, stories as well, even seen with bartenders. I love him. Cause what's I think interesting about you is you're somebody that has a lot of knowledge in bartending, right? You know, years and years and now you're kind of making this transition now into weddings more so in private events and stuff. So that's what I was just kinda curious. Yeah.

[08:10] Like what you thought is like an outside of, you're now coming into the, whether you show, you know, we've done the wedding show for years. Love it. I love meeting people, but you thought that that was good and you felt like it was a good place to kind of display and talk to people. It was, it was a good place to display and talk to people and network a little bit and then just meet, um, a lot of potential clients. I booked a lot of work off of the, off of that event and there were other bartending services available. One, I'm, I love Claire and Jan, uh, over at party on the rocks. But the, the other services that were there were a little more big scale and there are a little more expensive, but that's fine because they, they bring, um, I shouldn't say they bring more to the table, but I kind of like where I'm at.

[08:49] Whereas I am a one man operation. I have four people, I've had over 200 people try and work for me at my team consists of four people. I trust them, I loved them. They know who they are. I don't, yeah, I don't work with Randoms, not to say anybody else does, but, uh, it's just kind of Nice being the little guy, but I'm like, I'm a big, I'm a, uh, Dan, what's the, what's the phrase, like small fish, big pond or a big fish, small pond or whatever. Yeah. For the kind of that niche that I'm in, um, I'm happy and I can deliver it and I can do good. And I'll, I'll give you kind of an example. When I was starting this business, I was reaching out to everybody and I was just calling and I'm asking questions. And so I got ahold of some of these bigger companies and I kind of priced them and stuff and I'm like, okay, I'm not quite there yet.

[09:27] But then when I did, as I went on sites like craigslist and I found these kind of little dog bartenders that were kind of at my stage and I contacted all of them and I hate knocking other vendors, but I did not like those craigslist bartenders. And let me tell you why. A huge overwhelming consensus from these like eight individuals that I hit up was make them do it, make them do it, make them do it. You just have to show up and bartend. Don't worry about this. And that's not my style. I want people to feel confident that I am going to bring this in and I'm going to take care of everything. And that's not what they were about to like don't buy any equipment, don't buy those beverage dispensers. Make them do it, make them do it, make them do it. And that's just not, I'm just, that's not my style.

[10:05] I don't like it. Don't, yeah, don't like at all. Yeah. I want to be there. I want you to know that things will get taken care of. It'll be all good. I like that as someone, you know, kind of before you got it in the weddings here, you know, had you gone to a lot of weddings was just like kind of a foreign concept. Like I always say, cause like when we, when I shot my first wedding I'm like, I was, I had no idea anything. So that's why I'm so, I'm like the worst example of it. So that was the most scared. No, no, no. That's actually a really fantastic question. I definitely have. I turned 30 so a lot of my friends have gotten married in the last couple of years and I'm always fascinated at how bars work, not only at weddings but anywhere I go every time I travel, like when I go to Mexico, the way that their bars operate down there are way different than the way bars operate up here.

[10:44] And so, um, I was like intrigued, but I never really had a serious thought until that event that I did for my friends and I helped them pick up the cakes and I helped them do just, I really helped. And I was like, Oh man, I think I can. That's when I actually was inspired and I was like, Oh man, I think I can take a crack at this. I think I can take a crack at this. But no, no. Actually I've been at weddings. I might talk to the bartender, but it was an open bar. I probably was a little bit off off kilter myself, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Um, who as someone that's gone to Mexico a lot, what do you, what do you think the differences are between, well, they have a lot of the, I'm just curious. I know there's a couple and it's not, I mean they overserve a little bit that that can probably be said about any kind of vacation town or anything, but a lot of them is, um, they have open air bars so they have to at the end of night, take everything down here in Washington.

[11:35] We just lock our doors because we don't have open air anything. Cause why would we, but it's, I have, I would watch them just have to collapse all the bars down and take all the liquor and put it in a cage. And that was interesting. Service was also different because as I understand it, I don't know all the logistics but um, for certain like tip jobs down there like in the states, in certain states, um, if you make tips you might make less than minimum wage as I understand it in Mexico or parts of Mexico, if you make tips, like they'll pay you a flat rate but then they can keep you all day so they don't pay hourly. They're just like here's your $40 for the day or whatever and they keep you all day. So they have just a ton of like servers on staff, but they almost were just, they're not, I'm, I'm a very kind of in your face what you need, what's going on, talk to me, how can I help you?

[12:18] And that's not the surface dial down there. It's very like you have to ask for the check, they just kind of stay away. It's just kind of interesting. And the one, this is my favorite one I encountered this many, many times in Mexico was they have happy hour, same as here, but they have two for one drink specials, which is a pretty common thing, but you don't get like say you are now to go and be like, oh, can we have to my ties for the happy hour special. They would give you to my ties and they would give me to my ties and it wasn't, you don't split, you know, like I don't know. I was, and I was like, I'm a drinker so I can't complain. I'll drink to my dies. But uh, I always thought that was, that was so funny. That happened to me many, many times.

[12:52] So it was funny a go. Yeah. I was just kind of curious about that. Um, so kind of transitioning into wetlands, like was it having done events before was at like intimidating to kind of like self, you know, you're building this now, you know, your face, you know, along with them. But like was that it was at a new thing for you? It definitely was a new thing. The intimidating thing wasn't actually the bartending itself. I am a good high volume bartender. Like I'm a nice guy, but I can move a line through, I can get things done. What was definitely intimidating was more of the administrative side about it, um, because I only got on Facebook a couple of years ago because I became a father. Um, so that kind of social networking and making sure that I paid the insurance on time and making sure that I'm replying back to emails in a prompt manner.

[13:36] When as a bartender I had a schedule, I didn't have to respond to emails, nobody emailed me. They just came into my bar versus now and con, I just have to make sure I'm on top of the emails and organization has definitely been the most intimidating thing for me. And I'm actually proud of myself. I've taken leaps and bounds of staying on top of that. My son's mom, sometimes I'll say things like, just give me a minute. I've got to answer a couple emails. And she's like, I never thought you would ever be the human being to say that, you know? Um, so yeah, the administrative side was a little intimidating. Thank God. Like I said, I have Roslyn, Roslyn um, has helped me a lot and she helped me line up my insurance and things like that, so, so God bless that woman. Um, but not the bartender.

[14:12] They actually did get it. That's what I do because it is tough. You know, we've talked on this podcast before about, you know, some of them might be like a good photographer, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be a good, you know, web design. There are like, I can, you know, shoot video, but that doesn't mean that I'm necessarily good at taxes or whatever. So there was like, like you said, there's so much more that you now need to kind of focus on as well. Right? Yeah, no, that is definitely true in, there are definitely a lot of different types of bartenders learning there. There's, there's high volume, there's, there's low volume with more attention to detail and I love that I can do all those things. I'll doing consultations. I handled a lot of high volume things, but then I'll talk to me like, okay, if you want me to just be me for this crew, you need to understand, you need to, um, let me prep you a high volume menu.

[14:54] And what that means is like the streets can be overly intricate or that line's going to go very, very slow and people are going to get a little bit upset. But if you do want some of these intricate muddled and type type drinks, you know, Moscow mules are really popular right now or any sort of Mohito or any tropical thing like that, I can bring on an additional person or you can just maybe accept that the line's going to take a little longer or we can kind of figure this out. People just need to work with me. I have, I'm, I'm really excited for this one. In a few months, I remember the exact date, but in a few months I'm doing like a three day, a wedding type thing. I'm up north and so we're kind of preppy. Menus are going to do it. Um, uh, most of our one day and then French 75 is on another day.

[15:31] And so, but one thing I kind of had to tell her, she wanted those French 75 which are a little more of an intricate drinks. She wanted that to be the initial drink when everybody got there and is going to be a huge crowd. And I was like, let's maybe do that another day because when 200 plus people are going to bum rush, I you don't want me to make you French 75. Yeah. So, so figuring out, cause like I said, we can make anything happen but you just kinda need to listen to me and my recommendations and we'll talk to this. We'll talk that we'll make something happen, you know, and yeah, cause it, there's nothing more frustrating for me to mean. We're not a big like classy go out barf console. But you know, when you go and you sit for like 15 minutes, wait and I'm, you know, to peel a BLM and then, you know, get the essence and whip it around the glass so you get a Aladdin on fire.

[16:15] And I this might, you know, but it is something to keep in mind like you said, and especially like with events and being able to do like that high volume stuff. Right? It is. Um, so, so you feel like you do a good job, like kind of consulting, you know, your potential clients are kind of letting them know and helping them kind of figure out what they want to serve and how they want to do that. I do. So I do the consultations and we tell you read, if I had a super power to make you like the perfect shopping list, I would be a millionaire because there is no, everything is different. Every family's different. And so, so I do try and help as best I can and we talk, um, you know, like drink calculators and, and how much of this and how much of that and do we want this cocktail one.

[16:52] And another one is, we talked about Moscow mules, this Moscow, just a really popular with the younger crowd now, but they'd be like, that's the only drink one off. And I'm like, well, can we maybe get some cranberry juice or something? Because you know, Frieda does not want a Moscow mule. She would like a vodka Cran and most people are pretty open and receptive to that once, once they kind of hear it out loud. That happens a lot in my industry is like I just have to say something out loud and then people are like, oh, that makes sense. Um, in nine times out of 10, people are super receptive to it. Every now and then you get that little fight back and that's fine. It's their big day, so, so we'll make it work. Um, that's as a y. Yeah. What's the deal? It like the Moscow mule.

[17:26] Now why is that the big thing? Um, because it comes in a fancy cup. I'm not a big fan of the ginger beer. It is definitely like a drink. Like if you'd like Moscow mules, drink Moscow mules, but it's definitely a Moscow mules. And IPA is man Seattle 2019. That's what's going on. The beer is another fantastic one where, um, you know, we'll, we'll talk about things like, do we want to be bottled beer versus kegs? Do we want to do a mixture of both? Where can the money be saved? But a lot of times they'll be like, hey, we got three kegs of ips and I'm like, can we get, uh, uh, a rack of Coors light for Uncle Jimmy? Uncle Jim doesn't want that heavy IPA. Um, and so that's one. And sometimes I got to kind of be like, just get a case. Of course, it's always gone. The case of course, like always goes. So that, that, that happens quite frequently, but it's, it's, it's whatever the, whatever the client wants to just, so when we say, listen to me a little bit, you know, just listen to me a little bit. I've done this a couple times

[18:18] and I remember when we were getting the booze, the alcohol for our wedding, we got married that salty is and we got, so you know, we told them, you know they helped kind of supply that 70 it was the same thing where they were like, they had all these really heavy beers and we're like we need like a corona or something that people, cause I don't, I'm not going to drink that all night. And then it's my wedding. You know like you definitely have to a it staff to kind of incorporate that across the board. Especially with like beer and wine too and kind of figuring out, right? Like I think people always kind of struggle with like figuring out how much of each together, whatever they absolutely do. Yeah, they absolutely do. And that's kind of a heartbreaking one for me because I try and read them and try and figure it out. But it just sometimes doesn't work and, and sometimes the guest count doesn't come out the way they say. And sometimes people don't drive. Can I tell you something?

[19:03] And I love all my clients. This happens absolutely eight out of 10 times minimum, probably closer to nine out of 10 times is a, so I kind of do these consultations and there are always, I'm like, okay, so what you going to on, what's this from like going on 110 but who you can drink every seat in that tone in that thing. Like our friends are alcoholics. I'm like, okay, let's tone it down. I'm like, let's actually figure this out. And they always want to like, I'm not saying they're trying to impress me, but they're always trying to like make it seem boisterous and big. And then there's just all this alcohol left over and it kind of breaks my heart and it's like we just took a step back and maybe kind of looked at the dynamics of WHO's coming in from out of town.

[19:39] Are People staying nearby? Um, and that's something I always kind of try and figure out. I, I did one, I've had two events where the guy's like, no, we drink a lot. And they actually drank a lot. I was in, I told them, I told them, I was like, no, you guys did work. But they had a lot of things where they were like lining up hotels and shuttle services. So always kind of trying to assess that, um, versus our people driving. And I look at the parking lot, the parking lot, so I'm like, everybody here drove so they might not drink as much. You just try and figure those things out. But every sing, oh, we drink. And I'm like, oh yeah, sweetheart, you drank. All right, let's, let's figure it out. You know. [inaudible] I didn't mean to sound rude.

[20:10] No, that's awesome. I love that. No, we had a, my wife seems jury. Then when we, uh, my mom and I went in and did the shopping and when we went, we just got back from Maui and it was the same thing. Like we came out with this car that alcohol into and he's like, what's going on? So we can draw.

[20:25] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you know, if you know yourself, yeah. Just kind of take that step back in and figure it out and don't get heartbroken if there is extra alcohol. Uh, working with budgets. Oh, so this one happens a lot is I'll talk to the bride and groom and they're fantastic. We click, we do good. They're like, okay, my uncle or my dad is going to be buying the alcohol is a president. And I'm like, all right, how's this gonna go? And so then I'll start doing consultations with the uncle or the father or grandpa or whoever. And then they're the ones kind of given me some static and do you really think this is going to be this? I'm like, yes sir. I honestly really do think this is going to be this. And then sometimes there's leftover and people kind of get frustrated.

[20:59] It's like, well, it's alcohol, you know, somebody and somebody will want it. Um, and I also talked to them about places like Costco has really good return policies. Total wine has really good return policies. So I do try and keep all that in all that in mind. It's just a, it's not a perfect process. Like I said, man, if I could figure it out, I would never have to bartend again. I just be doing consultations and, yeah, that's awesome. Like I want to hear a little bit more about kind of getting into bartending. Did you grow up in the area? Did you start working on here? Are you from where? So a federal way. I now live in northeast Tacoma, bottom of federal way. Boy and definitely worked in a few places in there and Auburn and around. Um, what's, what's interesting, I'm 30 years old now and I started in the industry at 17.

[21:40] When I started in the industrials. I'm actually not, I was, I was a host and that was, oh, I was so obnoxious. I was, I try and be high energy now, but now I kind of tone it down. That was when, you know, we'll come to all of good and I guess doing be, don't you tone it down a little bit there young man, you're freaking me out. You're freaking me out. Don't do that. Um, but, uh, no, when I started in the industry was at the absolute, um, like the worst part of like the economy crash. And so a lot of people didn't have jobs. So when I was competing with was I was working with people with master's degrees. I was working with teachers, I was working with engineers who couldn't find work, so they're coming to the restaurant. So I had to fight tooth and nail to move up because they're so great at their jobs.

[22:23] And, um, and I'm actually really happy about that because I, nowadays I see people get promoted, a bartender quick and like I took me years, so I had, I, I've, I've served cocktail bust, I've worked in kitchens, I worked front of House, back of house and everywhere in between. So I had to fight tooth and nail to become a bartender. And I think it made me a stronger bartender. Um, so I see a lot of young girls and no offense to them, but they get moved to bartender and then somebody, can you make me this? What's that? I'm like, it's a screwdriver. That's a vodka Oj sweetheart, you just need to, you should know that, you know, um, um, that one, that one definitely happens, but, uh, yeah, no, I love restaurants. I love bars. I love the volume. I love the speed. Um, I like the comradery.

[23:04] I liked my regulars. I love my regulars and even some of the regulars I hate. I still love you. I'm still happy you come in, even though I hate you so much, you know. No, every bartender has regular psychic that if they tell you otherwise mind. Um, and then, uh, so do you still bartend regularly now? I do. So, so in the slow season, I'm actually really, really blessed. So the rock in federal way, it's the pizza place kind of off Costco. I was their lead bartender for a number of years and then I decided to take a crack at this. And so what I've seen, and I'm sure you've seen it too, actually, I'm sure the wedding, um, the whole wedding crew has seen this where they want to start a small business and they kind of give the finger to their old job. They're like, I'm never coming back.

[23:43] I'm going to make it. I'm to, I'm a rock star and I absolutely, absolutely refuse to ever do anything like that. You'll never catch me burning a bridge. So, so what I did to them as I was like, hey guys, I'm going to step down as your lead bartender. You need to find somebody to kind of replace me. But I'd still like to be on the schedule. I'd still like to be able to pick up shifts because I am a father. I do have house payments and all that stuff. So, so they were really receptive to the kind of thought of on me. Just Kinda, I helped them when I can. They help me and when we can and it works well. So I'm really blessed to have that. What's funny though is that there, there were a couple of people that stepped up and took my spot.

[24:18] So now I'm serving at like in the dining room, which I hadn't done in years. I haven't served kids in a long time. And now to help them, I'll pick up shifts in the dining room. I'm the only dude out there and people are like, what are you doing out here? Bucks? And I'm like, I'm just helping out, you know, but it's good. Hi. I'm happy to help them. They help me and we'll keep spending. So, so yeah, we got it. I got a good little working relationship with them. They've been really supportive. That's awesome. Yeah, I definitely was the one that the uh, the, the alternate to not be, uh, yeah. Tell him, tell me, tell me. Oh No, I just, I, you know, when you're done, you're done. Is it certain places? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. No, no, no. There's nothing wrong with being done in a place and moving on.

[24:54] It's, it's when you like think that you're better than a place and then you have to, and I've seen so many people go crawling back to restaurants. You, you have no idea. I have a lot of friends that are Djs and some are very successful and then some are not so successful and then they have to go back to work, kind of tail in between their legs and you won't, you won't catch me doing that. Do you think that continuing to kind of work in the industry and then also do events and stuff like Kinda keeps you sharp and Hungary and kind of more tuned in where you're kind of doing, you know, this dual purpose and you, so you're still coming to, you're not like in this wedding, hi I you're kind of working most science, right? I mean it definitely kind of keeps me grounded in a sense.

[25:34] It's nice to have that additional income. What I, that's an interesting question. I know when especially being new in the industry, I have my prices set so low that I do need to work. So it is, it is nice, but the bills get paid. What I, the ones that I'm always so jealous of is, so being a bartender, I made all my money, most of my money on the weekends and now most of the time weddings on the weekends. So I'll pick up shifts at the restaurant during the weekdays, but they're just not as profitable as some of us weekend ones. The people that I see just doing phenomenal are the ones that work nine to five. So that work the weekdays and then do weddings on the weekends. That's, so I'm just, yeah, trying to find, trying to find a balance. He was trying to find that balance definitely keeps me grounded.

[26:16] Um, and when I see people that have found that balance, I'm like, I'm so jealous. You know? Uh, yeah, just young, got to make sure the bills are paid and everything like that and it, and it gets them going all get there. Right now. It'd be in the slow season. I cannot wait for a couple months from now cause I think I have like 60 events booked in like a four month period or something like that. So when that four months comes, oh, it's going to be good. But right now, you know, we just tighten your belt. Yeah. Uh, what kind of, in some of the

[26:43] biggest surprises you've learned, can they, you know, going out, you know, started in your own and, and things that may be either you thought it would be easier or you thought were harder that weren't, or I kind of vice versa.

[26:53] Eh,

[26:57] I don't really know. I think a lot of it was like money that I'm spending on the backend. So, so when working in a restaurants, you make minimum wage plus tips. So I would rely on those tips and just kind of let them minimum wage buildup. It's almost the opposite of that here. Whereas I might make money, but I'm constantly spending money. I'm constantly getting new equipment, paying for the insurance, paying for brand and marketing things, buying little presence, things like that and missing shifts. Um, so I think it was just kind of, I knew, I knew starting a business would be expensive, but it's just constantly expensive and a in a lot of people don't get that about bartending and they don't mean to be offensive, but they'll do things like, well, you know, you just show up and bartend. I'm like, no, I pay insurance.

[27:36] I pay all these things on the backend. Did a lot of people don't think about. Um, so that's been kind of an interesting way to try and get a grip on reality because when I was just bartending, I was making, I was working 40 hours a week as a bartender making really good money, making really good money and uh, and that was a fantastic life. And People Think, oh, they issue all the time. Now they're like, Ooh, private bartender, you must be doing good. I mean, maybe in a couple of years I, you know, like when I go green, it'll all be good. But honestly, the, I don't let that deter me from the passion at all. If anything, it kind of fuels that flame. It makes me want to book more and more. And even when I get tired and somebody wants to double book and I got to find somebody else to do the job, it's like, no, Rion, you need to book every job you can and you need to love every individual. You can't because they're the ones that are going to recommend you. They're the ones that are going to pay that bill. When that time comes, you just need to get to that time and that time is coming. Um, and I am good with my money so that time will come I think sooner than a lot of other businesses. I've seen people start restaurants and they wait five years until they're in the green and I think I'll be in the green one too. So

[28:38] keep on trucking baby. I know. And that's, I was thinking about that too. Like you said kids. I um, even like the guys that you know work under me like I don't think anybody gets, yeah. How much, like as like a primary business on your, like how much is constantly like money going in and you know, or I got somebody coming in and then going down. We just that constant just all the time I there. Yeah. I don't think it can be overstated. It just kind of how you, like you said you got a book like every single one cause you know,

[29:05] yeah, you absolutely do. Oh and I see this stuff. I mean the setup that you have in front of us. I mean, um, I don't know a lot of equipment, but not, I know one piece of equipment is worth more than a few, you know, a couple hundred bucks, but I just have so many pieces of literal equipment and I'm looking at these microphones in this sport that you have in front of you. I'm like, God bless you man. Like this is, I'm looking at it car. I mean I'm like, I'm afraid to even touch it. He's in front of me right now. I'm

[29:28] talking about, you know, how you're doing weddings here, you know, kind of in the, in the Greater Seattle wedding community. What has that been like, kind of like networking now into this different world that maybe you weren't in before as much and kind of like you, like you said, doing the wedding show

[29:42] and meeting people. I'm meeting venues and things like, do you enjoy that? I mean obviously you're a people person, like you enjoy constantly kind of building those webs. I absolutely love building those webs. And I love building those webs when they can become successful. What sometimes gets frustrating and I try to recognize it, but sometimes other people don't, is that there are people in businesses more successful than me that are simply out of my league. And I'm okay accepting that because that's just part of this growing process. I'll give you an example is, uh, a regular amount of the restaurant. His sister's getting married in Aspen, Colorado, and he is constantly like trying to get her to book me. And I'm like, dude, she doesn't want to fly me to Aspen, Colorado to get me a mass 12 permit in Colorado. Like that doesn't make sense.

[30:25] So, so I love networking and I love when I network with a, a caterer or event planners, somebody and we sync up because we're in, there's so many different realms to wedding. There's low budget, medium budget, high budget, huge budget. I mean it there, you know, and once you kind of find that niche in that little crew that you work with and we all kind of recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses, that's, that's absolutely fantastic because I've gotten hired and I've done a good job and I've gotten hired to a couple of venues and I'm like, this might be a little out of my league I'm in and I've done good. I'm not saying that I let anybody down. They had, they loved me. It's all good. But, uh, and then sometimes when I do maybe a lower budget venue or a lower budget thing and I'm like, these are my people, you know, I'm a federal way street kid, you know, like, these are these, these are my people right here, you know.

[31:08] Um, but I do love the networking. I love shaking hands. One thing that I do at every single, I've done it since the first event to the event I worked yesterday. And I don't go, my other people do it. As I go to every single vendor, I go to the DJ, I go to the coordinator, I go to the caterer, I go to the damn dessert person and I just shake hands and say, Hey, I'm Rion. If there's anything I can do to make your life easier, you'll let me know and vice versa. Um, and people really like that. And I'm just surprised it's not a more prevalent thing in the community. I love shaking hands. I love and even I know I can't help you, that dessert lady. I know our jobs have nothing to do with each other, but it's still cool, shaken hands and still cool, you know, get to know people and people like that.

[31:44] And he was a good impression, you know? No, I, until I agree and I know, I think that that's great. And just so you know, reaching out like, cause I always try to reach out to the people had the time to, and like there's so many, even like videographers. Yeah. But like don't like they just show up and they don't want to deal. And bartender, you know, I'm like, Hey, can I get a water with it? You know, you kind of get it. It's like, yeah, like you totally would appreciate like somebody like you said, sure, I'll go out. Yeah. Water walls. You go to the caterer. I yesterday the caterer was olive garden and I went to the olive garden girls and I was like, Hey, could you guys a soda or a bottle of water? And they looked like I was like trying to hit on them and like a night, no, not sorry that, that, that's an exaggeration. But they were like, why is this guy was like, I'm just trying to be friendly and they appreciate it. But you could tell they were just used to being treated, not respectfully. And I was like, no, like, let's get you a water. You know, it's, it's all good. Yeah. And so when you see that genuine surprise, it's almost like a scared puppy. Like did somebody do something to you? Like, you know, like what's, what's wrong? It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay. It's funny, I just had a quick story

[32:40] when you were talking about feeling now that your league or, or you know, a little bit like we did a wedding in a couple of years ago, same kind of deal and they purchased us like a charity auction. So they, you know, we weren't, they probably wouldn't hire this anyway, you know, but they got, we were whatever. And so, yeah, we're there and it's like the four seasons and I'm with Tanya with the Zuora photography, they're pretty high end. And like I'm sitting there and they've got a catwalk that they're walking on coming down. Sasha and Shane, you know, God bless them, I, you know, great couple and they're awesome. And uh, but like they've got this catalog said to come down. There's like ice sculptures they're going to walk through. There's like this whole thing and I'm just thinking, they were telling you on the, you know, we're getting ready for him to come down.

[33:21] I said, same thing. I said, I'm, I'm way out in the astronomical. Yeah. And I'm sure you did a great job. You kind of look and you're like, I wish I'd have mentally kind of keyed in on some, like I sculptures. Geez. Okay. Yeah. But this is funny, but yeah, like you said, you know, he ended up in different spots and then you kind of like, you know, you rise to the occasion and it's like, you know, we could do it, but it's just funny. Yeah. When you see and you're like, I don't know if this is where it was.

[33:45] Yeah. I love that whole you do. We won't let you said rising to the occasion. I love rice. Any occasion. I love getting to a new venue and be like, oh, like they told me the ice maker was here, but it's on the different, I love solving problems. Problems suck inherently, but I love knowing that I can solve them and I do a good job of solving them. But sometimes you're like, somebody should have told me about this problem when I got, I didn't know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, that's funny. Talking about the, uh, you know, we tried to get a little bit about like, uh, purchasing and you know, the amounts and kind of trusting you, like whether some other things, uh, you know, problems that you see arise a lot with like couples in the, in terms of like know, bartending or the alcohol or the serving you overservice what are some kind of problem areas.

[34:26] So there's definitely a few. One, the one I kind of mentioned is like connecting with the bride and groom and then finding out that I'm going to be dealing primarily with somebody else in that person being a little more difficult to work with. Um, one that is definitely prevalent. So at a wedding, everybody is there by invitation. This is not a random thing and the entitled [inaudible] like certain people get entitled to have no business being entitled and that can be really frustrating. Then once again, I'll use the term uncle Jim, but he comes up and, uh, you know, I might maybe not cut them off, but I was like, Hey, can you tone it or, you know, we'll try and talking. He's like, I'm uncle Jim. Like I get it. I supersede you. That that's what happens when I'm like, I actually don't work for you.

[35:03] I worked for the bride and groom and I say it respectfully, but certain people that have no business getting entitled to the bartender, getting titled to the bartender, that can definitely be a frustrating one. And then sometimes you've got to kind of put your foot down and say, hey, you're sending up tons of red flags. Like please like, like you're not going to beat me. You're not going to win this. And that's the thing. And they think like, I that they're going to win this, you know, and there's so many weddings, especially the older crowd, I think the older crowd got away with getting absolutely trashed at weddings, weddings, people do, people do drink and they drink when I'm not seeing them, they drink in the morning, drink behind the scenes. You've got to kind of watch out for that. And I think venues are getting a lot more keen on that and they're aware of that and they're trying to monitor that.

[35:44] Um, so that's always an interesting one. Just trying to stay on top of like the drinking behind the scenes and things like that. And then, yeah, some people being entitled that have no business being entitled. Yesterday the one I want the groom got a little bit tipsy but he ended up being okay. But I was like, all right, you're the groom, you, I know you're not driving and stuff and if it's okay with your now wife, you might be able to have that one more year. You know, you kind of gauge. But that's my job to judge, not yours, uncle Jim, you do not get to tell me that and I'll nip it right in the bud. Yeah. Um, don't have many problems with underage drinking. That's one that I definitely, just because I'm very well aware. I've had drinks at weddings before I was 21 I think most people have.

[36:25] Um, but the big one is making sure you've no underage person ever comes up to my bar. If I see somebody then done a discussion is going to be had and, and possibly shut it down. And I've actually never had that happen. I got a good story for you and I got it. I got permission to tell this one. This happened about a little over a year ago at a wedding that I wasn't even working. It was my buddy's wedding and his mom, God bless her, goes up to a, so it's my buddy and then he had a younger brother who was 19 at the time I believe. And his mom went up to the bartender thinking that she was being kind of cute and funny and she's like, I'm going to get a beer. I'm getting it for, you know, the groom's I, you can't send them up. I'm getting it for the groom's brother.

[37:00] He can't buy. And the bartenders like what the hell? Like why, why would you tell me that? Like don't sell that. It became a big thing. They didn't shut down the bar, but we made it. They made it very clear like that. Like no, no, no. So cause it's your, it's the bar. Bartenders. Yeah. Licensed and everything. And this is my livelihood and I could lose. What's really scary is that I could lose everything like that. Yeah. Like that. So you just monitor and things like that. But, uh, I'm, I'm trying to think of more problems. Um, sometimes with the purchasing. Oh, so this is one is a lot of times I'll help them build that grocery list and they're like, thank you. The grocery looks good and then I'll get there and there'll be nothing. Um, I did an event a couple months back. They, they were really nice, but man, they didn't listen to anything I said they wanted the signature drink that was really wanted to be budget friendly.

[37:47] So they're trying to watch budget, but they, their signature drink Hatzolah very, very, very expensive alcohols in it. Had Hennessy and grandma and Yay. So I'm like, okay, that's not budget friendly at all, Bill. Fine. That's fine. Um, and then, um, I had orange juice and when I show up they didn't bring the ice. I didn't bring any cups. They didn't bring the orange juice and I had to beg the read. I begged them. I'm a, it was like 115 guest count and I was like, okay, are we getting any beard all, and they're like, we don't drink beer. I'm like, oh, I was, I am. Soon as I said that, I was like, I don't know, this is going. Um, so it's like, okay, well can we still just get like a 30 pack of Coors light? Just so he just had this 30 pack of Coors Light and Chickasha like 20 bucks just to have it.

[38:22] And they're like, like, we're trying to be budget friendly. I'm like, but cores, like, is budget friendly compared to that drink? No, no. Take this in. Um, I don't know about you, but if I go to a wedding, the house, an open bar, even if I don't particularly care for the cocktail, I'm going to have that cocktail. And I did the math and that cocktail ended up costing about two $53 a piece versus a chorus line is about a buck apiece. So I tried to talk to them and I was like, well for every person that drinks a Coors light instead of that cocktail, you're saving like a buck 50, you know? And they still didn't get the course late, but uh, and then yeah, they never once got to have that drink and then obviously, and then consumption to, right. It goes up to, cause everyone's drinking the drink.

[38:56] The drink. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, when when somebody like wants a chorus like cause that alcohol contents so low, like here's a Coors light, take your time. Yeah. Um, I also do try and get them out of waters and sodas and stuff like that. One thing that I do, I'm in, sometimes people be like, oh you don't have to do that. And I now do it, it's like part of my contract is I set up a water station and I set up my water station on my bar with cups next to it. So when people are getting a drink, a lot of times they'll also get a glass of water. And that's been a huge thing because people get bottled water, but sometimes somebody doesn't necessarily want a whole bottle of water. They just want like a little splash and I always set up a water station.

[39:28] I'll always keep it stocked, all that. Yeah. And I'll always keep your non alcoholic stocked. I'll keep caffeine around it. There's coffee maker, we'll brew coffee, you know, whatever. Whatever you need. You know, he had the party, you go and keep the party going. Absolutely. Yeah. Uh, when you were talking about the groom, they was getting a little tipsy. I was laughing there that one of my other shooters a couple of years ago, it was a, it was a long, it was like a, it's like a 15 hour day. Like it was like one of those, like they booked us for eight and then it was 10 and then the next thing I know it's like he was like eight to 10:00 PM or whatever the hours are. Okay. And so he texted me and it's like nine 15 and I think there's supposed to be done like 11 or 1130 and he's like, hey man, I'm so, they just carried the groom up in the elevator.

[40:10] He's blacked out and they just carry them up to go upstairs to his room. Okay. And he's like, you know, I think we're done. And I said, yeah man, you know, no worries. And so we pack it there, you know, they pack it up and then I'm editing the footage and I'm seeing them just porn in these huge shots over in the corner. Yeah. Because I'm going to do the B roll. Then you know, after they met, he made the any immediate even click on it. It's like, no, no. I'm like, no wonder this guy is like was carried out of here. I mean this guy was freaking going nuts. So in the corner, you know, this the biggest one I need to get us like a stupid little sign that says this is not a race. It's a marathon. It is all about lasting long.

[40:46] And a lot of times people drain in. It's a celebration. So they're getting ready early in the morning and maybe have a couple drinks and then dinner. I have a few more drinks, but, but ladies and gentlemen, it's all for not, if you get wait, you know you want to have a good time, you want to get that healthy buzz, but it's offered, not if you just black out and it and it goes and it goes south. You know? So I, it's not a race, it's a marathon. Whatever you gotta do to make it last. And I'm a service that I offer, I've offered this to everybody is that if you want to keep anything, I do this for like liquor and stuff too. So say you know, you bought like a really nice bottle of Scotch. You can keep that back there with me and I won't serve it to the public.

[41:19] I'll just serve it to the VIP user or whoever you deem. But that also goes for things like red bull. Like, I understand you don't wanna get the whole party red bull, but if you want to keep a six pack of red bull back here with me, I'll keep it cold. You come up, you get a red bull, we'll chill for a minute. Kind of gets you back on your feet. Um, and I don't like it when people feed the groom shots. Like that's not, it's not tasteful. You know, it's, it's fun. It's fun. But I'm sometimes we were like, guys, like he needs a minute. He's still got to do a speech. He's still got it. Yeah. So that's the big marker is that after speeches, obviously different weddings have different protocol or like a schedules. But after speeches, that's when I'm like, all right, now you guys can loosen up.

[41:55] Now the official stuff has done, the papers are signed. It's when people go crazy before the speech. My man that was bad or good idea. Not a good idea. Um, whether, whether some things you're looking forward to kind of in the future in terms of growing, you know, continuing to market, continuing to brand. That's a good question. And I'm actually, so I'm good to finish out this year kind of the way I am with me and my four person crew. And there, there's kind of two ways and I'll tell you something that I haven't really told anybody. There's kind of two ways that I, I want to either take the business and I want to go more of that like party on the rocks where I get more licensing and I had the ability to operate a cash bar and that's still about a year out minimum. Um, but something else I really, really want to do read, and I think you've maybe kind of picked this up for me, is I really love that all inclusive.

[42:39] Feel like I want people to be comfortable. I kind of want to open an elopement business. I actually got ordained. I can marry people, I can marry somebody right now if we planted. Um, but I want to open up like an elopement style business where you come and you say it, you know, different packages, but you come and you say, maybe give me $1,200. Oh, right. Your vows. We'll get a couple of bottles of champagne, we'll get some food, we'll have, I'll have my partner do like some pictures. Um, so you can really, all you have to do is bring yourself in the suit that you want to wear. Um, that's, that's kind of during the mind and I might be able to do both, but it's still, yeah, it's still just kind of planning and making sure that I find that balance and everything.

[43:13] But on the bartending aspect, which what's really great about this is that I'm proud to say that like I'm kind of part of the community now. So even if I kind of tone it down and maybe take down the website or maybe don't spend so much money on this, that, or the other thing, people still know my name out there. Um, and that's been so, so amazing. People are recommending me. People are, people are saying like, Hire Rion, you know, and that's, that's just been, that's just been a dream come true. No. Literally as you were coming today, I was on Facebook and someone on the thing was looking and a couple of different people and I said, oh, he's coming to my house right now. What's the finance? I think I saw that, but I didn't want to like Facebook and dry. I get excited.

[43:50] Sometimes Facebook thing will pop up. It'll be on the road. Be like, no, Rion sage for, you know, and, and all that. But uh, it is, it is, it is cool. It's, um, and I like, I like knowing it because I earned it. I didn't, I didn't get there by kissing ass and things. I did it by doing a good job and by making people happy and, uh, I mean, I'm proud of that, you know? Is this something that you thought, you know, I'm being you, did you ever think you'd be this passionate about weddings and kind of brides and grooms kind of doing this stuff? No. No, I did not. Um, and people actually ask me that all the time. They're like, oh, like you're heavily involved at weddings. Like, they don't, don't want to get. So she's like, oh, you must believe in true love.

[44:28] And I do believe in true love. It's not any concept like that. I'm like, no. Like I just really liked working in weddings. Like I really like a, yeah. Yeah. Um, I did not think that I get so enthralled, but I absolutely love it. I absolutely love it. And I love the passion that comes from me that meets with the passion of the bride and groom. And when we just click and it just, it just clicks. And I've hung out with some clients, the clients that I worked with yesterday and they're like, we're hanging out next week. I'm like, all right, sweet. Like, and um,

[44:53] okay.

[44:54] So, so yeah, I knew I'd be passionate, I knew I'd be strong, but I didn't know it's going to happen like this. So, but you, you would say it's kind of exceeded obviously what you were hoping for so far? Yeah, yeah, a lot. Um, a lot of lines. Sometimes I get a little bit intimidated by that and then just like, no, Rion, if are 30, just buckle down and get it done. Yeah. Yeah. I did not expect to book as much work as I did. I did not expect it to hit the ground running. And like I said, I've had a great support system. It has absolutely not just been me. It's been the help of other vendors and my friend was Lynn and Ernestine and uh,

[45:25] so yeah. Yeah. It's getting there and the hope is that it just continues to thrive and continues to grow. And then the people that I bring on all continue to work well. Like I said, every single person, like my little crew, they've all done um, uh, event staffing and things like that. And they've all worked in restaurants because there are, like we talked about the different types of types of bartenders and I need problem solving bartenders and because there are problems that come up with these new venues, you don't know where this is, you don't know where that is. And I need bartenders to keep a cool head. That's a big one, high volume and a cool head because it sucks when there's, you know, 150 people deep and you just, you just got to smile club and come on, come on. I call it, I did it man.

[46:00] I call everybody baby boy. Come here baby. Come on, come on, come on. And uh, the daddy's like, I'm not baby. I'm like, I am sorry. So not call you baby anymore. I'm sorry. Yeah, yeah. Um, one thought I had just to kind of about, you know, in terms of like you and clients and stuff, and you can say I'm wrong too, but like if you're, when you're working the bar, obviously you have like regulars that come in, but there's a lot of times it's kind of like one off, so you know, to see the people, whatever. Like do you enjoy kind of going on this journey with like the brides and grooms and stuff? It kind of being a part of that whole process? I absolutely do. And then it's so heartbreaking because at the end of it, it's, it's just, it's gone. So I do consultations and a lot of times I do consultations in person and we build this relationship and I figured out how they met.

[46:41] Do you have kids? What would I meet their parents? So that's one thing. I'm Adam and his, like, I meet the parents, I shake the hands, I meet all the groomsmen, all the bridesmaids. And so I kind of built up this report and then at the end of it, and I'll just kind of goes away. And that's part of the process. And I totally get it. I don't cry out, you know, I don't go home and cry, but, um, it is, it is kind of a bittersweet thing. So a lot of times I'll maybe try and find them on Facebook or try and send like a, we, you know, happy anniversary, or I just even a little smiley face every now and then because then you, you, you, same thing. Yeah. You, you build a rapport with these people and then it ends. But that's, that's part of the game.

[47:14] What's so fun is that I get a lot of referrals and it's so fun. So I'm uh, going to a wedding from a referral and then seeing a bride and groom that I had done that, that makes me so happy. One thing I try and do is I make, once I do a wedding for you guys, the thought of hiring any other bartender for any other family event is ridiculous. I mean, they were like, no, we're hiring Rion. And that's something I really try and cultivate and follow through on. And uh, and we've had a lot of success with that. Yeah. It's a, like you said, you're, it's, and it's something that I don't think they, a lot of like clients are couples, however you want to refer get is. Yeah. It is like a, one of the most important days that they're, you know, you're there on this really important day, you're really invested.

[47:52] And then like you said, it's like Poof, it's gone, you know, for us. And then you're like, oh my God, no. Like, you know, you want to kind of like, you know, we've been going back and forth for a year and now we kind of got a, then it's like, it's done so well. I want them to know they're more than just a business transaction. Um, yeah, you, you, I was a part of your life. You are a part of my life. We had, we shared this day together, I did everything I could to make your day special and, and they're like, can you did, you didn't make our day special? And that's, so that's, that's a really big one for me. Also working in restaurants, if something were to go wrong, even cataclysmically to where the restaurant had to get shut down. Say we run out of something, a piece of equipment breaks, something like that.

[48:28] Nobody's day is ruined and they just have to go to the restaurant next door versus on a wedding day, if something goes wrong or one of my cake taps breaks out of cake, tap break. And so I was like, I could just like Jimmy rigged it together, you know? And it all falls on me. And I love that. But, uh, it's, it's also kind of terrifying, but when it all goes smooth and the couples happy and we clean up and we go home, you know, that's, that's just tops ma'am. That's, that's good stuff. Perfect. Uh, this has been a really good conversation. I really enjoyed getting to meet you. Thank you so much for coming in anonymously course scheduling this, bringing in the guests, the vodka and everything else. If people want to learn more about you, your company services, uh, what would you have them check out?

[49:09] Absolutely. So the website is I do have a Facebook with My Perfect Bartender though. The website is definitely the best way to get ahold of me. One thing that I absolutely am adamant about and I want everybody that listens to this to know and you can convey it to your friends even if you don't book with me, even if I never make a penny off you, if you have any questions on anything, you can always contact me. If I can help, I will help. If you have any questions on licensing, where to buy alcohol, eat, I can even spend a little time helping you make a grocery list off the phone. Even if we never book, I still got your back. I still want your day to go. Well I and I mean that. I genuinely want, I want everyone's bartending experience in this whole world to go.

[49:46] Fantastic. Um, so yeah, just get ahold of me. My Name's Rion and a, even if I have a date books, um, I have colleagues and, and uh, you'll do consultations with me, but my colleague will be the one that shows up. Damn. And you can talk to my colleague on the phone, make sure it's a good fit. Um, I want everything to go good before I even accepted a posit, I make sure that you feel good about everything. That's, that's really important to me. Perfect. I will say this will not translate to the law because this is audio podcast fee. Do you have a good kind of cross arms? Usually when you're, when you're waiting to talk and it is like a big bar tender way. They're behind the bar. I appreciate it, but it's like this warm, friendly, like I've got everything under control, so I know that won't translate

[50:28] it at all, but I do appreciate that. But no, I appreciate you saying that, but that's too funny. This has been awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much. Yeah Reid thank you man. I appreciate Ya. Perfect. Cheers.

McKenzie Wilson, Fun Frames Photo Booth

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by one of my longtime friends and I'm so glad she's finally coming on the podcast, McKenzie Wilson, owner, of Fun Frames Photo Booth. I wanted to thank you so much for coming on and why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and a little bit about your company.

[00:33] Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much for having me and I'm glad we finally got a chance to do this. I'm McKenzie Wilson and I own and operate Fun Frames Photo Booth and we're based out of Mukilteo Washington, but we service all over the Seattle area.

[00:45] And how long have you guys been in business? I know it's a long time now.

[00:49] I believe it was 2010 or 2011 when we first started, but I've only owned the business since 2014.

[00:56] And so what were you doing before you got involved in fun frames?

[01:01] I was doing a lot of restaurant work. I was also modeling back in the day, uh, and then also working in coffee stands and kind of just all over the place where I felt like doing.

[01:11] Um, did you kind of always want to be entrepreneur or was that something in your family? Was that something that came naturally to you or was that kind of a big jump for you?

[01:20] It was something I've always really wanted to do. I just didn't know in what aspect. So business has always been at the top of my list.

[01:28] And now what was it specifically about weddings and other live events in, in photo booths in general, kind of how did you, how did you get involved in all that?

[01:36] So it was actually pretty random. I was a different situation than most. I didn't found my company but I bought it back in 2014 from two women that owned it and ran it. Uh, so it kind of fell into my lap and I looked at the business aspect of it and what exactly it did and I kind of just got to know more of the industry and went from there.

[01:54] Was it, had you done a lot of like, I mean had you been a lot of weddings and you got into a lot of stuff like that. I mean like I had never really done weddings at all before I started shooting, so it was all pretty foreign to me.

[02:06] Yeah. I actually didn't attend many weddings before this and I truthfully have no idea what photo booths were before I got involved. So it was something I had to look up and when my mom first called me when she found out about this, she was like, Oh yeah, photo booth. And I'm thinking, why am I thinking like a vending machine? I have no idea what it was.

[02:24] And uh, yeah, even so I. and I know that, you know, even when people go on today and they look like there's a bunch of different types and kinds and so why don't you talk specifically about what you guys offer and the type and kind of the different options in that regard.

[02:38] Yeah. So we offer luxary photo with services with a lot of customizable options. Our, they're very modern and sleek and we just of try to keep saying every, keep everything very simple and pretty.

[02:51] And is that something you guys, you find like you attract them like that there are certain people that kind of look forward to those kinds of boots. I mean, like I said, this isn't your normal like kinda throw up a flash in the corner with an ipad kind of experience. Right?

[03:06] Definitely not. We try to keep our quality of images really high so we're constantly updating our education. I'm trying to keep up with the latest trends and also it's very different from the very fun like feather boas thrown up in the air and just all the, you know, kind of cheesy or side of things but some people really love. But we want to give people the option to have a, a higher end option for photo booth.

[03:27] Do you think, uh, and I know the answer to this, but do you think that doing that kind of allows you guys then to do obviously more like corporate events and kind of high scale events in that regard to kind of having that overall or a for weddings and kind of that pertains to everything then?

[03:43] I do, yeah. I think that it gives us a lot of opportunity to branch out and not just do one thing. So everything's customizable. We can brand for corporate but we can also customize everything to hell. The couple wants day to go.

[03:56] So it's interesting to me where you, like you said you kind of came in and bought the company. Um, I, did you have like a vision for this? Was this something that you knew or you kind of got it under your feet as you got going or I mean that just seems like it can be a really daunting task. I mean obviously you kind of had a game plan and figured it out, but how has that kind of initial process?

[04:18] It was definitely intimidating. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't have a lot of times decide on what I was going to do, so I just weighed the good and the bad of it. And you do it. It's, it's definitely a risk. I think I'm going to like it. And then when I met up with Michelle and Julie, they had a great connection and that really is what showed me that their passion for this will be something that I could love.

[04:40] Um, why do you think that you guys have been able to find the success that you have in the time that you've taken over? I know that's probably a hard question,

[04:50] but also I think I got very lucky with the reputation we already had, so I give a lot of that success to them, but also we've upgraded our equipment since then really have focused on that education side of things because I had no knowledge of cameras or photography and I've continued to learn over the years.

[05:08] Yeah, it's funny. I think because we had met initially it like an open house I think back in the ID. So though, and you know, and I know, I mean I knew flow boost and I kind of knew whatever, but then I can't remember, it was something I think I was looking to refer you guys are something I looked at your site and I was like, Oh wow, you know, I mean it is like a marketed bowl, like a market difference between looking at Eno even like what I use for my wedding and you guys. Um, so obviously that was a really intentional thing, right? To brand that. I mean how did that kind of, the overall vision of that come about?

[05:42] I went to the photo booth expo for the first time and I got to kind of see the different options out there. The booth that we had before was a five by five pop up canopy tent, which you still see some of, but it wasn't really the appearance I was trying to go for. So as soon as I saw that it's really clean, white, modern version of the photo booth, I was like wow. So we can actually do something. It has dslr photo quality as well as a bunch of options to do stuff beyond just regular photos that you might not be able to print at a later point.

[06:12] So did you. And then obviously you know, starting off and then do you know, obviously you guys are a lot bigger now in the handle, lots of different events, dean, to kind of know about how many they were doing when you took over and how many now or I mean you have to be like super specific, but I mean it's kind of the growth potential of that.

[06:30] Yeah, I think when we started it was anywhere from 80 to maybe a little over $100, but it was also a different price point then. So now we do between 100 and 150 are in that range. Um, but everything has changed so much but it's a very different scale I think.

[06:48] Do you enjoy that managerial kind of overall view of that sort of thing? Is that where you, what you enjoy or what it, what is your favorite kind of aspect about running the business and doing that?

[06:59] My favorite aspect, I would say that business side, I love that part. I love trying to come up with new ideas and trying to see how far I can go with, with this business and how it can grow, but I also really enjoy when I make connections with either other vendors or couples that I have and it's not very often that I get to make those genuine connections with, you know, I have a bride that I've been texting this week and that's really what makes me happy when I get to see how happy they've been at their photos and they continued talking about it and continue reaching out to me.

[07:28] Yeah. It gives me and yeah, and even from our wedding, you know, that was, we didn't do a lot of like customization. I mean we did like some invites and stuff, but you know, having their photo booth was like a big. That was a big thing that I know that Dorothy and I want it and it's so funny because I remember we did a, this was even years ago and open house and I'm the guy that was doing the photo booth, we, you know, we had talked during the day and then afterward they did like this vendor open house, just all the people that had been on the tour and people went absolutely ape for kind of doing the, you know, and these are like photography and video. I mean this is all the vendors and I mean they acted like they had never seen the photo booth before and you like couldn't get anybody out. Like it is really funny just how much it draws people in and how much it helps kind of elevate and add excitement to kind of the whatever. I mean, do you, do you notice that? Do you like obviously you kind of sell that feeling and stuff as well. What do you think about that?

[08:25] I definitely think it's something exciting, but I also think it depends on the group of people get very shy and maybe a little bit nervous about taking their photos, but they also really enjoy it once they get to that point and a lot of people also are very surprised by what the pictures look like because they're so used to that older style photo booth that isn't going to produce the same quality images. So we get a lot of those comments like, oh, make me make me look skinny or make me look pretty. And I'm like, okay, well you're gonna look right. Either way. But yeah, it definitely takes some time for certain people warm up, but then there's the people that I can see you're running from the other side of the room and I wonder if I have to duck.

[09:01] That's awesome. How do you kind of continue to get new ideas and continue to grow and how do you kind of keep things fresh and new now?

[09:10] Stuff like this? Actually I think it's easy to get really stuck in the same pattern of doing things and then when I get something going like the podcast we're doing, it's great because I get to come up with new ideas and kind of gets me motivated to start thinking again and then I also just keep up to date in the forums and different educational experiences and stuff like that.

[09:31] Yeah. I know that you and you and others kind of help moderate some of the facebook groups and said, do you, do you enjoy kind of like does that help you keep tabs with everything or is that Kinda like a lot of a lot of work?

[09:43] It's definitely a lot of work. When I first volunteered to do it, I was on vacation and I thought it was a good idea, so I figured I'd help and then I very quickly realized that we were pretty much the bad guys. We were the ones that are having to enforce those rules and out of all of it, I think that it's probably not great for my business. I think that if anything that would give people a different impression of me because we're trying to enforce those rules versus being the actual fun than a friendly person.

[10:16] What do you think of A. I've heard a lot of people talking about coming to Seattle and there is a lot of like community over competition and there is a lot of talking and I do think one of the benefits like of the facebook groups is, you know, getting, you know, all the communication, getting people to know everybody and like, you know, we met online before we ever met him personally. What do you just think of Seattle? Like kind of in general as like um, you know, community just have like weddings and other events like that.

[10:42] I think there's some amazing people in this industry and I've met some of my best friends through it, so that's an upside to it all. But I also think that as good as the community can be, they're still going to be those people that will come in and try to copy your work or plagiarize stuff like that. But other than that, I think we do a pretty good job of staying connected.

[11:03] Um, how do you, how do you go about having to kind of like manage different teams and vendors and a kind of makes sure that there's like a, like a consistent quality kind of across the matter. What is that hard to do?

[11:17] You mean at each different event or with just with the people that we work with?

[11:21] Uh, yeah. I mean with the people you work with and different events.

[11:26] I think when there's a good team definitely shows the difference when you have a good relationship with the vendors that are super helpful and friendly. It really shows and kind of the energy of the event. So I've been pretty fortunate to have some great teams and you know, we had that wedding in new capital off your, um, I believe it was last year. So stuff like that I think definitely improves it. But we always maintained that a professional atmosphere while still to have a good time and make sure everything is consistent.

[11:56] Yeah. It's crazy to think like, yeah, October Elizabeth William, that seems like five years ago.

[12:02] Is it actually last year, was it?

[12:05] Yeah, it's definitely funny to kind of look back and see. Oh yeah. That was like, I get the one year anniversary, like reminders and I'm like, Oh wow, that was, that's crazy that, that just because it seems like there's so much, you know, kind of before you got into, you know, doing the further buoyed and may we can get a little more into that, you know, it seems like there was a lot of hustling going on. I mean, were there some lessons and things that you learned from that, that you've kind of helped carry over now into being like a business owner?

[12:31] It taught me a lot about myself and about other people, so they experience is just continuing with know as time goes on. Um, I think that getting into this I knew that I wanted to be in business, but I had absolutely no clue what all it entailed at the time I was in business school while doing my prerequisites to get a business degree. And then I ended up discontinuing my college because I didn't thoroughly enjoy it and I think I've learned a lot more from actually doing the business side of things. So I think that has really changed my outlook on things and taught me how to work even harder than I already was.

[13:11] That's interesting. Yeah. I always kind of lament I, I am like a broadcast degree, which is kind of great to get into news, but I think like I would have been better off having the least a cursory level of kind of business and things. I mean, were there some lessons you took away from that or was there some quality education that you took from that that you're kind of continue on? Or are you said it was just better off kind of learning stuff as you go?

[13:35] I personally wish I had never gone to college because I don't think I had a chancellor and the thing that was going for, I was basically paying for, you know, the basic math class that you have to take before you can save all the business classes. So I never really got to learn anything about business, it was all very basic and stuff that I'd already learned from my family or from other friends that are in business. So I think those, that insight has been a lot more beneficial to me in the long run.

[14:01] So yeah. So I mean it just must have been like a tremendous kind of learning curve then coming in, you know, was that scary? Was that. I mean, what was that feeling like kind of coming in and knowing that this was all kind of on your shoulders and trying to figure it out.

[14:15] It was intimidating, but I really did have a lot of help. Um, I know that when some people buy companies, they ended up just kind of wiping their hands on it and leaving. And I was lucky to have the help throughout the process and I'm still not as Michelle and after for advice or any questions from the past. So I've been very, very fortunate having people help me along the way, but I could never have anticipated what all this entails about waves. And it's made me a lot more passionate about others running their businesses legally. And I think that's a big part of it. Also. I have a lot of respect for people to do this the right way.

[14:50] Yeah. I do think that that's

[14:52] an interesting thing and something that I think you encounter with wedding vendors of any type, you know, kind of having the, the, the business licenses. And there was just um, a story on the news last night in my neighbor who's retired like senate and it was something about a wedding photographer, Jesse Jones. Is that. Yeah, because she scammed a bunch of people and you know, he just couldn't, like, it's funny because we kind of deal with this every day, but he was like, I could not believe that anybody would, you know, because he's like 65 easier retired. Like he couldn't believe that anybody would like scam anybody or not delivering, not whatever. And I said, well, you know, for 50 bucks or whatever, like you can get a business license. But even then, it's so funny like how many people don't or you know, don't go through even like the nest, like the base necessary things, but then even do that and then ended up, I don't know if she was running away with people's money or just not fulfilling the orders or whatever. But it is an interest in all of the above.

[15:51] Yeah. How do you. I know that that's something that I, that's a good question. I know there's something that I kind of struggled with constantly is kinda making sure that I know couples view us is reputable and like doing things like this podcast who, whatever, like how do you try to build that integrity that you have with your clients and kind of foster that relationship with other businesses and things that we are someone that you want to be in business with.

[16:15] I think just being honest about everything, there's a lot of ways that vendors can lie to people if there were to be an issue or you know, if they ask for something and they kind of run around the outside with no real answer. So I think my honesty is definitely helped in that, whether it be a good or a bad thing and you know, if there were to be a tech issue, I would be forthcoming about that and not try to tell them that it never happened. So I'm always open to those conversations to make sure that people are happy on both sides and figure out solutions.

[16:47] Yeah. Because I mean with like further boosted anything. I mean there's things that can go wrong and some things are in your control and some things aren't. And you know, at the end of the day, the best you can do is provide, you know, what you think is going to be, you know, a good working experience. Uh, what was like a big lesson that you learned like that first year that you. Like? I looked at stuff that I got not got away with, but then I kind of lucked out that it worked out in my favor. Um, whether there's some lessons that you learned kind of starting off that you look back and kind of think, yeah, that was a good learning experience. Now you're happy to kind of move past that.

[17:20] Uh, I think the two main things would be networking and also taxes. I was not aware of it. You can pay taxes quarterly in my first year, so at the end of the year they were like, oh, you got to pay x amount. And I was like, oh, okay, well this is probably something I should have known sooner. But now that I have my bookkeeper and accountant and my old business partner and stuff like that, that's been a huge help. But also the networking side of things, I think it's so important, but it's also very hard with groups that are already so well connected. So I got to keep out of the mindset that it's like high school all over again, unless you got to be with this crowd is pregnant, still maintains a little bit cliquey. But I've made some great friendships and relationships along the way and I think that's probably the most valuable thing that I've been able to learn to do.

[18:07] Yeah, I mean it is weird. Yeah. Nowadays like with even [inaudible] like the facebook groups in several and like even really kind of just starting and when I felt like when I got to it, like craigslist with a soul just kind of like the place to go. And so yeah, it is like kind of weird now that people grow up, you grow into this business and then you know, Oh yeah, I get it out into like a group and I can talk to $1,500 or 2000 people or whatever and it's, it's crazy. I'm like, man, you know, I feel like I'm like the old Geezer now on the front lawn, like, you know, you guys don't even know like five, six years ago and like we didn't have any of the staff and my guy had to do stuff on craigslist and I had to like meet people at parking lots to get checks and stuff. Like you guys don't even know. What do you mean?