As much as we would all love to leave 2020 behind us, there are inevitably lasting effects on our stationery businesses that have made us pivot or adjust our business. Especially with the shift in the wedding and event industry. While I hope and can see some normalization on the horizon, there are still some ways that I think the stationery world will forever be impacted and modifications we can take into consideration to make sure we continue to thrive and be successful.
Most stationers have learned this as clients have reached out with different requests over the last year and have had to make adjustments and expectations. So while even if normalcy is on the horizon, I do encourage you to still take a look at your stationery business to make sure your maximizing your opportunities to not only serve your “normal” requests, but to also be able to accommodate the “new” requests.
So what do I mean by new requests? Well, “I only need 10 invitations”, “can we include a Covid explanation card”, “I need to reschedule my wedding date, what does this mean for my already printed stationery”.
I can almost guarantee that over the last year, you have heard one of these requests come in. And while some may be straight forward like including an additional card with some Covid safety details, some may be a little more complicated. So I wanted to chat about 3 things you may want to adjust, pivot, or add to your business to best accommodate the ever-changing needs of the wedding and event industry.
I know most stationers that offer fully custom suites, generally have a higher quantity minimum to make the process worth it. For me personally, I have a 50 minimum for my custom. This minimum has never been an issue as I generally deal with larger weddings. However, couples are opting for smaller, more intimate weddings now in light of Covid and restrictions. So what do you do when couple after couple comes to you with lower requests? You don’t want to keep turning them away, you need to find a way to serve them.
My suggestion would be to create a PRICE minimum (opposed to a quantity minimum) and even possibly a “micro-weddings package”. This price minimum, let’s say it’s $1500, they can order however many they want, but they have to meet the $1500 price, so they have the opportunity to add on items they may not have been able to afford if they were to order 150 sets. Calligraphy, wax seals, assembly services, vintage postage. You catch my drift?
You could also re-evaluate your pricing and your minimums if you don’t want to have a price minimum or packages. If your pricing was based on your average order of let’s say 75 sets, but now you’re getting couples with 15-20 set requests, maybe you adjust your pricing to be a little higher and allow couples to order those lower quantities and you know you’ll still be receiving the proper compensation for it.
Hopefully, this is something you had into play well before 2020 (the year of postponements and cancellations). But if not, now is the time. You need to make sure you’re having every single client sign a stationery contract when you on-board them. And most importantly, you need to make sure that the contract is lawyer written and outlines what exactly happens if there is a cancellation or postponement with their event (and how that is affected if stationery has already been printed). You need to make sure it outlines WHAT justifies an Act of God/Force Majeure, etc.
I am clearly not a lawyer, so I highly recommend browsing through some of Paige Hulse’s blog posts and checking out her Stationery Contract and her Cancellation/Rescheduling Addendums. I use them both and they have been a life-saver.
This is where 2020 was a bit of a doozy for me. Thankfully, I didn’t have tons of invitations in production when postponements started happening, I was right in between my spring and fall lull. However, I had several HUGE spring weddings where we were all but done with their day of details when they had to postpone.
This may not seem like a huge deal, but the way my business is structured, my clients spend equal if not more on their day of items than they do their invites. This is a huge revenue stream for my business. So here I had several brides sitting on koozies, napkins, bar cups, menus etc that ALL had their now non-existent wedding date on it. And it sucked. There is obviously no help when it comes to programs or itineraries that have to have dates on them, but I did learn to start telling my brides to leave off their dates on other design items where it didn’t necessarily need to be.
Yes, it would be nice to have their date on the koozies, but I would rather them be able to use them, even if the date had to shift. So for the most part, if there is uncertainty in the air around if they may need to move their date, I suggest they leave off dates and just use their design/monogram, etc and they appreciate the recommendation so it saves them in the long run.
I’m sure there are several more ways that stationery businesses can pivot with how they handle their clients and procedures, but I found that these are some of the top ones that are really important to make sure we’re all prepared to continue forward.
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