When I was younger I used to design and make wedding stationery on the side, I used to go to wedding fairs, set up my stand and then feel uncomfortable for the next few hours feeling like an outsider in a world I didn’t belong too. The other suppliers were so cliquey and seemed to see me as someone new, a threat, coming into their space regardless of whether they were stationers or not! How times have changed…
Fast forward quite a few years and my experience couldn’t have been more different, from the moment I started Willow and Rust and organised my first styled shoot, everyone I have met has been friendly, helpful and willing to work in a collaborative way regardless of how much or little they would be getting out of it themselves. I have met so many beautiful people and made some amazing lifelong friends. I now have and fantastic group of likeminded people who I can call on whenever I need a hand and vice versa.
Weddings are such a big industry now and there are so many couples wanting to get married each with their own ideas and style. And while there are also many wedding suppliers in every area, each photographer, stylist, cake maker, stationer, jewellery designer, make-up artist, dress designer has their own style too. Every couple will have suppliers that they feel fit the look and vibe they want for their day and they will all be different. There is no need to see fellow suppliers as competition. We should all work together and help each other, collaboration not competition! We all have skills that others don’t or are better at some things than others and other people will be better at the things we struggle with. This is where collaborating and helping each other can really help everyone.
“Working together and pooling our knowledge, skills and resources can help to elevate us all.”
- Samantha, Willow and Rust Weddings
I think it’s great when small business owners get together and share their skills and knowledge with others whether it’s a styled shoot, a workshop, a masterclass or tutorial or simply a coffee and chat to get things off your mind. Being a small business owner or in the case of a lot of wedding suppliers, a sole trader, can be a very lonely place and working together and supporting each other helps us all to thrive and keep our dreams of our own little business alive.
There are of course lines that shouldn’t’ be crossed. We shouldn’t ever copy anyone else’s work, there is a big difference between being inspired by something and copying it and we should always give credit to others when using ideas or images they have created. As long as we follow these rules then we can all work together, alongside each other in this crazy, amazing, beautiful, mad world of weddings.
The days I have spent on styled shoots have been some of the happiest, craziest, funniest and most inspiring days I have had in my life. The feeling of community and all working together to create something beautiful that will benefit us all, is one of the best feelings ever. Shoot or collaboration days for me now feel like a social event, I get together with friends we laugh, we talk, we create, we have so much fun and we end up with amazing results we can all use and share in the world of weddings. When I think back now to my days standing alone at wedding fairs in hotel lobbies it feels like a totally different world and I’m glad!