By Paul Pannone
It’s getting hotter than hell in the Wedding Water Cooler discussion group. Four-letter bombs and seething rivalries get to the core of issues faster than pleasantries and BS.
Since the Fourth of July discussions dominated by planners comparing notes and giving their account of the wedding business watched by eWedNewz clearly shows unrest in the business. Some asked for help from other planners in non-competing markets and what their findings have been.
“With so much competition presenting itself in all categories in the Wedding Industry, do you think that integrity is a rare and faraway thought these days? I’m really starting to wonder. Time and time again I see people who claim to be gracious and ethical come across as hypocrites. It’s really mind-boggling. Is anyone else noticing this?”
Water Cooler members weighing in agree there are less than desirable actions in the wedding business. The word hypocrite appeared most often, citing the professional façade used by many. But the backstabbing tactics and in some instances, the cultish environment of part of the business is disturbing.
One Canadian planner said,”There are some real hypocrites out there. Fortunately there are also some great people. It’s just a lot easier to notice the bad examples then the good ones.
Others added, “From my experience there are some horrible, horrible people who are greedy. Some are worthless with behavior, racketeering and downright thievery that is the basis for their existence. But then again there are some wonderful people who think nothing of extending themselves and willing to help in any way they can. I guess at the end of the day there are always lowlife and bottom feeders in every industry.”
After several days of venting the discussions finally turned productive with some planners offering possible solutions.
One planner from the New York market said, “I’m not sure if Integrity has been lost but it has definitely lost its place among necessities for ppl in the industry. People talk about Old school wedding traditionalists and I think most of us can agree without what’s considered “old school wedding insiders” we would have no industry!
Now a days so-called planners are fresh out of highschool with prom planning experience or a giddy former bride that had the not so bright idea to use candy that matched her wedding colors (WOW)! Integrity is a foreign word to most, a second language to some and not in the vocabulary to others-They manipulate the process that has worked for years by over promising and under delivering, telling tall tells and using photos of some other planner/designers event. Even worst they raid Craigslist in hopes of not being flagged offering FREE services. If you’re not making money -Is there a business? What the hell do we do it for!
I can be extremely brutal of the process here in NC -I’m a Brooklyn native, still have my NY accent and I expect more! Until there is a process in place to remind so called vendors that the industry is not for the faint or a place for fools -we’ll continue to have 1 hit wonders and 1 night stands. Anyone remember the Channel 2 Shame on you? We need that for the industry.”
Some ugly and heated exchanges resulting from Steve Lang joining the WWC became unavoidable. Critics of Lang began protesting to respected sources in the wedding industry, crying foul over his acceptance when it was announced. Some feel the platform enables Lang to “spread his propaganda” to an even wider audience than he now holds. eWedNewz continues our investigation into Lang and Mon Cheri that has so far turned up nothing more than a passionate person that loves his family, friends and protects the golden goose that feeds them all.
One of Lang’s critics took his challenge to make a difference in the wedding business seriously. Jon Saltzman, owner of a unique bridal store in Florida, gained acceptance into the invitation only group but could be overwhelmed by his decision. Lang and Saltzman have a deep-rooted history that eWedNewz is investigating, centered around opposing views about the wedding industry. Their differences pit the two against each another but is sparking wild, unabashed discussions and what Saltzman calls “unprofessional behavior” that includes the use of “cuss words” in the Wedding Water Cooler environment.
So far, Lang, the perceived devil incarnate by competitors in the wedding business, acts like the cat that swallowed the canary. Perhaps because his business is growing exponentially Lang finds the current exchanges comical or perhaps he feels Saltzman is doing a fine job of showing his ineptness in arguing point by point discussions when it comes to branding.
Saltzman has reportedly been chased from speaking engagements in several markets including Las Vegas and Chicago for unknown reasons. eWedNewz suspects support for Lang in these arenas. eWedNewz will continue to dig deeper into the story.
Apart from the entertainment factor, Saltzman’s view of non-branded products versus branded– he feels there is no need for branded products in the wedding dress business– is feared harmful to those that follow his logic from wedding experts. WWC members citing Jon’s position say bridal store owners subjected to his point of view could be totally misled, if they totally ignore the power of branding.
Wedding expert/analyst Christine Boulton weighed into the discussions saying, “Many brides set their heart on one specific designer and it defines their vision(and their shopping). I am not saying that the Maggie bride, the Reem bride or the Vera bride can not be sold a private label gown, only that she will select the salons to visit based on whether or not they carry the line she is seeking. That is why branded lines and the advertising that goes with them is so important.
Yes, a savvy, well-trained sales associate may well be able to sell her a private label gown, but she will have found the salon based on the branded merchandise they carry. I store that carries only non-branded merchandise won’t even be on her radar.”
Boulton’s assessment of Saltzman’s myopic view of brands concurs with other respected notables of the group including Jim Duhe, Samantha Goldberg and others. eWedNewz continues to press Saltzman for his expanded view and to answer the question of whether he feels brands are totally irrelevant in all markets, stores and scenarios beyond his own world. In several instances, Saltzman has totally side-stepped direct questions about the importance of brands.
Personally, Saltzman has not been able to get past four-letter words used by this reporter in a style I call my own, posting excerpts of conversations in his own forum with no explanation of what he hopes to do. Such is life for the narrow-minded of the world.
eWedNewz continues to watch the Wedding water Cooler, where plans to turn up the heat even further could burn the place down. Finally the wedding business could get some answers in plain, simple terms instead of passive, polite information used to sell something.
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