Chinese story Sparks Discussion

By Paul Pannone

A poignant story about Chinese manufacturers  sidestepping their American partners touched off a firestorm of discussions both privately and public everywhere on  the internet. The story reached far beyond the wedding business and into other industries affected by the ongoing assault of foreign intervention who’ve decided they are ready to step out from behind the curtain and from the shackles of their American partners.

Chaging_Face_Of_AmericaThe changing look of America

eWedNewz sources recall Chinese manufacturers coming to the United States in the early 1970′s to  study how production lines efficiently made decent-quality garments at affordable prices that could be mass-marketed. Trade agreements  started by historic trips by President Nixon .But it was never explained to the people of the United states the jobs and benefits would be disproportionately given to the Chinese, leaving the once-great American economy built on manufacturing in shambles. Of course these were not the original intentions. But who can deny that’s not the way it’s gone?

According to a piece by the UCLA International Institute

Richard Solomon, president of the United States Institute of Peace, concluded by saying g the current China-US relationship is “strategically ambiguous” in his keynote speech. The two countries have different interests in international affairs like the Taiwan issue. However, they have shared concerns, such as creating jobs.

 

According to eWedNewz sources:

“We basically taught them how to manufacture efficiently and they used their cheap labor to create products  at lower cost to help both countries. But as business owners increased competition among themselves, they abandoned  American companies (and workers) shifting more production to China (and other places) leaving skilled American Citizens with no place left to work. Factories closed and entire industries dried up, taking jobs along with them. What good are cheap products if no one can afford them?”

eWedNewz continues our investigation talking with business owners who support the idea of how China is soliciting business directly, sans their American partners. Some admit:

“A few years ago I would not have considered doing business with them. Today, I am looking at samples and will give it some serious thought,” say sources who are not ready to cut ties with American suppliers.

But for how long? U.S manufacturing sources with production in China report:

“The people working in the factories (In China) are aware of their importance on the american economy. Slowly, they want to raise their own standard of living to meet the lifestyle of relatives already living in America.”

According to a 2012 report:

“For the first time, the influx of Asians moving to the U.S. has surpassed that of Hispanics,”

Sources aware of the events on both sides of the world feel the political landscape will continue to favor the East and give every benefit allowed to them– at the cost of the people of the United states.

 

Thoughts?

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2014

 

 

Chinese Manufactures Get More Aggressive; Sidestep American “partners”

By Paul Pannone

2014 get’s out of the gate aggressively, especially among top-rated companies positioned to overtake weaker competition and gain ground in the market. In nearly all facets of business manufacturing partners whose role was to  stay behind the scenes and follow their American front-men are rethinking the strategy, especially since the orders to fill factories that expanded in better economic times did not keep workers working or machinery running.

The economic downturn in America since 2008 has left Chinese partners disillusioned and no longer listening to the empty words made by American executives who’ve run out of promises and are unable to deliver orders.

US_ChinaOne nation– under Mao

eWedNewz is watching as leading business thinkers abandon or at least curtail total dependency on  the American market and focus on global opportunities, knowing they will soon be stepped over– not if but when– foreign manufactures set up systems to supply the american market with goods and services directly with the aid of Americans .

An ongoing eWedNewz poll shows a majority of Americans would support domestically made products– if they existed. But the harsh reality is they don’t. Manufacturing that shifted offshore through the 1990′s and 200′s is not coming back to America anytime soon. But discussions with foreign manufacturers– Chinese– say they’re aware of the bad publicity their products have received over the years. Changes to make safer, more quality products are said to be on the way. With the changes the need for an extra layer of overhead is being stripped away. Look for direct marketing and American representatives to rep foreign improved products and stand behind them as a growing trend in the next few years.

eWedNewz continues our investigation and welcomes your thoughts.

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2014

They’re now engaged; are you ready?

By Paul Pannone

According to The Knot December is the most popular month for couples to get engaged (16%). With the crush of engagements done brides will be herding towards cheesy wedding shows, it’s just a fact of life. In my career I’ve seen good but I’ve seen mostly bad vendors and displays. In the old days, pre-internet and Social media, bridal shows were the only way to efficiently vet vendors and find the one for you. Today a quick post on your Facebook Wall or even a tweet will get you the answers you seek.

Mon Cheri Bridals featured on My Fair WeddingWe’re watching the fizzling use of static websites and whiz-bang apps to plan weddings. Couples today are using common sense, aided by guidance from trusted friends on Social media to plan their wedding day. 

2013 was a transitional year for weddings from both the consumer and vendor perspective. There are no more secrets or dubious checks and results from Better business Bureaus who, in the past, overlooked bad performance and behavior from paying vendors who supported the organization. We’ve even surpassed  wedding websites that are now suspect of similar activity. We won’t bore you with the latest details– we will simply dismiss them as passe’. But you can check out what Dorinda Duclos is saying about Wedding Wire.

“Brides are smarter these days like never before. It’s rare that any of them will really get taken for a ride. Not with good resources available and many more checkpoints that will prohibit them from making a bad vendor choice,” according to Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide Magazine & the wedding Water Cooler Group.

There’s no doubt with a much more informed bride and unquestionable resources, wedding vendors must step up their game or get lost in a sea of also-ran competitors.

 

 

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2013

Uptick in Wedding Scams

 

By Paul Pannone

2013 is reported to be a soft year for weddings by many sources for many reasons. The top reasons involve the current and languishing economic crunch that started in 2008. Signs of rebounding in housing and financial outlook in retail and on Wall Street should signal brighter days ahead– but not for weddings. Cultural changes and how domestic life is viewed by a new generation of couples resists the bliss of domestic life.

But with the shrinkage of traditional weddings and everything associated with them there is no shortage of the scams being pulled off on brides and now wedding vendors. eWedNewz has been following wedding scams since our inception. The biggest to date was in 2010 when a bridal show was marketed, booked, sold to vendors and brides  but never happened. Discussions with major bridal show producers including Bill Heaton of Great Bridal Expo warned of the less than honorable people in the wedding business. Fast-forward to 2013 and we see how little has really changed.

1336362362_atlanticcity1 (1)

John Donovan the Party Percussionist comes from Long Island, New York where he says he’s seen all types of scams throughout his career.

 

According to information delivered to this newZ source by Donovan:

BRIDAL SCAM BEWARE:

Hey guys okay some of you are aware there is a “new” promoter making her way around the country and it appears there is serious deception going on. I know she has caused significant confusion in the Philly and Delaware markets, and now she has moved into Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, NY, NJ. She will often use your show name or a version of it, book dates the same day as you, or the day before then say she has a date and sell in vendors, then move or cancel the show and keep the vendor money.A promoter in Texas has started this site to try to inform the public:
www.bridalexposcam.com This site is serving as a clearing house for all suspicious activity. Anyone with knowledge of her deceiving vendors, venues, engaging in bait and switch tactics should alert us. This activity is crossing numerous states.This person we are watching has MULTIPLE aliases, emails, and phone numbers.

She goes by:ANN WHITE,SHEILA WHITE,LIA JOHNSON. Company names vary as well; SiEnt, Exposition Inc. Its pretty bad. A short search of her phone number or email or name will send you in multiple directions to multiple websites, Facebook, linkedin, etc and make your head spin. No one has ever seen her nor knows where she resides. She does NOT attend the shows she produces but apparently hired local workers on Craig’s list and does not pay them. Here is a warning from BBB http://northalabama.bbb.org/article/bbb-alert-womens-expo-and-expositions-and-festivals-27740 . Here is a news story with a possible mug shot http://whnt.com/2011/07/22/womens-expo-exposed-a-whnt-news-19-taking-action-follow-up-3/. Local authorities would like to track her down, however no one is clear where she is; A recent search of two addresses she gave here in Philly were:2325 Academy Rd Philadelphia WHICH IS A SCHOOL. 1001 Eagle Road Wayne Pa WHICH IS A JUDO STUDIO. We are looking for stories that may help as this situation is very upsetting for obvious reasons.
Anyone hear anything yet on her?

Sincere Thanks,John Donovan the Party Percussionist

On a side note some recent negative publicity about the wedding business was discussed with members of the industry who tried to defend the business saying not every wedding vendors are crooks.  Of course not every wedding business owner is a total fraud but there is no disputing there are bad along with the good. Finding the right reputable, honest ones could be a growing challenge.

Ironically, this newZ source is being contacted by known frauds who purport to be defenders of the industry and advocates against criminal activity. eWedNewz is after the path of some of the worst offenders and awaiting legal action against some. We will bring you the story, once we gather more information.

65% of and ongoing poll that asks Do you think the wedding industry is crooked? says there is good and bad, like all else in the world. 19% says no, 13% feels yes the wedding industry is crooked and 2% are undecided. What do you say?

Do you think the wedding industry is crooked?

 

eWedNewz welcomes your thoughts and will continue to investigate all parts of this story.

 

 

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2013

The Week of December 9th in Review

Week_in_Review_Holiday

 

 

By Paul Pannone

The Queen of Wedding mean, Martha Stewart, made Scrooge seem like a philanthropist firing between 70 and 100 workers just weeks before the holidays. eWedNewz has been following the story since 2011, continuing our investigation into how the media company shifts away from total dependency on print, towards digital. Apart from the criticism of the timing, some business-minded readers say they understand the cutbacks in the quest to stay profitable. But everyone agrees the cutbacks could have come way before or after the holidays.

Other moves at the company suggest deep cutbacks in print, including a possible closure of the Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.  Sources near the story claim the move of company favorite, Amy Wilkins to a more general category signals more than just shifting an employee around.

What other newZ is happening in the wedding business? Nothing.

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2013

Is Martha Stewart Weddings getting Set Up to be shut Down?

By Paul Pannone

As the firing of staff and cutbacks at Martha Stewart’s Ominivision (MSO) continues eWedNewz looks closer at reports of what could be happening in the wedding side of the MSO company. Originally thought that 100 people will be out of work for the holidays an ongoing investigation says the number is closer to 75. Sources familiar to the story told ewedNewz to watch the movement at Martha Stewart Weddings.

MSWIs getting out of weddings a good thing? We shall see.

“Amy Wilkins is a favorite at MSO and has been moved to higher, safer ground within the company,” according to sources near the story.

Ms. Wilkins joined MSLO in February 2007,  is well-liked and talented enough to have ducked the most recent round of layoffs but was in a more precarious position at Weddings, as the general wedding category remains challenged going into the new year.

In December, 2011, eWedNewz reported MSO sold their stake in Wedding Wire for a hefty profit to focus on their own internal programs to offer their wedding advertisers. But now with the growing popularity of Social Media and decline in general interest of traditional everything– including weddings and advertising– sources feel any wedding property could be less profitable in the next few years and not a good place to be, if the trend continues.

In a separate, ongoing investigation, eWedNewz continues to watch the departure of wedding professionals in all facets of the business. Most recent, unconfirmed information suggests 2013 was not a good year for the wedding business due to superstitious reasons connected with the year. Some marginal business owners say they’re bookings are up already in 2014 when compared to the soft 2013 season, deciding to stick around for one more go-around.

Some told eWedNewz they’d hate to miss the beginning of a turnaround, now that they’ve outlasted their competition who’ve already packed it in.

In yet another separate story we’re watching top wedding publications embroiled in a race to the bottom are offering rates that are reportedly at a loss in trying to starve the competition. Major advertisers are lured from one magazine to the other by predatory pricing shifting significant advertising schedules from one book to the next. The competition is welcomed by advertisers who say they hope it lasts but are aware that if any of them fold, they will be at the mercy of those who stay.

In the more general category at Martha Stewart sources say sale of pages at Martha Stewart Living are strong and show increase in a difficult print environment. The move of Wilkins to the more general category and away from weddings is a good move, according to sources “In case a move to shutter more wedding-related services becomes necessary.”

“At the heart of any standard move of this nature is to staff the company with the greatest, most productive talent while minimizing waste and redundancies within the company”, according to our sources.

eWedNewz continues all of our story investigations and welcomes your thoughts. Please join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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2013

Happy Holidays; You’re Fired | Martha Stewart drops 75 Employees before the holidays

By Paul Pannone

The cutbacks continue at Martha Stewart as the media company slashed another 100 workers (about 20% of it staff of 500) just before the holidays. eWedNewz has been watching the movement for several years  and spoke to sources at the company who said in 2012 they would continue their efforts to be profitable and stop the bleeding in two of three of the media company’s divisions. Of  the firm’s publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising divisions merchandising was the only one that’s managed to stay viable over the past decade, dragged down by losses at the other two.

Declines are linked to lower demand of traditional methods of advertising, including print. The greater use of the internet and digital methods used by companies continues to become popular.

Sources at the company we spoke several years ago declined to answer our questions on whether MSO was up for sale. The company remains heavily leveraged on Stewart herself and has remained as part of the integral operation of the company.

In 2004 Stewart was sent to jail for five months and served  two years for lying to investigators about her participation and  sale of ImClone Systems stock in late 2001. But Stewart has managed to survive at the company she founded and leads the turnaround attempts that seem heartless to some but not investors who keep the pressure on in order to show growth and return on their investments.

MSOSale and value of MSO stock has declined and remained low after the Media Diva’s 2004 vacation as a guest of the government. Despite attempts to return to greatness stock price and a tarnished history at MSO remains a constant.

5_Day_MSOIn this week’s trading news of the 20% cutback in staff at MSO sent stock prices a bit higher. Far from the glory days, Stewart and company leader’s work is far from over.

In all media coverage there was no specific mention of Martha Stewart Weddings.  However, like all print publications under extreme and growing scrutiny every one of them must outperform their competitors and grow in a shrinking traditional wedding environment. As if that is not hard enough magazines must outrun the instant and relentless use of digital formats or face extinction.

 

 

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2013

The Week of November 11th in Review

eWedNewz Week in Review

 

By Paul Pannone

The top story for the week of November 11th, 2013  involves David’s Bridal cutting full-time hourly workers to part-time status in order to skirt mandates under the affordable Health Care reform, often referred to as Obama Care. Sources near the story tried to dispute ewedNewz reports but  a whistle-blower named Kay Williams who works at the Glen Burnie, Maryland David’s Bridal store pointed the finger of truth at David’s and dispelled claims of inaccuracy by David’s Bridal management. Sources who originally wrote to dispute the reports called to say the reports are indeed  correct, according to people inside David’s Bridal.

In other top newZ Jennifer Lazarus of Bridal Guide magazine was honored last month as part of the FOLIO 100—the awards ceremony saluting the most influential media professionals of the year.

The wedding business continues to adjust itself to the shrinking market, shedding jobs and raising awareness to the changes. Self-proclaimed Wedding experts and sources who gather data and information about the business find it increasing difficult to sell to wedding vendors who have changed their  business to connect with brides and grooms through social media and dumping hokey gimmicks.

 

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2013

David’s Bridal Quietly Grumbles Foul Over Negative Press

By Paul Pannone

Overnight sources unofficially say management at David’s Bridal dispute reports surrounding their employees but would not elaborate. The reports came before a Whistle Blower worker in their Glen Burnie, Maryland store called them out, risking her job. Ongoing communication with the source and other workers stand by the story. Attempts to contact a high-level decision-makers at Davids will be ramped up.

Davids_Bridal

 

 

 

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2013

eWedNewz Exclusive: David’s Bridal Employee Risks all to Tell truth

By Paul Pannone

 

An explosive story about David’s Bridal decision to downgrade over 2,500 full-time employees in 300 stores to part-time status in order to skirt mandates implemented by the new rules of the Affordable Healthcare act drew many comments from those affected.  But so-far only one gave her permission to be quoted.

Davids_MDThe David’s Bridal location in Glen Burnie, Md, is said to be one of the biggest in the David’s Bridal chain.

41 year-old Kay Williams who works at the Glen Burnie, Maryland David’s Bridal store, said she’s probably risking her position by talking to us but feels strongly enough about what’s happening to call David’s Bridal out.

“I would like the truth about David’s to be heard. This can’t be ignored. I may fired because of the story, but its time for the truth,” said Williams.

In an ongoing eWedNewz exclusive, ongoing interviews with David’s Bridal employees who  not only won’t receive health insurance benefits but are being forced to work less hours. All say they are worried about how they’re going to make ends meet. Nearly all say they blame the Obama administration for the company’s reaction to the new law. But our communication with Williams say’s  there is a bigger story above her own position at David’s to tell.

“Please focus on the truth, not me.This is an important movement towards justice for employees all over the USA,” she told eWedNewz.

According to Williams the store in Maryland is one of the biggest in the David’s chain and is well-known in the region it services. According to other interviews with David’s people say compensation was never  great but it paid the bills. Many are fearful of the notification from the company that makes clear the move to cut hours to under 30 per week is non-negotiable.

eWedNewz asked Williams about her current status and what her plans in the future may be:

“I am graduating this Spring from graduate school with my Masters. To add, I work another full-time job. Therefore, I am not as affected by David’s decision. However, it has been hard for my coworkers. For instance, one of my coworker is expecting her first child and will  have no insurance at the end of the month. Another good friend and coworker is supporting her husband through his cancer treatment without benefits and half her pay.

They may be afraid to speak out about the cold and calculated plan from the Executives, but I am not!
I have to work until the 24 of this month in order to receive a packet they calculated from a graph that the employees don’t have excess to look over to check the numbers.
Wow, if this is business than maybe we should all move from the promise land,” says Williams.

All those interviewed except Williams would not agree to be directly quoted but say they plan to give periodic updates to this newZ source.

Attempts to reach the management at David’s Bridal is ongoing.

eWedNewz

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2013