Episode 371 REVISIT: CECI JOHNSON – Designing Stationery, Lifestyle and Business

This episode features Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York. We have the privilege to listen to how Ceci built her business from the ground up. Ceci of New York is an artist and designer of not only invitations and stationery but art and branding materials as well. Ceci tells stories of her client’s life in her design of invitations and stationery, and about being in the business of happiness.

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Episode 370 MERYL SNOW: Selling Strategies and How They’ve Changed Within Today’s Market

Andy’s friend Meryl Snow of Snowstorm Solutions returns in this episode of the podcast for a great conversation about selling strategies! Meryl is very well known in the event wedding catering space as the co-founder of Philly-based special event and catering industry Feastivities Events along with its subsidiaries OffShoots Decor and Philadelphia’s Picnic Company. A consultant, trainer, speaker, event producer, and designer, Meryl runs Think Tank workshops and travels around the United States training event professionals on sales related strategies.

Meryl is here today to discuss selling strategies we can all use, especially now that we are finally returning to business nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. She enthuses over the importance of personal connection and relationships in today’s market especially with the influence of the pandemic. She strongly emphasizes how crucial it is for salespeople to ask probing and open-ended questions of prospective clients so that they know and understand who they are and what they truly want. She also discusses at length the difference between features and benefits and how benefits will vary customer to customer.

Andy strongly encourages listeners to go back and listen to episodes 164 and 172 of The Wedding Biz to hear Meryl’s previous guest spots on the podcast. He really appreciates the time that Meryl spent on this conversation with him because all of us in the industry can benefit from her insight and tips. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode, and if you can think of at least three good friends who would benefit from listening to the podcast, share it with them! Andy would also appreciate a positive review wherever you listen to the podcast!

Have you heard about the brand new show on The Wedding Biz Network, Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[0:43] – We discover that Meryl Snow is returning as a guest in this episode of the podcast.

[2:01] – Meryl and Andy discuss selling strategies and how they have changed, such as how people need to sell themselves before selling their products.

[3:45] – Meryl stresses the importance of personal connection.

[5:51] – Successful sellers, Meryl asserts, know how to ask the right kind of questions.

[7:28] – Meryl reveals a couple of examples of questions that would be good to ask.

[10:11] – Meryl warns us about a question that we shouldn’t ask and explains why.

[11:19] – Meryl addresses price and how she determines whether or not her price is someone’s dealbreaker.

[14:07] – Meryl discloses how she goes about determining whether or not a prospective client can afford her services.

[16:06] – We discover that Meryl tries to get the client’s influencer into a meeting along with the client, and we learn why.

[19:00] – Meryl explains and exemplifies the difference between features and benefits.

[20:15] – Meryl shares a story that gives an example of benefits.

[22:14] – Meryl gives another example of benefits from a scene from a movie.

[25:35] – Andy and Meryl talk about selling virtually and the importance of body language.

[28:21] – Andy reveals where we can find Meryl online.

 

RESOURCES

The Wedding Biz – Episode 164 MERYL SNOW: Maximizing Sales, Consulting, And Feastivities Events

The Wedding Biz – Episode 172 MERYL SNOW: Part 2 Setting Yourself Apart In Life And Business.


Find Meryl:
Meryl’s Website
SnowStorm Solutions – Facebook Page
Meryl’s Facebook Page
Meryl’s Instagram Page
Feastivities Events – Website
OffShoots Decor – Website
Philadelphia’s Picnic Company – Website

 

On Clubhouse, follow Andy @andykushner and join his club “The Wedding Biz” to get additional content and to get direct access to Andy.

 

Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Support The Wedding Biz by clicking here.

 

Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment.

 

Episode 369 REVISIT: RON BEN-ISRAEL – Answering the Call of Creativity with Couture Cakes

To Ron Ben-Israel, a cake is far more than a cake. It’s equal to a performance. And if anyone knows about performance, it’s surprisingly the master of couture celebration cakes.

After graduating college with a Fine Arts degree, Ron saw the world through two distinct lenses: the Israeli military, and a ballet company he joined after serving in his early 20’s. He traveled around the world, performing with two companies over nearly 15 years before finding himself in New York City and wanting to make a career transition. This is where he began to discover his talent for baking.

From never having baked a professional cake to founding Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, Ron shares the path and experiences that got him there. His practical and disciplined approach to growth illustrates the level of passion, dedication, and humble learning that successful pastry chefs possess.

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Episode 368 JOSE VILLA & LAURIE ARONS – Discuss Working Together As Photographer & Planner/Designer and More!

Andy chats with two guests in this episode of The Wedding Biz, both of whom have been featured on the podcast multiple times in the past. Laurie Arons is a planner and designer of Laurie Arons Special Events and has been featured in numerous magazine publications and has been listed in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Martha Stewart Weddings as one of the top worldwide planners. Her clientele is made up of trendsetters such as Sophia Coppola, Vanessa Getty, and Christy Turlington as well as prominent business moguls like Gary Friedman, Frank Caufield, and Eddie DeBartolo. Laurie has also created and runs a very successful wedding planner master class.

Also joining Andy is Jose Villa, a fine art photographer who is considered by many to be the top event photographer in the world. He has been published in numerous magazines and was named one of the top wedding photographers by Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper’s Bazaar, Style Me Pretty, and Vogue. He was also named one of the top ten photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine and was named one of the most influential photographers of the decade. Jose, in addition, runs workshops and authored the book Fine Art Wedding Photography.

Laurie and Jose have been working together for nearly a decade, and they each elaborate upon what it’s like working with the other. Laurie describes her business as live theatre only not with actors, a feeling which gives her butterflies because she puts a lot of thought into it. They also discuss at length how they address unexpected obstacles such as challenging weather, what’s important to them as far as the guest experience is concerned, what they look for in a good venue, and what they are seeing happening currently in their business now that we are (hopefully) nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andy had such a fun time talking to Laurie and Jose again – especially at the same time – and encourages you to go back and listen to their previous episodes of the podcast by going to The Wedding Biz’s website and typing in their names in the search bar. Be sure to also subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode, and if you can think of at least three good friends who would benefit from listening to the podcast, share it with them! Andy would also appreciate a positive review wherever you listen to the podcast!

Have you heard about the brand new show on The Wedding Biz Network, Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.

 

SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ

Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

 

Time Stamps

[1:42] – Andy reveals this episode’s two guests – Jose Villa and Laurie Arons – and gives their credentials.

[3:44] – Jose reveals that location and communication are some of the key elements for a successful collaboration with a designer.

[4:36] – We learn that Laurie considers a lot of photography experience as well as commitment to be very important when working with a photographer.

[6:13] – Laurie and Jose talk about their collaborative process together, and Jose reflects on the stressful aspects of his job.

[9:12] – Laurie explains how she tries to keep Jose as informed of details as possible.

[12:03] – Laurie reflects a little on the difficulty of obstacles such as the bride wanting her hair redone and how that negatively impacts a set schedule.

[13:46] – We hear examples of how weather can negatively impact events.

[16:52] – Laurie and Jose share what’s important to them in relation to the guest experience.

[18:24] – Laurie and Jose describe a very long wooden pathway that Laurie was involved in making for a particular client.

[20:30] – Laurie discusses venues and what makes a good venue for her.

[23:25] – From a photographer’s perspective, Jose expounds upon what makes a good venue for him.

[25:47] – Jose talks about the importance of a venue eliciting a certain mood.

[27:16] – Jose and Laurie reveal what they are currently seeing in the business now that we are approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[29:29] – Andy explains how to go about finding Laurie and Jose on previous episodes of the podcast.

 

RESOURCES

The Wedding Biz – “Top 10 Event Luminary Tips for Dealing with Stress”

Laurie’s Previous Guest Spots on The Wedding Biz

Jose’s Previous Guest Spots on The Wedding Biz

Jose Villa – Fine Art Wedding Photography: How to Capture Images with Style for the Modern Bride

 

Find Laurie:

Laurie Arons Special Events – Website

Laurie Arons Special Events’ Facebook Page

Laurie’s Instagram Page

Laurie’s Twitter Page

 

Find Jose:

Jose’s Website

Jose’s Blog

Jose’s Facebook Page

Jose’s Instagram Page

Jose’s Twitter Page

 

On Clubhouse, follow Andy @andykushner and join his club “The Wedding Biz” to get additional content and to get direct access to Andy.

 

Follow The Wedding Biz on Social:

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz on Facebook: @theweddingbiz

The Wedding Biz Network

The Music Makers

 

Episode 367 REVISIT: TARA GUERARD – Wedding Designer with a Southern Flair

Southern charm and Tara Guérard are synonymous with each other. Add weddings to the mix, and you’ve got one of the most highly respected wedding designers in the business. Tara’s business, Tara Guérard Soirée, began 20 years ago when she discovered her love for design, creativity, and of course, planning parties! Her design aesthetic and passion for her work has led her to being a top tier designer with offices in Charleston, South Carolina and New York City.

Tara is also the owner of The Lettered Olive, a company that focuses on designing immaculate one-of-a-kind wedding invitations, save the dates, and more, has also published two books with a third on the way, and is a mother of 3 young children. She wears a lot of hats, and to no surprise, wears them all very well!

Andy and Tara dive into how she got started in her career and how much has changed in the industry since she started her business. The two also chat about how she brings clients her southern flair, what it’s like raising three children under ten while also running a business, and Tara’s popular YouTube channel Tara Guérard’s Life’s a Party. The full interview is available now, only on The Wedding Biz!

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