The world of weddings is usually a friendly place. Most of the suppliers are small business owners who are very happy to make recommendations to brides. The photographer may well recommend a limousine company or the dressmaker will recommend a florist etc. Wedding planners also tend to have a trusted team of suppliers who they call upon as necessary.
But is there a way to make this informal network a more formal collaboration that can increase business AND boost your profits?
The Wedding Industry Network York thinks so. Sam Lyth from Skeleton Leaf tells us more.
The brain-child of experienced networker, photographer Nikki Bowling, a group of wedding-related business owners have pooled their resources to set up the website www.yorkweddingdeals.co.uk. The site offers brides a one-stop-shop of local suppliers who provide discounts when three or more of the member services have been booked.
In just 6 months there have been around 15 confirmed bookings of 3 or more suppliers on the site. With the wedding fair season in full flow, this is likely to rise quickly.
To support the website all the members have pooled some of their marketing budget to pay for advertising and flyers. These are used by members at wedding fairs, meaning that the businesses are being promoted to brides even if they are not present.
This approach gives much wider market coverage than any of the businesses would be able to afford on their own. They have even become part of the Wedding UK iphone app.
The network consists of 20 wedding-related businesses with only 2 members from each sector. To ensure the quality of the members, each supplier is recommended by another member of the group. The group has made a conscious decision not to allow external advertising on the site and to keep membership exclusive.
In an increasingly competitive market this formal collaborative approach can increase profit and make life easier for both supplier and the brides.
You can follow Skeleton Leaf on Twitter @skeletonleafjtl
All photographs © Nikki Bowling Photography