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The Simple Plan – Seattle – February 2-3, 2015

Friends! We are heading back to where it all started… SEATTLE!

TSP-SEATTLEFor those of you who don’t know, Kelly and I met in Seattle in 2006. We had a great connection from the get-go. (I think our nerdy business-selves felt a match.) From there on, we would get together every month to work on our individual business plans. YES, people, we really do believe in business plan collaboration as the funnest(!) way to write a business plan. In 2007, we co-founded Get Hitched Give Hope with 4 other lovely ladies. (The 6th GHGH is this Thursday!)

And, in November 2009, we held our very first The Simple Plan workshop as part of Sage Wedding Pros in Seattle!

So, we are heading back to Seattle this February 2-3, 2015 and we invite all of you to join us in this lovely city. (People – the coffee really is amazing there.)

The Simple Plan is our 2-day workshop where we guide wedding pros through the writing of their business plans. (You will walk out of the workshop with a written plan in hand.) Our goal is to give you a solid foundation for success in:

– your business’s over-arching vision
– your marketing strategy
– your operational strategy
– your financial strategy
Business planning is goal-setting at its best… for wedding pros, at every stage of their business. (Goal-setting never ends.)

The Simple Plan Workshop
Easy-peasy Business Planning
Feb 2-3, 2015
Seattle, WA

Learn more and register for the workshop by clicking here.

Watch this lovely little video to see us in action:

Sage Wedding Pros – The Simple Plan from Bella Films {Beth Oslander} on Vimeo.

We are thrilled to have 2 fabulous partners for The Simple Plan Seattle:

sponsored by

hosted by

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Toss The Bouquet Event in Chicago

I am thrilled to be one of the speakers at Toss the Bouquet in Chicago on November 24, 2014!  Toss the Bouquet offers professionals in the wedding and event industry an opportunity to come together to educate their minds, exchange ideas, and elevate their businesses. I will be speaking on “Marrying Your Ideal Client with Your Niche and Pricing” – cannot wait to be surrounded by amazing wedding pros who are committed to furthering their education and networking!  To register, visit www.ttb2014.eventbrite.com and enter SAGE15 to receive $15 off (expires 10/31/14).  See below for more info and the other speakers I am honored to be sharing the stage with…Toss the Bouquet

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Industry Gossip – How to Deal with “Meanies”

Let’s talk about gossip.

UGH. I’m kinda bummed about having this conversation with you. No one likes gossip… and yet it happens in most markets in our industry. So, let’s just get it out there. Gossip sucks.

GossipSo – what do we do when you are the object of other people’s gossip? (Or – you think you are. You’re not quite sure… but it seems like people say bad things about you.) Maybe it’s because you’re new. Maybe it’s because you’re really good at what you do and people are envious. Maybe it’s because you do things different. Whatever the reason, it sure does SUCK to be at the other end of gossip.

I have 3 pieces of advice if you find yourself in this situation. (By the way, it’s the SAME advice I give my 7 year old when dealing with playground negotiations… the little girl that I want to be a strong confident person in this world faces the same challenges you face.)

Life is hard. But, we’ve got to plow through, instead of being victims of circumstances.

3 Pieces of Advice for Dealing with “Meanies”:

1.) Not everyone will like you.

OK – let’s be honest… do you like everyone you meet? I don’t. I’m just being honest here. I’m not a mean person. But, I don’t love everyone. I’m nice and respectful to EVERYONE. But not everyone is my friend. And, that’s a good thing. Friends are special to me.

If you look into your heart… you probably don’t like every single person you meet.

So – why do you expect everyone to like you? I know that’s a weird thing to say. We ALL want to be liked. BUT – really – why? It’s OK to not be liked. What matters is that the people that we like, like us back. More important: it’s important that the people we lovelove us back. Those people are usually outside of our work bubble. They are our family and friends.

So – who cares? A few people don’t like you. You’re spending too much time worrying about those who don’t like you. The fun in life is thinking about the people who DO like you – and that you like back.

2.) If it’s not true, then who cares.

If gossip and rumors are circulating… and what people are saying is untrue, then… who cares? Am I right or am I right? If it’s a lie, then why are we giving so much attention to it? Why does it matter? (I know – this is so much harder to live by.) I know that we worry about how affects our overall image. We don’t want those rumors to be out there because it tarnishes our reputation. That is REALLY HARD. But, it’s REALLY REALLY important to ignore it and move on. Otherwise, it will drain you, it will impact you… and your business will suffer on account of this consuming so much of your energy.

3.) You choose how you feel about something.

You can’t control what someone thinks or says about you. You CAN control how you react. You CAN control how you feel. How will you choose to feel about these things? You can choose misery. Or, you can choose to focus on something else. You can DECIDE to NOT let it get to you. That is a choice. No one can MAKE you feel anything that you don’t want to feel. YOU CHOOSE how you feel.

(They have to go to bed at night with an unhealthy conscience, by the way. NOT YOU.)


I know this seems like oversimplified solutions to something that can be very painful. I really don’t want to downplay what you might go through when people are mean in your segment of the market or in your city/town. BUT – I also want you to see beyond it. This is how you start to grow, how you become more confident… how you focus on the bigger and better things.

What do you think? What is your advice for people who have to deal with negative gossip, or mean people?

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Branding Case Study: Leslie Vega Design & Goldenberry Paper

From time to time we invite one of our Sage Branding Specialists to share some of their “before and after” design work with us.  By learning from these case studies you’ll be better able to see branding identity go through an evolution, gain strength, and come to life.

LeslieVega1I’m excited to share today’s branding case study with you! I worked with Brittany Warren, owner of Goldenberry Paper, about 2 years ago at the upstart of her business. (We did business planning together and I helped her put the bones of the business in place.) In the last year, Brittany partnered with one of our branding specialists, Leslie Vega, to put a face on her new company with some branding identity. What a beautiful representation of this stationery company! I love when stationers, who design for others each day, reach out to professionals for their own branding. (A surgeon wouldn’t operate on herself would she?!)

Here, Leslie shares her thoughts…

Before the redesign…

Brittany’s stationery work is gorgeous, so when she approached me about her brand re-design, I knew we could definitely polish up her image to match the style of her classic, southern inspired work. We knew we needed to go in a more classic, sophisticated direction with a softer presence and I was excited to make it happen for her.Print



The Company’s mission, values…

I believe branding is so much more than pretty fonts and lovely colors. So before starting the design process, we explored Brittany’s ideal client: Who she is, what her core values are and what’s important to her. Brittany’s client is the traditional bride with friendly southern roots who cares more about her guests’ experience than the current trends. She’s casual but carries herself with a sophisticated classic style.

Brittany’s design style is classic with a touch of modern but always has tradition in mind. And with this same value of tradition, she reverts to her southern roots to make sure each client is so pleased with their experience.

With these aesthetics in mind, I wanted to create a brand that reflected that casual simplicity with classic touches of tradition.


After the Redesign…

Brittany was such an ideal client. She knew what she was looking for but trusted me as her designer to run with the creative process. I was so pleased with the results of her brand. It embodies Brittany’s pretty, classic and southern style so beautifully.

GoldenberryPaper_Branding_WebDesign_LeslieVegaDesign2Brittany shares her thoughts…

My experience with Leslie was fantastic!  From the beginning, I envisioned a beautiful, crisp and clean brand for my business.  After reviewing Leslie’s work, I knew she was the perfect fit for me.  From my initial introductory email all the way to receiving the completed branding files, she was very responsive, thorough and easy to work with.  Even though we never met in person, Leslie blew me away with how well she executed my vision for this re-brand.  It’s a big decision and investment to consider hiring someone to do your branding, however, from my experience it was very much worth it!

Thanks for sharing with us, ladies!

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September 23, 2014 - 9:59 am

Amanda Ready - Lovely update! Looks much higher end! :)

September 23, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Brittany - Thanks so much Michelle and Leslie for the feature, you both are a dream to work with!

September 25, 2014 - 8:01 am

Lisa - I Absolutely Love it! Now I am considering hiring someone to assist me with re-branding when the time comes.

September 26, 2014 - 3:55 am

Michelle Loretta - Leslie did such a gorgeous job!

September 26, 2014 - 3:55 am

Michelle Loretta - ahhhh… thanks Brittany!

September 26, 2014 - 3:55 am

Michelle Loretta - Isn’t it gorgeous!!!?!!?!?! LOVE IT!

Do You Have Conviction?

This is something I’ve noticed in the 17 years since I graduated college: people who are good at selling have confidence, conviction, and unwavering belief in what they are selling.

In our industry… as much as you want to believe that you are selling flowers, or photography, or lighting, or paper… at the end of the day, the client is choosing YOU. Do you have unwavering belief in yourself and what you do? Do you have have conviction?

This American Life is one of my favorite podcasts (radio shows)… a couple weeks ago they broadcast a show on this topic: It’s Not the Product, It’s the Person. The first 2 segments are my favorite. In the first story, a little girl sells 25c lollipops for $1. (“A 300% profit!” she exclaims.) People buy from her because they are buying into her. In the 2nd segment, a budding entrepreneur pitches his business idea to a venture capitalist for funding… and FLOPS. It’s a great piece in which you can hear how completely unconvincing he is in his presentation.

What do you think? Do you have unwavering belief in what you do? How do you work on this? Share in a comment below.

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September 19, 2014 - 5:56 am

Niccole Dreiling - I’m a social entrepreneur, a GenX woman distracted, disturbed by the ignorance and passing by of the serious fundamental needs and rights of living human beings in this country, first and foremost, and world.
I do not wish to be rich, but with no money to invest, with no campaigns for investors (currently) and after conquering a lifetime with major trauma and loss woven throughout, I’m still standing, grateful for what little I have and he’ll vent on utilizing every skill, connection and ability – right here, right now, to firm a social enterprise with no bounds. I’m developing my own site, I’m designing my own cards, with the power of intention, absolute conviction in every action I take, and Faith in all I do, the “right” people continue to enter my life and this will be a beautiful thing. The programs planned will allow all aspiring (as well as engaged, operating & achieved), entrepreneurs & StartUps to work together to lift each other, another is focused on “health” in sports, and not just physical or mental but financial discipline and education, legal representation and long term stability, and there much more!!!

So wish me success, as I do for you.

Ab Imo Pectore !
Niccole Dreiling

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