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Be Sage Conference – Recap of Day 1

Earlier this month we put on the first Be Sage Conference and it was a huge hit! This conference was created for experienced wedding professionals who are looking for ‘next level’ education. It is our mission to provide valuable in-depth learning where people walk away with actual ‘how to’s’ that they are able to implement. (If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .)BeSage1The following is our recap of Day 1… come back tomorrow to see Day 2 (where we learned about licensing, selling a business, and getting publicity.)

We began the conference with a Meeting of the Minds. I shared the inspirational story of Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famous sushi master, and asked participants to push themselves to continue learning. As part of our launch we wanted to give attendees the opportunity to get all their dreams, goals, aspirations out of their mind and onto paper. Collaboration is a big part of Be Sage Conference… we had attendees share their ‘big ideas’.


Xochitl Gonzalez and Mayra Castillo of AaB Creates (formerly Always a Bridesmaid) led us in a discussion on How to Evolve Your Brand. These smart ladies shared how they have changed their business in the course of the last 10 years. They talked about how they went from doing 45 weddings per year to 4 weddings per year. They also shared how they separated their day-of wedding coordination business (Just About Married) from their full planning and design (Aab Creates). They led attendees through a series of exercises to help them plan the evolution and next stages of their businesses.


Kelly and I believe that it’s SUPER important to learn from leaders outside of the wedding industry. Jane Park, CEO of Julep Beauty, shared with us her secrets on How to Utilize Social Media for Market Research.  She taught attendees how to use google adwords, facebook, twitter, and other social media to test new ideas before launching them. (Julep also shared some of their fabulous beauty kits with our attendees!)BeSage4

Our final talk on Day 1 was presented by Alison Howard, Director of Education for Wedding & Event Institute. She led a talk on How to Utilize Video for Marketing. Alison shared step-by-step how she got started doing video and how it’s changed her business. She talked about the basic tools we need and how to get better quality video with some sneaky little tips. Youtube is the 2nd most searched engine (after google)… you need to be doing video!


Read our recap of Day 2 here! If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .

Here are a few other recaps from around the globe:

Run Your Business to Sell It (and other Lessons from Be Sage Conference) – from Always a Blogsmaid (Aab Create’s blog)
What I Learned at Be Sage Conference
– from AU Wedding Academy Blog in Australia

Highlights from Day 1 – from UK Wedding Academy Blog


Credits include:

1st Set:
image credit (clockwise from upper left): Sage Wedding Pros, Jennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography

nametags: Michelle Edgemont Design
floral design: Fleur Inc.
coasters: designed by Michelle Loretta (Sage Wedding Pros), printed by StationeryHQ

2nd Set:

image credit (clockwise from upper left): Jennifer Kathryn Photography, Sage Wedding Pros, Jennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography

Be Sage Conference book: designed by Mintwich Design, printed by StationeryHQ

3rd Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

pencilcase: Doodledog Creative

4th Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

beauty boxes: Julep Beauty

5th Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

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August 19, 2014 - 9:30 am

Jessie - Wow! I love how diverse and concrete all of the ideas and presentations were (though I didn’t expect anything less of you, Michelle!). I hope I can attend in the future.

August 19, 2014 - 11:27 am

Vicky Choy - Excellent conference ladies! It was exactly what I was looking for and one of the few truly education conferences out there. Very well done. Vicky Choy, Event Accomplished

6 Signs Your Freelancer is an Employee NOT a Contractor

The IRS rules for hiring independent contractor are pretty clear: the contractor must have complete independence from the company hiring them to do the work. However, in the wedding industry, we tend to see a lot of people not full understand what this ‘independence’ thing means.

14066870366_912293e866_zHere are 6 signs that your freelancers should be classified as an employee (NOT a 1099 independent contractor):

  1. You don’t have a contract with them.
    You must have a contract with your contractor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to prove that they were hired to do a specific job for you. (Law for Creatives* offers professional templates for working with independent contractors.)
  2. You have them fill out timesheets.
    An independent contractor should be controlling their prices and their income. Therefore, they should be invoicing YOU. (You are an independent contractor to your brides/grooms. You wouldn’t have them deciding when to pay you and how much.)
  3. You have an open-ended and/or long-term agreement with them for work.
    A company hiring an independent contractor is hiring that person for a specific job or project. That job, as defined by the contract, has a finite end date. Having contractors for extended periods of time shows that you are reliant on that person to accomplish operations withIN your business. This reliance is contrary to the independence requirement of classifying contractors.
  4. They have a company email address for YOUR company.
    Contractors should NOT have an email address with your business. If they are independent, they will operate under their own email address, which you will have no control over.
  5. You have them follow company protocol very closely.
    If you share your employee handbook with them and expect them to follow it, then they are employees, not contractors. You can hire a contractor to embrace/mirror your company values. BUT, you cannot dictate to them how they will work.
  6. You prohibit them from working for a competitor.
    Contractors can and should have a multitude of clients for which they do work. (You would never tell a graphic designer that they cannot design a website for your competitor.) If you prohibit them from working for a competitor, then they should be classified as employees.

Contractors are independent from your company. It’s even better, in the eyes of the IRS, if they have their own business. Thinking of contractors as separate businesses will help you define your relationship with them.

For example: Contractor Inc. has been hired to do A, B, C for your company from June through September. They will invoice you monthly. You have a contract that specifies the terms of the work they have agreed to do for your business.

Beware: the IRS may audit your business. If they decide that you have misclassified a worker as an independent contractor, then you could have penalties and employee back taxes due.

Need more help with contractors and employees? Check out The People Plan.

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Michelle will be speaking at Trouvaille Workshop

10456823_688550807861333_1400531056273264221_nHi everyone! Kelly and I just got back from our first ever Be Sage Conference. (More on that later!) AND – we are gearing up for  a few speaking engagements this Fall. I want to tell you about Trouvaille Workshop, a seminar at which I’ll be speaking this October 5-7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Trouvaille is for creative, entrepreneurial and driven women who operate or want to own multi-faceted wedding planning businesses. The more you want to learn, grow and extend your design and back-end business knowledge, the better. Trouvaille is a truly hands-on and comprehensive workshop experience designed to inspire and encourage growth across all realms of any planning and design business. Attendees will learn necessary skills and insight within a safe, high-energy and totally straight up awesome environment.

I spoke at the first Trouvaille workshop last April and Rhiannon puts on an excellent learning experience. The education was top notch. The workshop is a great blend of business and creative education. (And the goodies, treats, and swag were so special.) I also loved how friendly and open everyone was at Trouvaille. Rhi is a very warm and caring person and it definitely carries through to workshop attendees as well.


credit: Bradley James Photography

I’ll be speaking on hiring, training, and managing your team. This is perfect for those wedding pros who have been wanting to hire their first intern, contractor, or employee and aren’t quite sure of the steps. I’ll be navigating the differences between the 3 types of workers, what you should be looking for when you hire someone, how to hire someone, and the training and leadership that goes along with growing your team.

I’ll be joined there by Laura Hooper (of Laura Hooper Calligraphy) and Mary Phan (of the Sketchbook Series). These very artistic ladies can teach me a thing or two! I’m excited to work on my very rusty creative skills.

There are only a couple seats left… so make sure to snag one here to attend!

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August 8, 2014 - 8:11 am

Rhiannon - I cannot wait to have you again, Michelle! Thanks for being so awesome!

Do You Know About StationeryHQ? You Should!

Hello friends! I am going to share a little golden nugget with you today.

There is this AWESOME company in California called StationeryHQ. And, you need to be ordering your printed goods from them. I’m not only talking to stationers out there, but also photographers, wedding designers and wedding planners (anyone that provides printed goods for clients)… and any wedding pro that prints materials for their own marketing (business cards, postcards, etc.)

Chair Hangers

Chair Hangers

Let me share a bit about my own personal experience with them…

  1. I create a pdf print-ready file in adobe software.
  2. Upload it to their easy-peasy ordering website online.
  3. Select my quantities. (I love their LOW MINIMUMS!)
  4. Add to cart, pay.
  5. And a few days later… VOILA! The cards are on my doorstep, ready to mail!

AND – they are beautifully printed on great quality paper and cardstock! (I especially love their collection of DOUBLE THICK cardstocks.)

This is SERIOUSLY the easiest printing process I have ever experienced in my life. (Remember, I used to be a stationer.)

About StationeryHQ…

StationeryHQ.com was born after spending a few years developing processes and technology for TinyPrints.com. As the online custom stationery and gift market grew, the founders saw a way to enable independent creatives to bring their businesses to life. They adapted that technology and built out a high end product line.

Who StationeryHQ works with…

SweaterBoyzThe company’s ideal clients are designers or pros that have access to designers. High quality electronic files get high quality printing results. That said, ordering from the site is super easy once you’re file is ready. And having lots of customers allows us to offer wholesale pricing so everybody wins.

This isn’t just for stationers…

Paper decorating at weddings has become so popular that everything from the invitations to signage and banners and even customized favor boxes can be provided by wedding planners. There are several photographers that include photo thank you notes and guest book as part of their wedding packages.

The People of Stationery HQ

I’ve worked with StationeryHQ on some projects and they are fabulous people! They’re incredible responsive and have fantastic service!

Erin Sarpa, Creative Director for StationeryHQ, shares…

“We have really dedicated people who take pride and ownership in making our customers happy. There’s even a gigantic banner in the manufacturing area that says “Make the Customer Smile”. Above is a photo of our CEO and one of our awesome Customer Representatives, General Blue Sweater and his trusty sidekick Captain SweaterVest (aka Mark and Jack).”

Give them a go at… https://www.stationeryhq.com/


disclosure: Stationery HQ is a sponsor of our Be Sage Conference. However, I’d be gushing about them to you even if that wasn’t the case. They are fabulous!


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July 25, 2014 - 10:01 am

Mark - Wow. This is so awesome. Michelle, you are too kind….(but I love it).

August 14, 2014 - 11:37 am

Shelly-Ann Guinn - Hi, I would love to be connected to this great resource!! I also think I need help with branding and marketing by work better.

Thank you,

Shelly-Ann Guinn

What Are Your Employees Posting on Social Media?

Do you have a social media policy for your staff? If they’re an employee of your company, they may be instagramming, facebooking, tweeting, snapchatting, texting, and whatsapping images of your events. This could be awesome if it’s done with your company’s branding and marketing strategy in mind. OR, it could be detrimental if there has been no guidance given to them about what is not appropriate.

Instagram-logo1.gifHow do you create a social media policy for employees? We have a few thoughts on this…

  1. You should have an employee policy handbook. (We talked about this here and provided a template for purchase here.) An employee handbook is a guide of company rules, protocols, and standards. It goes beyond just the social media policy… discussing everything from how to dress, how to deal with conflict, vacation/sick policy, and so on.
  2. If you already have an employee handbook in place, you’ll want to add a social media section. You’ll want to describe:
    • What is the employee allowed to put onto social media?
    • Does the employee need approval before each post?
    • How should the employee talk about the company on social media?
    • Are there any branding elements that need to be portrayed on social media? (eg: all images are shot in natural daylight against a light background)
    • Who owns the images? (If the employee leaves the company, you’ll want to make sure they aren’t passing them off as their own. OR – if they had active ownership in the event, maybe it’s fair to have them own the images with an explanation that it was work they did for your company.)
    • How should the employee refer to the event? (“My wedding”, “The Company’s wedding”, “This wedding we all did as a team”?)

Keep in mind – these guidelines are for EMPLOYEES, not contractors. A contractor does not work for you. They work for themselves. You have less control over what a contractor shares online. HOWEVER, you can safeguard your business by ensuring that your contract with your contractor (yes – you need a contract) has terms for brand representation.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any good or bad stories to share on this topic? Share in a comment below.

Need more help with hiring, training, managing? Do you need help with interns, contractors, and employees? Make sure to check out our human resources toolbox: The People Plan.

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