It’s time once again to have a quick Q & A! Today we are featuring our friends at HotRef.com!
How did HotRef begin?
HotRef.com was born in 2008 in Fremont, California. Initially, the owner had intentions for the site name to have a special meaning. The name’s meaning; to refer potential brides and grooms to hot wedding ideas among couples. When the site first launched, there was a variety of party favors that were trendy and hot at the time. Now, we’ve included a blog that features party planning tips and ideas which also includes some of today’s hot themes. We strive to stay relevant with some of today’s hot party themes, whether it be our favors or our blog topics.
What do you believe is the key to creating a positive experience for your customers?
Our belief is that in order to create a positive customer experience, we don’t treat them like just another customer or sale. We want all of our customers to feel like our guests, whether it be on the website or over the phone. Our ultimate goal is to create a positive shopping experience and create lasting connections with our guests. We have become a Google trust store, and our social media networks are quickly gaining popularity. We’ve had 15,000 people like us on Facebook.
We’re right in the middle of summer! What are your favorite themes for summer time?
Our favorite themes for summer are beach and nautical, they’re both summer traditions that everyone can partake in. Because of their generality, they make wonderful themes for weddings, bridal showers, babyshowers and birthdays. Recently, there have been requests for personalizations that feature beach and nautical themes. Now, many of the new personalized designs we feature have beach and nautical themed decorations to them.
What are some popular trends/themes now?
Two popular trends that we are loving right now is personalized favors and DIY favors. With help from sites like Pinterest, DIY blank favors are an inexpensive way to create custom fun and charming favors. There’s also been a trend of DIY wedding decorations and wedding ideas that guests are loving. Personalized favors have always intrigued guests because they were able to make it their own. With plenty of design options; for weddings, bridal showers, babyshowers and birthdays, they’re a popular seller.
What are your favorite Event Blossom products and why?
Recently, Event Blossom has had a lot of new personalized designs being introduced. There are plenty of fun designs in all party categories. The Birthday designs are very cool and trendy while the Baby shower designs are adorable and cute. The mason jar with the flower lid is a guest favorite on our WeHeartIt. Since we are all avid Pinteresters, DIY Blank Favors have become our new love. Having the opportunity to customize and personalize your favors, inexpensively, is the best of both worlds. Being able to create a masterpiece for your special day is what we love about the DIY Blank Favors.
Thanks to our wonderful interviewees at HotRef.com!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Blossomers! We wanted to celebrate this day by sharing the love with one of our retailers. I know you’re going to LOVE our friends from:
Tell us the story behind Candles & Such. How did it all begin? It all began with a candle. My mother has made her own candles ever since I can remember. In 2003 I started helping her sell them at local craft shows. We decided to expand and offer candle accessories and other small little gifts. Our booth became so popular we had to start renting two spaces. We sold out at every show. The craft shows were seasonal and customers started calling in the off season wanting more candles, a few even called asking if they could order them to use as wedding favors. That’s when I had the idea that she needed a website. As I was researching personalized labels to use for the candle favors I realized that with our website we could offer more than just her candles. Unlike our craft show space, our website had unlimited space. I started attending bridal shows to research the wedding industry, attended webinars about e-commerce and building a website. By 2005 our first website was live, designed by me, and our first order came in about two months later. The high point for us was when her candle tin favors were featured in Parents Magazine in 2009.
Fast forward to 2013, we still offer her candles but we also offer over 5,000 other party favors and gifts. She is now retired, although she will always be making candles. It’s been an amazing experience working with my best friend and sharing the success of our business together.
You have a great reputation for providing excellent customer service. What do you believe is the key to creating a positive experience for your customers? I believe the key is that you need to remember your customer is a person, not just a “sale” or a client. We take the time to get to know our customers. In our industry we are providing something small but important for a very special occasion in their life. Whether it’s a wedding, a 1st birthday party or a baby shower, they are celebrating a significant milestone. These little favors are a key part of their event so we take the time to make sure each customer is taken care of. A large percentage of our business is repeat customers, we are very proud of that.
What do you like best about Event Blossom products? Any favorites? I remember the first time I saw the products on Event Blossom’s website and I couldn’t have been more excited. I loved the unique favors and the clean and modern design of the personalized labels. I couldn’t get the items on my website fast enough. I felt the product line synched well with what we wanted to offer our customers and I was right, they are some of our best sellers.
It’s hard to pick a favorite but I do love the Sweet Shoppe Candy Boxes. The boxes are top quality and I love all the different label designs and options that are available. The Lollipops are another favorite of mine. I have personally used the Candy Boxes, the Lollipops, the Lip Balm, the Mint Tins and the Candy Jars. When helping customers I almost always direct them to Event Blossom’s products because I know they will get a quality product. I really like the new Kid’s Birthday Designs, the Milk Bottles and the Candy Tubes. I think they will be best sellers this year.
Happy Valentine’s Day! What sort of ideas would you suggest to a bride who wants to have a Valentine’s Day wedding Valentine’s Day makes me think of candy and chocolate. I think a Candy Buffet that offered candy hearts, small chocolates, red and pink M & M’s, and some Personalized Lollipops would be a fun way of incorporating Valentine’s Day without going overboard with Hearts everywhere. Of course the Sweet Shoppe Candy Bags would be the perfect way for friends and family to tote around their treats!
We had a little debate over here and I’d love to hear your input: Valentine’s Day weddings/proposals, classic or cliché? I think Valentine’s Day will always be a classic day for weddings and proposals. It’s not cliché but it’s also not a big surprise if a man wants to propose that day. If he really wants to surprise her he shouldn’t do it on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day isn’t the only day that couples can go out of their way to show their love for each other. True romance happens on the most random of days.
We couldn’t agree more with that last notion — random acts of romance on random days are the best kind! Thank you again, Kara, for being a part of our Quick Q+A! Want more of Candles and Such? Find them on Facebook and Twitter.
One more time — Happy Valentine’s Day, Blossomers!
Our Quick Q+A posts are back, and I can’t wait to share more of our great resellers. These people make the Event Blossom world go round and they’re so much fun to work with! Our very first Quick Q+A of 2013 comes from Beau-coup.
We’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working with the fine folks over at Beau-coup.com for a few years now, and it was nice to get to know them even better. Before our break for the holidays, Winnie took some time to share some great answers with us:
Describe a typical day for the staff at Beau-coup. Any fun office stories you can share?
One of the best things about working at Beau-coup is that there is no such thing as a “typical” day. We’re always moving forward and trying to improve all aspects of the business. Depending on the project, you can find yourself working with a different set of people solving different types of problems on a weekly, if not daily basis.
One thing that brings us together is something we call the “7th Inning Stretch”. Everyday around three o’clock in the afternoon we start playing music in the office. Our head of engineering set up a computer on our local network, and through a web-based application, anyone in the office can put a song in the queue and the music will blast throughout all of the departments. We get exposed to all kinds of music, from pop, electronic and dubstep, to Christmas carols, Broadway hits, and the occasional disco oldie – all to cheers, giggles, and maybe a few moans and groans.
Beau-coup has had so many big milestones, which one of those would you consider to be the most exciting? What made it especially memorable?
Beau-coup started out as a home business, operating out of the founders’ living room in its first year. We stored inventory in the garage, and dropped packages off at the UPS store every afternoon. Moving into our first real office space in downtown Mountain View was a big deal, and a memorable milestone because it both signaled that we had a real business opportunity (we’re legit!), and with the space, set us up for further growth. Since then we’ve moved into bigger and bigger offices, and had many more milestones, from being named one of America’s fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine three years in a row, to one of our most important milestones, to date: Re-launching the site as an online destination for folks planning not just weddings, but any of life’s special occasions.
The New Year is just around the corner. What have been your favorite themes/trends from this past year?
Some of our favorite trends from 2012 are rustic weddings, ombre, animals, and lace. Not necessarily in that order. We loved looking at all of the gorgeous photos on Pinterest of rustic barn weddings, ranch weddings, and backyard weddings with strung lights, chalkboard signs, and handmade bunting. So Etsy! In color trends, ombre came back in a big way in 2012. We loved it on gowns, cakes, and even hair! Lace was also big this year, and whether you’re taking your queue from Kate Middleton, or Bella Swan, if it’s long and lacey, you can’t go wrong. And lastly, animals are always popular for baby showers and kids birthday parties, but this year, we especially loved the wild animals of the savannah; elephants, lions, and giraffes drawn in modern lines and muted tones were everywhere, but we weren’t complaining.
What are some lessons you’ve learned from being a part of the wedding and event industry?
Being a part of the wedding and event industry means we are always surrounded by creative and passionate people. We all do what we do because we love it, and we’re good at it. One of most important lessons we’ve learned is that building and maintaining long, healthy relationships with other industry leaders is invaluable. One day you’re helping someone, and the next day someone’s helping you. We belong to a tight-knit community and whether you’re a retailer, wholesaler, designer, photographer or publisher, you can learn from one another and share ideas to make them better.
You’ve been an Event Blossom retailer for quite some time now — since 2007. How has having Event Blossom’s product line added to your website offerings?
We were first drawn to Event Blossom products because of their designs. The style was clean, and modern, and completely in line with Beau-coup’s aesthetic. Over the years, Event Blossom has grown its line of products and introduced many hits on our site, but always maintained a strong focus on design. Event Blossom also provides beautiful images for their products, and on our website, the image is what sells the product. It’s one of the reasons we love adding Even Blossom products to our offerings; they not only sell themselves, they make our website look good!
We’re back with another Quick Q+A! This one is brought to you by one of our great retailers from New Jersey. Not only do they have a colorful online store, but they have a welcoming little showroom where they get to meet their customers face to face on a daily basis. Erica had some amazing tips and insight on finding inspiration for your wedding style, read all about it for yourself:
What’s the story behind your company name, Little Things Favors?
When I was shopping for my own wedding in 2003 I had a hard time finding all the “little things” I needed for my wedding. I browsed so many websites and had to order everything I needed from numerous different vendors. By the time I was done, the UPS driver knew me by name – I had so many packages delivered! I thought there must be an easier way to shop for weddings, so I sought to develop a one-stop shop for all the little things brides need for their wedding. From ceremony supplies to reception decorations, wedding and bridal accessories to wedding favors – we have it all! Well, almost everything – you can find whatever you need for your wedding day at Little Things Favors – except the dress and the groom!
How long has your showroom been opened? What’s the best part about being able to talk favors with customers face to face?
Our showroom opened September 2008, so it has been four years since we opened our doors to clients. I really wanted a retail location that brides could visit to see and feel our favors and accessories in person. So many of our customers would call and ask detailed questions about the items we carried or would order samples to see exactly what they were getting before placing a bulk order. I knew that the next step in our business development was to open a boutique that customers could shop in person.
I love that we are able to meet clients face to face. Couples tell us their stories, how they met, what their style is, what their lives are like! It makes the wedding shopping experience, much more personal for both our clients and us. We love to hear their stories! We are very much romantics at heart and it brightens our day when we have clients come in. The best part for our clients though, is knowing that we are real people behind the website and that we genuinely care about their wedding and making sure they are happy with the items they purchase. Just by talking to clients we are able to steer them in the right direction and show them favors and accessories they never even realized were perfect for them.
Where would you suggest brides go for inspiration when planning their weddings?
Oh, there’s so many places brides can go to find inspiration! My personal favorite recommendation is to know your own personal style and begin your search from there. If a bride is an outdoorsy type, she may want to look at the outdoor space around her venue or favorite places to seek color and theme inspiration. If she is a classic bride, look to the era in which she is most attracted to and pull inspiration from movies, photographs and books from that time period. If a couple is having a seasonal wedding, because they love that season, pull elements from there into the reception location. Anything goes with weddings these days, it is all about the couple’s personal style and taste. There are no “cookie cutter” weddings anymore, each bride is different, every wedding is unique and brides are now looking to put their own individual twist on their day.
For online inspiration, a great place to start looking for ideas and learn about your own style is Pinterest. There are just so many unique finds that are shared in one place and you’ll never know what you’ll come across. I am in love with Pinterest! When I first started my personal account, I created a board called “wedding inspiration” and began pinning things that I would use if I was planning a wedding for myself. Interestingly, I learned through Pinterest my personal style has changed from bohemian beach (my style in 2003) to retro glam (what I am currently in love with). I would recommend to all brides who are looking for inspiration and aren’t sure what they want, to start using Pinterest – in a few short weeks, they will see what their own style is.
Other sources to find inspiration are blogs, wedding shows on TV, magazines, Etsy, and of course, LittleThingsFavors.com!
Do you have any trend predictions for the upcoming fall and winter seasons?
Fall has become increasing popular for weddings, more so than summer it seems this year! One of the bigger trends we see is the rustic / vintage theme. What is old, is new. Recycled items, repurposed items, handmade items, wooden décor and outdoorsy, nature themes. I love this trend for fall weddings because many of the rustic items lend an Autumn feel that reminds me of pumpkin picking, apple cider, maple syrup and old farmhouses. For a winter rustic theme, I think of vintage snowshoes, log cabins, sitting by the fire, hot cocoa, pinecones, ice lanterns and natural wood such as white birch. And for the DIY bride, eco-chic or the bride who loves to go antique shopping – this trend is very chic and do-able!
Another trend we noticed is the personalization of weddings. I don’t mean personalizing items (that still is quite popular too!) but rather, giving your wedding a heartfelt, genuine and unique touch by decorating with items that mean something special to the couple. Whether it is a favorite quote framed and hung by the entrance, a puzzle guest book to sign, a reception in a baseball stadium, a cocktail party in a museum, glamorous table decor, a signature cocktail, photo booths that their guests can take home pictures – couples are seeking to make their wedding very distinctive and very them.
What first caught your eye about Event Blossom’s product line?
Event Blossom has unique products that can be personalized with beautiful, modern designs and colors – and the turn around time for personalization is fast. I have personally used so many of Event Blossom’s products for my own events. I’ve used candy jars for my grandfather’s 80th birthday, Sweet Shoppe Candy boxes and lollipops for my son’s birthday party, baby animal notebooks for a baby shower I attended. I always recommend Event Blossom products to my clients as well because I know the quality printing and value they are getting can’t be beat.
One of my favorite things about the internet is that I can have conversations with friends who aren’t quite within driving distance whether they’re in a different state or another country. What’s even better is that thanks to things like webcams and Skype, I can even see all of their beautiful faces. For Event Blossom, the internet means we get to work with people from all over the world. Although time differences may delay responses, it’s pretty amazing that we can send a message to the other side of the planet and have it waiting for someone to read it when they get into the office. So, I used this incredible internet tool to connect with one of our wonderful international customers. Here’s another “Quick Q+A” brought to you by some of our Australian friends at:
How did Pink Frosting begin?
Our online shop was launched in December 2006 by our founder and amazing mother of two Kathryn Porritt. Kathryn is passionate about entertaining and wanted to provide a space were others could share this passion and find all the gorgeous goodies they need celebrate in style. Pink Frosting has quickly grown to be one of the most trusted online shops in Australia, with over 120,000 customers and now employing more than 20 amazing Aussies. Kathryn has now gone on to publish “The Party Book” a comprehensive guide filled with tips and ideas for your next celebration.
What are some popular trends/themes in Australia?
For weddings, brides are simplifying and focusing on quality rather than quantity, especially when it comes to the guest list. So while the average cost of a wedding hasn’t changed, couples are focusing on providing their close friends and family with a truly memorable evening. Outdoor weddings with magical displays of lanterns hanging from the sky are very popular with vintage wedding themes. And many couples are ditching the traditional wedding cake in favour of dessert buffets, individual wedding cupcakes or scrumptious macaron towers.
If there is one thing every party needs, what would it be?
Pink Frosting! Our philosophy has always been that everyone can create party magic – all they need is a little creativity, some planning and a great big smile. Having the support of a comprehensive website that offers planning ideas, inspiration and a beautiful range of supplies like www.pinkfrosting.com.au makes creating party magic oh so easy!
What words of wisdom would you offer to customers who aren’t sure what kind of favors they want?
If you are stuck on what to give as a favour the best place to start is you! Favours should be a reflection of you for your guests to remember. Think about your hobbies and interests and how you can share this. We are big on creating events with personality – so personalised and meaningful favours are the best place to start. Are you a pair of beach goers (lots of Aussies certainly are) – then why not give personalised sunscreen to your guests? Are you foodies who spend your weekends cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Bottle some of your favourite home-made jam or make your favourite miniature pies to everyone to take home – packaged in a beautiful box with a personalised tag.
What are your favorite Event Blossom products and why?
The Pink Frosting team favourite has to be the range of personalised candy whether it be jars, bean packs or lollipops. These are so versatile and can be personalised to suit any theme or colour scheme, not to mention they are oh so yummy.
I’d like to give a special Thank You to Amanda over at Pink Frosting for taking the time to answer these questions — I definitely enjoyed reading the responses! I know some members of the Event Blossom Team got the opportunity to meet Kathryn at the 2012 National Stationery Show in NYC and had wonderful things to say. I was so excited to have a chance to connect with and get to know one of our international retailers.
As always, any Event Blossom retailers out there interested in being a part of our Quick Q+A’s please feel free to contact me at the email address below.
Happy Friday, Blossomers! We’re slowly finishing up our Mod Party Kit features so I was brainstorming another fun series of posts we could have. The first thing I thought about were our resellers; we’ve got so many great retailers out there and Event Blossom would not get very far without them. Then I thought about how much fun it would be if we could get to know this great big family of ours even better. Cue the lightbulb over my head. “We should do a series of posts about these fabulous retailers who make the Event Blossom world go round,” I thought to myself. Before I knew it, a plan was set into motion for a new series. This series will be titled “Quick Q+A” and here’s how it’ll work: we ask the questions and one of our brilliant retailers will provide the answers!
So without any further ado, here is our very first Quick Q+A with one of the newest members of the Event Blossom Family:
Describe a typical day for the staff at WeddingFavors.org. Any fun office stories you can share?
I don’t know if we ever have a ‘typical day’ :). Each day is filled with it’s own fun and crazy emails and calls. We just work with each customer online or over the phone to make sure they find the perfect favor for their big day. Of course, having a ping pong table and wii in the office helps make some memorable stories as well. 🙂
Which themes/trends have been in demand for weddings and special events in 2012 so far?
Brides are always looking for something unique. They are also loving the ability to personalize so many of our items now. They want to give out something that their guests have never encountered before.
Do you have any trend predictions for Fall/Winter?
We are expecting Brides to continue trending towards personalized wedding favors. Anything that will send their guests home with that personal touch and a real ‘Thank You for Coming’ gift.
What are some lessons you’ve learned from being a part of the wedding and event industry?
We have learned to expect the unexpected (like “i need favors in 3 days, can you help me!?”). We have also learned that there’s no room for mistakes. Favors are one of the last things purchased for any event. We assure customers they will have their favors when they need them and just how they ordered them. We want to be sure we follow through with what we promise, so we take a lot of care to watch each order.
How has adding Event Blossom’s product line added value to your website offerings?
It has given us a more complete line of favors that we can now offer to our customers. With the addition of Event Blossom’s product line, we feel we offer favors that will fit what any Bride is looking for.
There you have it! I’d like to give a big “Thank You,” to Greg and WeddingFavors.org for being a part of this new series. I hope you enjoyed this first Q+A — I know I did! All other Event Blossom resellers, keep an eye out for an email from yours truly asking to be in the next Q+A. But don’t think you have to wait for an invite! Any interested retailers are more than welcome to reach out to me for a feature via the e-mail address below.*
I can’t wait to get to know more of you!
*interested retailers can send their e-mails to email@example.com and will be featured in the order that I hear from them.