“I have a couple of questions. (1) Do you think you can be too specialized? (2) Or what if the industry doesn’t understand (hence doesn’t value) what your specialty is? I am a wedding designer, not a planner. Everyone gets that very confused. Would love to hear your thoughts.”
Answer: It’s possible to be too specialized, but not likely. Your real problem is that you’re not communicating what you do so that it’s easy to understand.
1) Do you think you can be too specialized?
Very few wedding pros are even close to being too specialized. The much more common mistake is the “I specialize in everything!” approach that feels safer, but makes you look exactly like the competition.
An example of too much specialization would be trying to serve a very small market that isn’t large enough to support your income needs. If you live in an Iowa cornfield and your specialty is yacht weddings, you’re out of luck. (Unless you plan to travel extensively.)
To determine whether or not the market for what you do is big enough to support your business, multiply the number of weddings you’d like to book each year by 10.
# of weddings you want to work X 10 = ?
Are there at least this many weddings in your market that hire a designer? If not, the market may not be big enough to support a profitable business.
2) Or what if the industry doesn’t understand (hence doesn’t value) what your specialty is? I am a wedding designer, not a planner. Everyone gets that very confused.
If clients are often confused about what you do, it means you need to do a better job of explaining it. Within 7 seconds of landing on your website, a bride or groom should be able to determine exactly what you do and whether or not it’s what they’re seeking. The phrase, “elegant floral, lighting and wedding design” front and center should help.
FYI: a wedding planner helps with the planning and logistics of the day, while a wedding designer brings your design and vision to life by providing all the aesthetic details. Some planners may provide design services, but these are two different specialties. Preston Bailey, for instance, is a designer, not a planner.
It really depends on your market. How many people in your local area fit the profile of couples who hire a designer?
We live 1.5 hours from New York City. In NYC and Manhattan there is definitely a market to support wedding designers. However, travel just over an hour to our Hudson Valley and that market is much smaller. It’s still there and probably still profitable, but very few of the 8,000+ weddings hire a designer, and those who do usually hire one from of the city.
If you have to educate and convince your clients into hiring you because they #1 – don’t recognize the need they have that you can fill and #2 – they aren’t looking for someone who does what you do, it’s an uphill battle.
The first thing you need to do is figure out if your market is big enough to support your specialty. (See above.) If it passes that test…
Target your marketing and networking activities with the businesses who already work with your ideal clients. Your niche is small and tricky to target with broader marketing. When you create partnerships with wedding planners, venues and florists who work with clients who hire a designer, you get qualified leads from couples who already know they need you or are working with someone they trust who recommends you.
What do you think about specializing in your wedding business?