THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - Part One: The Tale of the Tin Pig, A Cautionary Anecdote - PPA Today
THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - Part One: The Tale of the Tin Pig, A Cautionary Anecdote
This is the first entry in a three-part series, THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - How Three Big Mistakes Created the "Perfect Storm" and Almost Sank the Snap! Weddings Ship, by guest blogger, Mariah Ashley.
There's a few things you should know about my husband. He drove the same car for 17 years, we called it "The Rattler" because of the tortured noises it made on the highway. Every week or so, it would have a new rattle. One day it sputtered a symphony of rattles and then promptly died.
My husband doesn't go to the eye doctor and get proper prescription glasses, instead when things start to get fuzzy(er) he buys a new four pack of reading glasses from BJ's for $19.99. He just can't see spending the money on prescription glasses. I say he just can't see, period.
My husband has a favorite pair of "hang around the house" shorts. He got them at a folk-music festival. They are corduroy with an embroidered star on the back pocket. He wore them every night for six years until they finally disintegrated and then he bought an identical replacement pair. The second pair is still going strong after four years.
My husband would argue that he is not cheap. We have settled on the word frugal to describe his spending style.
So imagine my surprise when returning home one evening I was greeted by a cartoonish tin pig inhabiting our flower garden.
"Where'd the tin pig come from?" I asked half expecting him to say, "the neighbor's dumpster."
"I bought it," said my husband happily.
"You what?!" (my shock and disbelief masked by a nervous smile)
"I bought it at the antique store. I love it."
"You love a tin pig?"
"Yes. I love a tin pig. And his name is Bouncy Pig. He bounces when you push on his hat."
"What did Bouncy Pig cost?"
"Thirty eight dollars."
I don't remember the rest of the conversation because at the divulgement that my cheap frugal husband had spent $38 on a tin pig I fainted and hit my head on the kitchen table. When I came to, I decided to do the dishes. Standing at our kitchen sink looking out the window affords me a nice view of the flower garden and Bouncy Pig. Watching Bouncy Pig springing happily in his new home, I decided I didn't like him much. He's too cheery and he's tacky. He looks junky in the flower garden. Yucky pig.
Strangely, I was alone in my hatred of Bouncy Pig. My teenage son likes to bounce him, my pre-teen daughter likes to bounce him, nieces and nephews love to bounce him, random neighborhood children adore bouncing him, and of course there's my husband who never fails to give him a loving little bounce as he passes by. People see something in Bouncy Pig that I did not see. Bouncy Pig gives them joy and that naturally got me thinking about wedding albums. Naturally.
Many years ago we participated in a bridal show. We had a drawing for a free wedding album. This bridal show supposedly attracted a more "high-end" client. (How many problems do you spot with this combination of words: bridal show, high-end client, free? If you guessed three, you are right!) The girl who won the free album booked us on the spot.
Like Bouncy Pig, she was cheery, but not having what I would have considered at the time a high-end wedding. I felt a little disappointed when she booked because I was having a regretful and embarrassing moment of snobbery. We photographed the wedding which had a fairytale theme to it. When it came time to design an album for her we decided to create a two volume set even though she had only won the one free album.
Taking the customization to another level, we dropped "fairytale text" on top of the photos. Phrases like "happily ever after" and "someday my prince will come." She LOVED it! She upgraded to the two volume set and happily handed over several thousand more dollars. Like the pig who bounces, the fairytale album set brought her joy. It's not my taste by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, it's not living on the coffee table in my castle now is it?
Now we come to BIG mistake number one, SNOBBERY.
Somewhere along the way on a place I like to call High-Falutin' Highway, we decided that we knew best and that our aesthetic was the best aesthetic. Since we have the best taste, subsequently we know what everyone else should like as well! We decided to do away with our multitude of wedding packages and products, instead offering just one expensive package with a few very tasteful items.
We were sure that high-end clients would recognize a superior product and we'd be booking the weddings of lovely people with stellar taste left and right. We were WRONG. The highway we had been cruising along turned into a ghost town the moment we changed our pricing, imposed our opinions and took away people's options.
We had gotten it all wrong. The high-end client is not a certain type of person who is having a certain type of wedding. The high-end client is a myth. There is only the right client. The right client is a person who loves their photographs and buys a two volume set complete with quotes from every Disney princess movie you can imagine.
(Pay attention, moral of the story coming up next...)
You think you know someone, and then they bring home a tin pig. Just like you do not know what style of album or framing may strike someone's fancy. We decided to pull off High-Falutin' highway and into a plaza that had lots of shops; places like Crate and Barrel, Tiffany's, Walmart, Target, Nordstrom's and Sears. There sure was something for everyone at that shopping center! Eureka! We decided to offer all kinds of "Collections" with a little something for everyone.
Since mending our ways and our pricing menu, the phone hasn't stopped ringing. Our snobbery may have almost sunk the Snap! ship, but a tin pig showed us the way to Easy Street. Go figure.
About the author:
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van, grew up on a cranberry farm and i
s happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.