Expert Insights with Ellen Black @lehrandblackWednesday, February 12, 2014
Company Name: Lehr and Black
Year Business was Founded: 1959. I have personally been in the business for 36 years.
Location: Los Angeles and New York
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
My mother started our company over 55 years ago addressing envelopes, becoming a planner, invitation designer and event designer. I grew up in the industry and joined the company at the age of 22.
How has the industry changed since you started?
Well almost everything has changed as we were practically the only company in the business. I have watched an industry change from small business with very few companies to flooded with hundreds of new people every year. Styles, ideas and trends seem to change in a blink of an eye due to all of the social media exposure.
What was the biggest lesson you learned early on in your business?
I remember my mother telling a client, "because every client behind you will want the same" when asked, "why can't you just do this party at a discount?" Don't be afraid to ask for and stick to the price you know you need to charge.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned in the past few years?
Do what you so best and leave to others what they do best. The absolute best decision I made is to let all clients know, "I design with you . . . I do not do the budgeting." My partner, who is my brother, handles all the money decisions for the company. It becomes too emotional when you are designing because you want the client to have it all. Those decisions, if left to many of us creatives, insure that we will never make money!
What one piece of advice would you give to another entrepreneur on sticking it out in a competitive industry?
Work really, really hard and in addition to a great product you must give great service. Every client must feel like they are important and you really care and are listening. I have huge patience and give a lot of time and attention to all my planners or couples.
Expert Insights is a series of conversations with wedding professionals who have been in the industry for ten years or longer.
Think Splendid will be offering insights and perspectives from Splendid Guests for the months of February and March while I am working in Africa.