Monopolization

monopolize, monopolise [məˈnɒpəˌlaɪz]vb (tr)

1. to have, control, or make use of fully, excluding others
2. (Economics) to obtain, maintain, or exploit a monopoly of (a market, commodity, etc.)

15 Years ago I started my business “Taltos Productions” In Grand Rapids Michigan. It didn’t take long before I quit my job in radio to run the business full time. Word of mouth and local support is the reason I did so well with the business. After nine years of running a successful business in Michigan I ended up befriending this guy that ran a DJ company. He had the idea to have me move my company into his store front and I would pay him so much money for the space. In return he would refer the work (videos) to me and I of course would refer him. He wanted to bring in 2 vendors for each category for weddings. Like 2 photographers, 2 cake people, 2 florist..oh wait he didn’t bring in a florist because his wife did flowers. Everything pointed back to him and we could only refer the people in the store. I had always run my business out of my house and that worked out great, but at this point I was leaving a bad relationship and I had no place to live so I felt this would be a good idea for a couple months. Things didn’t work out too well.

I should share that I have been in the Wedding business on many levels for many years. I worked in a bridal store as a bridal consultant. I ran my own DJ business while working in radio and television so needless to say I knew a ton of people in this profession and we all worked together to help each other out. So, when I was told I couldn’t refer anyone else but who was in the store, I decided it was time to go. I left and put my business back into my home and well, things really got interesting. That is when I pulled up my business and moved to Sedona. I don’t want to go on and on about what took place in Michigan with this guy that tried to manipulate and monopolize the wedding business but I will say he pissed a lot of people off. The ones that didn’t get it were the clients, they had no clue about all this drama but many very good, very professional and reputable companies went under because of this greed and need to have it all.

Sedona was a different world for weddings and the first 5 years went very well. It didn’t take us long with our experience and expertise to get the work. We worked hard at “showing” that we were good at what we do and  built some great relationships which led to repeated work. Most weddings here are destination weddings, so word of mouth is tough with the brides but the word of mouth did come from the wedding planners which is where 90% of our work comes from. When we first moved here it was a great community of people that lived here who wanted to support locally. All the talent came from here but in the past year and a half, things have changed. Back to certain people who want to control and manipulate the market for themselves. My intention of this post is not to be negative and by no means to bring up some not so pleasant experiences with certain “wedding professionals”, it is to bring some kind of understanding, if not to the reader but also to myself on how I feel about what is happening.

Business is tough enough as it is right now and when we don’t support one another locally then that is just a shame! There are plenty of great wedding professionals in Sedona and there is no need for bringing in talent from other areas (mainly Phoenix). There is a part of me that does take this personal! Being in business this long, struggling to make ends meet and find out someone brought in a Phoenix videographer! Videography isn’t as competitive as photography so I can only imagine how tough it is to get photo work locally, let alone have to compete with Phoenix photographers! In truth the wedding business is competitive in general, but I feel there is enough work for all of us if we work together and not try to horde everything for ourselves.

The same kind of monopolization is happening here that happened it Michigan. It is a result of certain people that want it all for themselves and for the “select few” that follow along like sheep. I feel so helpless with this, all I know is that I love what I do and I’m not going to give up. I will continue to support locally and do all I can to bring this monopolization to an end! We all deserve to work, to make a living and no one has the right to interfere with that! I would love to get a conversation going with this topic. Feel free to post comments, I would love to hear from others.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 00:01:51

    I always encourage couples to hire local talent if they don’t hire through me. We sure have competent people. But sad to say some folks just don’t have a big perspective. You can count on me to refer you whenever I can. But my business has suffered too… I believe things will lighten up again, any other thought would just be too sad.

    Reply

  2. Jenni Goldman
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 04:55:05

    Sounds like you have good insight from past experience.

    Being in Sedona makes me want to trust that there is enough work for everybody and that each couple (bride & groom) finds the vendors that fit them best … I think I learned that from Pamela Duffy.

    Reply

  3. Donna Joy
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 16:05:21

    Very interesting you blogging this as Dana & I were taking about the same thing. Not only do we have the out of towners. But we have deal now in Sedona that a store owner is charging wedding professionals to sign up. Once signed up the professional can only recommend others in there “click”. The marketing of them states “by invitation only” exclusive members. Everything is pumped up larger and bigger than it is.
    The ring leader has gone all over town talking bad about non click members. Telling venues and coordinators not to use them.
    I have had Brides tell me they hated the platform and won’t used any of them after visiting them. I am sure they get Brides to buy into the game.

    We at Sedona Sweet Arts have a few areas in our store where other professionals can bring in cards, brochures and photos. We have a few photographers that have giving us pics and canvas prints in the hopes that we will use. Free advertising. We do at NO charge! As we support the locals and locals only at Sedona Sweet Arts. We try to use local vendors for everything we possible can, for example banners, printing ect. Even if it cost a bit more.

    Yesterday was the Sedona Bridal Show. The show was here in Sedona but the vendors were from all over. We were told that we were not allowed to recommend any vendor not in the show unless the they decorated your booth. So there were several of us that used props of those not participating in our booth sets ups in order to enable us to advertise them. Items that were used were photos, videos and accents. I saw photos on walls, in slide shows, and videos running. I saw Tatlos Productions (both Video & photos), SWPA, David Sunfellow, Bliss floral, Weddings in Sedona, Jenni Goldman. All their products and services being advertised booths. While none of this great Sedona Wedding Professionals had booths.
    I am a dreamer and true believer that we can all make a difference in a positive light. Honestly, hard work and good intention is more than anything. I am deeply saddened when I see others give in and follow the dark side. Due to the pressure of getting business. I am also was so tickled that there were others at the Sedona Bridal Show that honestly upfront supported our very talented and wonderful “Sedona Wedding Professionals” The wonderful video made by Tatlos , the videos were gone sooooo fast.
    The Sedona Wedding Professional Association took a small break. I believe the passion, intention of the founders helped to create and maintain a professional and equal playing field. Repairing some minor hiccups by rewriting the bylaws will not only assist in retaining “Sedona Wedding Professionals” but take the group to a higher level. By maintaining “Sedona Wedding Professionals ” supporting Sedona and professionals integrity. I believe the “Sedona Wedding Mafia” will just disappear if the rest of us jump back in and support our local talent base. With a support group like The Sedona Wedding Professionals can speed things up to correct things.

    Reply

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