The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants, www.QOHweddings.com, Philadelphia
Employees: 1 full time, plus independent contractors
Revenue Breakdown: 85% planning, 15% wedding day service
Contact: 267-251-7786, mark@QOHweddings.com, wwwQOHweddings.com/bog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Family: My significant other, Chuck, and I have been together nine years. Our “kids” are Edina, a 15-year-old Tabby; Kali, a 5-year-old poodle mix; and Chip and Dale, 10-week-old kittens.
Education: Associate’s degree in Occupational Studies from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., 1981.
Past Career: Chef and catering manager.
Starting The Business: In 1999, I sold my restaurant shares and was working on a line of gourmet cookies and muffins when a photographer asked me to talk to his clients who were having issues with their caterer. We worked through the details of the wedding, and they all said I should do this for a living. I looked into it, researched wedding planning, interned with our former State Coordinator Regina Klein, went to my first annual conference, and launched my business in 2000. To learn more, I went to work part time for a bridal salon and a floral designer.
On The ABC: I love the point system. Getting a designation for the hard work one puts in over the years has great value.
Other Memberships: National Association of Catering Executives and International Special Events Society.
Mentors: Regina Klein let me intern with her and introduced me to Frank Andonoplas, MBC™. Frank was very kind and introduced me to many people. I love his work. I followed and corresponded with him as I grew my business, and still do. He is a great role model for men in the industry.
Goals: In the next few years, I’d like for at least two of my team to become Master Bridal Consultants™.
Marketing Strategy: Invest in building great relationships with the top wedding professionals and venues in our region, do amazing work, and get referrals. We just built a new website that will give us a greater presence, refresh our brand, and keep up our media visibility.
Staying Fresh: We do several fun team outings a year, get as much continuing education as possible, and take lots of personal time. We book vacation time over a year out.
In the Media: Print includes: America’s Bride, Brides Philadelphia, Jewish Exponent, Martha Stewart Weddings, New Jersey Bride, Nouveau Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weddings Magazine, Primetime A&E, Premier Bride Magazine, The Knot, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Real Simple Weddings, Emily Post Wedding Etiquette 5th Edition, Emily Post—A Wedding Like No Other, Emily Post—Wedding Planner for Moms, and Emily Post—Wedding Parties.
On TV: “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” in 2006, HGTV’s “Ultimate Wedding Guide” in spring 2007, and local news outlets.
Ideal Client: One who was referred by a former client /couple. This means they’ve seen our work, often have seen us in action, and trust our recommendations.
Words of Wisdom: I have a few great signs in my office: “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown Jr. (www.21suggestions.com), which keep me on track; “It NEVER gets any better than the first meeting”—sometimes, especially when we’re new, the dollar signs get in our way and we take every client, even when our gut tells us they’re wrong. You can spend twice the time on the wrong client and not be able to take others who are possibly right for you; and “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
Inspiration: Restaurants always inspire me—great food, décor, and new presentations always translate into a great wedding.
On Giving Back: I love speaking at ABC LNGs, meeting new planners, and sharing ideas with them. I am co-founder of Philadelphia’s largest wedding cake competition—Let Them Eat Cake. This year, we had over 40 professional pastry chefs and 15 students competing. Next year, will be our 8th event. It benefits City of Hope Cancer Center and is in memory of my mother, Lois, who died of breast cancer. I’m also founding president of Wish Upon A Wedding Philadelphia.
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