By now most people have heard about the raucous, Swarovski crystal-covered Gypsy wedding extravaganzas shown on TLC not just on their appointed night, but pretty much any time you turn on the TV. Some people can’t take it, they have to turn it off. Others are fascinated, like they are watching a bad traffic accident and they can’t look away. As for us, well, we want an invitation.
Weddings are full of joy in any community. Who’s to say they should be prim and proper? We lecture over and over again that brides should have the wedding they want, not what they see in the magazines or what’s “fashionable” just for the sake of it. Those magazines also say “be yourself!” and “It’s your day – make it what you want!” These families are realizing their vision, and it’s no one’s place to judge what they think is meaningful or beautiful. We love these weddings (and the dresses, and the cakes, and all of what the conventional thinkers would call “over the top” details) for the energy and the feeling behind it. Here’s a community that’s marching to the beat of its own drum. And what a parade!
So TLC, we know you’re casting brides. How ’bout letting some vendors in on the action? We’ll hang a banner- My Little Gypsy Flower Shop. Have Swarovski, will travel.
Marketing these days has gotten very, as my grandmother would say, fancy-fancy. Companies, wedding related and otherwise, have started using a new vocabulary to distinguish themselves. I’ve seen these four cropping up all over the place, and finally decided to haul out the dictionary. OK, so I looked on Wikipedia. In any case, here are explanations of the words being used to describe products and businesses that are made by artists, unique, custom and rare.
An artisan or artizan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools or even machines. An artisan is therefore a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.
Bespoke is an English word meaning an item made to a buyer’s specification (personalized or tailored). While it is applied to many items, the term historically was applied only to men’s tailored clothing, implying measurement and fitting. The distinguishing points of bespoke tailoring are the buyer’s total control over the fabric used, the features and fit, and the way the garment should be made. More generally, “bespoke” describes a high degree of “customization”, and involvement of the end-user, in the production of the goods.
A boutique is a small shopping outlet, especially one that specializes in elite and fashionable items such as clothing and jewelry. The word is French for “shop”, via Latin from Greek (apothēkē), “storehouse.” The term entered into everyday English use in the late 1960s. It can also refer to a specialized firm such as a boutique investment bank or boutique law firm. The word is often used to describe an independent hotel in order to distinguish themselves from larger chains. In such cases the establishments aim to convey the idea that the operation is elite and highly specialized.
Haute couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion”; refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. “Couture” means dressmaking, sewing, or needlework and is also used as a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit. “Haute” means elegant or high. A haute couture garment is made specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance.
In the end, it’s not about the keywords– it’s about the work, the product, and the service. No matter what you call yourself, if you get those right, you can apply the best word of all to your business: successful.
What a week! As many of you know, El Jefe, the Big Man On Campus, our Fearless Leader, AKA Gregory Goodman, turned 50 on Wednesday. There was quite a celebration. Alan, Head Designer, and all around terrific husband, made sure Greg’s party at The Fix on El Paseo was classy, fun and beautifully decorated. Friends came to celebrate from near and far, and the cake was phenomenal, as one might have known since The Fix is attached to The Pastry Swan’s retail location. Oooh, I can still taste that cake.
But as Greg told me later, something else also meant a lot to him that day. He helped a friend decorate a table** at her daughter’s high school graduation. He said “It wasn’t a big deal – some mirrors, and a couple things styled in a fun way” but he went on to explain he felt it had been for a girl who really achieved something. “She and her family worked hard for that diploma. And her family was so proud – and I was too, and I got to help that happen with what I love to do.” So for Gregory, an important gift he got on Wednesday was, in fact, one he gave away: help, support and encouragement to someone else.
It got me thinking – Greg gives a lot, to a lot of people. And that’s the secret to his happiness and positive attitude. He gave me and Stephen 150% of his time, energy and love when we got married in 2010. And he gives that kind of focus to all his brides; I’ve seen the tough businessman cry at many a wedding he attends. He’s given second chances. I’ve known him to hire people that many businesses wouldn’t, and to get great work (and great loyalty) out of them. He gives so much to the Wedding Warriors – and to making sure his friends and associates get business from his clients. The guests at his party certainly reflected that. He always shares his success.
So that’s what I’m thinking about today. Gregory’s birthday gift of giving. And it reminds me that there is always a gift to be given that is from the heart. And sometimes it’s just showing up, and doing what you love.
Be well, and love well.
* * We would have liked to include a photo of the table. Unfortunately we used a linen from TE Couture Linen that we had in the shop as a sample, and they were upset. We would like to use this space to publicly apologize, we are sorry they were unhappy that we did not make advance arrangements for a contract to donate use of the tablecloth sample. We regret that they have chosen to no longer do business with My Little Flower Shop, and hope to remedy that situation.