Part of this Ethical Weddings movement is not only inspiring a couple getting married but also the vendors who work with them. It’s a partnership of conscious couples and conscious vendors that will make a long-lasting impact. In this Part I post targeted to wedding vendors, marketing guru Gabriella gives tips on how to become a social entrepreneur in the wedding industry. Part II (coming soon) will be written by someone who has integrated these steps and more, Sandra Chile: a colorful, talented photographer out of Pitstburg, PA and one of the first to be known as an ethical wedding photographer.
I get it. Becoming an ethical, socially responsible vendor may feel like an overwhelming task to accomplish. So it might surprise you to learn there are several simple steps wedding vendors can take to become more ethically-focused. It starts with setting theright goal for your business.
Now, if you intend to become a full-fledged, certifiable ethical supplier or service provider then you may want to consult with a social enterprise attorney who can help you with the transition. If however, you simply wish to make your eco-friendly bride or couple happy by providing ethical wedding options, then continue reading my friend! This blog will cover seven steps that you can take to become an ethical vendor. Hooray!
1) What Inspires You?
There are tons of social and environmental issues that need our attention, but the good news is you don’t have to take them all on to make a difference. Choose one cause that inspires you and use it to develop a list of ethical business standards. Doing this will ensure that you consistently make decisions which directly align with your cause.
2) Promote Ethical Brands + Partnerships
Every good vendor has their go-to list of caterers, florists, and other suppliers. Remember the list of ethical standards you just created? Use it as a guide to review your vendor/supplier rolodex. Can you develop new partnerships or promote other brands that adhere to your ethical business standards? Do some research and find out!
3) Focus On the Small Wins
This one is pretty straightforward. You don’t have to convert your entire business overnight! Set realistic expectations for yourself and your clients by focusing on small wins. If you only manage to swap out traditional stationary for an eco-conscious alternative, great. If you can use only renewable energy sources to power every contracted wedding in 2018, awesome. Every win is a step in the right direction.
4) Educate Your Bride
What’s that saying, “If it don’t make dollas then it don’t make sense?” Point is it’s all about the bottom line. Educate your bride on the financial benefits of eliminating a few “must-have” details and explain the positive impact of choosing ethical alternatives for her wedding. Most importantly, remind her that sustainable weddings are just as special (if not more) as a “normal” wedding.
5) Find Allies + Be An Ally
You may be surprised by the amount of “woke” individuals that exist within the folds of your personal and professional community. These folks are your allies! Team up with them and share insights, resources and most importantly, SUPPORT one another. If you don’t know where to begin, there are also a ton of online and local ethically-minded communities that you can join!
6) Become An Advocate
Whether online or in person, we have the ability to spread awareness about social causes on a daily basis. For example, if used strategically, social media can do wonders for your business and for society. Use Instagram to show your audience what eco-friendly alternatives look like, start a thoughtful dialogue on Facebook about what it means to be ethically-focused, or join local organizations that are championing social causes at scale. Remember that the best vehicle for change is the power of our VOICE.
7) Partner With A Charity
If the tips listed above still feel overwhelming or out of reach, consider becoming a supporter instead! Find a school, non-profit, or startup whose cause matters to you and partner up with them! Donate your time or a percentage of your annual/quarterly net profit to support their efforts. You can become a corporate sponsor, fund scholarships, or be a long-term benefactor; the opportunities to make this world a better place are endless.
That’s it! Hopefully, I’ve helped you demystify ethically-focused business practices. If you’d like to learn more about how I started using my business for good, feel free to shoot me an email! Bonus points if you live in the bay area and would like to collaborate =)
Gabriella is the founder of Saint Gabe, a marketing strategy and design firm that’s dedicated to scaling mission-driven businesses. When not busily working, Gabriella can be found in front of her French easel or with her nose in a book. Send her a snazzy email or a sweet GIF at firstname.lastname@example.org