Stacie Francombe is well-known throughout the wedding industry mainly for being the founder and former TV host of Get Married, but in the past year I have had the pleasure of getting to know her better through her newest entrepreneurial venture, Inspire Smart Success. Stacie’s newest “baby” is making big a big splash in the wedding industry by providing unparalleled conferences throughout the United States as well as abroad. In December, I traveled to the Riviera Maya region south of Cancun, Mexico for the most wonderful wedding industry event I’ve ever attended.
The keys to Stacie and her team’s success are these main points:
BRANDING — It started in the form of conference themed electronic communication: website, Facebook page, emails, etc. But that was just the beginning — once we got to the conference it was like “HOLY BRANDING CRAP”! Oh my — I have never seen anything so over-the-top well done in terms of branding. We had:
COMMUNICATION — I have never been involved with anything like this that included such great communication. We knew when and where to be at all times — well before the event. We also knew what to wear and what to bring. Stacie even arranged for transportation from the airport to the hotel where my husband and I stayed BEFORE the conference even started and then back to the conference hotel… The majority of the attendees were introduced before the event in the form of a private Facebook group. This was a fantastic way for us to “scope out” who we would want to meet for sure at the event by looking into their online profiles and getting acquainted with them as well as a place to stay in touch with people we met after the event.
CONTENT — Of course, the main goal of these events is to educate the attendees and this was no different. The difference here was that events and opportunities were created to MAKE you have an opportunity to reach out to these industry educators in a less classroom-like setting. Being a smaller conference (in terms of number of attendees) was wonderful in that you had a chance to really talk to the speakers one-on-one. We had sessions outside by the beach and in other various locations throughout the stunning resort — not too shabby for having to “learn” stuff.
NETWORKING — We were exposed to the “A LIST” of wedding industry professionals including “Preston Bailey, Diann Valentine and Sasha Souza”. There were also wedding speaker veterans such as Andy Ebon and Sonny Ganguly (who can dance I might add). At check-in we were asked for 120 business cards, which went into little bags for each attendee, so that we had a card on everybody — GENIOUS! The best example of the networking gimmicks was at one of the dinners we had at a private “Hacienda”. The attendees drew names to see which speaker we would be seated with, along with a few other attendees (about 8 people total at each table). This way, we were taken out of our comfort zone and forced to sit by people we did not know and communicate with people who were at the top of their game in our industry – GENIOUS, again!
To Stacie — I know your life must be exhausting. You are an amazing mom to three precious young boys, a daughter to the most supportive parents and the adoring wife to a television producer with a sexy accent — WOW! Don’t burn out by doing it all because the wedding industry is counting on you! I love that you brought the boys to Mexico with you. It is great to see that you are including them in your crazy-busy-life. I can’t wait to get my hands on your new magazine because if it’s half as good as your conference experience, it will be amazing. I also can’t wait to have the budget to do the one-on-one mentoring with you because I can already see the value of it just from looking from the outside in. You are amazing and I wish for you only the best in this new chapter of your life!