Yesterday morning while packing everything necessary for a day of travel with my twin sister, Cindy Daniel, I knew a cold front was due in the late afternoon but didn’t worry about it affecting my busy Saturday of three weddings because I thought we would be home before the cold front hit. The “expected” temperature drop of 50 degrees over several hours in the late afternoon isn’t common in other states but, we live in Texas and have experienced these surprises before ya all.I packed almonds and beef jerkey, water, floral designs to loan to the afternoon couples, cameras, batteries, extra pens for signing the licenses, safety pins and our other emergency kit items that include Excedrin, band aids, and a sewing kit. The route would start in South Fort Worth at Belltower Chapel then move to a park in North Richland Hills and follow to our final stop in Alvaredo for a wedding in a parking lot.
Many folks are often shocked that I move from a beautiful venue to a park, backyard or even a parking lot BUT my clients are diverse. Texas Twins Events clients rarely borrow my inventory and can easily afford to pay myself and my staff for our event services while The Pawning Planners clients have no money and therefore no way to pay for services. Pawning Planners clients borrow my bouquets and bouteniers 95% of the time and also benefit from complimentary photography because I recognize their financial limitations and work hard to overcome them. Pawning Planners clients barter for services.
My initial “dive” into the wedding and events industry started with Texas Twins Events. The desire to offer low cost alternatives came to me when my son married and his wedding officiant charged $600!
After a lifetime of sales, I knew that the majority of families could never afford the “traditional” price structures of event services so I set out to “change the wedding and events industry one family at a time from Fort Worth, Texas” myself.
The knowledge I’ve learned at refurbishing furniture and antiques came from hard work and elbow grease when my husband a real estate developer was unemployed from 2007-2010. The real estate crash was a shock to our upper middle class lifestyle and in order to “come up with cash quickly,” I started selling my couture clothing, jewelry, furs and finally even our furniture!
To replace the furniture I would need to get crafty and creative by hitting yard sales, thrift shops, Craigslist and occasionally curbs for free items. The fabrics came from trading with Ebay connections and Texas Twins Treasures was born.
My designs are shipped all over the world and “blending” Texas Twins Events with Texas Twins Treasures was how The Pawning Planners was created. Ironically, if we hadn’t “gone broke” I would never have learned to replace our beautiful furniture by “fixing up” whatever I found. For the first year or so it was difficult to afford enough fabric to finish a project so one day I decided to mix whatever I had on hand instead.
After filling my home with my own designs, I decided to become a “design diva” and sale items that I refurbished at Texas Twins Treasures. My “trademark” is a reversible cushion with contrast band and welt. I use very heavy upholstery because it’s durable and lasts for years and years. Taking pride in my work and successfully selling items is why The Pawning Planners works so well. My product knowledge and talent can make anything I trade for sell for a profit. Appraisal Appointnents are a requirement for Pawning Planners clients. Evaluating their trade is an important element. I know what something “can be” no matter the current condition and more importantly, what it will cost to bring a unique item “back to life.” Refurbishing furniture is a fairly expensive endeavor and I do not take trades that lack personality or diversity- I’m specifically seeking something “different.”
The lines and attributes of my furniture start with a good frame but I also take trades of furniture, boats, farm equipment, houses and more. My background in furniture spans 20 years and I know exactly what I’m looking for when walking into an Appraisal Appointment when furniture is involved. There are no “quick flips” with furniture because I’m going to strip, stain and reupholster it to “make it my own.”
As I look back over the past nearly 9 years, my “idea” to sell everything we owned wasn’t easy for me or my husband. It was painful for both of us to lose everything we had spent a lifetime acquiring but I promised to replace everything “on a tight budget” and I did. Had he not lost his business- I would never have learned how to refurbish furniture.
Life is like that- one day you look back and recognize that resilience is key to overcoming your situation. Success doesn’t come easy for many people and it certainly wasn’t easy for me. Trial and error taught me many things like when the top of a table was ruined so I ordered a mirror and covered it or when driving my dog to the vet, I saw a cuddle chair on the curb missing the cushion with exposed springs. To anyone it was junk but to me–it had possibilities!
My family will tell you that I “brake check” for furniture and they are right. I pulled over and crammed this discarded item into my SUV and spent a month deciding on the stain, the coordinating fabrics and finally where I would put it. No one “sees what I see” when I pick something up curbside but my “vision” is similar to my husbands when he looks at a field and sees a development- I see a field of trees!
My first wedding started at 1:00 but was initially planned for 11:30 so we arrived at 11:30 to help with the wedding party and ensure that everything was a “go” for 1:00. I pulled over to check out a discarded side table but the water damage had ruined it. Everyone in my family “rolls their eyes” when I’m headed to a destination and pull over for something on the curb but they’ve learned that I know what I’m doing.
Last Wednesday, Cindy and I had attended the rehearsal and were told the wedding was at 1:00 rather than 11:30. The problem? This was a wedding surprise and based on my other commitments, we both worried about timelines for the other two couples. Also, the father wasn’t present at the rehearsal which was another “red flag” for me as I worried about whether he would be available to give away the bride- or not. Leaving the rehearsal, we ran by the Salvation Army where I found an amazing pair of distressed leather wingback chairs I’m planning to pick up tomorrow. I’m thrilled with this amazing find and can’t wait to “work them in” at my home.
Our first wedding (although the father refused to escort the bride) went off without a hitch and Dawn looked stunning! Her mother gave her away and the 70 degree temperatures were perfect for outdoor photos.
Leaving the beautiful Belltower Chapel for a park in Richland Hills gives you a better idea of just how unpredictable my client base actually is.Belltower Chapel- Weddings With Wendy Wortham.
Arriving at the park, Cindy looked at me and said “ugh- oh, it’s freezing outside.” She was right and by the time we finished this wedding, we were both fighting frost bitten fingers, ears and noses before heading to the wedding in a Walmart parking lot to wrap up our day.
Arriving home again after a long day on the road and meeting new friends, my husband took care of The Little Pawners for us and had a wonderful dinner waiting to boot!
Wendy M Wortham The Pawning Planners