My twin sister and I are often interviewed about how and why we have continued to grow without marketing or advertising. The key is happy clients who refer us over and over again.
Cindy was the first to climb on board with my unique idea to create a People Over Profit based Events business. Sure, there were others including a few of my own family members who didn’t believe there was a market for low cost Events services but, Cindy and I had no one to help us plan our weddings or other celebrations so we knew from personal experience that there was a market for affordable options and decided to create it ourselves.
For a number of years, our first clients were LBGT couples. We welcomed anyone from any background and were openly LBGT friendly from the inception of Texas Twins Events.
Prior to the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage, my team and I often traveled to other states to meet our clients and marry them where their marriage would be legal. Upon the ruling, our business expanded again with a very large portion of our booked clients being LBGT couples who had either been referred to Texas Twins Events by friends or acquaintances or who had “heard about the Texas Twins.”
A few years after starting Texas Twins Events and around the same time same sex marriage became legal, a client proposed a trade. The client didn’t have any money but did have a fairly unique antique wagon. The client “knew we had a storefront for Texas Twins Treasures” and could effectively “flip the wagon.” We did and also sat down together to decide how we could help people with no money.
I decided to merge Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create something that once again, no one had ever done before. The Pawning Planners takes trades in exchange for event services. As usual, a few people laughed about my idea and as usual, we made it work.
We didn’t “lose clients” because they had no money to book through Texas Twins Events. Instead, we gained the clients that everyone else was losing. Ironic isn’t it? I was never planning to “be like everyone else.” After all, that market was saturated with other vendors trying to make as much money as they could from each client coming to them for services. We weren’t.
My goal and original concept was to “make Dream Events affordable to anyone.” We have helped clients from any and all economic backgrounds. Low income, middle income and even high income clients book with the Texas Twins.
Affordable event photography? Absolutely. When it became apparent that photographers were charging $250 an hour and up WITHOUT providing photos, we purchased our own equipments and two friends, Lori and Tammi both donated cameras in order for my team and I to provide photography at $75 an hour and free photo galleries to our booked clients. When we encountered problems for our clients, we FOUND SOLUTIONS. We do Events differently.
Nearly three years ago, a creative request for an Officiant at a Texas Prison came across my desk. The Request for a Prison Officiant intrigued me. I quickly called the bride “having problems finding an affordable Officiant willing to undergo the background process who wasn’t judgmental about marrying an interracial couple.”
The bride had also seen myself, my twin sister and our twin granddaughters on CW33 Newsfix at an NOH8 event and heard my quote “I believe that everyone deserves to find love and have love.” The bride knew that I was open minded. She was right.
It took a few weeks for Texas Department Of Criminal Justice to Approve me to walk into Texas Prisons. At the time, I assumed the ONLY Prison wedding I would be officiating was for Misty. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The demand for inmate weddings now takes up 75% of my bookings through Texas Twins Events. Monday through Friday, I Officiate inmate weddings in not only Texas but also other states. Going from being infamous for LBGT Weddings a few years prior to becoming infamous for performing Prison Weddings surprised even me. The demand for inmate weddings through TDCJOfficiant.com is so strong that my niece, Leigh Ann is taking over California Prison Weddings in August. My son and his wife handle Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Cindy and I are mainly in Texas for prison weddings but also travel to California, Louisiana and other states that I am authorized to conduct prison weddings within. Next month, I’m traveling to Austin to perform a Vow Renewal for my Sanders Estes couple pictured above. The majority of all of my Prison couples to have a traditional ceremony upon release compromises a large portion of our “be back business.”
Cindy and I also work as twin Event Planners and interfaith Officiants at many client bookings for traditional events. Working with my family and having time to spend together with them is the “fringe benefit” that I never expected. Since I’m asked “what percentage of my Prison clients are men?” The answer is 5-8%. I also perform LBGT Prison Weddings which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed our unique journey. The percentage? 10-14% of inmate bookings are LBGT couples. The majority of our inmate clients are women.
“How do Prison wedding clients find you? Do you talk to the inmate? Does the person on the outside book you? Who is the actual client?” The inmate and I never talk until the day of the wedding. The client is the person on the outside planning to marry an inmate. They locate me to go over the details and Unit location to begin the Prison Wedding Planning Process.“Why do you offer complimentary photo shoots for your Prison Clients?” The reason is based on exceeding my clients expectations. Most clients are unhappy with Unit Photos. To overcome the issue, I pack one of my suvs with a wide array of fascinators, tiaras, bouquets and more to bring fun to their photo shoot.
Our clients are encouraged to bring photos of the inmate, clothing changes and even guests who aren’t authorized to have guests at their inmate wedding ceremony. Why? Because family and friends alike are welcome to join my clients at their photo shoot with me after leaving the Unit.
Friends and/or family members often wait for my client and I to leave the Prison Unit and my clients enjoy having close friends and family being a part of their wedding day. It’s a win win. My Coffield Unit bride had so much fun at her photo shoot with me that I was as excited as she was to hear that her husband is finally being released after making Parole and I can’t wait to see her again in a few months for her Vow Renewal in Oklahoma. All of my clients are truly a joy. All of my clients have an interesting journey of resilience and perseverance to share but, my Prison clients especially have a particularly far more interesting background.
While not everyone may embrace my clients choices or decisions, they like my team and I don’t care about the opinions of others that don’t have an impact on their love story or our unique clients…