Albert C. and his wife, Cece, produce “The Wedding and Quinceañera Planner,” a book offering checklists in English and Spanish that help ease the stress of ceremony planning. It includes tips and tools for handling a variety of tasks, from ordering flowers to creating registries, even offering a final wedding day checklist for the maid of honor.
Albert explains that the planner isn’t meant to cover every contingency, but serve as a point of reference. “If this were a complete list, then this would be a cookie-cutter event, and you’d sign up for a color and a date, and we’d crank you through. But it’s not supposed to do that. This is supposed to be your great day. You’ve never done this before, so you need a starting point. This is your starting point.”
Publishing the book is a team effort. Albert handles advertisement sales and the book’s distribution. Cece does editing and advertisement design. All of the firms that advertise in “The Wedding and Quinceñeara Planner” distribute copies of the book to their customers. Cece and Albert print an updated copy of “The Wedding and Quinceañera Planner” every 6 months.
Albert and Cece provide the “The Wedding and Quiceañera Planner” free to customers because they generate revenue through advertisements. Unfortunately, this year some of the advertisers were late with their payments. “We had been expanding until about a year ago, when we had a few advertisers decide not to renew their contracts. This fall, we had more that decided not to renew, and I had a hard time collecting the money.” Because publishing requires up-front payment, this put them in a bind. “We decided we needed to do something to get the books printed so we’d have them to hand out at the wedding fair. We went to the bank and didn’t quite meet their criteria, but she recommended ACCION to us.”
The loan provided Albert and Cece the funds needed to publish the planner in time for the semi-annual wedding fair, their biggest business event. Without this loan, Albert and Cece would have had to refund what advertising revenues they had collected and would not have been able to publish the book. Albert and Cece advise other business owners to “Keep an eye on your receivables. Don’t expect it (money) to automatically flow in.”
Albert and Cece believe in the long-term potential of their business as much as they believe in the product they offer. Albert says that business is picking up again, and that he and Cece are continuing to receive positive feedback from customers. “One couple told me, ‘I bought a formal planner, but it hasn’t been nearly as informative as your book’… That’s rewarding. Knowing that a couple is sampling from your publication and they’re on the right feet.”
Albert and Cece started this business six years ago, after family friends started a similar business in another city. They saw that Corpus Christi didn’t have an equivalent service, and decided to create one based on their friends’ recommendation. Albert and Cece and their five children are supported by this business. To learn more about Albert and Cece’s business, visit their website http://www.coastalbendweddings.com/.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.