Why I'm Sad my Competition is Moving (Part 1: Our Story)

The wedding industry can be such a cutthroat place. Between the multitude of photographers, stationers, florists, planners, and other professions that exist within the industry, it seems like there is hardly room for friendships to blossom, and rather more space for people to butt heads. Thankfully, there are multiple co-working spaces and online communities/societies that have helped wedding creatives (and creatives in general) connect with one another in a positive way.

PIN this for later! Thumbnail image by Rosalynne Love.

PIN this for later! Thumbnail image by Rosalynne Love.

I am lucky and blessed that I have been able to cultivate strong friendships in this industry, not only with those who have different professions from me, but those who have the SAME as well.

This is a huge deal! And it’s also super important.

I’ve heard friends say, “I can’t be friends with other photographers,” because they are a photographer as well. Jealousy, competitiveness, and insecurity can take over in these instances and it’s easy for us to say that we don’t want to be friends with our immediate competition.

Is it maybe easier not to be? Yes.

Is it worth it not to be? No.

Becoming friends (dare I say, best friends) with my competitor here in Marietta, GA has been one of the best things that happened to me. I’m incredibly sad that she’s moving this September. The person I am referring to is my dear and close friend Katie of Made to Flourish Calligraphy. And yes, if you’re wondering, I did have her permission to write this blog post and talk about our relationship.

When I moved here in September 2015 I didn’t know anyone except my husband and two family friends. Anything I had known in life was scratched and I started over. I met Katie through our husbands’ university – once she and I connected I could tell that we were going to be friends. We shared a lot of things in common; our creativity, our charismatic spirits, and above all our love for hand lettering and calligraphy.

Katie and I attended the same church for my first year of living in Georgia, so between small group, church, and hanging out occasionally we saw quite a bit of each other. I wish I could tell you that our relationship was always a lovely walk in the park, but I would be lying. We hit a rough patch in our friendship, and (to be honest) a lot of it came from my end.

An example of a suite that I created for a styled shoot earlier this year. Both Katie & I participate in a lot of local shoots! Photography by Noi Tran.

An example of a suite that I created for a styled shoot earlier this year. Both Katie & I participate in a lot of local shoots! Photography by Noi Tran.

I had started to feel threatened.

I knew when I met Katie that we had similar styles, but all of a sudden I was overthinking everything she made, shared, and posted on social media. I had taken my time to answer a lot of her questions because I had wanted to.  I had shared methods and strategies because I wanted to. But all of a sudden I had constant nagging thoughts in my mind. Was she copying me? Was it her idea to do that on her own, or did she get that idea from me?

Jealousy and insecurity had reared their ugly heads inside of me. Suddenly I was more preoccupied with what Katie was doing within her business than what I was doing within mine. I could feel myself withdrawing. I didn’t want to hang out as much anymore, and I didn’t feel like sharing information or answering any questions. (Just so you know, this is really hard for me to admit and write to all of you, because no one likes talking about feeling this way. At least I can look back on all of this and laugh now).

One of Katie's beautiful seating charts from a local style shoot! Photography by Gal Pal Tal Porductions.

One of Katie's beautiful seating charts from a local style shoot! Photography by Gal Pal Tal Porductions.

Katie was the one who approached me and broke the “silence”. We both knew we were overly similar – our thought processes, styles, and emotional approaches to business and life mirrored each other so strongly you would think we could have been twins separated at birth. Katie opened up with me and was honest. She told me she would never want to step on my toes, that she had appreciated everything I had shared with her, and that above all she treasured our friendship more than anything.

Friends, if Katie hadn’t said this and taken the first step, I’m not sure if I would have been humble or kind enough to have done it myself. I might have just let our friendship fall away, thinking it wasn’t worth the emotion of it all.

I might have let myself be consumed by insecurity.

I might have let jealousy lodge his arrow in my heart.

I might have lost one of my best friends.

After that conversation happened, Katie and were easily able to discuss anything with each other. She shared about her experiences, and I shared about mine. We’ve switched so many stories, tips & tricks, sources, etc. that I’ve lost track! All it took was a simple discussion and being honest with one another. I can confidently say I would be happy to answer ANY and ALL questions she has, and she would answer any of mine as well without either of us feeling threatened.

Now, if you’ve stuck with me through all of that (because I consider our background story to be SUPER important) then you might be wondering what makes our friendship so great and what makes it worth it....

Stay tuned for PART 2 of this post!