Post # 1
I know, I know–I’m talking about Seattle, where there African American population is currently at an all-time high at 8%. That said, it’s more than a tad disturbing that I haven’t been able to find any vendors of color in my extensive online searches–not one photographer or videographer, not one bakery, not one make-up artist, not one venue, not one musician or musical group, not one dj (other than Bamboo Beats who charge way too much). Maybe it’s because I’m in DC now where there are business owners of color all over the place, but I find this absence both conspicuous and embarassing (for the Seattle wedding business establishment). Anyone have any leads in Seattle or general tips on how you found vendors of color in your weding locations where, perhaps, diversity isn’t a strong suit? I haven’t lived in Seattle for 10 years, so any networks I once had have long since dissipated.
Post # 2
mrscarter22: sorry no real leads, but do you have friends that have been married in Seattle and might have met vendors of color?
Might I also ask why it is so important why you find a vendor of color rather than focusing on finding vendors who offer quality services that meet your needs? Would you be willing to potentially sacrifice quality to have a vendor of color?
Just curious. I myself am a woman of color and I guess am curious because I didnt explicitly seek vendors based on their ethnic/racial background.
Post # 3
mrscarter22: there are AA MUAs in Seattle. I follow one on IG and he does weddings. I would look in the Tacoma area. I’m out there monthly because my husband is stationed there. I’m sure there are also AA bakers. I’m not sure about a black venue. The black venues here in NYC are in questionable neighborhoods so I’m not sure I would pick a venue just because a person of color owns it. I’m AA but I chose my vendors based on quality and reliability and not just their skin color matching mine.
Post # 4
mrscarter22: I know exactly how you feel. I live in Vancouver and am getting married in Seattle. The struggle was real when I tried to find African American vendors, particularly MUAs and hair stylists. I remember looking at so many websites of makeup artists, and rarely did I find pictures of dark-skinned brides. It was honestly very discouraging.
As a result, I am doing my own makeup after two failed trials (thank goodness I know enough about makeup to pull this off), and am trying out Vasuda salon for hair services (apparently they are familiar with african American hair textures).
My day-of-coordinator is African American, and she also recently moved to Seattle from the East Coast. She also noticed the lack of African Americans represented in the wedding scene in Seattle.
Anyways, if you have any questions, just let me know. I’m happy to help since I’ve also been in that boat!
Post # 5
bmo88: Unfortunately, all my friends who got married in the area did so 5-10 years ago and/or didn’t really have the same sensitivity I do to the problem.
I don’t agree with the premise of your questions that this needs to be an either/or situation–that I either find a vendor of color OR find a quality vendor who fits my needs or that I’d need to sacrifice quality in any way, shape, or form. I, like every other bride I imagine, am looking for the best possible vendors for the best possible value–which is precisely why the lack of diversity bothers me and why I’m putting some effort into finding excellent vendors who are not being included through the mainstream channels.
Having diversity in my options is important to me for a number or reasons:
1) Like I mentioned, when there’s no diversity (and I mean that literally in this case–it’s shocking), I’m very skeptical that I’m actually seeing the “best of the best”–as opposed to a network of folks who recommend each other because they know each other.
2) I’m rarely (ok, never!) in a situation when I am personally pumping tens of thousands of dollars into a local economy, and I want it to be as fair and inclusive of a process as possible because that is reflective of both my and my fiance’s values.
3) At the very least, demonstrated experience working with different skin colors and lighting is crucial for any make-up artist or photographer/videographer I hire. Given that the majority of all of the white vendors I’ve come across feature white clients almost exclusively in their online portfolios, I’m hoping that perhaps a vendor of color might feature at least some clients of color in theirs. And yes, I know I can just ask any given photog or MUA to demonstrate this kind of experience, but it doesn’t exactly fill me with overwhelming confidence when in the first instance, none of their work with clients of color made the cut among the hundreds of photos they chose to feature online. It tells me (whether intentional or not) that either they don’t have the level of experience I need and/or that as a business owner, they haven’t given much thought to what diverse potential clients (or people with a diverse array of friends or family) might want or need to see to want to work with them (or that they care at all about working with someone like me).
Post # 6
gelaine22: Thanks for suggesting digging a little deeper in Tacoma. I will definitely try that. And to be clear, I’m not interested in picking someone because of the color of their skin. If I can be supportive of local businesses, especially ones owned by people of color or women, I try to be–but all I really want are options.
Post # 7
mrscarter22: I completely understand your reasoning, and wasn’t trying to imply it was either/or, but I guess I would be more interested in finding vendors who had experience working with clients of color, rather than a vendor of color. Because then you might find someone of color with that experience or at least someone who has the experience necessary, especially for hair and makeup.
It makes a lot of sense for the hair/makeup part because I have struggled to find people who can work with my hair. I am black and white, and my hair is much more like african american hair. Many hairstylists have botched doing my hair because they lack the experience (I live in a low diversity area as well).
I guess I was just more curious in terms of some of the other vendors, like venues, DJs and florists as to why it would matter so much. But everyone has their reasoning. I wasn’t saying it was right or wrong, but merely asking for your rationale.