Saturday, February 22, 2014

G is for Gay Clients

Today, as many days, we are seeing headlines in the news about gay rights being stomped all over. Arizona is being put in a horrible position as their lawmakers passed a bill giving business owners the right to deny service to gay and lesbians. The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.  What does this have to do with weddings? A lot.

I'd love to spend all my time blogging about pretty color schemes and cute DIY projects, but these are real struggles that my friends and my community are going through.  As a new business owner I feel it's appropriate to take a stance.  More than appropriate, it's necessary.  There are many reasons I won't take you on as a client, being gay is not one of them.

When Cody and I first arrived in California we found a great little studio apartment right on Ocean Blvd, in vibrant Long Beach. We had moved all the way from Charleston SC, so by the time we made it across country our funds were getting low.  At that point I had almost ten years experience in the service industry and had never had a problem picking up a serving job.  Due to the time of year, there were no restaurants in our area were hiring.  We spent two weeks going to open interviews and handing out resumes.  The turning point from wanting a job to needing a job was soon approaching and we were loosing hope.  We stopped by a little brick restaurant on the corner of Broadway and Hermosa, oh what the heck.  I ran in and left our resumes with a bartender.  He seemed distracted and I didn't think anything would come of it.  The next morning at 6am Cody got a phone call to come in, they needed a busser/barback immediately.  An hour later Cody had been hired and got me a shift a week as a hostess.  The next night my handsome, southern raised man strolled in for his first shift in a California restaurant.  He quickly began noticing lots of little clues neither of us had seen before: the Bud Light Tap had a rainbow, there are lots of men and the cocktails have really funny names.  Oh my, we had been hired at a GAY BAR!

The funniest thing was, we loved it.  There was never a thought of quitting once we realized where we were working.  We had a sincere appreciation for the opportunity to make money.  The clientele was friendly and inquisitive.  I quickly moved up to Catering Coordinator and was given the chance to spread my wings.  In this comforting environment I learned about etiquette, style, wine, inventory, money management, menu conception, flavor profile, politics, Glee, Lady Gaga and having pride for who you are.  I worked for a wonderful owner, Michael Barber.  My Manager Eric Davis and Chef Veronica Organista molded me into the business person I am today.  I have since moved on but feel the welcome I was given has given me a greater since of acceptance. For these reasons I feel I'm a part of the LGBT Community.

Just to make my stance perfectly clear I do agree with the right for business owners to turn down work from people of any orientation.  Here are my specific guidelines:

1. They call me on a regular basis before 9am.  The only person who does this is my father, he won't take a hint.  I'm a night owl.  Respect it.  Don't ring me at 6am with your new Flower Girl Dress ideas and I won't call you at 2am when I'm finishing printing extra handmade coloring books for a client that suddenly has three extra children attending their wedding.

2. They want to get married on the moon.  I look fat in space suits. I will travel almost anywhere on this planet though:)

3. My dogs don't like them.  I don't usually introduce my dogs to my clients but since I'm such a passionate business woman and devoted puppy mommy, sometimes the two cross paths.  In the five years I've had Luna she has only not liked two people.  They both ended up being horrible human beings.  This is not an absolutely sane method, but definitely a good indicator whether the person has a good heart.

4. One or both people in the couple become a Bridezilla.  I'm willing to go to extremely far lengths to make sure your big day is a fabulous and joyful one.  I'm willing to be your encyclopedia, shoulder to cry on and biggest motivator.  Don't take advantage by yelling or cussing at me.  Nobody has time for that.

5. They use hateful slurs to describe people different than themselves.  I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion.  If you don't like some one's lifestyle, that is OK by me.  There are plenty of lifestyles I will never try, but I'm so excited to celebrate the people that have found love in these ways.  There is a huge difference in not agreeing with another groups views and bashing them for it.  I choose to celebrate our differences.

This has been the summary of my about page on Sweet Peach Planning from day one:

It is very important to our team to provide services to all types of couples regardless of age, race, social status, religious background or gender.  Fairy Tales come in all shapes and sizes. We feel flattered to be a part of yours.

I hope one day we will look back and find it absurd that this was even a topic of discussion.  Until then I will stand strong on my views of equality and I choose to live them out in my business.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! xoxo


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