My weekly calendar often finds my twin sister and I driving to someone’s home, barn or trailer to “walk a trade” when we aren’t driving to a Texas Prison or County Jail to Officiate a TDCJ Wedding. 

The Pawning Planners give anyone seeking services through Texas Twins Events an opportunity to barter their services. Yes, yes, I know it sounds like a very different business concept because it is. For a list of services (whether your request is listed or not) you can go through my main site– Texas Twins Events-Low Cost Services & Ceremonies.

For the past month, several TDCJ Tennessee Colony Units have been on Lock Down causing a literal back up of Brides and Grooms waiting for their Wedding Ceremony to be scheduled. 

Yesterday, while talking to Angela about possible timelines on when her Ceremony might be scheduled, she asked how many TDCJ Prison Weddings I Officiate a month? The answer is surprising even for me, 10-20.Cindy and I along with my entire family had spent our weekends for years traveling to events in a caravan but, a request for a TDCJ Prison Wedding would change our usual schedule. We now road trip across Texas during the week while still handling event services on the weekends.

Frankly, over a year ago, when I decided to undergo the background screening in order to help Misty at my very first TDCJ Wedding at Estes Unit, I had no idea that my business would take a boom by expanding Texas Twins Events to offer Texas Prison Weddings. 

How could I guess that there were so many Brides and Grooms wanting to marry a Prisoner? I had no idea that helping Misty would expand my business but, Misty did– My First Texas Prison Wedding. 

Misty told me that by helping her, there would be hundreds of others who would hire me and, Misty was right!

For the past eight years, my client base was compromised of LBGT and Traditional Weddings, Rent Parties, Funeral Ceremonies, Baptisms, Estate Liquidations, Party Planning and more. All of that changed when I became a TDCJ Officiant. 

I quickly went from working evenings and weekends with an occasional Pawning Planners Appraisal Appointment on during the week to working 7 days a week. 

One of the primary reasons for the “boom to my business” was that TDCJ Prison Weddings fit perfectly into my schedule. Prison Weddings are scheduled Monday-Friday from 9-5 which worked well with my schedule since for many years now, my Events for Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners take place in the evening or on weekends. 

County or City Jail Weddings take place 7 days a week and don’t fall under TDCJ Guidelines so, I quickly delegated Jail Weddings to my son, Robert Hafele, my dad Jerry Thomas and my niece, Leigh Ann Blais. It takes a village to address all of our creative requests and, my family is the village.

Since the scheduling for a TDCJ Wedding didnt interfere with my existing bookings which take place on weekdays, adding Texas Prison Wedding Officiant Services worked perfectly for me. 

For more information on TDCJ Wedding Officiant Services, visit this link– Texas Prison Weddings With Rev Wendy Wortham.

I’ve been asked where I advertise but, I don’t. The reason for this is that I stay so booked out that I’ve added 5 family members as Officiants who can easily address new bookings as well as County Jail Officiant Requests.

Four generations of my family aka the Texas Twins Events Team work with me to make Dream Events a Reality from Fort Worth, Texas. 

We are a one stop shop that can address anything from floral design to Officiants, Coordinators, Photography and even characters for Princess Parties.The rebranding and expanding of Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Events to create a barter option with The Pawning Planners didn’t happen overnight and like anything else, has a back story.

I’m married to a developer. My husband was finishing a development in 2007 when the real estate marked crashed. In order to close out the development, we were forced to buy the last lot and build a home. I wasn’t happy about living in the country but, over the next three years keeping that home would become far more of a hurdle when my husband was unemployed for three years after the crash. Our income quickly went from 200-300k combined with both of us working to my salary alone. On top of that, I provided insurance for both of us which took a huge chunk of my pay checks due to my husbands age. 

Going from a very good income of two earners, things became so bad financially that towards the end of the third year of my husbands unemployment, I was selling our high end furniture, my couture clothing and more. My jewelry went first. 

My husband had never worked in any industry outside real estate and is quite a bit older than me which may have contributed to the problem of him being unable to find work. 

My husband, Matthew only had experience in development and custom homebuilding. His first job was selling doorknobs at 16 years old. Matthews experience in home building started from the ground up.

During this window, my health took a serious setback which is why I was forced to liquidate our assets in 2009 and created Texas Twins Treasures. 

From thyroid cancer to a lump in my breast to 3 surgeries for complications of endometriosis, while my husband struggled with the depression of being unable to find work for the first time in his life, my medical expenses far outweighed my income. Selling everything we owned was the only way to meet my growing medical expenses.

For a time, we had literally no furniture. To solve this issue, I hit yard sales and Craigslist along with thrift shops to find furniture but, it was always in horrible condition. 

I decided to start acquiring tapestry fabrics by trading couture clothing and Levi’s abroad with others on eBay and refurbishing my trash to treasure second hand items. 

Surprisingly, I had a knack for reupholstering furniture with funky mixes of coordinating silk tapestry and velvet bands of brocade welts. I wanted unique pieces that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

My twin sister joined me in searching for items to replace everything that I had been forced to sell and, the Design Divas were born. 

When I wasn’t working, I was foraging for funky furniture to restore and furnish our home with. 

Throughout our sifting through junk, we learned that quick flips were easy money and often sold items straight from our suvs after listing them at Texas Twins Treasures. 

Cindy had been flipping on eBay since 2004 and also sold her custom jewelry designs  worldwide so she was far more familiar with online selling than I was. My twin sister has an eye for jewelry and can repair broken items quickly and easily. It’s a skill that I don’t have. 

Cindy can fix or repair anything as well as entertain guests at events. 

My quirky ideas about banding, welts and reversible cushions stem from my love of color and texture on home furnishings. I like variety and color. 

Since Cindy and I both had an eye for anything that was different we often used EBay, Google or Bing to find approximate values. 

If an item sold too quickly, we knew we had listed it too low and learned to check several places before putting a price on anything. 

By the time my husband found work again at McBee Homes, our oversized home had been listed for sale and was full of my Texas Twins Treasures unique and eclectic home furnishings. 

Of course,  we decided to downsize and move to our unusual old 2500 square foot home where we still live today and I obviously couldn’t take everything with me. 

Scheduling an estate sale prior to moving, I quickly found that my flipped items were worth far more than I had ever imagined and learned that unique antiques and unusual furniture pieces were in high demand. 

Everyone wanted something “different.” Something you couldn’t find in any box store but aside from being unique, my designs were well built and sturdy. The most important aspect of walking a furniture or antique trade is the structure. 

You can’t build something beautiful on sand. I’m particularly picky about anything with wobbly legs or issues on a furniture trade. While some irregularities can be repaired, others cannot.

I was surprised everyone wanted to buy my eclectic designs and inadvertently found a way to make money from years of being a junkster with my twin sister. 

Flipping furniture requires a bit of investment on labor, foam and upholstery which is why I’m very picky about furniture barters. If an item doesn’t speak to me, I’m not interested in investing a significant amount of money to successfully flip it. 

Jewelry, cars, boats and other odd items require little or no investment and Cindy loves quick flips so, we split up st Appraisal Appointments with completely different agendas.

“Appraisal Knowledge” would come in handy a few years after creating Texas Twins Events when we decided to offer a barter option with The Pawning Planners. 

Cindy and I are the twin team that work together coordinating events, appraising and refurbishing items, Officiating religious services and ceremonies as well as creating custom floral designs and deliver Texas Twins Treasures items when not driving to Texas Prisons.

My twin sister is quite literally, my right hand. We are best friends and do everything together. We are Compensating Personality twins meaning that Cindy is funny and I’m serious, Cindy likes to be comfortable while I enjoy dressing up. 

I’m a task taker and list maker while Cindy is far more outspoken and known far for her Redneck Granny Quotes used on our Pawning Planners Apparel Line.  

I rarely discuss a very tough time in my life when my husband was unemployed and I continued to struggle with medical issues but, I was recently asked why and how I would create a People Over Profit based business specifically for hard working Americans who didn’t have a lot of money for Event Services? My reasons were based on my own knowledge and experience. 

Neither my twin sister Cindy or I had ever had a beautiful wedding. We couldn’t afford to and had no one to help us pay for such a luxury. 

Giving others the one thing that neither of us had enjoyed came naturally to not only me but, also my twin sister. I knew we weren’t alone. 

Why else would anyone choose to marry at the JP? No photos? No flowers? No joy? My goal was to change the options of a low budget wedding and make it memorable and, I have. 

Cindy was married at the JP in a red jumpsuit and matching sneakers because she couldn’t afford a wedding dress. I was married at the Botanic Gardens not knowing that there was a fee involved. If we had been caught getting married at the gardens years ago without paying the enormous fee, I’m certain we would’ve been “Booted Out Of The Botanic Gardens!” 

Of course, I would’ve been embarrassed and humiliated by this but, at the time was completely unaware of the fee. After all, there were no signs posted about people being dressed up required to buy a permit. 

It was a public park that didn’t charge admission so my husband and I had no idea about renting the park or paying a fee for a permit. Years later, the Harvey Family would find out–Booted Out Of The Botanic Garden.

My wedding was simple and scheduled after I left work in the evening which may be why security didn’t stop us at the Garden. We simply showed up, paid our minister $450.00 and had a ceremony with only my son, nieces, grandnieces and aunt present. 

After trying to find an affordable weddding dress for months, I decided that a prom dress from Ross would work after realizing that I couldn’t afford to buy my own dress.

For years, I have bought second hand wedding dresses for my clients because I knew they couldn’t provide their own. I also created Bouquets, centerpieces, bouteniers and an Inventory to loan clients along with wedding dresses because I understood that many couples couldn’t afford to provide them on their own.

My family and I became Friends Of The Friendless and set out on a mission to change the wedding and events industry by making Life Events affordable to anyone regardless of their income.

Unless you’ve been a paycheck to paycheck family or struggled with the financial strain of medical expenses, divorce and more, you may never understand why I decided to use funds from the sale of our home and furnishings to start a low cost business directly targeting low income consumers. 

My goal was to help people no one else was willing to help. That’s right, people just like me and my sister. 

I was never initially interested in helping rich people but, rich people like to save money on services too so it’s not unusual for me to be an exclusive venue one minute and in a barn, field, park or Prison the next. 

My “target group” of clients were LBGT and low to middle class. The people that no one else was willing to help. 

This event jumping from one place to the next is actually a running joke between my husband and I. He will ask “where are you starting out today and where are you finishing?” He knows the range of locations is wildly different and enjoys staying home and watching NASCAR or golf. I only call my husband for help when we have a real issue on location. 

Clients from Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings and The Pawning Planners are quite literally, an interesting mix of all backgrounds.

We don’t “only do” low budget events, we also book large scale events and although this surprises people, my bookings are a wild mix of locations. 

I’m on staff at several venues as well as booked to coordinate, Officiate or both as well as creating the floral designs at many bookings. 

My sister, my family and I are all cross trained to address nearly any issue on location and have. A few hilarious and unexpected events were discussed in another blog and although “building up a bouquet” that had been dropped from a balcony and run over by using lace panties might be shocking- it worked. I’m adding the blog link for your review— Expecting The Unexpected?

We figure it out on a regular basis. My family and I don’t have a “magic button” on location when something goes wrong. We rely entirely on one another to fix unexpected issues. 

While David Tuttera can waive a magic wand, we work together to resolve issues on our own and have had a few fairly interesting solutions. 

Occasionally, our ability to solve problems surprises our competition but the truth is that we have overcome far more unexpected issues than anyone actually realizes. 

Failure is never an option. My “brand” is essential to new bookings and overcoming client expectations is essential to referral business.

Years ago when I was struggling through a divorce, I needed a car. This isn’t an unusual situation for many struggling mothers but, rather than feeling sorry for myself, I found a solution. I needed a paycheck, insurance and a vehicle. 

I went into luxury car sales in order to attain the free demo and paid a photographer to get my own print ads published in country clubs. 

I had never sold luxury vehicles or even a car in my life and proved myself to be an asset to the dealership by showing them all of my sales figures in other industries. That’s how I got the job, the car and the money. 

My success in an industry that I was completely new to surprised everyone who had never considered creating their own brand. I didn’t have time to build a client base so, I created my own clients and worked by appointment. Yes. I was that busy and that booked from my advertising campaign for Cadillac.

Poverty didn’t define me, it empowered me to succeed. I was the top salesperson of Cadillacs in North Texas because I chose to do something differently. I don’t fit in any box because thinking outside the box has worked for me throughout my life. 

On an Escalade Ad, my twin sister and twin grandnieces joined me at a photo shoot on for my Escalade Ad.  “Got a big family? Get an Escalade!” Two sets of twins sold tons of Escalades. 

My fellow salesmen laughed at my ideas, they didn’t laugh long. Meanwhile, I laughed my way to the bank in my beautiful $59k Cadillac with complimentary company gas. 

Wearing beautiful clothes from my years as a model and driving a beautiful car, no one knew how desperate for a vehicle and money I had been months prior to being hired at the dealership.

Alligator boots and mink coats? You bet. I went to work dressed as a model. The jewelry, the clothes, the person walking onto that showroom everyday was exactly what wealthy people looking for a luxury car wanted to see and thanks to my twenty plus years as a model, I always looked the part! 

My first month on the job, I had less than $400 in my checking account but, no one including other salespeople knew it. Juggling my own advertising, most Country Clubs billed me every thirty days which helped the first few months of my career as a new car salesperson. 

By my third month of selling luxury cars, I was making 3k-5k a month. Going to car shows and talking to strangers propelled me into a Cadillac Supersalesperson. 

Finding a solution to a problem throughout my life hasn’t been easy. When I needed nice clothes for a job, I decided to become a model. When my son needed nice clothes for school, he joined me modeling. Money is hard to come by but for models, clothing isn’t! 

If you want to be successful- look successful. Dress the part. I sold high end jewelry, furs, cars and even luxury patio furniture to very wealthy people who walked right up to me because I dressed successfully and took great pride in my appearance. If you want to sell something to someone else, don’t “dress down” to walk onto a sales floor. Dress Up! 

My background in commercial work, print ads and modeling is actually how I came up with the idea to create my own print ads for Cadillac to drum up clients. If I hadn’t needed nice clothing years ago and went into modeling, I’m guessing that running my own print ads to sell more luxury cars would have never occurred to me. 

You have to spend money to make money. I tell people this all of the time. Running my own ads wasn’t cheap. I paid a photographer and I paid for placement in glossy magazines at Country Clubs but, I targeted people who could afford luxury cars and sold hundreds of them. Referral Clients? Yes! I earned the trust and loyalty of my Clients and therefore, earned their referrals.

Driving my demo through town, I was a driving advertisement for the dealership and often sold my demo within weeks of changing cars. 

All of my demos had bells and whistles. A gold package? You bet! The jazzier and flashier they were, the better. Wherever I went, people stopped me to look in my demo or admire it. 

Not being shy, I popped out one of my custom business cards (with a photo and cell phone on them) and introduced myself. 

Selling doesn’t have a time or place, true salespeople are on all of the time and, if you are marketing something you believe in, I promise you will sell far more of it! I loved Cadillac and Cadillac loved me. I have never sold anything that I wouldn’t buy myself. Furnishing my home with second hand furniture? You bet. Running my own ads to directly target consumers who could afford luxury cars? Absolutely. 

Being different made me resilient and effectively, successful. I wasn’t afraid to take a chance. 

My twin sister wasn’t either. Since she has custody of her grandtwins, Maryssa and Makenna, they often accompanied us to meet clients and found their own niche in my event business as flower girls, ring bearers and ushers in hundreds of my clients weddings for tips and Flips.

The twins now book as princesses at birthday parties. My son, daughter in law, nieces, grandnieces, sister, step daughter and father all work with me at Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures, Texas Prison Weddings and The Pawning Planners.

My concept to offer affordable alternatives was much like running my own luxury car ads, I was willing to take a chance on myself and, won. I knew there were people who needed help they could afford and I set out to find them.

Cindy and I have worked in brand merchandising and promotion for most of our lives. The only difference in my business venture was that we were marketing ourselves.

Hard working and determined to create a window for anyone that wanted a Life Event, we created an opportunity that had never before existed and our story with all of the laughs, the drama and more will be documented in our book, The Pawning Planners- Paying It Forward. It’s a story of the successes and setbacks of a family determined to create hope and give others the event we have never had for ourselves…