Monday morning Cindy and I headed off to Huntsville, Texas to meet our client for a possible trade at an Appraisal Appointment. The client had sent a photo of a fox shawl that looked fluffy and shiny.
As usual, the Texas Twins were off on another adventure to meet a new friend and have a good time. Cindy and I love our road trips together.
Our sister, Tammy had called from California on our drive to discuss handling Prison Weddings in California. Tammy is going to be helping Leigh Ann address our growing client base for inmate weddings and is pretty excited to meet her first client. Cindy and I will still bounce back to California for inmate weddings but, our bookings will be stacked.
Since many of my clients ask about the barter option, it was initially created for local to the DFW Area clients but, we often make exceptions especially when I can map out other meetings and bookings en route to a further location. Huntsville is three hours from our location is West Fort Worth AKA Westover Hills, Texas.
This client had a pretty interesting story. The fox stole was left over from her husband’s taxidermy shop and she wanted to trade in exchange for photography to finally get back into the dating scene with Match and had recently lost a significant amount of weight through gastric bypass.
We spoke back and forth several times as due to my schedule, it’s easier to call than email.
What I didn’t see were the feet hanging between the tails. When Cindy and I DID notice them, we both looked at each other shocked.
We were both thinking “this might very well offend a few people and possible buyers.” Being twins though, we don’t need to say what we are thinking and never have. The feet would pale in comparison to the heads though! That’s right I said heads. Two of them. What the?
The bartering business has brought us a few interesting proposals over the years but nothing and I mean nothing prepared Cindy or I for a two headed fur with legs still on it.
I pulled Cindy aside. “Hey, this lady has an interesting story and needs our help. We can’t flip this at Texas Twins Treasures. Hell, I don’t know how we could work it into our photo booth items either. Who would put this on and feel glamorous with two heads and feet?”
Cindy was thinking. “Let’s just help her for free and let her keep it. I don’t see how we can salvage it with those eyes glaring at us and the feet dangling in the front like that. WAIT. I’ve got an idea. What if we took it to a furrier and had the heads and feet removed?” I consider this and the expense. I always consider the expense. “Okay but, now we won’t have anything fixing side A to side B at the neck?”
Cindy considers this as we both turn to our new friend who is a little concerned we aren’t going to help her. We both smile and let her know it’s going to work out although we have no idea what to do with this fox.
Going inside her home, the heads of numerous animals greet us. The decor is best described as “hunting lodge.” It’s awkward to feel cozy with animal heads staring at you but, we try. I go over clothing options and sizes because we will be providing her clothing for the photo shoot and jewelry as Cindy looks around at the giant animal heads watching us.
I’m actually thinking “I’d be scared to death to sleep alone in this house” while wondering if the bathroom has more stuffed animals awaiting me while kicking myself for that latte from Starbucks.
As our new friend goes through photos and boudoir shots my niece Leigh Ann has taken, I’m forced to ask to use the restroom. A stuffed squirrel is on the counter. I have an audience. The poor thing is holding a roll of toilet paper too. WOW. Cindy knocks on the door. “I’ve got an idea that I think will work. We remove the heads and legs and use the fluffy black fox cuffs to merge both sides together. Is that a squirrel!”
I’m so awkward about being surrounded by all of these stuffed animals that I suggest lunch anywhere but at our clients house. I’m going to “opt for a salad” because I’m suddenly feeling very vegetarian.
Cindy is far more “country” than I am or will ever be. Why? Because while I was traveling the world modeling, Cindy’s first Husband, Roy was building a dairy brick by brick with Cindy in Gordon, Texas. Cindy talks like a Texan now and knows all about cattle, feed and farm life.
I know nothing about anything in the country or country life other than the summers we spent on the farm with aunt Shirley and our cousins every summer.
My days of digging fence post and planting fruits and vegetables are long forgotten. Cindy though can name any type of cattle on our back road trips to Prisons to meet clients. Cindy admires a nice ranch fence and can even tell you approximately what it would cost.
Cindy is country. Wendy is city. We are Compensating Personality Twins. Cindy is intrigued at the Taxidermy home. Wendy wants to bolt. Cindy doesn’t know why we can’t have sandwiches at the clients house? Wendy wants to get out of there and while I’m at it, find somewhere else for Leigh Ann to take these photos too.
Leigh Ann is texting me photos of Payton we married last Sunday at Tarrant County Jail and asking “do you and mom still sell brooch bouquets? One of my clients wants to know about buying your fascinators too.”
I’ve lost my appetite and we’ve stopped selling brooch bouquets and create fascinators for our rolling photo booth as a courtesy to clients.
I tell Leigh Ann “I love the photos and no we don’t sell brooch bouquets because we don’t have the time and Cindy’s fascinators are always a hit with clients so we are keeping them too.”
My niece asks “how’s the appraisal appointment going?” I text back “the entire house is full of stuffed animals. Leigh Ann responds with an emoji 😳. I advise my niece “you will need to find a beautiful park, street or somewhere in the city like we did with Payton for the Match photos. For the boudoir photos, I have no idea what’s in the bedroom but, in the bathroom, a stuffed squirrel is on his hind legs holding the toilet paper. Stop and pee before you get there Tuesday.” Leigh Ann responds “lol. This is going to be different.”
Cindy and our new client are deep in conversation. Cindy’s fascinated with the process of taxidermy. I’m horrified. Our new client “sold off a few pieces to pay for her husband’s funeral.” Stirring my unsweetened tea with lemon, I can’t stop myself from asking “pieces? They come apart?” I’m confused. My client laughs and says “good Lord no Miss Wendy. We call each work of art a piece. I sold the bear and a few deer. Covered the cost of the casket too.”
I’m actually amazed she found a buyer. Who wants a giant bear in their home? Deer? Where would you put them. I’ve got to ask about those eyes staring out blankly. I’m uncertain how to approach it though. Finally, I jump in. “Are those eyeballs real?” Cindy and the client are (as usual) having a great time while I continue to wonder about those buyers for the bear and deer? What kind of people decorate with dead animals? My client and Cindy are laughing because Cindy apparently already asked about the eyeballs. They are glass. I’m going to have nightmares about a few of those heads. The squirrel too. I can just feel it.
Leaving the restaurant, Cindy and I field incoming calls from Hughes Unit then Allred and Michael Units. We head on to go look at upholstery for the Victorian settee I think will work well while discussing Leigh Ann being ninety minutes from our sister, Tammy in California and splitting up prison routes. We discuss potty training Maddy. We wonder how to approach Leigh Ann about day care and the issue of Maddy hiding to poop in the house rather than using the numerous potty chairs too. Day care won’t take Maddy without being potty trained.
Tammy is four years older than Cindy and I and also without the responsibility of raising a child. Her children are our children ages. I’m going to have to buddy up with Cindy on this potty training issue. Leigh Ann doesn’t realize that she can’t perform prison weddings with a three and a half year old child at her side.
Maddy must learn to interact with other children and day care will help her prepare for kindergarten but, any time we bring up the “issue,” Leigh Ann doesn’t want to broach the subject.
A few weeks ago, my husband found an incident in our third living area behind the red leather couch. There are a number of rooms in our home rarely used. This room is one of them. While preparing to head to a Unit, Matthew “alerts me” about the incident. “Maddy or Foxy, I’m not sure who has pooped behind the red leather sofa in the red room.”
I’m OCD and cannot leave WorthamWorld without handling this situation. I’m certain it’s Foxy. After all he’s older and while it’s unusual for him to poop in the house, his usual spot is under my King Henry desk. Finding it odd that after all these years, Foxy would “find a new spot” on my travertine tile, I never consider it was Maddy UNTIL Cindy tells me “Maddy went outside and pooped yesterday. She’s been taking off her diaper and pooping under the dining table, behind the sofa and even outside. We need to potty train her.”
Behind the sofa? Maybe Mr Foxy was accused without a trial at WorthamWorld? My husband is convinced that it wasn’t Foxy and…he may be right. Young Maddy is a model for numerous brands but no one knows she isn’t potty trained. Creative clothing hides this fact.
Madyson walks past potty chairs and chooses out of the way places at Cindy’s house. Could she be doing this at mine too? It’s time to crack down on training Maddy although her mother isn’t interested and “doesn’t have time,” Cindy and I will need to make time before Maddy turns 4 in October.
I tell Cindy “I will talk to her on my way back from Hughes and Huntsville Units on Wednesday. We’ve got a full plate Tuesday and she’s still editing prom photos and bridal photos as well as those two weddings. We are going to get Maddy trained before they leave for California in late July.”
I’m concerned about Leigh Ann dealing with leaving Maddy with anyone other than Cindy or I. My niece will need to overcome this and it won’t be easy for her but, Leigh Ann is excited about being an entrepreneur and expanding her TDCJ prison wedding planning as well as her photography skills to a new state with new backdrops for photos.
With our sister, Tammy a little over an hour away from Camp Magoo and Tammy’s daughter (my other niece), Kori close by, Leigh Ann won’t be too far from family.
Cindy and I will be filming and handling prison and two destination weddings in August and in California ourselves. Finding a day off continues to be impossible with our schedules.
The twins, Maryssa and Makenna will be spending the summer fielding incoming calls and mailing contracts when not back and forth in California for their own modeling bookings. In September, they will be fifteen and wanting to take driving lessons. Hard to believe.
Wednesday morning as I headed out to Hughes Unit, Cindy headed out to meet a client at Willow Lake Event Center. Leigh Ann was editing photos. My son was headed to Arkansas and his wife was being a mermaid at Sea Quest. I loaded my passenger seat with cd’s and prepared for a day of driving. I love my job. I have the best job in the world.
Cindy and I had an interviewer last week ask me “can you tell people how you became so successful and what they can do to share your success?” Live interviews are always awkward but, I think before I speak. My answer surprised her though. “I’m perseverant and open minded. There isn’t one of me because there are two of us. We have always supported each other. What we did was put ourselves in the shoes of folks coming to us for help.”
This wasn’t the answer she wanted and I knew it. I was dancing around my formula for success because the last thing I wanted to do was to tell everyone listening how to do it. After all, no one told me. No one told Cindy. We figured it out and did so without ever advertising.
I waited. It was like a tennis match. “Wendy what I would like to know is how others can get started in the prison wedding business and share in the success you’ve had by expanding into other states and finding work for your entire family.”
I waited. The question bothered me. What was a diplomatic answer other than “buy our book?” Hmm. Cindy looked at me. “To be honest with you. I’m not in the business of training others and the last thing I need or want is to create competition that doesn’t exist.” Probably not the answer she wanted but, effectively it was the truth.
Cindy and I had put far more into building our business than others. We had rebranded and expanded not once BUT twice. TWICE.
Rebranding and expanding to include prison weddings and two years later expanding to other states, we have been busier than ever year after year but, we earned each and every client by treating them all as if they were our only client.
Over the years, our affluent clients were the bouncing check writers. Not the middle income clients but the rich folks who could spend 5k and up to rent a venue but consistently failed to pay their bill with us.
For years, getting paid was the single hardest thing to accomplish with deadbeat highhatters that I’ve ever dealt with.
In fact, I’ve sued a few deadbeats. Five years ago, I was on Hot Bench for suing the Tardy Party Bride Who Lied to get a police discount and then was nearly two hours late to her own wedding. I won (of course).
The more expensive the event, the bigger chance of another hot check or no check at all. One client wrote not one but two hot checks. I can’t make this shit up. Getting paid was like trying to pull teeth.
Cindy calls them mansions, moochers and morons and, she’s right. We’ve met a few real liars over the years and we fell for a few sad luck stories. We no longer do. If you claim to not have any money, we will see you at your house and find out what you DO have.
From bartering to inmate wedding Officiant services and purple unions, the Texas Twins never said no to a creative request. We love adventure and we aren’t ever bored. We were open minded which is also one of the reasons we are successful. Most folks aren’t. They stick to their initial plan. They refuse to be open minded and they fail. Stubbornness is a sure fire way to destroy a business.
Other vendors have called us to tell them how to market their business. We don’t have time to tell others how to be successful and if we did, it wouldn’t be free to them. We work as consultants and public speakers for a fee not for free.
Dream Events are only limited to the imagination of the client. We don’t set limits or stick to services offered. We never have. Everyone has a story. We care about their story. What makes us different is why we are successful. You can’t explain that. It’s something you must learn on your own. Resilience, passion and perseverance are why we have succeeded. How do you put that into words to listeners that want to get rich quick. Who want to benefit without sacrificing? You can’t. It’s a waste of breath. Hardships define you or empower you. Hardships empowered us. Cindy and I are survivors. Silver spoons and spoiled children become entitled adults. We didn’t have silver spoons what we did have was determination.
Not everyone has what it takes to thrive in business. Business is building relationships. Cindy and I are both committed to building friendships. I’m hoping the photo shoot with Leigh Ann is as hilarious as our day was meeting a new friend of the Texas Twins…