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. She had lost her husband. She also wanted to return to the dating scene after losing over 100 lbs through gastric bypass surgery. She wanted to barter a fox stole for updated photos to use on a dating site for single seniors. I loved all the aspects of her story and thought the fox stole would work perfectly in our rolling photo booth. But… things were about to get interesting for the Texas Twins ya all.
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. We have time to catch up on our families and business. Our conversations on road trips can be surprising. Conference calls from our adult children and grandchildren add spice to the background 70’s music playing as we roll on down the highway. From clients to kids to unexpected surprises on location, creating Texas Twins Treasures, Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners and TDCJ Officiant together opened a window for Cindy and I to FINALLY spend time together. We have the greatest jobs in the world.
While others are heading to the office each morning, the Texas Twins are headed to another adventure!
I’ve had questions about California inmate wedding services so, I will address those on this site since all of our clients follow all of our blogs. My niece, Leigh Ann and my stepsister, Tammy will be taking over most bookings for California. The reason for this is that Cindy and I must focus on the majority of our clients based in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. We will continue to bounce to California when needed but, due to scheduling, it’s essential to pass the reins to Leigh Ann and Tammy to a certain degree.
Our stepsister, Tammy had called me 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.
Stacked meaning more than 1 client. We frequently stack clients at numerous Units including Texas and other states. The reason for this is to limit trips to the same Unit every two weeks.
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.
My niece, Leigh Ann has also lost 100 lbs after weight loss surgery and loved the idea of working with a client who had shared a similar journey. Leigh Ann wants to lose more weight but, she’s hit a plateau.
My Huntsville barter client and I had spoke back and forth several times as due to my schedule, it’s easier to call than email. Cindy and I liked her before even meeting her. She was funny, outgoing and had a zest for life. By the time I meet Pawning Planners Clients in person, we know a lot about each other. They know about my family and I know about theirs.
The original photo the client had sent to me had tails with one missing the tip. I didn’t see an issue with what I thought was “a minor defect.”
Cindy and I had discussed whether to flip it or use it for photo shoots with clients. It appeared to be in great condition. We were on the fence regarding flipping because it would work well in photos or so we thought.
What I didn’t see in the photos were the feet hanging between the tails. When Cindy and I DID notice them on location, we both looked at each other shocked.
Cindy and I were both thinking “this might very well offend a few people and possible buyers.” But… we don’t discuss our thoughts in front of clients. I liked this lady. I loved her story.
The fox wasn’t what I expected or Cindy either but, this wouldn’t be the first time we caught a curve ball and it wouldn’t be the last either. When you barter, there WILL be surprises. The feet would pale in comparison to the heads though! That’s right I said heads. Two of them. What the? One eye fell out while we were trying to find how both heads had been attached. Cindy was intrigued. I was far more horrified. Ugh.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 AND two heads still on the item.
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? This item is so far from luxurious that I can’t even imagine handing it to one of our clients on location and asking them to smile wearing it. Good Lord!”
Cindy was thinking and waited to answer me. “Let’s just help her with photos for free and let her keep this thing. 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. I’ve modeled and sold exotic furs in the past. I know what sells. The fur on this item was dry and needed to be glazed. I wasn’t even certain that it had been properly cleaned. Was there banjo music playing somewhere? I really didn’t want to invest more money trying to salvage the item. It was as if a redneck grabbed fishing line and sewed two animals together. This piece was the most hillbilly item I’ve encountered yet. That’s saying a lot since many of you recall the hillbillies wanting to trade moonshine for a wedding ceremony in the foothills a few years ago. The ongoing argument of why Cindy and I couldn’t flip homemade liquor wasn’t an easy conversation. The father was determined to “sell the value of his homemade brew.” The Texas Twins were determined to explain why the barter wouldn’t work. Over the years, this type of conversation can be hilarious if it doesn’t involve you personally. Since it does involve us personally, we must be diplomatic while explaining that certain items won’t work. We have to be creative when suggesting alternate ideas. We are.
Back to the two foxes… “Okay but, now we won’t have anything fixing side A to side B at the neck?” Cindy is the Redneck Granny of figuring out how to repair or resell items. In fact, Cindy will tell you “hillbillies ARE geniuses!” She means it. Cindy believes that “folks who don’t have money but figure it out anyway are creative and resilient.”
I should add that Pawning Planners Apparel was created SOLELY because we have been on location and bum runs on more than one occasion. Rather than volunteering at our own expense when we CANNOT WORK A TRADE, Cindy and I came up with a way to fund clients with nothing of value. Our staff AKA our kids and grandkids forced us into doing things differently. How so? Let’s take my son “mom, I know you feel sorry for everyone but we can’t keep volunteering because clients have nothing to barter. Isn’t that WHY you merged Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Events to create The Pawning Planners!?”
Since Cindy has something to say about everything, we created an apparel line featuring her iconic hillbilly wisdom known as Cindyism Quotes. Pawning Planners Apparel is available in custom options and numerous languages. Cindy’s quotes are so popular that Pawning Planners Apparel is sold worldwide.
Back to the two headed and footed fox…. Cindy and I 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.
Bartering to help people with no money has brought wild trades and hilarious adventures.
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.
A “formula for success” is different for any industry. Entrepreneurs are creative thinkers. We are. We have a good time.
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. Before everyone starts googling to find the episode, it was titled “Don’t Call Me Bridezilla” Season 1 Episode 74.
The synopsis? A newlywed admits she was late for her own wedding and lied to get a discount on services; tenants challenge their lease when the landlord suggests they keep the common area clean.
Show: Hot Bench
Episode number: 74
Air date: November 11, 2014
The Episode aired the day after my birthday. Everyone on FB was tagging me. I won of course. While in California filming Hot Bench, Cindy and I also filmed our first sizzle reel with Good Clean Fun based on The Pawning Planners. A year later, we filmed the television pilot, Pawning Planners. When I tell you that we’ve had an adventure in the events industry, I’m not kidding.
A few folks ask why I sued the Tardy Party Bride? The reason was that her tardiness affected three other clients on the same day AND when I advised her that she would need to pay for late fees and the additional cost of the fee she had effectively skirted, she took to the internet to tarnish my credibility. To halt her actions, I sued her. Days after filing in Tarrant County, Texas, I was contacted by Hot Bench. Subsequently, Cindy and I had been contacted on LinkedIn to sign with GCF. Because we would be flying to California to film Hot Bench, we met our production company and filmed a sizzle reel while in LA. Multitasking is our specialty.
For those unaware or unfamiliar with sizzle reels, they showcase the personality of the talent and share aspects of the business IF the show concept is based on a business. I will add the link to share with you how what you are talking about is edited into a format of 2-3 minutes. The production company has control of the editing.
There will be private conversations edited into film you don’t expect. Cindy and I certainly didn’t expect private conversations to be included but, they were.
Here’s the link– Wendy Wortham & Cindy Daniel- The Pawning Planners.
The Tardy Party Bride lied to receive a police discount and was two hours late to her own wedding then refused to pay the late fee or the standard fee.
I created discounts specifically for active or retired military, fire, first responder or teachers. I didn’t create discounts for liars or con artists.
When I tell you that getting people who can afford to pay for services to pay for services is the hardest aspect of an event vendor, I’m speaking from experience. 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.
I will never forget the Bouncing Checks Broken Tooth Bride. Hell who would? She wrote me not one but TWO hot checks. One for the deposit the other for the balance.
In the event you missed that blog, I will elaborate. Arriving on location, she also refused to leave the dressing area until I glued her tooth back on. While doing so, my finger was glued to her tooth.
I never did get paid and had to go to urgent care for my finger. I also encountered fees from my bank due to the hot checks. Between my medical expenses and returned check fees, that bride cost me over $721.
Sure, you are laughing right now but there’s a solid reason I REQUIRE a contract. EXPERIENCE.
By offering a barter option though, we found a way for rich folks “claiming to have no money” to put some skin in the game.
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. People 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…
Comments by Wendy Wortham