“Spec work (short for speculative) is any job for which the client expects to see examples or a finished product before agreeing to pay a fee.”
SAY NO TO SPEC WORK, SAY YES TO GETTING PAID OF WHAT YOU’RE WORTH.
As the spotlight beamed on the stage at RSVP Venice Symposia, Ceci Johnson, the founder of Ceci New York, seized the moment to unravel an industry secret that has lingered in the shadows for too long. Ceci embarked on a journey to confront a topic that demands attention: the culture of spec work within the wedding industry. The audience was primed for a transformative journey—a journey that would challenge, reshape, and redefine the value of creative work.
CECI'S JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF DESIGN
With nearly two decades of design excellence under her belt, Ceci shared her journey, a narrative filled with challenges and triumphs that led to the establishment of Ceci New York. A pioneer in the invitation category, she not only stood up for invitation designers but emerged as a voice for all creatives navigating the complex currents of the wedding industry.
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET, RESPECT OTHERS AND YOURSELF
Ceci called for a shift in mindset—a theme that resonated throughout her speech. Using examples from other creative industries such as interior design, furniture store, and restaurant business, Ceci challenges audiences to foster respect for their craft and expertise. The division of planners, creatives, and vendors needs a united front and the establishment of industry standards, urging professionals to eradicate the culture of spec work.
RELEASE YOUR MAGIC: CECI NEW YORK'S CREATIVE PROCESS
Introducing a practical solution—set expectations and change the narrative—Ceci emphasized selling the creative process, educating clients, and steering conversations away from free work. This, she believed, was the path to redefining the value creatives bring to the table.
Unveiling the Ceci Couture Presentation process, Ceci showcased how creativity, commitment, and professionalism could be released to deliver unmatched value. The magic lies in demonstrating the value of the creative investment. Creativity should be universally valued. By standing united, creatives could improve the wedding industry where everyone is compensated for their time and ideas, fostering a thriving industry.
RAISE YOUR BUSINESS STANDARDS
Connecting with clients, exuding confidence, and raising business standards are what Ceci New York has been standing for. Ceci encouraged investment in oneself, emphasizing the importance of delivering on promises and building a brand worthy of one's work.
The speech concluded with a call for questions and discussions, embodying the spirit of RSVP Venice—a conference that sparks conversations and propels positive change in the industry. With attendees expressing their commitment to instigating positive change, Ceci's words not only left audiences feeling inspired but also prompted a real-time shift in their mindset.
WORK WITH CECI NEW YORK
We believe that 50% of our job is outstanding design, and the other 50% is strategy and execution. Regarded as a branding expert, Ceci consults and mentors select entrepreneurs from around the world who are just starting or looking to escape a rut. She gives clarity, a focused direction, and most importantly, the tools to gain control and help take your business to the next level. Book your consultation here.
Ceci Johnson travels the globe speaking to fellow designers, women in business, wedding industry professionals, and other entrepreneurial groups. She presents on many topics ranging from her inspirational creative journey, to how to run a profitable, sustainable business while maintaining a work/life balance and successfully branding your company.
Interested in having Ceci Johnson speak at your event? Submit a request here.