Inspiration VS Imitation: Where Is The Line?

Kathy Romero, Preston Bailey Designs

Kathy Romero, Preston Bailey Designs

Dear Readers:

Today I am going to talk about the big, familiar-looking elephant in the room. We’ve all heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Is it really?

In reality, it’s probably the worst enemy of your professional growth–especially if you are just starting out in the business.

Though our industry boasts many amazing and talented artists, it’s also flooded with copycats. Too many times I have seen professionals using the images of the work of another industry professional’s to promote themselves.Their shameless and heartbreaking behavior never fails to leave me in a bit of shock. There is a bold line between inspiration and imitation, and when we cross this line, we tell the world that we have run out of ideas and are too lazy to do anything about it. Now, if you find yourself in a situation where you are stumped or are lacking inspiration, please don’t be disappointed. It happens to everyone. Take the opportunity to dig deeper and try to understand the industry that you have chosen in depth. Educate yourself. If you are just starting, this might be an indicator that you need more time to hone in on your strengths and weaknesses, or that it’s time for you to specialize in one area of the industry versus trying to be a “Jack of all trades”.

Most of you have an incredible amount of talent but long to see results/profits immediately. A common misconception is that by copying someone else’s work is going to guarantee success. The reality is that when you choose to do this you are impacting many along the way.

Allow me to break it down for you today:

What is truly incredible about a wedding is the story of love behind it and the remarkable couples that we meet. It’s imperative that each couple’s vision is customized and tailored to their taste. By copying someone else’s work, you’ve already deprived them of that.

Designers/planners spend the most of their professional life building their distinctive portfolios and because of this, their brand is recognized by many. Instead of presenting their work as yours, it’s best if you present it as inspiration instead.

The person that benefits the least from your copycat approach is you. You see, when you do this you run the risk of not being able to produce the event because it is likely you do not have the same infrastructure as the person you are trying to emulate. In addition, you automatically lose credibility. It’s easier to walk a potential client through a presentation that you are comfortable with rather than have to pretend you understand the logistics of a project that is not your own.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. The moral of the story? Just be you. Both you– and your clients–will appreciate the results more.


With a Happy Heart,

Kathy Romero

Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.

(Photo Courtesy of Bayron Rodriguez Photography)