As the pandemic has forced couples to alter their wedding plans due to COVID-19 and the country grapples with how to address systemic racism, one woman is on a mission to ensure that Black love is represented appropriately and the bridal industry recognizes our trillion-dollar buying power.
Lynn Cooper has quietly established herself as a force when it comes to multicultural digital marketing. Her agency, Socially Ahead, has conceptualized and executed campaigns for Fortune 500 brands, government agencies and notable personalities for over a decade. When the opportunity to relaunch and rebrand Black bridal magazine SIGNATURE BRIDE became available, she jumped at the opportunity.
What inspired you to join SIGNATURE BRIDE?
After creating and executing successful partnerships, digital campaigns and content for iconic Black publications Essence, EBONY and JET, I decided to take a break from the media industry to focus on my family and my health. As I sat by the sidelines, I became concerned with the negative narratives of Black men and women that had come to the forefront.
At a time when storytelling is crucial to our societal well-being, I felt that there was no better time to leverage my experience as a marketer and communicator to the dynamic legacy of SIGNATURE BRIDE. I wanted to help continue to grow the brand’s unique voice and expand its reach to an affluent global audience.
I initially joined as a consultant, and when the opportunity arose to come on board as an owner, I couldn’t pass it up.
You were new to the bridal world when you first joined SIGNATURE BRIDE. What surprised you most about the company and the industry?
I was pleasantly surprised that the publishing company decided to relaunch the publication. The magazine was initially launched in the late 1990s and had a large subscription base and sell-through rate, and it created culturally focused planning and etiquette books for Black couples long before the inception of other wedding publications.
Sadly, I wasn’t surprised that the bridal industry was continuing to undermine women of color. When I learned that to date there have been less than 10 Black women on the cover of mainstream bridal publications, I began doing my research on how this came to fruition and why it continues today. I learned that when many of these mainstream bridal publications started in the 1930s and 1940s, it was clear who had the buying power in the U.S. bridal industry, and it was white women. However, Black women today are among the most educated and spend a trillion dollars annually on goods and services.
Just recently, mainstream publications have realized this and have acknowledged the diversity of consumers. Occasionally, there would be features of celebrities of color and the obligation to publish tips during Black History Month. However, the majority of the time, the content and advertising had little to do with us at an ethnic and cultural level.
I was also surprised that the Black bridal publications available lacked editorial quality, events and opportunities that we deserve.
How does SIGNATURE BRIDE distinguish itself from the other magazines out there?
Our publication is produced for a very targeted audience; we focus on affluent Black couples across the diaspora who subscribe to the luxury lifestyle. They work hard and play harder, so they want the best of the best and are willing to pay for it without hesitation.
So, we created a global resource full of engaging content, exceptional photos and events for men and women on the road to marriage, regardless if they are in the United States, Africa, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom or the Caribbean.
What can Black brides expect from the SIGNATURE BRIDE brand as we move ahead with COVID and eventually into a post-COVID world?
While other bridal magazines were stuck when the COVID crisis hit, SIGNATURE BRIDE knew we had an obligation to be a resource for Black women and men, as well as brands that were looking to reach our audience. We quickly revamped our events model to fully embrace virtual events. Our first endeavor was a partnership with WebWed Mobile, Fenty Beauty, WedAways, Hitchswitch, ROAM luggage and more to create a $10,000 virtual wedding and honeymoon giveaway. Next, we launched the BEAUTY FOR ALL SHADES series, which brings brides and inclusive beauty brands together for an intimate conversation and tutorial.
Once it’s safe to do so, we plan to take our events on the road to further engage couples in Africa and the United Kingdom.
You have established a global luxury wedding brand. What of the vision going forward can you share?
Going forward, we plan to further establish ourselves as a trusted resource for couples through culturally relevant content. We will also continue to introduce innovative ways to foster authentic interactions between our readers and brands. In addition to working with those in the bridal industry who are willing to embrace diversity and inclusion.
What luxury essentials should every bride insist upon for her Big Day?
To set the tone for a luxurious wedding celebration, brides should begin by selecting a venue that is known for its exceptional service. Next, hire a dedicated wedding specialist to ensure the wedding details, from personalized food and beverages to transportation and entertainment, come together effortlessly. Finally, while the obligatory bridesmaids’ events will occur, opt for a luxurious spa weekend all by yourself to pamper your body and calm your nerves.
If you were having a wedding and could invite anyone, who would be on the guest list?
I’ve fortunately been happily married for over a decade. But if I was getting married today and could invite anyone, it would have to be Barack and Michelle Obama. Their relationship has showcased the narrative of Black love that our publication will continue to highlight. Plus, I know that they would have no problem getting on the dance floor to show us their moves.