You're engaged, now what?
Technology is revolutionizing the way business is done, and the wedding industry is no exception. From Pinterest boards of their dream weddings, to following their favorite social influencer when she gets married, to tagging friends in posts of videos and pictures of their wedding inspirations, you can ditch the wedding planning binders, and simply plan your wedding online!
Millennials account for nearly 77 billion people, are a larger group than the Baby Boomers, and over twice the size of Generation X. For a business owner, this is a huge target market! With almost all of them on at least one social media platform, the expectation for on-demand service is higher than ever. The leading generation is becoming more dependent on technology as it advances. Luckily, companies have found a niche that used to never exist – wedding technology to suit millennial couples!
Here are some of the technologies that are changing the wedding industry:
Wedspire - By catering to those who expect instantaneous service, Wedspire has found a way to take the stress out of your wedding planning. Imagine that Pinterest created a customized wedding-inspiration feed based on your style, taste and budget. Take that magical feed and transform it into a personalized Netflix-style listing that shows you the best options tailored for you. All you have to do is click "add to cart." That's Wedspire - a unique wedding planning platform that revolutionizes the wedding planning game. From your Wedding Planner to your veil, every detail matters and is available for purchase in one place. Wedspire helps turn couples' ideas into reality.
Aisle Planner - The ultimate wedding planning organizer down to every detail. Wedding planners have taken a step away from the traditional binder or pen and notebook. They're finding comfort in applications like Aisle Planner as they navigate their way through their newlywed's wedding-planning process. From planning, to design, to business to collaboration tools, Planners are at ease with using an application to stay organized. The organization of an application makes sharing ideas, images, and files that much easier!
Zola - An all inclusive site for your registry needs! There is now no need to wait in line at your local department store and then walk throughout the store scanning items you want your guests to buy when you can simply choose directly on your phone or computer. From household items to honeymoon experiences, you can choose from a vast number of offerings all in one place. Well-known brands such as Kate Spade, KitchenAid, and Nespresso are listed on the site, making for an easily-accessible list that caters to all needs, wants, and styles. Zola also gives guests the “Group Gifting" option for those wanting to all contribute to one gift. With the craze of splitting the cost electronically, millennials love the personalized attributes of this wedding registry platform.
Menguin - For the guys who are always on the go, Menguin is for the modern groom and groomsmen who enjoy customization. Menguin is the highest-rated online suit and tux rental company on the market. With affordable prices and the ability to customize a look from the tie to socks, what else could a guy need? Menguin was founded to fix the frustration born from the time-consuming tux rentals and unflattering fits. With the wide variety of colors and fabric swatches, fast turnaround time, 24/7 customer service, and a satisfaction-guaranteed model, Menguin suits the needs for the modern millennial, pun intended!
Weddington Way - a collaborative shopping experience with the largest assortment of bridal fashion available online, Weddington Way is becoming a household name. It is now the fastest growing e-commerce business in the $100 billion-dollar wedding industry. The site is a collaborative shopping experience for wedding parties in which bridal parties can browse the largest assortment of bridal fashion available online, then discuss the products in a virtual showroom. Weddington Way is differentiated from others in the market, both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. By offering this collaborative and personalized experience, as well as the ready-to-wear dresses, Weddington Way hits the nail on the head for what millennial brides are seeking.
Minted - an ever-growing design marketplace with an emphasis on crowd-sourcing, Minted takes a new approach to providing stationary options online. It has countless customizable designs created by their community of independent artists. They have built their art, home decor, and stationery business through crowd-sourcing. “We believe that great design lives and thrives in the hands of independent artists who people do not have access to through traditional retailers. Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses." - Mariam Naficy, founder of Minted. The steps on how they curate their products are simple but effective.
UberEVENTS - Forget coordinating buses and coaches on your big day. Uber has revolutionized the transportation for weddings and events. UberEVENTS is a division of Uber dedicated to events and weddings that allow you to pay for and schedule where, when and how your guests travel during your special day. The only thing they have to worry about is having a great time celebrating your big day. The best part? You only pay for the rides you use.
Wedding Drones - The photographer's newest friend and the wedding industry's newest fad! Millennials love to stay on top of the trends and set themselves apart from their friends when it comes to planning their special day. Many contemplate adding a drone to their expenses, since the resultant imagery is spectacular. Drones are all the craze and can assist in getting aerial shots that your professional photographer might not be able to reach. Views of the venue from high above, a picture of all your guests simultaneously, and a scenic bride-and-groom shot are always crowdpleasers! We advise that you communicate with your photographer to ensure the drone driver has a plan in place so it doesn't disrupt your ceremony. Drone Insurance is recommended though, since the unmanned aerial vehicle runs the risk of causing damages. All in all, have a safety plan in place, encourage clear communication between the photographer and drone driver, and have insurance to make sure all goes smoothly on your special day.
The ability for technology to be at our fingertips, tending to our every need is astounding. These Wed-Tech companies have found ways to better our communication, organization, and execution of wedding planning countless ways. Planning your wedding can be a daunting task but by using Wed-Tech, you will find that there are endless opportunities to create the wedding of your dreams, with a less stressful process.
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.