So many brides love the idea of shopping for a bridal gown--but complain about the process of actually looking for a dress. That's the problem Danielle Wen, founder and CEO of Lace and Liberty, set out to solve.
Her company has become an online customizable wedding gown service--and we sat down with her to discuss re-imagining shopping for a wedding gown, flipping the industry on its head, and how to prioritize and accomplish weekly goals with limited resources.
Project Entrepreneur: What inspired you to start your business?
Wen: I was at a talk by Alibaba founder Jack Ma where he mentioned in the early days how it was difficult to convince people that to try out this new way of shopping. I was very inspired by him as I was personally struggling with dragging my friends from store to store to find a wedding dress (not wanting to go alone), not finding anything I liked enough to buy or good quality enough in my price range. I was pretty shocked that the wedding dress shopping experience was so antiquated and was such a difficult process.
What's been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
One of the greatest challenges I feel is to prioritize effectively and stick to the schedule. There are so many tasks that need to be done and with a small team and limited resources, it's not possible to do everything at once. I try not to be distracted by all the other seemingly important things calling your attention and focus on sticking to the schedule!
What is the biggest thing you'd like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
The wedding dress industry is plagued by what's portrayed in mainstream media. Every woman is meant to have dreamed of her wedding dress their whole lives, that you must perform those rituals surrounding wedding dress shopping, that spending more is always fine because the idea of a perfect dress is ingrained and the list goes on.
In our modern fast changing technology-enabled world, girls are excited and look forward to finding that dress, but many have never given a thought about their wedding, most brides don't prefer to drag all their friends to appointment after appointment because they need to find something to wear that they like without spending a fortune. The modern woman cares about style, quality but also smart spending.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Find a support group (or person) that can be there for you as your biggest cheerleaders as well as honestly tell you how you can do better. There's a lot of challenges and noise and negativity along the way.
So it's very helpful to have a trustworthy sounding board to stay grounded when you're down, help sort through the noise objectively and someone who won't let you lose focus on why you started the business and what you've achieved so far. I've been extremely lucky to have the most supportive husband, family and friends to fall back on and to reach out to when things get tough.
This article originally appeared on the Project Entrepreneur website and has been condensed for clarity.