So today I get to do a super fun sponsored post, which is an interview with Taryn, the entrepreneur behind Glö, the forward thinking and totally kick-a*s paperless stationary company that’s been helping APW-ers make magic happen for nine months now. I kind of adore Taryn, one female entrepreneur to another, so it was a treat to get to chat to her about her company, her huge year, advice she has for those of you thinking of starting a business (she’s not just a talented go-getter, she’s also a business school grad), and why she loves APW-ers so much. Seriously ladies, this is worth a read. Taryn gave me restaurant advice when we were in Italy, and sends me “You go get ‘em” emails, and has the smartest business ideas. You’re going to love her… and for all of you figuring out your stationary options? Whether or not you’re truly going paperless and green, you have to check out Glö. They have the smartest RSVP management services on the block. Hands down.
Hi Taryn! So, it’s been a real treat for me to get to know you over the last nine months or so, and I’m delighted to get to introduce the APW community to you as a person, though they already know your company Glö, with it’s marvelous paperless invitation options, really well.
Hiya Meg! Let me first say how much fun I’ve had working with you and your fabulous APWers this year! I’m super psyched for this chat.
So, first off, what brought you to the wedding industry? You have a strong business background that could successfully be used in pretty much any field, so why weddings?
It is honestly still a bit of a surprise that I’ve ended up in the wedding industry. I suppose I ended up here because this just happened to be the idea I decided to explore. Although I’ve always loved throwing a good party, I was never one of those gals who dreamed about my wedding day. Needless to say, I was totally unprepared for what to do when the day came to start planning. I was overwhelmed – both with the abundance of choices we had to make, as well as the sheer logistical planning that goes into throwing a really fun wedding. One choice that my (now) hubby and I made early on was that we wanted to send our save the date’s and invites online and then use the web to collect and coordinate all of our RSVP responses. However, we couldn’t find anything in the market that met all of our wants and needs (beautiful paperless invites + a multi-page wedding website + smart event & RSVP technology), plus felt sophisticated enough for such a special occasion. Fortunately, I’m blessed with a younger brother who’s a web developer, and he built a custom system for us to use as a wedding gift (yes, he rocks!).
After we sent our invites, we started receiving emails from friends of friends of our guests asking whether they could use the software for their own weddings. I thought, “Hmm, this is an interesting idea. Maybe this could really help other couples.” So I did a bunch of customer research, wrote a business plan, scraped our savings together, and hired a development team. Glö was born, and I was off and running!
What do you enjoy most about working in the wedding industry? And, because we’re being frank, what do you enjoy the least about the wedding industry?
What I enjoy the most is how the wedding industry is evolving – how a wedding is no longer defined by cookie-cutter, samey-samey celebrations. The web has really opened up a new world for indie vendors, which creates amazing opportunities for personalization. There are so many cool things that couples do with their weddings these days – and I find it so inspirational! Every time I read about a really personalized, fun and heartfelt wedding celebration it sorta makes me want to get married all over again! I also love that this is an industry full of female entrepreneurs (Editors note, yesss). Women who are smart, thoughtful and making a difference for many other women simply by delivering a product or service that they really believe in. Just like you Meg! (Editors note: stop it Taryn!)
And what do I enjoy the least? That I still read things like “you can’t…” or “it’s not traditional to…” or “it’s not acceptable to…” in relation to weddings. That there’s still so much JUDGMENT involved. I mean, come-on people – welcome to the 21st century! At the heart, weddings are a celebration of the couple, and the couple’s eco-system of support and love made up by their friends and family. There is nothing “must do” or “must have” about that. There is no judgment there. Every couple, every relationship, every eco-system is unique – and so is every wedding celebration. It drives me bonkers when I hear so-called ‘wedding experts’ trying to lecture couples about what is “appropriate.” The wedding celebrations that I’ve been most moved by are simply the ones that captured what the couple was about. Where the couple made choices that were right for them and their guests. Where the guests laughed and smiled all day and where love was hanging in the air (amidst great music!). That is the true “wedding magic.” Not whether the bride danced with the right people in the right order, whether the table cloths were the appropriate shade of beige or whether the invitations arrived in a mailbox or inbox (ok, counting backwards from 10 now..9…8…7…sigh).
You’ve had a big year, growing your company, and moving from London to Denver. What’s been the biggest challenge and what’s the biggest reward?
Wow, when you say it, I realize that it HAS been a really big year. And a very exciting one to boot. The biggest challenge is definitely making it through the days when a million things go wrong at once. When the internet goes down as I’m trying to answer someone’s question, when I miss a meeting because my calendar wasn’t synced correctly, when I can’t figure out how to do something perfectly, when I can’t make everyone happy…those are the days when I start to wonder why in the world I ever thought I was cut out to be an entrepreneur (and yes, I will confess that I have cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion…)!
BUT the biggest reward is waking up the next morning to find an incredibly touching email from a client telling me what a difference Glö has made. That I’ve saved her a ton of time and aggravation. That her guests went crazy for their invites and site. That she and her partner totally got what “Glö” means at the moment they received the first “YES! WE”RE COMING!” response and did a dance of joy around the computer. Those are the days that I do my own dance of joy (seriously, it really does happen) – and those are the days I know I’m spending my time and efforts in the best way possible.
We have a lot of APW-ers who are in the middle of figuring what they want to do with their careers. What advice would you give to ladies thinking about starting their own businesses?
Yaaaaaayyyyy!!! The world needs so many more female entrepreneurs, it’s not even funny. Now for the serious stuff:
First – talk to people! Talk to potential customers and find out what they think of the idea, talk to people who’ve done something similar and ask for their advice and feedback, talk to people you’d like to work with and find out whether there is compatibility. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner – about what it will take time and money-wise to get the business off the ground and whether you’re both up for the ride. Starting a business is definitely not something that you’ll want to do alone. You may run the business alone on a day-to-day basis – but in the end you, your customers, your business partners, your life partner, even your family and friends – you’re all in it together!
Second – think through the business model. Ask yourself – can this really be a business or is it just a hobby? Answer the questions: is there a market? how big is the market? how will I be different from the competition? What are the potential revenues? What are the costs to get up and running and then to keep the business running? How will I find customers? What will I charge? What technology / infrastructure / operations will I need? And then keep answering more questions until you can’t think of anymore to ask. Then share your plan with others to test your idea, test your business model and test your assumptions. If they find holes – don’t feel defeated, just use it as an opportunity to think through and strengthen your idea and implementation plan.
Third, seek out mentors. Honestly, I am still amazed at how generous people are with their time when you ask thoughtful questions. These can be experienced entrepreneurs or subject matter experts (I’m still learning, but if you ever want to talk to me – just email me!). Also, don’t forget your peers. I can’t tell you how many great ideas and suggestions have come out of having a glass (or 3) of wine with my best girlfriends…
Finally, I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with cheerleaders. Friends and family members who will support you, celebrate with you, and help you work through the challenges – but will also give you honest feedback when you need it the most.
And because this is a sponsored post, lets talk a little bit about your (rather awesome) business. For all the ladies who are in the trenches of wedding planning (or about to get engaged over the holidays, achem) what would you tell them about Glö?
In a nutshell, Glö offers paperless wedding communications and online planning tools that help save time and aggravation (and can even make the planning process fun!) With Glö, you can:
- Send Glövites: beautiful paperless invitations, save-the-dates and even a group thank you. (You can see some examples on our site.)
- Create a Glösite: your multi-page wedding website, then add photos, a wedding countdown, fancy slideshows, interactive maps, or any other widget
- Add unlimited events to your website (e.g., rehearsal dinner and reception) and select which guests are able to view each event. The website only shows the correct events to each guest (preventing hurt feelings)
- Add unlimited RSVP questions, seamlessly collect responses, and view them online or download them to a .csv file. Guests can edit RSVP responses for their entire household, preventing duplicate RSVPs. You can also update your guests’ RSVP responses online.
- Easily communicate with all or some of your guests before and after the wedding celebration using our easy messaging tool
Glö is also a way to show your guests what your celebration is really all about. Your wedding communications are often the first indication that your guests have of what type of celebration you’re throwing – what makes you unique as a couple, what the atmosphere will be like at your wedding, and what fun they can look forward to. For this reason, we’ve built in a ton of customization options to really let each couple’s unique flavor and personality shine through. This includes the ability to work with one of our designs or upload your own. I love seeing what words, images, designs, and fun widgets (like countdowns, games, slideshows, videos, etc.) couples use to express their individuality. I blog about different things that couples have done on www.glo-bride.com because I think it’s really inspirational.
Even if you’re going to send paper invitations, what are the ways that Glö can help you save your sanity? Because what you don’t guess going into wedding planning is that managing your invited list can be the thing that leaves you a sobbing hair pulling mess on the floor? (Or was that just me? Shut up, all of you.)
Haha, I think we all feel your pain Meg! Going totally paperless is definitely not for everyone. For this reason, I’ve designed Glö to be as flexible as possible so that each couple can use it in the way that best fits their celebration. Numerous Glö-bies have combined paper and paperless communications and then used their Glösite to share information and collect RSVPs. This includes:
- Sending paperless save-the-dates followed by paper invitations
- Sending paperless invitations to the majority of their guests and a few paper invitations to older relatives (this is what we did for our own wedding)
- Sending paper invitations followed up by paperless invites a week later guiding guests to their wedding website
With all of these options – you can still use Glö to create a wedding website with smart Event and RSVP technology. Which means no coordinating RSVP responses by hand. (yippee!)
If anyone is interested in paper invitations that match one of our Glö designs- I can help! It’s not formalized on the website yet, but just email me, and I can make it happen.
And finally, what do you like the most about working with APW brides and grooms? I know you’ve worked with tons of them, and between you and me, I know you kind of adore them.
Meg, you know I freaking LOVE APW couples. (Probably because I email you once a week to tell you!) I think I enjoy working with APWers because they are incredibly down-to-earth and thoughtful (plus they throw weddings that I would love to attend!) They view their wedding as a celebration – a unique opportunity to gather all of their favorite people in the same place at the same time (or share the joy of their elopement with everyone at the same moment in time!) They care about their guests – and want them to enjoy their celebration. And, most important, they want to throw a celebration that really reflects who they are. For me, this is truly what wedding celebrations are about. I just feel privileged and proud to work APW couples and help them plan such meaningful, personalized and ridiculously fun wedding celebrations.
And as one final note, APWers are a loyal bunch – they are chuffed to be a part of the APW family and they make ME feel like a part of the APW family. So many couples make it a point to tell me they found Glö on APW or that reading APW is one of their top tips for couples who are just starting to plan. How can I not love working with peeps like that? Ms. Meg (and you’d better put this in the post or else I am coming out there to find you..) - You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished here girlfriend – you truly make a difference for couples and wedding elves alike. (Editors note: how did I know I would have taken that out? I’m blushing!)
So, ladies (and a handful of guys), go check out Glö Right. This. Second. You will not regret it. And you can thank me later. And Taryn. Thank her later too.