For couples planning a wedding, the overflow of available wedding planners is not only flowing over, it is over whelming. Lover.ly is another option for getting things done properly with the help of an entire team of folks with wedding planning experience and savvy. What makes Lover.ly different is that modern couples connect with the guidance they need at Lover.ly’s digital destination. Lover.ly Headquarters is located in New York City, but their help is available online to anyone, pretty much anywhere.
Lover.ly wants to help make planning weddings fun and simple. They even have their own “Meet Your Virtual Wedding Planner App available for free through iTunes at the Apple store, so that couples can chat with their Concierge, a knowledgeable Lover.ly assistant, using their smartphones. The company has 12 thousand plus real weddings with photos that prospective brides and grooms can use to find inspiration for their own special day. Favorite photos can be saved to share with the Lover.ly support system.
The company also intakes favorite photographs which couples want to include from their own experiences at other weddings. Couples can browse through all aspects of weddings, filtering their searches by color palette, themes, décor and other details and then refine their searches online. The latest tips for dream weddings are available, too, with a focus on current trends, modern etiquette, and expert advice from the industry leaders.
Lover.ly maintains a curated list of vendors which is offered to its customers based on varied membership tiers. There is also a registry guide with a curated list of top retailers so that couples can create their personalized wedding registry with the best in the business. The company has a network comprised of small business vendors to top marketers. As users hire site vendors or purchase items, Lover.ly is monetized per click. Brides can resource all of the support that Lover.ly provides using their free iPhone app, and never worry about storing the information, as it all reside on the Internet cloud.
Kellee Khalil launched Lover.ly in 2012. She founded the “Wedding Planner in Your Purse” after she planned her sister’s wedding as maid of honor. Her sister is Leila Khalil, a top wedding publicist from Los Angeles. Leila’s wedding was featured in the Spring 2012 Martha Stewart wedding edition. Kellee was also featured as the Maid of Honor.
Kellee thought then that weddings should be about the love story of the betrothed, rather than about all the mind boggling logistics. Her startup company raised $2 million to launch a wedding concierge service which is based on chatting. The Lover.ly app is free, but there are also options for tiered packages which offer a variety of other features such as personalized recommendations tailored to the wedding. Lover.ly started as an experiment in e-commerce in 2015, had its rocky times with less than stellar success with sales and fulfillment, and re-tooled itself by offering a gathering place to collect inspiration. This is what made it unique, and successful.
Khalil graduated from USC with a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies. She was in charge of Business development at Be Inspired PR before she launched Lover.ly in 2012. Her previous firm was the leader in the luxury wedding market service industry. She assembled a winning team to join her:
- Luca Columba, VP of Engineering, has an MS in Physics and Computer Science. He was a University of Rome physics researcher first. Then, he co-founded Crowdbeacon, the first Q&A app based on location. His work also included building the social network for cancer survivors, called I Had Cancer, which won multiple Webby Awards. He was also lead the development of Globalgrind, the Russel Simmons media property. He has a resume which also includes work with brands such as Lexus, Revlon, Chelsea Premium Outlets and Trader Joes.
- Jessica Laird, Editorial Director, has skills in both technology and wedding planning. Part of her most recent years have been devoted to work with CoverGirl and Zales, though she has also created collaborations with industry leaders in the wedding vending industry in New York.
- Danielle Halibey, PR & Community Manager, has worked in the wedding industry for nearly five years and has successfully aligned Lover.ly with some of the most influential names today.
- Paula Fontenot, Director of Advertising, has more than 25 years of advertising and marketing experience to her credit. Her resume includes work companies such as Epic Advertising and AOL.
- Peggy Fry– recently hired to take over as President and COO to complement Khalil’s skills
Kellee felt that the risk she took to start the company was important. It took about three weeks to find the New York space which would be the home for her company. She said her ultimate dream is to help women to “lean into the fear” so that it is possible to experience excitement. She says that is how she approaches business, but she also hopes to create a media company “that transforms the way women experience major life events”. Lover.ly is the first wedding search engine, and it helps women to find people to hire and things to buy for their weddings. She worked with the eCommerce network to find the advice she needed to get started. Now, she wants to reach more brides wherever they are and expand to include even more vendors than Lover.ly already has.
Today, Lover.ly includes 26 blogs about weddings into a network of blogs. The site resembles Pinterest, in that users are able to “love” Lover.ly images, and as they browse, they find the information they require to purchase the items they love. The strategy and design seems to work, as there are ten million page views each month, and photos in the hundreds of thousands have been tagged and also uploaded as users create their own personal collections of online wedding images and ideas in one space.
Lover.ly currently give the brides control over options for every category a bride needs. The company offers products from more than 3,000 brands, totaling somewhere more than 400.000 items. The firm raised $5 million from investors including Female Founders Fund and Great Oaks. It surpassed its 2014 revenue in February of 2015. The ultimate goal for Lover.ly is to do what is yet to be done, and that is to create a big business online which successfully marries online search, content discovery, community and commerce.
Khalil told CNBC during an interview that the one mission of Lover.ly is “total wedding world domination”. It would seem that the startup which was once “one to watch” may have become the perfect wedding “go to”.