Bride Meets Blog: Abby Larson on Style Me Pretty’s Explosive Growth
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472k page views and 60k unique visitors; at the end of July 2009 we had 2.8 million page views and 245k unique visitors; at the end of July 2010 we had 6.4 million page views and 428k unique visitors; at the end of July 2011 we had 11.6 million page views and 1.4 million unique visitors; currently we have 18.6 million page views and 1.5 million unique visitors.
X: How did you adapt your technology/operations as you scaled? When did you start bringing on other staff? What are the company’s employee numbers now?
AL: Style Me Pretty’s secret sauce is my husband, Tait, who received his masters in computer science from Stanford University and has been privileged enough to work on a handful of really great start-ups. He has transformed our site into one of the most widely read bridal publications in the world and has built tools that keep the brides coming around for more. We have streamlined our submissions process through tools he has built, allowing us to push out a ton of highly edited content; he has built out incredible image galleries and color extractors and inspiration board builders, all which encourage brides to stick around and stay inspired. He has a small team of three and they are all motivated to develop SMP into the best resource for brides online.
Total full time employees is around 12 and we have another 12 that contract.
I hired our first full time staff member back in 2007 and it was only 2 of us for the first full year. My husband joined after year one and we then began building out the team so that we could really grow SMP.
X: When did you start seeing competition? The bridal blog world is huge now. How do you innovate and stand out in a much more crowded landscape?
AL: I started seeing real competition after a few months. We actually saw a couple of blogs pop up from brides who had entered various contests on our site and now their blogs are very much a part of the industry landscape. Now, as you know, the industry is saturated with various online publications and competition is definitely a part of the discussion. With that said, we are workers. We tend to put our nose down and focus on what we are doing, rather than what everyone else is doing. We really trust our creative and technical instincts and know that it’s simply not worth it to evaluate yourself based on everyone else. It’s actually quite incredible that there are so many resources out there for a bride. She has so much creativity and innovation at her fingertips, and that is always a good thing.
X: People say building a consumer-focused technology in Boston can be difficult or at least rare. What has your experience been? Have you attracted much attention from the local business/technology press or does the wedding-industry focus keep them away?
AL: You know, we haven’t utilized the Boston market as much as we should. There are incredibly smart, innovative people in the area and there is always something very cool and inspiring happening in technology here. As a wedding brand, we aren’t really lumped into the technology industry. Which is a bit odd as so much of what we are doing is technology driven, but it’s okay. We are … Next Page »