Weddings can be stressful things, and one of the biggest pain points for the bride and groom often centers around money. Now, a new Seattle area e-commerce site called Adorii is looking to help people better plan for their big day, and save a bit of money along the way.
Adorii, which recently changed its name from WedCoupon, offers daily deals to couples on everything from photographers to bridesmaid dresses to bachelor party getaways. We’ve certainly seen the rise of niche-oriented daily deal sites in Seattle, namely through the success of Zulily, which offers deals on toys, clothes and other products for kids and moms.
So, why not a daily deal site for those about to get hitched? We caught up with 33-year-old founder Matthew Matsudaira, a former regional manager of shoes at Nordstrom who most recently oversaw sales at Wishpot/Venpop, to learn more about his 14-person upstart.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Adorii is a recently launched e-commerce site for the engaged and invited, offering wedding related fashions, products and services — locally and nationally — for 25 percent to 80 percent off retail.”
Inspiration hit us when: “In a traditional and regular price bound industry, we realized we can deliver a couples ‘dream day’ without breaking the bank. If we watch the bottom line on every other event in our lives, why can’t we save money for the biggest? This industry is growing year-over-year- everyone gets married or participates in a wedding (plus there is a constant influx of the newly engaged), so there will always be a demand and the opportunity to win customers by providing them with excellent merchandise and services.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap. It allowed us to be agile and move quickly to deliver an MVP product to the marketplace. Currently, we are on the fundraising trail and looking for angel investors to work with Adorii and allow us to truly scale. Also, we are talking with some VCs in Seattle, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our people! We have a strong group of individuals who are great contributors to the everyday business of Adorii as well as to the larger vision that will propel us forward. Our team is passionate about pushing the boundaries, being disruptors in the wed-space, and becoming the best at what we do. We are deeply committed to the brand and to each other.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Change the name early in the game. We white-boarded it as a team, talked to our advisors, friends, vendors/merchants, and branding industry experts to ensure that it made sense for the business and for us. I love our new name “Adorii,” as it echoes our company mantra: bringing great products and services we adore to our members. We have big plans to scale – stay tuned!”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Our previous name, Wedcoupon, was holding us back from scaling our business and becoming the leading e-commerce retailer for the engaged and invited. Based on the response to Adorii, it’s almost as if we launched an entirely new company. Plus, prestige brands no longer need to fear the word, ‘coupon,’ (and vendors need not fear another industry giant that rhymes with ‘coupon’ and begins with a “G”) as Adorii merges high fashion with passion, reinforcing the romance of retail.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos is an incredibly bold and intelligent risk taker. He’s strategizing 10 moves ahead on how to create buzz and innovation. Bezos has the ability to identify and profit from disrupting an industry. We are disrupting the traditional business of weddings/bridal by offering stylish solutions for less – and online (65 percent of brides shop online as opposed to bridal boutiques). Amazon is one of the largest retailers and there is much that Adorii can learn to help us move products and services…Now if I could only get 10 minutes to pick his brain: ‘Hmmm, hey Jeff, I’m in Seattle too, can I take you to coffee?’
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Adorii seeks to have the entire wedding party save time and money on W-day and realize that paying full price for a wedding is a thing of the past! Visit Adorii.com for inspiration and on-trend merchandise at steep discounts without online searching hours digging through various sites and driving from one mall to another. Plus, honeymoon is just around the corner. We invite engaged couples to tell us what they want so we can do the negotiating, and offer up better products and services for a more affordable wedding, pre-event or honeymoon.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We have a tough, agile, innovative, driven, team of fashion, bridal, retail, e-commerce, media and social media experts. We are going to win because we are focused on thinking bigger, better, and creating solutions for our members as opposed to just focusing on dominating the competition in a traditional space. Even though we feel we are winning and capturing market share, it’s no time to relax. We’ll keep powering through to improve in all aspects of our business, or ourselves, our vendors and members.”
We are truly unique because: “We offer a marketplace for brides, grooms, and everyone involved in the wedding at 25 percent to 80 percent off retail. For example, our CMO & VP of Operations: Carina Walters was an attendant in 10 weddings this year (not including her own). Imagine how expensive that is, and how much she could save if Adorii were involved? We carry top brands in the fashion and bridal industries as well as deliver our members the most sought after service providers in the industry. Since many weddings are date-driven, we have a dynamic calendar to make it easy for couples to find services for their ‘big day.'”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Having the courage and belief to jump in feet first in a grueling economy (but people still get married so we know there is a market). Creating an environment where everyone on the team (including our vendors) feels committed to Adorii, and trusts each other implicitly so we can focus on the work at hand. We recently returned from the big retail shows in Las Vegas where we had the opportunity to meet with some of the top brands in the fashion and bridal space. It was great to hear the praise and the validation from top brands in the industry, who stated that “we [Adorii] have arrived.” One executive said something that particularly stood out: ‘A few years ago when Zulily, Hautelook, and Gilt Group were sending buyers to the Vegas exhibits they were showing a commitment to partner with us, the vendors, and together we could experience growth and success.’ That really resonated with myself and our team, as building powerful relationships with our product and service vendors is equally as important as building a monumental membership (and the two are symbiotic). Adorii carries both ends of the spectrum: 1. Brands found in high-end bridal boutiques and beloved retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales, but for much less. 2. High demand emerging Etsy vendors that truly provide inspiration, personality & uniqueness.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “This is the hardest question yet. Where do I start? I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by some great friends, advisors, and mentors along my career path. I’m going to give entrepreneurs three pieces advice that has served me:
1. Trust your gut—if you feel like it’s not right, it probably isn’t. Also, keep a group of close to the vest advisors and friends that you trust with your social security number to give you honest feedback. Know that what they tell you might hurt, but it will be dead on, and well intentioned.
2.Having a great idea is not good enough (there’s millions of them out there). Business is about vision, but the ones that make it are about execution. Your idea has already been thought of by another individual or team. What differentiates you and your team is vision, execution, belief, and the ability to tack and trim. As well, the ability to release your grip on ‘being right’ if another team member has a better, faster way is key. It’s almost like a rugby match, things move fast, and you must be nimble, but also know when to pass the ball. Oh, and kill the competition.
3. Hire the best team you can afford. They will be game changers.”