The wedding business–everything from the registry to the honeymoon– is a $99 billion dollar a year industry. With over 2.3 million brides in the U.S. alone every year, that’s 2.3 million stressed out females looking for some guidance on the Internet.
Kellee Khalil is the Founder and CEO of Lover.ly, a new visual search engine focusing on weddings. After studying entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California, Khalil worked in commercial finance. As creative minds often do, she soon jumped ship and started helping her sister run Be Inspired PR, a firm focused on the bridal industry. Last July, she moved to New York from LA to open up its East Coast branch. It wasn’t long before her entrepreneurial degree started tapping her shoulder, and in August of this past year, Khalil’s Loverly project was born.
“I saw an opportunity with all of these amazing content producing, wedding bloggers, these genius creatives. They curate the stories around vintage and bohemian weddings, they post the eye candy and they have their own brands and followings. We created a search portal for these blogs. We went to the creators that have powerful brands, unique voices and good followings and said, ‘Let us index your content into our search engine and allow people to be able to search and discover it, save it and share it’,” says Khalil.
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Even in its early stage, Lover.ly is like getting lost in a love story. It’s easy to spend an hour perusing through its 100,000+ images of pink bouquets, vintage dresses, Hawaiian honeymoons, beach weddings, chocolate cakes, s’more buffets, cowboy boots, and red lipsticked brides.
For its launch, Loverly has partnered with 20 of the best bridal content producers online like Bridal Musings, Snippet & Ink, Polka Dot Bride and The Wedding Chicks, to help users discover, search, save, and share wedding related content online. Loverly even pulls content Mindy Weiss, a Celebrity Wedding Planner for Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and Hilary Duff to name a few. On each image, users can see what blog it came from and other important information like the photographer’s name, the floral designer, the dress maker, the venue location, etc. It’s acts like a professionally curated Pinterest for weddings, if you will. Most recently, Loverly poached Julie Raimondi, the Editor-in-Chief of Brides.com as its Editorial Director.
While the site is still in private beta with over 4,000 waiting beta requests, you can sign up for Lover.ly here with the code: NEXTLOVE. Sign on and peruse through photos; then to save photos, create your own Bundles like “Party”, “Flowers”, or “Dress.” Or just Love a photo to save it to your favorites.
If you’ve ever had a friend who’s been married, you’ve likely received multiple emails with links to images and wedding blogs. With Loverly, users can store everything in the cloud and email their friends a simple share link. The site is built in HTML 5, so its iPad and iPhone friendly. This means no more lugging around 15lb binders of wedding clips.
Each image will have 7 tags, on average, describing what’s in the image. Is it vintage? Is it romantic? Is it pink? Is it red? “It’s written in the language that brides would search,” says Khalil. “We’re providing all the tags for people to begin with and then users can add their own tags.”
From a business angle, Loverly is quite brilliant. Not only does the image tagging provide SEO to individual blogs, but Loverly operates like an ad network and helps blogs sell display advertisements and produce advertorial and social media campaigns. Loverly is also driving traffic back to the individual blogs. To date, Loverly has raised a $500K seed round.
While the average American woman gets married at 27, it’s 31 in New York City, which means I have 4 more years to play around on Loverly to imagine the perfect wedding. My boyfriend is in so much trouble.
Shareagift is another useful app when a wedding is on the horizon.