If you’ve been to a wedding recently then you may have heard of Zola, a wildly popular wedding registry site that makes the process fun, fast and simple to use.
Launched in 2013 by former Gilt employee Shan-Lyn Ma, over 300,000 couples have created a registry using the site and the company is on track to double in 2017.
So, how did Zola become the fastest growing registry site in only 3 years and hit a valuation of $200 million?
We’re gonna tell you…
Meet Shan-Lyn Ma, founder of Zola
Shan-Lyn was raised in Australia. Her mom always told her that she’d go to America, get her MBA and have a fantastic career.
Talk about foreshadowing.
Shan-Lyn graduated in 2006 from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. After a brief stint in product and marketing roles at Yahoo, she joined the Gilt Groupe as a product manager. Gilt was an invitation only sales site for luxury women’s apparel and accessories.
Shan-Lyn was intrigued with the idea of starting a food and beverage division of the company. They called it Gilt Taste. It was kind of like Etsy, but for gourmet food and wine.
During this time Shan-Lyn was attending a lot of weddings for her friends. She noticed the wedding registry process was terrible. Not only for guests, but also for the couples.
Shan-Lyn knew she could create something better. And that’s exactly what she did.
She spoke to over 200 couples, and kept hearing similar frustrations. Gifts were showing up weeks before the wedding, couples had to create multiple registries and a lot of sites didn’t even work on mobile.
So, in 2013 she launched Zola with former Gilt Groupe co-workers. Zola caters to millennials getting married by offering an all-in-one, beautifully designed, easy to use registry. Couples can choose from over 40,000 products (and counting) ranging from household appliances to bed ware. In addition to products, Zola is the only registry that allows couples to register directly for experiences, and cash funds.
Zola makes money from retail/wholesale margins and by managing the customer experience. On average, that equates to about a 40% cut on gifts purchased through the site.
And, it’s working…In two short years, Zola grew to over $40 million in revenue and is on track to double in revenue this year.
But there’s more…
Shan-Lyn and her team of 52 full time employees noticed an opportunity to own the whole wedding experience, so last month (April 2017) they launched Zola Weddings. It’s a free, one-stop-shop allowing couples to design wedding websites, create customized checklists and manage their guest lists. Couples can also register in Zola’s townhouse space in the financial district of New York City.
Zola is the fastest growing registry site and there appears to be no slowing down. On June 23rd, Shan-Lyn will be sharing how she grew Zola to a $200 million company in less than 3 years.
Wanna come? Click here to buy your ticket for Hustle Con on June 23rd in Oakland, CA.