Our weekly “She’s A Boss” series is all about women in leadership positions. We feel that women are not celebrated enough for their amazing and one-of-a-kind accomplishments so we’re using our website to do just that.
This week we had an opportunity to speak with Lauren Hines, the boss behind Get Wed for Less and the wedding planning app, Weddinator. Lauren is a Howard University graduate, wife and mother of two young children. Born in New York and raised in South Florida, Lauren is a first-generation American for her Jamaican family and currently lives in Atlanta.
Check out our interview below.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: How did you get the idea to start your own business or was this something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Lauren Hines: I think I was born with it in my blood honestly. My father was an entrepreneur and my mother’s dad was an entrepreneur in Jamaica too, so it’s always been something I’ve been around. I kind of believed that I’d end up being in medicine or business in some regard because generally in my family, that’s kind of where you ended up. You were either were a nurse or a doctor or you ended up being in business. My knack was always for business I think. Growing up, I liked to see my grandfather’s office attached to our house in Jamaica. It was cool walking across and messing with grandpa in his office and I liked the freedom I saw other people experiencing as entrepreneurs. I knew the challenges of it but having been around and seeing that people could be successful and set their own schedules and that type of thing, it just made sense for me from the time I was in high school.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: And what about your companies Get Wed for Less, and your app Weddinator? Where did the idea for those two things come from?
LH: The main thing was just filling a gap. There was a need in the market for a resource that sourced out high quality, affordable wedding vendors. When I was planning my own wedding, you do so much research! They said that the average time it takes a person with no background in wedding or event planning to plan a wedding is over 300 hours. Think about you’re working or you’re going to school and you put in that many hours. Not only that, I think the big thing is because people don’t have access to the information readily. So I thought, how cool would it be to find the one resource that pretty much did most of the leg work for you in terms of planning. Other than going there and tasting the food yourself, you have everything you need to know.
So a lot of the people from our sites are brides as well as event planners and they’re looking for those details. Get Wed for Less, we’re a team of market researchers who go into the biggest cities with the most expensive wedding tabs and find the highest quality, most affordable vendors in those markets. We know that they are the most affordable vendors of the highest quality because we have actually found the statistics for what a wedding costs down to the tiara in that city. So in Manhattan I know the average cost for say a plate of food and if you can get a plate for $100 plus plus in Manhattan, you’re doing good whereas in Atlanta, you’re being screwed over. So it’s different for each city and that’s why we go market to market and we’re specific about that.
Now the Weddinator app, that was to solve a different problem. The website is great for finding all the information, accessing the
vendors for that market and the app solves a different problem when someone is saying that they need a place to have all their plans in a social, easy to share space. So someone can come on the app and create a profile page just for their wedding. They can put their pictures, they can link it to their Pinterest, they can show the bridesmaids their dresses and upload their engagement photos. It’s pretty much a private profile area for you to share details of your wedding. It’s really fun, people loved it at our reveal party in DC. Not only that, I have a feature on there where brides can ask us to get them in touch with the vendors. Since we have over 1,000 vendors on Get Wed for Less, we can connect them whenever they need it.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: I can imagine that you’ve had some challenges since starting your companies.
LH: Yes, this isn’t my first business but I started Get Wed for Less and the research for it in 2010 and we launched in Spring 2013. When we launched, we launched in eight different cities so that took some time. In terms of challenges, the biggest one was probably just making the time to do it.
I would work sometimes until 2:00 in the morning or after the kids went to bed or when they were napping or when I was done with my other part time position that I was doing…making the time…sacrificing the nights when you’d rather be watching movies with your husband. I knew it was a small price to pay. I had my goals, I knew when we wanted to launch, what cities we wanted to do. My husband is an entrepreneur too and it works really well. I’m pretty good with sticking to deadlines and we did it. We’ve received a lot of blessings from people wanting to advertise on our site, wanting us at events and functions…it all came from having this unique platform.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: For someone who wants to follow your footsteps whether it be developing an app or a business that is in multiple cities like Get Wed for Less, what is the most important lesson that you’ve learned that you could share with them?
LH: The biggest thing for me out front was knowing that I was doing things in God’s order. I’m a strong woman of faith so when I got the green light from God to go, oh there was no stopping me (laughs).
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Oh my goodness, you have no idea how much I understand that.
LH: There’s gotta be some anchor you can turn to when things get challenging or you don’t have as much support as you thought you had before. There’s gotta be an anchor that you turn to that you say, I’m supposed to be doing this…this is what I’m called to be doing for this time, for this appointed season and it’s clear to me. That for me is what it was. If someone doesn’t have a strong enough reason or purpose or point to why they even began, then you have to question why you’re doing it.
I think that’s why people question when they’re working for a check, which you need to do if you’re providing for your family, you’ve gotta do those things. But in the long term, what’s your excuse gonna be 30 years from now or 40 years from now when you could have started planting seeds earlier? For me, it was going when I felt like I knew what I needed to do. That’s where most people mess up, they know that there is something they need to do and they never press the button. They never leave when they’ve been told by God to leave and I never wanted to live with regrets!