One week before Kellee Khalil launched her wedding photo startup, Loverly, she received a coffee invitation from a business strategist at a top bridal site.”We have $70 million to buy competitors just so we can shut them down,” Khalil was told.
Intimidated but not discouraged, the 27-year-old entrepreneur pursued Loverly.
Loverly was founded last year. It is a network of 26 wedding blogs. If you visit the site, it looks like Pinterest.
However, instead of taking the blogs’ articles, Khalil is taking their photos. Her team tags and posts all of the images by designer, item, photographer, colour, price and more. When users browse photos, they’re given all of the purchase information they need.
Users can “love” images on Loverly, a feature that resembles Facebook’s Like button. They can also “bundle” images, which saves a photo to their personal online collection. If they want more information, Loverly sends them to the original blog source.
Loverly has a vested interest in driving traffic to each of its bloggers. Beginning in April, Khalil will sell advertising across the network, like a Federated Media for wedding blogs, and split revenue with the publishers.
Forming a digital wedding channel isn’t easy to pull off. Luckily, Khalil’s sister is incredibly well connected in the wedding industry.
Leila Khalil is one of Los Angeles’ most well-known wedding publicists. Her own wedding was featured in Martha Stewart’s Spring 2012 wedding edition. Kellee is featured too as the Maid of honour.
Using her older sister’s contacts, Kellee was able to recruit the initial bloggers for her network. Her sister, of course, was the first on board with her blog Inspired By This.
Now Loverly is a sizable network with 1.8 million uniques and 10 million monthly pageviews. Hundreds of thousands of photos have been uploaded and tagged, and a significant amount of traffic is already being generated for the partnering sites.
Khalil has raised $500,000 from Joanne Wilson, Mike Edwards, Jordy Levy, Mike Yavonditte, Anu Duggal, and Charles Smith.