“I’m always cutting it close!” a breathless Kellee Khalil said Friday morning during our scheduled press call. “My flight is boarding right now.”
Most people would be overwhelmed, talking to a journalist about their startup while struggling with a fidgety ticket machine and asking an airport attendee how to not miss a flight.But Khalil, who founded Loverly almost two years ago, is used to sprinting in all aspects of life. It’s the only way to keep up with a fast-growing startup.
At a glance, Khalil’s site looks a lot like Pinterest (see below). It has the infinite scroll and beautiful pictures; a recipe for a dangerous time suck. But unlike Pinterest, it’s just for brides and the pictures serve as more than inspiration. Each one is indexed and tagged by photographer, vendor, colour, season, location and more, so they can be used in the wedding planning process. Many of the images and videos have “shop” banners, which means the products can actually be purchased directly from Loverly. It also has a Pinterest-like “bundle” option, so pictures can be saved to profile pages. There are more than 80,000 products and 700 brands on Loverly.
Images come from Loverly’s partnering sites or photographers directly; Khalil’s team rejects photos they don’t have the legal rights to use. Loverly indexes photos for 35 wedding blogs and helps sell advertising on their sites. Khalil says Loverly is in the top five traffic referrers for almost all of the blogs in her network.Khalil has also secured partnerships with major retailers like Nordstrom, BHLDN, Blue Nile, Anthropologie and Etsy, so Loverly can use and tag their photos, then redirect users back to those sites.
Users are latching on to Loverly. Khalil says 5% of her audience visits the site between three and six times per day. They’re viewing about 30 million images per month, and consuming about 3.2 million pageviews/scrolls. Investors seem to be in love too. They gave Khalil $500,000 when she launched, and they doubled down earlier this year.
Khalil has no plans of slowing down. She says Loverly will more than double its team from nine people to 20 in 2013. A site overhaul is coming in early January with more built-in functionality.
Luckily for Khalil, she’s good at running full speed.
— Kellee Khalil (@kellee) November 30, 2012
Naturally, she was heading to a wedding.