Monday Motivation from Danielle Wen, Founder & CEO of Lace & Liberty

Mondays can be rough and, sometimes, we can all use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.

We sat down with Danielle Wen, Founder & CEO of Lace & Liberty, an online customizable wedding gown service. She discusses the re-imagining of bridal shopping that took place after being shocked to find the experience so antiquated, as well as some insight on how to prioritize and accomplish weekly goals with limited resources, a small team, and a good To Do list.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was at a talk by Alibaba founder Jack Ma where he mentioned in the early days how it was difficult to convince people that to try out this new way of shopping, how he thought they could provide more options for people that just the traditional way of buying at stores. I was very inspired by him as I was personally struggling with dragging my friends from store to store to find a wedding dress (not wanting to go alone), not finding anything I liked enough to buy or good quality enough in my price range. I was pretty shocked that the wedding dress shopping experience was so antiquated and was such a difficult process.

I felt that there was so much more room for improvement for bridal, to combine the convenience of shopping online with an offline experience and to introduce people to a new concept and new way of wedding dress shopping that made so much sense for the modern bride. So many friends were also complaining about wedding dress shopping that all boiled down to a few core issues and I started to imagine what this new way of bridal shopping could look like.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
One of the greatest challenges I feel is to prioritize effectively and stick to the schedule. There are so many tasks that need to be done and with a small team and limited resources, it’s not possible to do everything at once. I found that it’s most effective to be very clear what the most important goal of the week is and to prioritize tasks and plan work around how to improve something to service this goal. Try not to be distracted by all the other seemingly important things calling your attention and focus on sticking to the schedule!

What’s been the greatest reward?
It’s extremely joyful when our brides send us photos of their big day, tell us what made it special and we can see the love and happiness radiating from them!
I also feel that it’s been incredibly rewarding meeting and knowing other incredible female founders, learning from each other and inspiring one another to believe in ourselves and to do better. The number of people who are willing to share their experience with you, give you advice and tips has been incredible and I’m learning to pass on my own knowledge to others which has been rewarding.

What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
The wedding dress industry is plagued by what’s portrayed in mainstream media – that every woman is meant to have dreamed of her wedding dress their whole lives, that you must perform those rituals surrounding wedding dress shopping, that spending more is always fine because the idea of a perfect dress is ingrained and the list goes on.

In the real world, especially in our modern fast changing technology-enabled world, girls are excited and look forward to finding that dress, but many have never given a thought about their wedding, most brides don’t prefer to drag all their friends to appointment after appointment because they need to find something to wear that they like without spending a fortune.
The modern woman cares about style, quality but also smart spending. We want to empower brides with more choices, give them the ability to choose their own dress journey.

Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
I’ve been extremely lucky to have the most supportive husband, family & friends to fall back on and to reach out to when things get tough. My husband reminds me that no one’s ever said starting your own business is so easy breezy, so I try to remember to tell myself that I am incredibly fortunate to be pursuing something that I’m passionate about and to keep pushing onwards.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Find a support group (or person) that can be there for you as your biggest cheerleaders as well as honestly tell you how you can do better. There’s a lot of challenges and noise and negativity along the way so it’s very helpful to have a trustworthy sounding board to stay grounded when you’re down, help sort through the noise objectively and someone who won’t let you lose focus on why you started the business and what you’ve achieved so far.

What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I make a To Do list with a few very small & achievable tasks that I can cross off to make sure baby steps are achieved daily to build up into something bigger.

Danielle is taking over the Project Entrepreneur Instagram page this week to give you an inside look at #PEAccelerator 2017. Follow along with her!

For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Tina Hedges, Founder of LOLI Beauty, a modern, luxurious and accessible approach to a natural beauty kitchen offering the purest organic ingredients blended by you at home, or for you at our pop-up blending bars. She discusses the personal journey that led her to launch LOLI, landing that first investor, and creating a brand that’s resonating with so many.