Monday Motivation with Marguerite Pressley Davis, Founder and CEO of Tulle La La
Mondays can be rough, and sometimes we can 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.
Marguerite Pressley Davis is the Founder and CEO of Tulle la la, a global wedding retail brand that ships thousands of personalized gift or “tulle” boxes to brides-to-be. The monthly subscription service aims to make wedding planning more fun and less stressful by sending brides tips, tricks and advice from industry experts to help a bride through her wedding planning journey.
Marguerite sat down with PE to tell us how her own wedding planning experience inspired her to launch her business, how she targeted her marketing spend early on, and why every female founder needs to get better acquainted with her financials and analytics.
What inspired you to start your business?
I had an amazing time throughout my [entire] wedding planning experience. I had multiple bridal showers, multiple bachelorette parties, and an incredibly supportive family and bridal party. What I realized was that this was not the case for every bride. In fact, most brides describe their wedding planning experience as stressful.
I wanted a way that I could bottle up the experience I’d had and give to all brides the excitement and support [that I’d felt]. I wanted to give all brides that feeling of not wanting [the wedding planning experience] to end. Tulle la la was the solution that I came up with, and I haven’t looked back sense.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
So far the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is managing scaling. When your brand expands internationally, there are different nuances that that you must manage, new markets to learn, new norms to adjust to. When you release new products, you have to closely manage the testing phase of a limited launch and know the right time to transition into a full launch—timing is everything. It’s challenging, but [I believe] it’s part of a CEO’s role to effectively manage growth.
What’s been the greatest reward?
The greatest reward is when we receive notes from brides saying they can’t thank us enough for making them feel they had a friend along the way helping them to enjoy every moment of being engaged. When a bride tells us that her favorite time of the month is when her box arrives, I know we’ve done our job, and we’ve done it well. Testimonials like these are the greatest rewards I could ever ask for. Winning the Modern Luxury Diamond Award for “The Best Wedding Technology” was incredibly rewarding as well.
Can you describe a problem you’ve solved in your business and how other early-stage founders can repeat your success?
I had a problem determining the most effective channels of marketing spend; we put dollars towards some channels that ultimately turned out to not be as effective as we initially anticipated. Early stage founders often start out with a marketing plan of how we want to target our customer. But when you’re early stage, the reality is, you’re not 100 percent sure what channels you’ve selected in your marketing strategy are going to be the most effective. As a result, you could waste a lot of your marketing cash spend on channels that are ultimately not as effective as your research may have initially showed.
What’s critical to get you through this is to come up with a way to track absolutely every customer that comes through the door to allow you to truly see the effectiveness of your marketing strategies—use pixels, special codes, etc. Come up with creative ways, but make sure to find a way that you can see exactly where a customer came from. This allows you to generate marketing analytics you can use to make decisions quickly on how to better allocate your marketing spend bucket going forward. It will make all the difference in the world.
What changes would you most like to see in your industry, and how are you working to make those changes happen?
Weddings are really expensive [because] all of the hard work that the creatives must do to create a dream day for the bride is getting increasingly expensive. Unfortunately, what that means is that Brides are feeling the financial pressures and in turn are not enjoying the planning process as much as they should.
Price transparency within the wedding industry could really help change the planning process for brides and mitigate some of this stress—brides would know upfront what to expect and could then adjust their wedding expectations [and budgets] accordingly ahead of time.
One of the things that Tulle la la is doing to help mitigate this for Brides is through our monthly tips—we give Brides insights into what costs to expect, where can they save, and even how to prioritize [their spending] to still get the day they’ve always dreamt of. As an industry, we have to remember that this may be one of the biggest moments in this bride’s life, and it’s our job to keep it special and fun for her.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
What motivates me to keep going, even when things get tough is referring back to the mission of Tulle la la. That’s why it’s so important for companies to take the time to develop a mission statement. It’s the ‘why’ behind your business [and] your commitment to yourself and your customers. It keeps you going when things get tough. It’s for those times when it seems easier to just throw in the towel. Your mission statement reminds you of what you are doing [and why it’s so important].
Can you provide a few updates on what’s new with your business or what you’ve accomplished since you attended the PE Intensive in April 2017?
So much has happened since April 2017 when I attended the PE Intensive. One of the most exciting things is that we won the Modern Luxury Weddings Diamond Award for “Best Wedding Technology”. The problem we set out to solve is how to make this once-in-a-lifetime moment for a bride less stressful and more fun. We focused on solving that particular problem and didn’t deviate from it; that’s something that I learned at PE, and I think it’s served us very well.
Tullelala.com is going through an incredible face lift for some major UI and UX changes that will better allow us to serve our customers and create the experience we’re aiming for. This has been a huge undertaking, and I am so excited to be able to share it with everyone.
Additionally, we now serve brides across five continents and are thrilled to be able to bring the magical spirit of Tulle la la to more and more brides around the world.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out?
I would tell them to pay attention to their analytics. The numbers, the data, they just don’t lie. Take time out of each and every day to review your analytics from the previous day. Keep a close eye on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so that you know right away when something is going well and you can repeat it, or when something is going off the tracks and you can pivot quickly.
I think sometimes as entrepreneurs, we may be really good within our creative zone, but may not necessarily have the strongest grasp on the financial analytics, so we avoid it, but my best advice is, don’t avoid it! Hunker down and learn your numbers until [the practice] sticks. With a Wall Street background, I believe in this so much that I even started Girls In the Boardroom, a financial coaching agency, to help female founders [understand their financials and analytics].
What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I start every Monday morning with a cup of energy tea, but what’s important for me every Monday is to get in to the mindset of having a clean slate. It’s a new week, and a new beginning, so I start first with drawing out my weekly plan, which includes the top three things that I’m going to focus on for the week. Then I map it out from there into my daily plan. After that it’s off to the races—meeting with my team to get them on board with everything. The rest is just [getting] results.
For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Janice Omadeke, Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method, which provides curated mentor matches between the next generation of tech leaders and change-making mentors. We spent some time with Janice to learn more about the “why” behind starting her business, how she’s pivoted her business to work with new customers, and why female founders shouldn’t be shy about asking for help.