We failed at starting a Business & it was depressing

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Nigerians spend millions on a wedding. The industry is huge! Nigeria and Nigerians love to party & have fun. The wedding industry in one of the fastest growing industries in Nigeria. In a typical Nigerian wedding, people can attend without an invite and it is often hard to manage attendees. Additionally, inviting and tracking guests can be a challenge because most invitations are delivered, by hand, by the couple or their family members. An Instagram user on the Bella Naija Weddings Instagram said it is “… it is extremely hard to keep up with everything”.

IV League

On February 27, 2017, I set out to play with the idea of building something that will make a difference in the wedding industry. The first page of my notes started with “Made in Canada design is a full-service wedding invitation design company. We make the best invitation cards and ship them to you.” This was what I had in mind. At the time, the goal was simply to build a platform for Nigerians in any part of the world to browse wedding invitations from our IV League and customize the style, cut, quality and message and then ship the invitations to themselves. Armed with this idea and my technical skill, I started building a web application to do exactly this. I successfully built the core functionality which included picking an invitation style, customizing the colour, adding your message and a live preview of your changes, as shown below. I, however, was not satisfied with what I had built and I knew I could do more.

Idea Refinement

During the 2017 Christmas break, however, I jumped back to my notes to see if I could complete what I started. By this time, I had other things in mind — The initial idea has evolved. I realized that the initial idea came with a lot of logistics hurdles like printing, shipping and handling, quality control and many more. Additionally, even though I had spent hours building out the idea, I realized that their were local companies that already did invitations better and I would have failed if I continued to work on it. So I stopped.

After acknowledging these challenges, I decided to rethink my approach. On December 14, 2017, I updated my notes to reflect the new direction. I now wanted to build a wedding management ecosystem with features like “Manage Guests”, “Invite Guests by SMS, Email, and Social media Messaging”, “Track Invitation views”, “Make Wedding Website”, “Allow guests to build wedding playlist” and many more features. This platform will be completely online and will require little to no human intervention to run. I loved this and I kept adding features like the ability to find vendors based on your budget and a guest RSVP feature.

Although I was happy with the way things were coming along, I realized that more needed to be done. It was becoming serious business and I needed to bring in something important that I was missing — people with skills to complement mine and who understood the Nigerian market, are business-savvy and also trustworthy. This led me to bring Chibex on board. Additional, we got the feedback from Blessing of IvoryMark. By the way, we are hiring so email me with some details about yourself and why you want to work with us at Lush Plans.

I am very excited about the new things I learn everyday about wedding and Nigerian weddings, specifically. I truly believe that the wedding planning and guest management should be an opportunity for couple to learn about themselves as they do it together using an easy to use app. Go read The State of Nigerian Weddings for details about how to succeed as a wedding vendor in Nigeria and and get advice from experienced married couples.

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