As an e-commerce service that helps couples plan a happy start to their lives' next chapter, Kevin Mintaraga strongly believes that happy people make others happy. Hence why we delved deeper into how he set up and maintain Bridestory: a wedding platform that connects vendors and engaged couples around the world.
Indonesia Tatler: How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
Kevin Mintaraga: After I got married in 2012, my wife decided to become a wedding stylist. She loves to tell stories about the wedding world, so I became interested in this happiness-oriented field and started doing research on the industry—especially in relation to technology.
I met a lot of difficulties when planning my own wedding—such as looking for vendors and inspiration—so I used Pinterest. But when I find a nice tuxedo, for example, the platform doesn’t let me know either where to buy it or what the brand is; in the end, it's just a photo for a tailor's reference. So I saw a gap to create dream weddings; this is why there needs to be an open platform that can connect wedding vendors around the world with to-be-married couples anywhere and anytime.
IT: What challenges do you face in your job?
KM:I learned a lot from my previous experience in creating and working with Magnivate, a digital marketing agency, about setting up a foundation and marketing my own product. When it comes to a new vertical, such as weddings, I found out that it’s a culturally based market. Nowadays, weddings are happening cross-borders: some people get married out of town, in a different country, or their families live in a different location.
IT: How do you overcome these challenges?
KM: In Japan, for example, the venue provides everything, from decoration, wedding gown and photography to wedding gifts and so on. Budget allocation is also different; Indonesians, for example, dare to pay more for decorations compared with people in other countries who may focus on jewellery. So the solution is to learn, localise our platform, and meet the demands.
By providing a cross-border platform, there will be plenty of talented wedding vendors who will have the chance to explore different types of wedding: indoors or outdoors, ballroom or garden, large or small scale, local or international, and so on.
IT: What are your start-up tips for young entrepreneurs?
KM:It's very important to have a clear vision of where you're heading and how to go there. Make a strong plan and surround yourself with a lot of counsellors and mentors. These people are usually busy because they're ahead in the game, which is why you need to stand out yet maintain humility to open many doors.
IT: Could you give an example from your own experiences?
KM: Before I started BrideStory, my role model was WeddingWire in the US and I planned to make a site like that. They're number two in this business in the States and had been doing it for almost 10 years. So I sent an e-mail to its CEO Timothy Chi, and he replied, to my surprise. Since then, every quarter, we share our stories. This relationship changed a lot of the concepts at BrideStory's beginning and helps optimise our plans.
Photo by Heri B. Heryanto