Matt and Cristina Goebel faced the same challenges many couples face during their own wedding last year. The wedding planning process is overwhelming, and a lot can get lost in translation with information stored in different notebooks and emails or contracts. Additionally, brides (and their grooms and families) are constantly asked the same questions over and over again by different wedding professionals, which can become frustrating and time consuming.
Matt and Cristina knew that if they could develop a quality platform to reduce or eliminate those key pain points, not only would they have a hit software product on their hands, they would also be helping brides and couples and everybody involved in the wedding planning process have a better experience, starting life together with less stress and more joy!
It helps that Matt and Cristina are uniquely skilled to solve the communications gaps and problems they experienced in the wedding industry. Matt is an IT professional who was recognized by Consulting Magazine as one of its “30 Under Thirty” consultants, and Cristina is a charismatic local NFL cheerleader and event management professional.
Utilizing their own professional skills and rounding out the team with designer Kolby McElvain and developer Chandler Zwolle, the idea to improve the planning experience and create a centralized platform wedding planning tool for brides and vendors is now realized at Plan The Day (www.plantheday.com).
Plan The Day is a wedding planning application that combines collaboration and integrated tools in order to improve the planning experience and create a centralized platform for brides and vendors to communicate. The app takes essential tools such as the itinerary, guest book, budget, and checklist, and adds the ability to invite friends, family and vendors to collaborate together. The startup is currently 100 percent bootstrapped by its founders, but they anticipate seeking early-round funding to fuel growth once the conversion funnel is fine-tuned.
By eliminating the need for multiple spreadsheets, binders, calendars, and file folders, Plan The Day combines all the tools needed for wedding planning in one location, creating an easier way to stay organized and plan effectively.
Here are some of the featured functions:
- Shared Itinerary
- Keep everyone in the loop and up-to-date
- Access anytime and anywhere, to give all parties involved peace of mind
- Wedding Checklist
- Customize your own unique list with all of the special details
- Easily categorize list items and designate tasks
- Wedding Events
- Plan for every event that coincides with the wedding
- Keep track of the many different guest lists and itineraries
- Vendor-to-Vendor Collaboration
- Brainstorm with professionals on ideas and concepts
- Allow for easy communication between vendors
- All Parties Collaboration
- Communicate with everybody from one centralized communication channel
- Simply connect through your personal email
- Guest Book
- Manage all of your guest lists in one place
- Track sent save the dates, invitations, and RSVPs
- Keep notes regarding gifts and guest accommodations
- Build and determine your ideal budget
- Record and track expenses throughout the process
“We started with an ambitious goal to release our first version, not just a minimally viable product, within 9 months,” Matt said. “Starting with development in March of this year, the whole team worked tirelessly to get a Beta version of Plan the Day built and into the hands of our early adopters by August, and then we followed that Beta with a full version-one product released by November. As a true testament to our team, we not only met our goal, but exceeded it by including more functionality in the public 1.0 version than we had originally planned!”
What is the “secret sauce” of Plan the Day? What makes you different from other platforms?
Collaboration, and integrated tools are the “secret sauce” of Plan the Day. There is no other wedding planning application out there that allows for the bride, and all those involved in the wedding planning process to communicate and plan in one place. Plan The Day’s essential planning tools are integrated and erase the need for multiple binders, books, or tools in order to keep everything organized.
Tell us about the team who built Plan the Day.
The development team is made up of the co-founder Matt Goebel, designer Kolby McElvain and developer Chandler Zwolle. Chandler, the team’s “Magic Maker” as his business card reads, is the web developer guru responsible for bringing the responsive web design to life. Kolby originally joined the team as the graphic designer and soon grew into UI/UX, marketing, copywriting and quality control responsibilities making huge contributions on all fronts. Matt plays the role of project manager, technical architect and he built the backend of the application.
As a startup, did you pivot?
In the beginning, Plan the Day set out to create a tool strictly for planning professionals. Through research, we realized that professionals already have planning systems of their own or certain applications, and convincing them to transition to something new would take a lot of marketing dollars and elbow grease. Brides, on the other hand, are just beginning the shift to planning online and have needs that we think we can solve better than any other application currently available. This early pivot had an impact on the business model because the payment system had to evolve with the target customer. Plan the Day now offers a monthly fee cost structure as well as a one-time payment option.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned through creating and launching your company?
Plan The Day is Matt’s third entrepreneurial venture, but the first under the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model and his first B2C venture. With the previous businesses being heavily focused on B2B products or services, the sales cycles were long and heavily focused on building relationships. The biggest lessons learned thus far with the B2C business model are around automating interactions, yet still providing an outstanding customer experience.