It’s Female Founder Friday and I couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to fellow wedding tech woman entrepreneur, Christina Farrow. I enjoy spotlighting every type of female founder possible, but I feel an extra kinship with other women entrepreneurs within my niche. Women who saw a technological problem in the wedding industry, and built a company to fix it. I’m sure Atlanta bridal stores would possibly benefit from the problems they seek to solve. Christina is the co-founder of Aisle Planner. Aisle Planner essentially powers the business of weddings. Their cloud-based event planning & business management platform is a stylish and streamlined suite of tools that makes designing, collaborating, and managing every last detail seamless for wedding and event professionals and their clients. And recently, the Aisle Planner team launched a Wedding Inspiration and Wedding Advice editorial site called The Aisle Guide, to help engaged couples on their journey to “I Do”.
So, if you have a wedding tech company idea, or are curious how one planner’s business frustrations turned into a full blown obsession to help others in her industry spend less time on processes and more time focusing on what they love, don’t miss Christina’s answers to my questions below!
What inspired you to create your company?
Seventeen years ago, I planned my first wedding and I was instantly hooked. I was absolutely enamored with the process of planning and of course, the industry, and I absolutely loved planning weddings! But as a small business owner with a thriving wedding planning, design and decor rental business, I found myself increasingly overwhelmed with all that needed to be done. Rather than rejoicing in the fact that I had a growing business and enjoying my success as a small business owner, I was flat out miserable and heartbroken that the very thing I loved doing the most was dragging my whole world down.
I tried every possible solution over the years to streamline my planning and design process, and it frustrated me to no end knowing that even the best planning tools on the market were not supporting my desire to be more, do more and live a more balanced life, let alone build a sustainable business. That frustration became the spark that would become Aisle Planner, and what started as a simple desire to make my own planning process easier and more enjoyable became a full blown obsession to help small business owners in the wedding industry who all seemed to share the same sentiment.
I can’t help but be inspired by our customers and the small business owners in the wedding industry who are faced with the same very real challenges I was facing. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t share with me their daily struggles, their frustrations, and their desire to find the perfect solution that will not only ease their workload, but also ease their mind. From finding the perfect Denver engagement rings maker to the frustrations of setting a menu when there are a dozen picky eaters on the guest list, I’ve heard almost all the wedding struggles there are from my clients. I’m inspired knowing that the planning, design and collaboration tools we’re working to build will empower them to make things happen so they can ultimately focus on what matters most in their lives. Obviously, our customers feel quite comfortable with us already, but we feel that we could do more to make them feel even more comfortable. We’ve seen that creating some business profile videos for your company can help clients get to know the people that work at the business. This can make them feel more welcome. Maybe we’ll look into that.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
The biggest obstacle? Getting started. My biggest failure? Not getting started sooner.
What we’ve built to date is only a portion of the bigger ecosystem we’ve envisioned for Aisle Planner. As we continue to build out and constantly improve our suite of tools, we’re always working to support our community of wedding professionals in their quest to build better businesses, so each new sprint planned for the road ahead is laser focused on that goal. We’re excited that 2018 will bring a long list of improvements and new features that will complement our business and planning tools and make it even easier for our customers to connect with and book new customers, streamline their workflow and planning process, and manage their businesses.
With an amazing team and the support of our dedicated and passionate community of customers, I am motivated to ‘keep on keeping on’ knowing that our online tools are making their path to success easier.
What is a life or business hack that you recommend to help other female founders?
There’s just never enough time in the day, so I’m always looking for ways to save time! I’m still working on mastering this (because I’m far from being a morning person), but I’ve learned that the best way to save time is to make more time in my day. Waking up early (earlier than I normally would) gives me the opportunity to get in a work out (for some reason it’s easier to put on your running shoes when you’re half awake and aren’t able to talk yourself out of it) , walk my dog (with a good morning walk, she doesn’t tear up the house and yard as much), eat a good breakfast and gather my thoughts for the day.
If you had a theme song what would it be?
Someone once told me that major mood swings are the norm for start up founders. A few years in and I’ve learned that it’s SO TRUE! I’ve also learned that music has an amazing way of lifting your mood, getting you through rough patches and helping you find strength when you’ve absolutely nothing left in the tank. There is a song for every occasion (I’ve got a great Spotify Play List for that), so my theme songs are on constant rotation, but here’s a few that seem to get played a lot right now:
“Glorious,” by Macklemore – my twelve year old daughter loves this song. It’s been on constant replay in our house, and with all around good vibes and a great beat, you just can’t feel down when this is on the loud speakers. It’s a great reminder me that we all have a purpose and each day is a chance to start fresh.
“Say,” by John Mayer – I’ve always been a shy one and easily fall back into my introverted tendencies, so what better encouragement than to trust what you know and speak up than blasting this song in your car stereo before a big meeting (not to mention that I’m a huge John Mayer fan!)
“Formation,” by Beyonce – because who doesn’t love Queen Bey?
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
There are so many things that I would tell my younger aspiring founder self, but if there was just one piece of advice I could give, it would be above all else, to take the time to take care of yourself. When you’re just starting out and you’ve put in everything you’ve got (and especially if you’re not yet pulling a paycheck), it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the right to take a break for yourself – just another hour at my computer, just another lunch at my desk, just another night on my laptop. It’s even easier to tell yourself that you’ll start taking better care of yourself once the business gets off the ground. Let me tell you – that may take longer than you think!
Ultimately, it is no secret that sitting at your desk all day can lead to numerous health problems. From back pain, to pins and needles, although there are always going to be times when pulling away from your desk can be difficult, there are steps you can take to make your office a more comfortable place to work in. For instance, start by investing in an orthopedic office chair. The best office chairs provide lumbar support and can easily be adjusted to suit your needs. You can find a wide range of office chairs on the Office Monster website.
When starting a business, it’s an exciting time and it’s hard to break away from something that we’re so passionate about-but, you have to remember to make time for yourself. While I was busy working, my daughter grew from a toddler to a pre-teen, I lost touch with girlfriends who kept me balanced, and I packed on the pounds from sitting at my desk.
As founders, we easily pour everything we have into our business-but sometimes at the expense of what matters most. Schedule downtime on your calendar, write family time in, force yourself to step away from the screen. In the long run, taking the time to take care of yourself will contribute to your success (and the success of your business) in more ways than one.