My Interview with Chris Easter. Chris Easter is the Co-Founder of The Man Registry, A company he started three years ago with his brother-in-law.
He started The Man Registry after finding it difficult to buy wedding gifts for some of his friends getting married. The Man Registry is currently the largest wedding planning website for men.
Hi Chris, Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me, How are you doing today?
Doing great, can’t complain. Thanks for reaching out to me for this interview.
Can you give us some background information about yourself and what you did before starting The Man Registry?
I’m 27 and co-founded The Man Registry three years ago immediately after graduating from Webster University in St. Louis. I majored in business administration and always had an interested in entrepreneurship, even dating back to my childhood. I currently reside in Los Angeles with my wife, Kim.
So tell us, Where did the idea come from and how did you know it was the right one to pursue?
My partners and I had noticed that many of our friends were getting to the age where they were thinking about marriage. When it came time to buy wedding gifts for these friends, the options that existed were mostly kitchen and bath oriented and were definitely aimed more to the bride’s side of the equation. Furthermore, the more we researched the world of weddings, we realized we were looking at an industry that was ignoring half of its customer base. Men.
What is The Man Registry, what role do you play in the business?
The Man Registry is the largest wedding planning website for men. We offer wedding, groomsmen and anniversary gifts all aimed at the male demographic. Our site also offers articles, blogs and checklists that help simplify the marriage process for men. I’m one of the three co-founders and serve as President of the company.
How did you raise the money to fund the business?
My partners and I self-funded the business with our own capital. Since our launch, we have received one additional round of angel financing
What would you say was probably the hardest part of the whole start-up-phase?
Going into this, neither myself nor my partners had any computer programming or design skills. We had to learn on fly as well as hire a developer with a skill set that matched what we knew the website would require. We learned quickly that you get what you pay for and if you don’t hire the right guy upfront, you’ll pay for it double down the road.
What is your revenue model?
Half of our revenue comes from the sale of gifts (products) while the other half comes from advertising sales on our website and blog.
Are you guys profitable?
Yes. We became profitable during our 2nd year in business and experienced a 200% increase in sales from 2009 to 2010.
What is an average workday like for you?
I typically focus on social media and blog outreach while overseeing our customer service and sales teams. I’m currently writing a groom book for Penguin Publishing which has been taking up a lot of my time during the week.
Tell us about your most memorable moment since starting the business?
Last week, I was named a Wedding Industry Innovator of the Year at a ceremony in Las Vegas. This is very special to me as an entrepreneur because it proves that the time and resources I’ve put into growing this business is truly paying off.
What are your most significant products or services?
Our personalized series of groomsmen gifts consistently ranks as top sellers. We have dedicated an entire section of the website to these unique gifts that grooms can purchase for their Best Man and wedding party members.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Face-to-face networking and building personal relationships have helped the business grow in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise. The value of building contacts and meaningful relationships cannot be overstated in any business… especially the wedding industry where word of mouth is so powerful. I encourage all entrepreneurs to take part in as many networking events as they can and never turn down a meeting, no matter how insignificant they might think it is at the time.
What plans do you have now to expand your business further?
We have plans to eventually move beyond the wedding arena and build ourselves into other areas of men’s life including fatherhood.
What systems have you used to automate your business to give you more time for business planning and development?
We have a custom-built data manager that allows us to respond to customer inquiries, process orders and add new content to the website. This system saves us time and significantly decreases the manual labour and “busy work” that is so often associated with running a business.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today especially someone looking to into the same industry as you?
1.) Understand the risks of starting a business and be prepared for the challenge. Overnight success doesn’t’t happen often. Be ready to struggle, which will make the end payoff feel that much better.
2.) Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. My goal is always to be the dumbest person in the room.
3.) Don’t be afraid to fail. Failing today makes us better tomorrow.
Thanks for your time Chris.