Two entrepreneurs with a dream change what it means to have a “dream wedding”
These days it’s hard to believe there are still things that haven’t been done before. But that’s what entrepreneurs do. They fill the world with everything it’s missing.
When she was 26 years old, Liz Susong, who now lives in Houston, entered the $55 billion wedding industry as an independent wedding planner in Washington, DC.
What she found was an industry steeped deeply in tradition that hadn’t seem to have caught up to the brides and grooms of today.
“The industry felt stuck in the past and very hyper-consumerist. Lots of blogs featured styled shoots, where vendors basically construct an ideal wedding,” Susong said.
Essentially, what she saw was a lot of wealthy, white, heterosexual couples whose weddings were defined by the right dress and the right caterer, she said.
After writing an article summing up her sentiments, she connected with a wedding photographer in Virginia who shared her perspective. They put their ideas together and decided to stage a “feminist intervention” by launching Catalyst, a feminist wedding magazine.
“What feminist wedding magazine means to us,” Susong said, “is that it’s working to increase the representation in a pretty homogeneous industry. We feature couples with all different body sizes, interracial couples; ones that are out of the box of the wealthy, white, heterosexual wedding media.”
As well as photo shoots, the magazine, which launched this May, features articles that take a more critical look at weddings by revisiting traditions and reexamining them.
After trying more traditional business models, the two decided to try Kickstarter to gather the funds to launch their first issue. Once their Kickstarter campaign got the attention of a few and was shared across the Internet, they reached their campaign goal and got a lot of free press in the process.
“There’s definitely an audience that this really resonates with,” Susong said.
As of now, the first issue of Catalyst, which is available online and in a few independent bookstores, has almost sold out, selling nearly 1,500 copies.
The next issue is due out in January, and they plan to publish twice a year with hopes of making publications more frequent as they continue to build their business.
With no experience in publishing or launching a magazine, Susong, who’s now 27, said they’re in the middle of a huge learning process.
“We’re definitely building the plane as we fly it,” she said. “Now we’re sorting through our business contract; tax status; sales tax; and copyright law. All of that has come after we figured out the creative side.”
Her advice to anyone with a great idea: Hustle.
“I’m not smarter than other people. I had zero knowledge of how to make a magazine, but basically I found a ton of hustle,” she said. “We talked about this for a long time and people were like, ‘Oh, that’s cute.’ Then we actually printed the magazine and all of a sudden people are like, ‘What?! Really?!’ But it was real for us the whole time. A lot of people have great ideas but, for whatever reason, they don’t see them through.”