Kellee Khalil, Lover.ly, Woman Entrepreneur
I am always impressed with people who are starters and finishers. Kellee is a get shit done kind of girl. Growing up in Southern California in an entrepreneurial household. Her father came to the US with $26 in his pocket and started out working in a gas station soon to own the gas station and then several gas stations and more. He taught all his kids the value of a dollar.
Kellee stayed in the area going to USC for college. She majored in the entrepreneurial program at USC where in the last semester you pitch your business plan to a group of investors. Her business was a high end handbag line but needed $200K to start the business. She had no interest going into debt at that time but wanted to make her own money so she could start a business down the line by herself.
She took a job in a commercial loan company that gave loans to companies with 3-5 years under their belt. Anything from a coffee machine to a tractor. She became the number one sales person in a company filled with men and soon went on to manage a group teaching everyone to follow her sales strategy. The business model shifted and she walked away with a nice amount of money in her pocket.
Her sister, Lila, was working in the wedding space. She was at a conference and the woman she was working for was doing the key note speech and mentioned that it was Lila who was her backbone. Lila left the conference with six clients of her own. She began her own PR business, Be Inspired, around the wedding space helping anyone from photographers to florists to caterers how to market themselves in this space. Kellee decided she'd help her with her social media platform, Inspired by This, and get involved in the business, after all she knew how to sell and figured she would only add value. She did.
Kellee found herself out in NYC for an event representing her sister's company and took one look at NYC and decided, I am not coming back. NYC was meant for her energy. She decided to forge out on her own. Did a variety of feasability studies around the wedding planning space. While her sister is a brand manager, Kellee wanted to start a business where people involved in the wedding process be it the bride or the planners could have a destination location to create a digital drop box for concepts and ideas to share, save, discover or purchase. The name would be Lover.ly. She used all of her savings to make it happen.
Just some statistics on the wedding space. There are 550,000 wedding vendors, the average age of a bride is in the US is 27, the average spent on a wedding is $28,000 using up to 43 vendors that makes weddings a $99 billion dollar business. $19B in registry and $72B in planning. Think of Lover.ly as the Pinterest of weddings.
Kellee has serious enthusiasm. After speaking with her I almost felt like saying to her just tell me where to get in line. Lover.ly has just launched and I am betting that Kellee will quickly rise to the leader in the wedding space.