Trendsetters, Loverly

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

Admit it—you've totally started a fairy tale wedding on Pinterest before (even if it's since been deleted). And why wouldn't you? Daydreaming about your perfect wedding gown and lavish wedding ceremony is a blast! But when it actually comes time to plan your own wedding, those pretty Pinterest boards aren't going to point you in the direction of caterers, venues or most other wedding-planning facets.

Not to worry, that's where Lover.ly steps in.

Founded by one-time maid of honor Kellee Khalil, Lover.ly is the one-stop destination designed to turn your wedding planning process into a cinch. But don't take it from us—read on to hear from Kellee herself! 

What was your first job?
Milkshake mixologist at Ruby's Diner.

How did you get started in your career?
Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so I grew up knowing that I wanted to start my own business.  After I graduated from the USC's Marshall School of Business, I tried working in the financial industry, but it wasn't the best creative fit for me. So, I joined my sister Leila Khalil Lewis at her wedding PR agency, Be Inspired PR, and simultaneously started to fall in love with the wedding world. When I realized how disjointed the wedding planning industry was, I quickly became determined to create a truly innovative company that would solve the various inefficiencies hindering brides and grooms in their ability to plan weddings.

What is a typical day like for you?
I never have typical days anymore. I always start the day with a workout and like to switch it up through the week with pilates, bootcamp, barre, etc. When I get to the office, I'll meet with each of my teams—brand, sales, development/engineering, etc.—and make sure everyone's motivated and ingrained in their work for the day. On some days, I'll be desk-bound, scrolling through Instagram for new tastemakers and trendsetters who I want to align with. Other days, I'll have back-to-back meetings with investors, brand collaborators and even real brides! With the launch of our debut line, we're hosting NYC-based brides at Lover.ly HQ taking them through our newest collections of little white dresses and bridesmaid dresses.

Trendsetters, Loverly

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

Tell us about your office décor. What was your inspiration?
Lover.ly is an image-driven search-and-shop engine for brides, so of course our office reflects that inspo-heavy aesthetic. Our walls are "curated collages" with photos of fashion, flowers, wedding details and accessories grouped together by color and our workspace is very open- to breed creativity. Our office is usually decked out with the newest wedding craze – whether that's a DIY washi tape flower wall or a glammed up selfie photo station. We're wedding storytellers, and we love to live in the pages of the storybook every day!

What's the best part of your job?
For me, there's so much to love – but I think my biggest motivator for getting up and returning to the grind every day is the community culture that's evident in everything we do at Lover.ly. We've hired some of the best and brightest minds in the industry and with each new name that joins our roster, we're one step closer to wedding world domination. We each have our strong suits, and when we work together (whether it's for an event or an investor presentation), we accomplish so much.

List five things that are on your desk right now:
My iPhone, Apple laptop with a ton of tabs open (Lover.ly, Rent the Runway, Instagram, etc.), an Almond & Coconut Kind bar, Lemon Lime Seltzer and under my desk – Oliver, my maltipoo and the love of my life!

Where are a few of your favorite places to shop for work clothes?
I've been glued to Rent the Runway for the last few months and get a ton of great ensembles to wear to industry events and networking meet ups. For every day, though, I love Zara, J.Crew, H&M – chic and comfortable, but professional.

What are your chief sources of wedding inspiration?
I actually love looking to non-wedding centric sites and sources for inspiration. I follow Homepolish (interior design), Glitter Guide (lifestyle), Food52 (cool food trends), Teni Panosian (beauty) on Instagram and get lots of great fodder for Lover.ly and my own life. Same goes for Rifle Paper Company, and my faves in fashion - Acne and Apiece Apart.

Which wedding trends are you excited for this season, and which trends are you ready to say goodbye to?
I'm always excited for the newest trends in fashion. Just this past week, I got to sit front row at some of my favorite wedding gown designer shows at bridal market (i.e. fashion week for the bridal industry) and I was obsessed with the illusion and off-the-shoulder necklines. I also love seeing the bridal space get swept up in short styles – there's nothing cuter than an LWD (little white dress). At Lover.ly, we encourage our brides to make their weddings super personalized; so traditional and cookie-cutter aren't a part of our vernacular. That's why I'm looking forward to seeing matchy-matchy bridesmaid fashion become a thing of the past. 

Trendsetters, Loverly

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

What inspired you to launch a website like Lover.ly?
Planning a wedding is a frenetic experience. I was shocked at how one occasion could monopolize so much time and energy. So, I started brainstorming ways to simplify and streamline the wedding planning process. Necessity is the mother of invention, isn't that what they always say? Lover.ly launched in 2012 as a search and discovery platform where brides get inspired, shop top designers and get expert tips and advice they need all in one place.  And, to mark our third anniversary, we just unveiled our own line of data-developed fashions, gifts and decor based on exactly what Lover.ly users are looking for.

What's your guilty pleasure?
I love a good Netflix or HBO marathon. I can binge-watch Scandal, Girls, The Good Wife and Revenge for days. And when Lena Dunham was on Scandal, it was absolute perfection. I'm also a sucker for lightly choreographed dance moves. I've been known to get down at birthday parties and weddings… at a recent wedding, someone actually asked me for dance lessons. My team jokes that it can be my side business.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Drink more, but not the most.

Who are some of your career heroes?
I have three and they all are complete bosses; unapologetic and totally super confident. Lena Dunham is a triple threat (writer, director and actress). My mentor is Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, CEO of Glamsquad, and I love how driven she is. She's always pushing herself and making the industries she works in better, and that's what I'm trying to do with Lover.ly in the bridal industry. I'm also having a major Sophia Amoruso (founder & executive chairman of NastyGal) moment right now. Sophia is the type of unconventional entrepreneur who isn't afraid to be entirely herself. Having read her book and watched her make news over the years, I've gleaned invaluable advice on what makes someone successful. It comes down to tenacity and hustle, and everyone on TLT (the Lover.ly team) has it.

What's the most daring career risk you've ever taken at work?
Starting Lover.ly, of course.

Finish the sentences below:
Today for lunch I had… avocado kale salad.
The first website I log onto every day is…  Lover.ly and Gmail, followed by Instagram.
The beauty products you can always find in my purse are… Circa Beauty Balance BB cream, MAC lipstick and L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara.
My usual Starbucks order is…  grande cold-brewed iced coffee with a splash of milk.
If I wasn't doing this job, I would… be doing bridal PR.
My favorite type of manicure is… oval-shaped, Essie in Ballet Slipper.
Instagram or Twitter… Insta, by far.

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