Wednesday, January 13, 2010

People that Inspire Me: Carley Roney

I felt moved to write this post to tell my clients and readers about the people and companies that I admire... in this case it is BOTH a person and a company. I have been very fortunate to meet Carley Roney,CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Knot on a couple of occasions through Engage! and what I take away from every occurrence fuels me and illuminates for me what I want MY business to look like. The following is 5 Reasons why she is a remarkable individual!

1.) Woman Entrepreneur Carley is not only a successful entrepreneur herself, but she mentors women entrepreneurs around the country through speaking engagements. She is at the top of many nationally circulated lists that recognize her success at such a young age. As a graduate of NYU (in filmography, ...I know), she is sharp, and an elegant speaker. She once gave me seriously scary advice about my business in its infant stage "just jump in!".... and she was right.
2.) The Knot, The Bump and The Nest
The Knot first graced newstands in 1997, and currently draws 2.1 million unique visitors a month (source: MPA). She credits their success and abundant creativity to connecting their vendors to their brides (affectionately called Knotties). The sense of community and loyalty created by The Knot keeps brides coming back to their site even after they are married (hence The Nest and The Bump). When I was a bride I also felt this strong brand identity to The Knot, and used it almost exclusively as my wedding resource (2005-2006) to find what all brides are looking for: quality vendors, information, objective reviews from other brides and inspiration.
3.) Family Woman
When I first met Carley Roney, we both had 6 month old babies and she excused herself to go breastfeed. I was stunned to learn that while running an empire with her husband David Lui she sometimes breastfed in board meetings, brought her children to work and overall incorporated her family into the company culture. She told me the great thing about having your own company is that you can build it the way you want it to look. At that time in my life I felt a conflict between having huge dreams for my business and also a thriving family and marriage at the same time, unsure of how both are possible. If Carley Roney can run a publicly traded media conglomerate all the while being a loving mother and wife.... it IS possible! She also shared how the dynamics of her marriage are reflected in their business, saying that "the highs are high and the lows are low" and referring to the their hectic schedule as "you just have to like your life that way".... words that have reassured me over and over again.
4.) She hearts brides
Carley has a true affinity for brides, and understands what they want. Her and her husband David decided to quantify what they were hearing from brides, and came up with The Knot Survey. The Knot Survey is designed to collect information FROM BRIDES about the planning experience, from info about budgets to vendors to color combinations. In the end, it was also a way to recognize outstanding vendors through their "Best of" recognitions, an honor which we one day hope to achieve from our brides. Before this survey, no one had every taken a bride-focused approach to wedding industry statistics. We can add "trailblazer" to her list of attributes :)
5.) She is a great person.
Aside from enjoying much success, Carley is pointedly unpretentious (even though she is a New Yorker! hehe!). At conferences, she is never too busy to talk to vendors large and small alike and boasts of having all IKEA furniture in The Knot headquarters.

This woman is someone I wanted to recognize as outstanding, and her words encourage and inspire me in many different facets of my life!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Round and Square Wedding Cake

When planning the dimensions and servings for a wedding cake, I usually have to break out the calculator.... but in this case, I had to break out the highschool geometry class. Considering I am miserable at math, it was nothing short of VICTORY that the dimensions of this cake turned out like I wanted. There is one indispesible formula when figuring out what size tiers to plan:
The basic idea is that you you have to figure out the length of the widest part of a square, which is the diagonal length. For example, a 8" square has an 11.3" diagonal length. That means that the round tier below it must be at least 12". This cake was a 4" square, 6" round, 8" square and 12" round. See kids, that geometry IS useful beyond the SAT!
The flowers were done by Lee Forest who is insanely talented, and so likable!